Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Potential Republican Gain in LA Likely to Last Only 2 Years

The national nominating cycle finally drew to a close this past Saturday evening with an easy 65-35% Republican run-off victory for attorney Jeff Landry. He defeated former state House Speaker Hunt Downer in the open Louisiana-3 district, the seat Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) is vacating to challenge Sen. David Vitter (R).

Back in August, Landry came within a fraction of a percentage point of winning the nomination outright, but the fact that he did not exceed 50% plus one vote necessitated the second election. Since Mr. Landry came so close to victory against Downer, who was originally viewed to be the favorite, and several others, the eventual run-off result became a foregone conclusion.

Landry now faces Democratic attorney Ravi Sangisetty in a campaign projected to be a Republican conversion win. But the November election is not the biggest political obstacle to having a long congressional career for one of the new nominees to face. The winner will likely hold the seat for only two years because reapportionment is almost assuredly going to reduce the size of the Louisiana congressional delegation by one district. With population changes, the fact that LA-2 just to the north is a protected Civil Rights district and needs to gain people, and the territory borders the Gulf of Mexico, there is little other option but to collapse the 3rd district when the state’s new congressional map is drawn. Nothing is certain when it comes to politics and redistricting, but the chances of the 3rd district being next year’s apportionment victim are high.

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As the Senate Races Turn …

As we enter the final month of the 2010 election cycle, the Senate races are beginning to fully define themselves.

We now believe that only three of the 37 campaigns can be labeled as pure toss-ups, down from five. The three are the Nevada race featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid versus former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, the Illinois open seat campaign with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL-10) doing battle, and in West Virginia where Gov. Joe Manchin (D) and businessman John Raese (R) are locked in a much closer than expected special election campaign to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd.

Overall, Republicans now appear positioned to win 24 of the in-cycle Senate races compared to the Democrats’ ten. This would decrease the Democrats strength in the chamber to 50 with the three undecided campaigns still on the board. Republicans would gain a net of six seats under these calculations, bringing their total to 47.

Under this model the Democrats would retain the majority, but would have no more than 53 seats and as few as 50, depending upon the resolution of the Nevada and Illinois races.

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Meek’s Support Among Democrats Grows in Florida

The Florida Senate race continues to unfold as one of the most interesting three-way political campaigns of all time.

Right now, polling suggests that Republican Marco Rubio has a significant lead over Republican-turned-Independent Gov. Charlie Crist and the Democratic nominee, Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek. Crist led for the two months preceding the Democratic primary, and then the tables turned. Now that Rep. Meek is becoming better known statewide, a large segment of the Crist Democratic vote is beginning to return home. Thus, as Meek gains support, Crist loses it, and Rubio continues to unify conservatives and tick upward. Therefore, in order to position himself with a chance to win, Meek must first overtake Crist and hope for a roughly even split among the three candidates. Theoretically, such a mix could elect a Democrat against a Republican and former Republican.

Ohio Takes Shape

Two new surveys were released yesterday covering the Ohio Senate and Governor’s races with both pollsters coming to almost identical conclusions.

The CBS News/New York Times poll of 1,114 adults, 973 of whom were registered voters and 941 who characterized themselves as likely to participate in the November 2nd election, was conducted during the September 23-27 period. An Ipsos/Reuters poll (9/23-25; 600 registered OH voters; 440 of whom are likely to vote in the upcoming general election) was simultaneously in the field.

Both polls show former Bush Budget Director and Congressman Rob Portman opening up a large lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, while Gov. Ted Strickland has battled back into a draw with GOP former Rep. John Kasich.

The fact that two separate polls, conducted during the same time period, would draw exactly the same conclusions on these two diverse races actually confirms the accuracy of both polls. Particularly when considering last week’s data, it is clear that Rob Portman now has a substantial lead in the Senate race and could be close to finishing off his opponent, while both candidates in the Governor’s race are still very much alive.

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Apportionment Changes Predicted

A new Election Data Services report detects changes in the predicted numbers of congressional seats that states will receive in the 2010 apportionment. The Census Bureau will officially announce the actual count in late December.

Previously, EDS and Polidata, Inc., the latter with offices in both Vermont and Washington, DC, each predicted that only two states would gain or lose more than one seat. Texas is slated for four new districts, bringing the Lone Star State total to 36 Representatives. Ohio is virtually assured of losing two, dropping their delegation to a total of 16 members.

Now, however, it appears that Florida, already predicted to gain one seat, will add a second new district. This will come at the expense of New York, which will now apparently drop a second seat instead of the one that was originally projected. Should these predictions prove accurate, both states will enter the new apportionment decade with 27 congressional districts (CDs).