Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Bono Mack Loses; West in Recount; Other Election Updates

We’re learning more about the eight outstanding House races, and one thing is clear: The trends that so favored the Democrats on Election Day are continuing in political overtime.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA-45)

Rep. Mary Bono Mack
Congresswoman Bono Mack who succeeded her late husband in Congress, Rep. Sonny Bono upon his untimely death in early 1998, conceded her re-election contest to physician Raul Ruiz on Saturday in California’s Riverside County/Palm Desert region. The current results, which continue to evolve because California non-Election Day votes are still being counted, put the eight-term congresswoman 7,336 votes behind Ruiz. Such a deficit is too large to overcome considering the number of outstanding votes, hence her decision to concede.

The new 36th District contains 75% of the territory from Ms. Bono Mack’s current 45th District and actually became two points more Republican in redistricting, but this year’s Democratic political tide was too much for her to overcome.

Reps. Dan Lungren & Brian Bilbray
In northern California, at the end of counting on Friday, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA-7) had fallen further behind his challenger, physician Ami Bera (D). Trailing by just 184 votes on Election Day, Lungren now faces a 1,779 vote deficit with still more than 70,000 ballots remaining.

In the San Diego area, we find a similar trend. There, San Diego Port Commission chairman and ex-City Councilman Scott Peters has extended his lead over Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA-52) to 1,334 votes. Approximately 80,000 ballots remain to be counted. With such large pools of ballots still remaining, anything can still happen in both of these districts, but clearly the first reported non-Election Day counts favor the Democrats in both districts.

Rep. Allen West
Turning to southeast Florida, Rep. Allen West (R-FL-18) is encountering a different problem than awaiting a long ballot counting process, but he appears to be having at least a modicum of success in waging his voting irregularity argument. Virtually all of the ballots have been counted here — only those from the military and overseas remain — and West trails attorney Patrick Murphy (D) by 2,442 votes. The congressman’s claim concerns the tabulation of early votes in St. Lucie County. The original election night count gave West about a 1,700 vote lead. When St. Lucie County election officials decided to recount the early votes, based upon a reported technical glitch, the margin shifted by more than 4,000 votes in Murphy’s favor. On Friday, a local judge ordered the 37,000+ St. Lucie County early votes to be recounted. The crux of the West argument is that some of the early votes were double-counted with those cast on Election Day.

Arizona
Counting continues in two undecided Arizona congressional districts. In the tight 2nd District, Rep. Ron Barber (D), who won his seat in a June special election, for the first time leads former Gulf War veteran Martha McSally (R). When counting ended Friday, Barber had taken a 289-vote lead. There could still be as many as 40,000 ballots to count. In the new 9th District, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema continues to lead Republican Vernon Parker, as she has virtually from the beginning. With tens of thousands of ballots remaining, Sinema’s lead has now increased to a substantial 4,710 votes.

Rep. Mike McIntyre
In North Carolina’s 7th District, the re-count trend has favored Republican David Rouzer in his quest to unseat Rep. Mike McIntyre (D). With the counting process continuing, McIntyre’s lead is now down to 394 votes. The final tally is due to be reported on Nov. 16th. Since it is almost a certainty that the end result will fall within a 1% margin, a full recount will be ordered in compliance with state election law. This result will likely hang in limbo for several more weeks.

Rep. Jim Matheson
Counting also continues in Utah’s close 4th Congressional District race even though Republican challenger Mia Love has already conceded to Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT-4). The congressman’s margin in 2,646 votes, and an eventual Matheson victory will be the final official result.

Florida
Turning to the one outstanding state in the presidential contest, Florida election officials have declared Pres. Barack Obama the winner of the Sunshine State vote, meaning the final Electoral College margin is 332-206 in the president’s favor.

Washington
The one remaining Governor’s race has also been decided. Former Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA-1) has been declared the winner of the Washington gubernatorial race, defeating Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) 51-49%.

Undecided Race Update

Jay Inslee (D)

All of the Senate races have now been determined, and the Democrats will lead a 55-45 majority in the next Congress, assuming Senator-Elect Angus King (I-ME) joins their caucus, as expected.

