Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Another House Retirement Ahead

By Jim Ellis

Iowa Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City) to retire

April 16, 2019 — Seven-term Iowa Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City) announced Friday that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Loebsack, a former college professor, first came to Congress in the 2006 election when he unseated GOP Rep. Jim Leach in a major upset victory.

Since his first re-election, Loebsack has generally faced Republican competition, but the GOP has never been able to elevate a challenge against him to top-tier status. Still, in his seven elections, Rep. Loebsack recorded only a 53.7 percent average victory margin. Last November, he defeated Republican Chris Peters, who also ran in 2016, 54-42 percent.

Iowa’s 2nd District occupies the southeastern quadrant of the four congressional districts in the state under a mapping plan that divided the territory geographically by quarters. The two largest 2nd District population centers are the cities of Davenport (102,000 population) and Iowa City (74,000).

Politically, the 2nd looks to be the strongest Democratic district of the state’s four seats, but the electorate did support President Trump with a 49-45 percent margin. Previously, however, President Obama ran strong here in both of his national campaigns, carrying the district 56-43 percent in 2012 and 57-42 percent during his initial 2008 campaign.

With President Trump needing to win Iowa next year, it is clear that his campaign will attempt to maximize right-of-center turnout in IA-2, meaning a potential Republican open seat congressional candidate should get an indirect boost. Now, with no Democratic incumbent running to defend the seat, this district figures to become a key GOP conversion opportunity.

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New Polls Show 2020 Presidential Candidates Drifting in & Out of Lead

By Jim Ellis

April 15, 2019 — We reported upon polling data (Change Research and Emerson College) last week that suggested Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had edged ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden and is even out-polling Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren in their respective home states of California and Massachusetts, but newly released figures already show variation.

Two polls reverse Sanders’ early positive trend including one from his neighboring state of New Hampshire. In 2016, Sen. Sanders easily outpaced Hillary Clinton (47-28 percent with 25 percent voting for an uncommitted slate) to win the first-in-the-nation primary in that election year.

Monmouth University recently surveyed the Iowa Democratic electorate (April 4-9; 351 likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants) and found former VP Biden leading Sen. Sanders by a substantial 27-16 percent margin, as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg catapults into third place with nine percent. Sens. Harris and Warren then follow with seven percent apiece. Ex-Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke, is next with six percent, and the remainder of the field posts four percent or less.

Almost simultaneously, St. Anselm’s College polled their home state (April 3-8; 326 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters) and found Biden leading in New Hampshire, too. Here, the support percentages are 23-16-11-9-7-6 percent, respectively, for Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren, Harris, and O’Rourke.

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Poll: Sanders Up in California

By Jim Ellis

April 12, 2019 — The Change Research polling organization released a new Democratic primary poll of the California electorate (April 6-9; 2,003 likely California Democratic primary voters) and projects Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to be nipping former Vice President Joe Biden and home state Sen. Kamala Harris. In a secondary ballot test that excludes Biden, Sanders prevails over Harris even under this scenario.

Earlier in the week, Emerson College released a Massachusetts Democratic primary poll (April 4-7; 371 likely Massachusetts Democratic primary voters) that found Sen. Sanders leading Biden and Massachusetts home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren (26-23-14 percent). Therefore, we are clearly seeing a Sanders rise in the early part of April.

In the Change California poll, Sanders has a slight 22-21-19 percent lead over Biden and Harris – obviously a statistically insignificant margin – but it does show that Sen. Harris is not dominating her own electorate. Taking fourth, fifth, and sixth in this poll are ex-US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) with 10 percent, South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg at nine percent, and Sen. Warren pulling only eight percent of the vote.

If Biden chooses not to run, since he is still not an announced presidential candidate, Change finds that Sen. Sanders would edge Sen. Harris 28-27 percent, with O’Rourke (16 percent), Buttigieg (11 percent), and Warren (nine percent) following.

This tells us, at least in the early going, that California, with its large 416 first ballot delegate contingent, is clearly up for grabs even with its home state senator in the field of candidates.

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Could The Democrats Be Headed
Towards a Convention Free-For-All?

By Jim Ellis

April 11, 2019 — One of the most interesting facets of the Democratic presidential nomination process sounds mundane, but it may be more telling than any single campaign factor.

The primary/caucus schedule will in many ways determine if the party can coalesce behind one candidate before the Democratic delegates convene in Milwaukee during mid-July, or if they’ll be headed to a contested convention featuring several roll calls.

To win the nomination a candidate must either garner majority support on the first ballot (1,885 votes from a field of 3,768 elected delegates) or from among the full complement of 4,532 Democratic delegates on subsequent roll calls when the 764 Super Delegates are eligible to vote.

Joining the early mix, meaning the states that will vote on or before March 17, 2020, is Washington state, which has moved their nomination event. Additionally, over just this past weekend, the Washington Democrats passed a new party rule that transforms the previous delegate-apportioning caucus into a statewide primary. Previously, the state featured both apparatuses, with the caucus attenders selecting the delegates while the primary was no more than a political beauty contest.

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Swalwell In; Sanders Up in Bay State

By Jim Ellis

California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D)

April 10, 2019 — California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin/Hayward), who for many months has been indicating that he would run for president, finally announced his intentions Tuesday and becomes the 18th Democratic candidate.

Swalwell, who will likely be a minor candidate throughout the process, has said he will not run for both president and the US House simultaneously. Therefore, expect him to depart the presidential race well in advance of the California congressional candidate filing deadline on Dec. 6.

The Golden State will now hold its presidential and state primary on March 3, since the legislature and governor changed the schedule in order to provide them more influence in the presidential nomination process. But Swalwell will have to decide well in advance of the first national votes being cast as to whether he wants to relinquish a safe US House seat in order to continue in what will likely be a long shot presidential effort with little realistic hope of success.

Emerson College released a new Massachusetts poll (April 4-7; 371 likely Democratic Massachusetts primary voters) that projects Sen. Bernie Sanders overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden and finding home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren running a distant third.

According to the Emerson results, Sen. Sanders leads 26-23-14-11 percent over ex-VP Biden, Sen. Warren, and South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg. All others, including Texas former congressman, Beto O’Rourke, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), record only single-digit support.

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