Author Archives: Jim Ellis

March 3, 2020: The New Super Tuesday

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2019 — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced this week, as expected, that his state’s new primary will move to March 3, 2020, which has clearly become the next presidential cycle’s Super Tuesday.

Previously, Colorado employed the caucus system to apportion delegates, but voters changed to a primary when passing a 2016 ballot initiative, so now the state’s 67 Democratic first-ballot delegates and 37 Republican convention votes will be apportioned through a primary election.

But the Centennial State voters and the Democratic National Committee rules appear to be at odds. According to news reports, the 2016 Colorado electoral primary ballot initiative not only transformed into a primary, but also adopted a winner-take-all apportionment format. While Republicans allow states to award all of their delegates to one candidate based upon a primary or caucus victory, the Democrats, under the McGovern reform rules adopted after the 1972 presidential election, do not.

While the state may want to make the winner-take-all option determinative, the procedure violates Democratic rules, so we could see yet another pre-convention issue develop before the Credentials Committee, the body that certifies all of the delegate votes prior to the convention officially beginning.

The 2020 Democratic nomination process is becoming seriously front-loaded, which could play to the party’s detriment. By rule, only four states, referred to as “The First Four,” may vote before March 1 in the presidential year: Iowa (caucus, 41 first-ballot delegates), New Hampshire (primary, 24), Nevada (caucus, 36), and South Carolina (primary, 54). But just three days after South Carolina concludes, the following Tuesday, March 3, could become the most significant date of the early campaign.

Now that Colorado has joined the 3/3 fold, the following states will vote (in parenthesis, are the number of first ballot votes each entity possesses under the Democratic delegate apportionment formula):

  • Alabama (52)
  • American Samoa (6) – presumed to be voting this day
  • Arkansas (31)
  • California (416)
  • Colorado (67)
  • Democrats Abroad (13)
  • Georgia (105)
  • Massachusetts (91)
  • Minnesota (75)
  • North Carolina (110)
  • Oklahoma (37)
  • Tennessee (64) – probable, but has not yet set the calendar
  • Texas (228)
  • Utah (29)
  • Vermont (16)
  • Virginia (99)

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Texas by the Numbers

Map of US Congressional districts in Texas


By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2019 — The Lone Star State continues to move toward competitiveness, meaning the Texas political apparatus will see new approaches from both parties in the 2020 election campaigns.

A new Emerson College poll (April 25-28; 779 likely Texas voters, 342 likely Democratic primary voters, 344 likely Republican primary voters via Interactive Voice Response system) finds President Trump tied with two of the Democratic presidential candidates and only slightly ahead of the rest of the field. And, in Democratic Party trial heats, the results project an equally close potential finish for the state’s 228 first ballot delegates.

According to the Emerson numbers, President Trump would slightly trail former Vice President Joe Biden with each man finishing in the 50 percent realm. Trump is then slightly ahead of Texas former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) but, here too, both men are in the 50 percent realm.

The president fares better against the others, but even they are within striking distance of him in what is arguably his most important state. With 38 Electoral Votes, Texas was the only big state that Republicans could count upon winning without having to campaign, but apparently those days are over.

The next closest Democrat is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He trails by two points, 51-49 percent. The president has healthier margins against Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, ahead of both, 54-46 percent, and tops Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 53-47 percent. The fact that all scenarios present no undecideds tells us the pollsters prodded respondents for a definitive answer or are extrapolating some of the results.

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NC-3: Republicans Generate a Run-off, While Democrats Have a Nominee

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

May 1, 2019 — Almost 69,000 eastern North Carolina voters cast ballots in the special Republican and Democratic primaries yesterday to choose a successor to the late Rep. Walter Jones (R-Farmville) who passed away in February.

Since Republicans featured a field of 17 candidates, it appeared obvious that no one would reach the 30 percent threshold necessary to nominate. That proved to be true, and second-place finisher, Joan Perry, confirmed last night that she will petition the NC Board of Elections for a run-off election. Perry, a Kinston area physician in Lenoir County, will face state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville), another physician and first-place finisher, in a secondary Republican nomination election to be scheduled for July 9.

The Democrats, on the other hand, chose their nominee last night. Former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas easily captured the party nod garnering just over 50 percent of the vote, 20 percentage points more than he needed. He defeated retired Marine Corps Colonel Richard Bew (25.2 percent), New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw (12.6 percent), and three minor candidates. none of whom reached double-digit support. Thomas now directly advances to the Sept. 10 special general election.

Rep. Murphy took advantage of his Greenville base, the largest population center in the 3rd District that encompasses most of coastal North Carolina, including the Outer Banks region. Dr. Murphy scored 22.5 percent of the vote, or 9,507 votes. Dr. Perry, with support from outside national and state pro-life organizations, drew 15.4 percent translating into 6,515 votes.

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NC-3 Special Election Today

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

April 30, 2019 — The first ballots in the three special congressional elections will be cast in today’s primary election in North Carolina’s 3rd District. By tonight, we will have some semblance of order among the 17 Republican candidates and six Democrats.

The passing of veteran Rep. Walter Jones (R-Farmville) in February precipitated this election with the eventual winner serving the balance of the 13-term congressman’s final legislative session. In November, Jones was unopposed for re-election.

Of the 17 Republicans, only seven candidates had even raised $100,000 by the April 10 filing deadline or have substantial outside backing. In fact, two of the three sitting state Representatives didn’t even make the $100,000 threshold. Three candidates are getting outside support from conservative organizations.

For the Democrats, two candidates exceeded the $100,000 mark for a district race that the party nominee hasn’t won since 1992. Former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and retired Marine Corps Colonel Richard Bew are the pair who have done so, with Thomas more than doubling Col. Bew’s financial assets.

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The Senate Approvals

By Jim Ellis

April 29, 2019 — The Morning Consult organization released the first quarter approval ratios for all 100 senators, and it appears that quite a number of the 2020 in-cycle incumbents need to improve their ratings before facing the voters next year. In fact, when looking at the ratio spread from positive to negative, seven of the 10 weakest performers will be on the next ballot.

The senator with the highest positive score, 62 percent, is presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The Vermont electorate is the most pleased with their senators. Not only did Sen. Sanders score a 62 percent favorable job approval rating, but his veteran seat mate, seven-term incumbent Patrick Leahy (D), is right behind him with a 59 percent positive total.

But, the swing between the individual positive and negative scores may be the better indicator of an office holder’s actual standing. The senator with the widest range, in his case seeing his positive score (55 percent) run 33 points higher than his negative (22 percent), is North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven (R).

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