One governor’s race remains uncalled. In Washington, former Rep. Jay Inslee (D) has a 51.1-48.9% lead over Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) with still one-quarter of the vote remaining. Inslee has a 54,398 vote advantage with approximately 600,000 votes remaining. To win, McKenna would have to score a bit over 54% of the uncounted ballots. Mathematically this is certainly possible, but the trend suggests otherwise. Even if Inslee holds, the GOP gains one gubernatorial seat nationally, bringing their advantage to 30-19-1 over the Democrats and Rhode Island Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Here are the latest in the outstanding House races:

  • AZ-1: The race has been called in favor of former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
  • AZ-2: Rep. Ron Barber (D) vs. Martha McSally (R) – The Republican challenger leads by a scant 81 votes with as many as 65,000 votes left to count. This one, obviously, can go either way as the remaining ballots will determine the winner.
  • AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs. Vernon Parker (R) – About 70,000 ballots remain here, and Sinema’s lead has increased to 3,842 votes. To overtake the Democrat, Republican Parker would need just over 52% of the remaining ballots. This is a reasonable percentage, but Parker has yet to lead the race. Therefore, the trend favors Sinema.
  • CA-7: Rep. Dan Lungren (R) vs. Ami Bera (D) – Approximately 100,000 ballots still must be counted, and the challenger’s lead is a mere 184 votes. Both men have an equal chance of winning.
  • CA-36: Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Raul Ruiz (D) – Challenger Ruiz has increased his advantage to 4,679 votes, though more than 50,000 ballots remain uncounted. To win, Rep. Bono Mack needs 55% of the remaining pool of votes. It is unlikely that she will reverse the trend.
  • CA-52: Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) vs. Scott Peters (D) – In a very similar situation to that of Rep. Lungren, it’s possible that as many as 100,000 ballots are still outstanding. Peters leads by 814 votes, meaning that Bilbray needs at least 50.5% of the remainder to pull out the victory.
  • FL-18: Rep. Allen West (R) vs. Patrick Murphy (D) – The congressman trails challenger Murphy by 2,456 votes with all precincts reporting. West is challenging voting irregularities in St. Lucie County, and several thousand provisional ballots remain. Unless West wins his challenge – claiming that certain precincts have been double counted – Murphy is likely to prevail.
  • NC-7: Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) vs. David Rouzer (R) – The congressman leads by 533 votes, with more than 5,000 to count. Many of those are from the challenger’s home county of Johnston, where he performed strongly. There is an outside chance that this election could turn around.
  • UT-4: Rep. Jim Matheson (D) vs. Mia Love (R) – Though challenger Love has already conceded, counting of the remaining 50,000 votes continues. Matheson leads with a 2,646 vote margin, meaning Love needs at least 53% of the remainder, which is unlikely to happen based upon the already known voting pattern.

Outstanding House Races; Incumbents Who Are Gone

We have a couple lists for you today — House races that are still unresolved and incumbents who lost their re-election attempts.

Here’s the latest on the outstanding House races:

  • AZ-1: One that was in the balance late last night, but is no longer, AZ-1 was called late last night for former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who will now return to the House after being out for one term. She defeats former Republican state Sen. Jonathan Paton. This is a pick-up for the Ds.
  • AZ-2: Republican Martha McSally has pulled into the lead over Rep. Ron Barber (D) by a scant 426 votes, down from almost 1,300 earlier in the day. More than 20,000 ballots remain to be counted, so this race is far from over. A McSally victory would be a huge upset for the Republicans.
  • AZ-9: The new seat awarded the state in reapportionment is also in political overtime. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has a 2,715-vote lead over Republican Vernon Parker, but there are more than 70,000 still outstanding. This is another race that could go either way.
  • CA-7: Rep. Dan Lungren (R) and challenger Ami Bera (D) are locked in a tight battle. Currently, Bera has a 184 vote lead, but more than 50,000 ballots still remain to be counted. This race can still go either way.
  • CA-36: Things appear to be confused in the Palm Desert region. The election officers are reporting 100% of the votes counted with Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) trailing challenger Raul Ruiz by 4,557 votes. Only 162,247 ballots are showing as being cast, however, a number far smaller than the average number of votes per CD, which now typically gets close to, or exceeds, 300,000. The race has not been called, but Ruiz is claiming victory. Being down by almost 5,000 votes is obviously not good for Bono Mack. Though the race is not official yet, the clear trend is pointing to a Ruiz upset victory.
  • CA-52: Like California’s 7th District as noted above, more than 50,000 ballots also remain to be counted here. Of the votes tabulated so far, Democratic challenger Scott Peters has a 685-vote lead over Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) with more than 207,000 ballots already counted. This one could also go either way.
  • FL-18: Rep. Allen West (R) is down 2,456 votes, but provisional ballots remain and the congressman is asking for an investigation in Port St. Lucie for voting irregularities. Apparently, the West forces are claiming that many ballots were double-counted. We will continue to monitor this race, but the odds now clearly favor challenger Patrick Murphy (D), who has already declared victory.
  • NC-7: Another race that will likely be decided by a razor-thin margin features Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) and state Sen. David Rouzer (R) in southeast North Carolina. Currently, McIntyre leads by a scant 533 votes, but approximately 4,000 provisional votes remain uncounted, as do at least 500 military ballots. A total of 1,500 are from Rouzer’s home county of Johnston, a place he carried with a margin greater than 60% on Tuesday night.
  • UT-4: In yet another stunning display of political ability and acumen, Rep. Jim Matheson (D) again withstood another tough challenge, this time from budding national political star Mia Love (R), to win another term in the House. The margin is 2,646 votes and appears to be final. Reapportionment added a new seat in Utah and though this may be the state’s most marginal seat, it is likely that Pres. Barack Obama failed to even break 40%. Thus, Rep. Matheson had the opportunity of displaying yet another tenet in the art of political survival.

