Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Gillespie for Senate

With optimism growing in national Republican circles that the party can capture the Senate majority this November, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie is on the verge of announcing a challenge to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D), and may do so as early as this week if not today.

Gillespie, also a former chairman of the Virginia Republican Party and a Capitol Hill staff member beginning his career with former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX-26) who would later become Majority Leader, may be embarking upon what most believe is a daunting task. But, there are some budding trends that suggest a Warner upset is at least within the realm of possibility.

Though the senator is one of the most well-prepared politicians in the country, if not the best, Virginia is still a state that can swing both ways particularly in low turnout elections. Unquestionably the state is trending toward the Democrats, especially when looking at the elections since 2004 (with the exception of those in 2009 and 2010), but it is not so far beyond the “purple” range as to make a Republican  Continue reading >

House: The New Outlook

Since Dec. 17, seven US House members in rapid-fire succession – three Republicans and four Democrats – announced their retirements or resigned from Congress in order to accept an Obama administration appointment. The cumulative effect of the moves changes the projections for Election 2014.

Right now, the House stands at 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats with two vacancies – one from each party. The newest mid-term resignation, from Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12) who is leaving his safely Democratic congressional seat for purposes of accepting an appointment to join President Obama’s administration as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will remain unoccupied until the November general election. The previous vacancy, that of the late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13), will be filled in a March 11 special election. The Florida seat appears headed toward consensus Democratic candidate Alex Sink, the former state chief financial officer and defeated 2010 gubernatorial  Continue reading >

The California Political Grapevine; A 10-Vote Election in Virginia

Political rumors are abounding in California’s Inland Empire. It is unusual, to say the least, when a member of Congress eschews another term in the US House for a run for a county office, but that is apparently what freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA-35) is contemplating.

Yesterday, San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt announced that he would not seek a third term on the Board, and speculation is rampant that Rep. McLeod will soon enter the open seat local race. The fact that she has already filed a county campaign account possessing $900,000 is the key point in favor of her running. In addition to the congresswoman, term-limited state Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R) has expressed his desire for the seat.

This highly atypical move will affect more than just McLeod’s current 35th Congressional District. The man she  Continue reading >

Young Flips to House in Iowa; Cheney Out in Wyoming

A major development has occurred in the Iowa Senate campaign precipitated by Des Moines Rep. Tom Latham’s (R-IA-3) prior announcement that he would not seek re-election.

David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was viewed as a serious contender for the Republican open seat Senate nomination albeit in a weak field of candidates, has adjusted his political plans. Young has now made public his intention to transfer from the Senate race into Latham’s open 3rd Congressional District.

Young said he originally planned to run for the 3rd District seat when he believed that Rep. Latham would announce for the Senate. When that didn’t happen, Young decided to run statewide.

The former congressional aide also said the potential of the Senate race being forced to a nominating convention makes the task of winning the general election against Rep.  Continue reading >

Rep. Gerlach (R-PA-6) to Retire

PA-6

Six-term Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA-6), who took five election campaigns to even break 52 percent of the vote, announced today that he will not seek a seventh term from his Philadelphia suburban congressional district.

Aside from spending what will be 12 years in the US House at the end of the current Congress, Gerlach also served a dozen years in the Pennsylvania legislature. He is tenth in Republican seniority on the Ways & Means Committee, serving on the Health and Select Revenue Measures subcommittees.

As Gerlach’s 53 percent career average win  Continue reading >

Sink Raking in Donations in Fla.; Rehberg’s Return in Montana?

FL-13

With the Jan. 14 special primary election fast approaching in the race to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R), former Florida chief financial officer and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink reported crushing financial numbers on the pre-primary financial disclosure report as released by the Federal Election Commission.

According to the statement, Sink had raised $1.143 million for her special election campaign and has $1.054 million cash-on-hand. More than $823,000 of her current political income came from individual donors, versus $300,700 from political action committees. The candidate invested $7,700 of her own money and reports no debt.

On the Republican side, lobbyist David Jolly obtained $388,450 in contributions and has  Continue reading >

Early Gaining and Losing

Though reapportionment only happens once every decade anchored to the new census, the gaining or losing of congressional districts for individual states clearly affects delegation politics almost unceasingly.*

The Census Bureau just recently released new population growth figures, based upon July 1, 2013 data, that gives us a very early look into which states may be headed for reapportionment changes in 2020. The projection process occurs throughout the 10-year period and very often the early numbers do not correctly reflect end-of-the-decade trends, so predicting now with any certainty how the population formula will unfold in late 2020 is highly speculative.

That being the case, the new growth numbers suggest that Texas will again gain multiple seats – at this point two – and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Virginia appear headed for one-seat additions. Offsetting these increases are again New York, Pennsylvania,  Continue reading >