The following incumbents have officially lost their seats:

Senate:

  • MA: Sen. Scott Brown (R) to Elizabeth Warren (D)

House:

  • CA-15: Rep. Pete Stark (D), first elected in 1972, falls to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell.
  • CA-30: Rep. Howard Berman (D) loses to fellow Rep. Brad Sherman (D) in one of the nation’s most expensive campaigns.
  • CA-35: Rep. Joe Baca (D), who left his home town of Rialto to run in this Ontario-based seat, loses to state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D)
  • CA-44: Rep. Laura Richardson (D) succumbs to her Democratic colleague, Rep. Janice Hahn.
  • FL-26: Scandal and the taint of scandal caused freshman David Rivera (R) to fall to Democratic challenger Joe Garcia.
  • IL-8: Rep. Joe Walsh (R), as was expected because of his poor draw in redistricting, loses to VA former Asst. Sec. Tammy Duckworth (D).
  • IL-10: By the slimmest of margins, Rep. Bob Dold (R) becomes another victim of redistricting circumstance. Tax accountant Brad Schneider (D) becomes the new congressman.
  • IL-11: Rep. Judy Biggert (R), who represented only 48% of this CD, falls hard to former Rep. Bill Foster, 42-58%.
  • IL-17: Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) was unseated by East Moline local official Cheri Bustos (D). Again, it was redistricting that became the overriding issue in this CD.
  • IA-3: In a paired incumbents situation, Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) loses after 16 years in the House to fellow Rep. Tom Latham (R).
  • KY-6: After barely surviving in the last election, this year Rep. Ben Chandler (D) does lose his re-match to attorney Andy Barr (R).
  • MD-6: Being redistricted deep into unfriendly territory in Montgomery County, Frederick Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R), now 86 years old, loses his seat to businessman John Delaney (D), an upset winner in the April Democratic primary.
  • MN-8: In another race that ended in an unsurprising fashion, former Rep. Rick Nolan, who left the House all the way back in 1980, now returns as a new freshman. He defeated freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) in a very heavily Democratic district.
  • NH-1: Capping off a strongly Democratic night that foretold a New Hampshire sweep, Rep. Frank Guinta (R) failed to win re-election against the woman he beat two years ago, ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D).
  • NH-2: In the more Democratic of New Hampshire’s two congressional districts, veteran Rep. Charlie Bass (R), who returned to the House in 2010 after being beaten four years earlier, loses as an incumbent for the second time. Lobbyist Ann McLane Kuster, who stumbled against Bass by just one point two years ago, comes back in 2012 to finish the job.
  • NY-18: In a tough race with a relative surprise ending, freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) falls to Wall Street attorney Sean Maloney (D).
  • NY-24: A major upset winner in 2010, and facing an even more difficult district this time around, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, like Guinta from New Hampshire above, finds herself on the losing end of a close race, also in a re-match. Former Rep. Dan Maffei (D) will also return to the House.
  • NY-27: In a district that was made the most Republican of all 27 NY CDs, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R) unseated Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) to return the seat to the GOP column.
  • NC-8: Former congressional staff member Richard Hudson will now return to Washington as a member of the House, following his unseating of two-term Rep. Larry Kissell (D).
  • OH-16: In a paired incumbents situation due to Ohio losing two seats in the national reapportionment formula, Rep. Betty Sutton (D) loses to freshman Rep. Jim Renacci (R), after a hard-fought race.
  • PA-12: Originally, Rep. Mark Critz (D) was paired with fellow Democrat Jason Altmire. While he survived the Democratic primary against another incumbent congressman, he couldn’t withstand the GOP general election battle. Critz lost to businessman Keith Rothfus, who held Altmire to only a 51-49% victory in 2010.
  • TX-23: Another re-election casualty was freshman Quico Canseco (R), who lost his difficult district, both politically and geographically, to state Rep. Pete Gallego (D).

Who is David Curson?

David Curson

Technically, we will have a 436th member of Congress, at least for the short-term. In Michigan’s 11th District, Republican Kerry Bentivolio won the regular election and will replace McCotter’ in January. The seat became vacant when former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) resigned before the election. But Bentivolio won’t be the immediate successor. Because McCotter resigned well before the end of the term, Democratic United Auto Workers union staff member David Curson won a concurrent special election that was held in the previous 11th CD, not the one created through reapportionment for this ensuing decade. Though Bentivolio won the full term, he lost the special election to Curson. Dr. Syed Taj, the party’s nominee for the regular term did not run in the special election.

Curson’s election means he will immediately be sworn into Congress and participate in the lame duck session, serving in November and December. His term will end at the beginning of January when the new House is inducted, and Bentivolio will then take the oath of office. At that point, Curson’s short-lived congressional career will come to an end.

Obama and Senate Ds; House Rs

The question as to which of the two party’s polling methodology and turnout model projection was correct was answered in the this morning’s early hours, as the Democratic projections proved to be spot on.

As they predicted, Pres. Barack Obama was re-elected with what could be as many as 332 Electoral Votes, should he carry still-outstanding Florida. The absentee ballots will determine the winner at a later date, but the outcome from what was formerly challenger Mitt Romney’s most important state is now irrelevant in determining the victor.

The race was as close as forecast, with the president taking the popular vote, preliminarily, by some 2.5 million ballots, an approximate margin of 51.1 percent. The individual core states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio were just as close as the national popular vote but, in the end, the president captured at least two of the four places, and possibly three, that Romney was virtually forced to win.

As has been the case since 2006, inclusive, the Senate races ended in a run. And, as in two of the three immediately previous elections, it was the Democrats who scored big. Despite having to defend 23 of 33 Senate seats, the Democrats will fare no worse than breaking even and quite possibly will see a net gain of two seats. Both Montana and North Dakota remain outstanding at this writing, going to political overtime. In the Big Sky Country, it will be the final counting plus the absentee ballots in both states that will determine the winner. But, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (MT) and former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (ND) lead in both races. If the two hold their leads, the final Senate margin will increase to 55D-45R.

At the beginning of the election cycle, considering Republicans needed to win only 14 of 33 Senate races to capture the majority, such an outcome was only remotely considered. Again, the polling proved to be spot on, and did correctly forecast the Democratic surge at the end for all of the competitive races. Only in Arizona (senator-elect Jeff Flake) and Nevada (Sen. Dean Heller) did the Republican candidates prevail.

In the House, Republicans held their majority but Democrats cut into their advantage. With 12 races remaining uncalled, the Republicans have 232 seats compared to the Democrats’ 191. Since the LA-3 contest ended in two Republican candidates headed to a post-election run-off (Dec. 1 – Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry), the minimum GOP number for the ensuing Congress will be 233. Of the remaining 11 races, they have the pre-absentee ballot counting edge in only two, so if trends hold constant in all results, the party division will be 235R-200D, or a gain of seven seats for the Democrats.

Most of the outstanding elections are in Arizona and California, and they are razor-thin. The margins are as follows:

  • AZ-1: The result here could mark the return of former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D). She has a 6,716 vote margin over former state Sen. Jonathan Paton (R). About 1% of the total vote remains to be counted before absentee ballot tabulation.
  • AZ-2: In a real surprise, Republican challenger Martha McSally has a very slight 386 vote lead over just-elected Rep. Ron Barber (D) in the Tucson region seat. This is the former district of ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D). Barber, her former staff member, won a similar district in a June special election. Absentee ballots will be the determining factor here.
  • AZ-9: The absentees will help decide this marginal race, too, as former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has a small 2,101 vote edge over Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker (R). This race never veered from a small Sinema lead all night.
  • CA-7: Challenger Ami Bera (D) leads Rep. Dan Lungren (R) by just 184 votes, but thousands of absentee ballots remain.
  • CA-26: Democrat Julia Brownley has a 7,099 vote lead over state Sen. Tony Strickland (R), but again the thousands of absentee ballots will make the final call.
  • CA-36: Challenger Raul Ruiz (D) leads Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) by 3,451 votes, but only 57.4% of total universe of ballots has been counted. There could be as many as 50,000 ballots left here and in CA-7.
  • CA-52: Absentees will also determine the winner in this San Diego district, as challenger Scott Peters (D) leads Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) by just 685 votes.
  • FL-18: Freshman Rep. Allen West (R) finds himself trailing newcomer Patrick Murphy by 2,456 votes, and absentees will also determine the final victor here, too.
  • LA-3: As mentioned above, the 3rd District race will move to a Dec. 1 run-off election between two Republican incumbents. Rep. Charles Boustany has a 45-30% lead over Rep. Jeff Landry heading to a secondary election that is sure to produce a Republican winner.
  • MI-1: Freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R) is holding a small 2,297 vote advantage over former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D). The absentee ballots could still change the outcome here, as well.
  • NC-7: Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre is holding a mere 378 vote lead over state Sen. David Rouzer (R), with thousands of absentee ballots remaining.

Analysis of all these and other results and trends coming later today.