Author Archives: Jim Ellis

The House Results

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 31, 2018 — While we covered the statewide results for the Aug. 28 nomination elections in Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma earlier in the week, now is a good time to review the many US House campaigns that were decided last Tuesday, and which will become competitive in November.


the-primariesARIZONA

• AZ-1: Freshman Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) stands for his first re-election in an expansive district that encompasses most of eastern Arizona. The Republican winner is retired Air Force officer Wendy Rogers, who has run for several offices in the state but has never been successful. It’s likely that the same pattern will again emerge in November. Rogers defeated state Sen. Steve Smith in the GOP primary, and he was viewed as the party’s strongest general election candidate. Therefore, we can now rate this race as Likely Democratic.

• AZ-2: The pre-race favorites for this Tucson-anchored open seat, vacated because Rep. Martha McSally is running for the Senate, were former US Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Lea Marquez-Peterson (R). While both won their respective nominations, each of their win percentages (41.4 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively) were less that predicted. With neither candidate close to majority support in her own party, the general election will prove interesting. Most believe that Kirkpatrick is the favorite here, but it doesn’t appear her win is yet clinched.

• AZ-9: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema leaves this largely Democratic Phoenix suburban seat to run for the Senate. The heir-apparent is Phoenix former Mayor Greg Stanton (D), and he will face GOP physician Steve Ferrara, a first-time candidate. No question that Stanton is the general election favorite, but Dr. Ferrara is getting high marks as a candidate. Likely Democratic.


FLORIDA

• FL-1: Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) under-performed in his primary, winning with only 65 percent of the vote, but he is still safe in the general election against pediatrician Jennifer Zimmerman (D) in his heavily Republican district.

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Super Delegates’ Status Changes

By Jim Ellis

super-delegates-375Aug. 30, 2018 — Just last weekend in Chicago, the Democratic National Committee, on a voice vote, changed the status of the so-called “Super Delegates” for the 2020 presidential nomination process. DNC chairman Tom Perez successfully convinced the executive committee to accept the changes earlier in the year. The full committee then ratified the chairman’s proposal on Saturday.

Simply put, those in the Super Delegate category, which is comprised of elected officials and party leaders, will no longer be able to vote on the first ballot at the presidential nominating convention. Should the voting proceed to multiple ballots, the Super Delegates would again be able to participate.

Controversy came to the national forefront in 2016 when the Super Delegates were perceived as being largely responsible for delivering Hillary Clinton the nomination even though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) had major support among the grassroots.

Ironically, the Democrats could still find themselves in a situation where the Super Delegates make the difference. With as many as 20 or more candidates likely competing for the 2020 nomination, and no winner-take-all states, the total proportional system could well produce a first place finisher who falls short of majority support. If so, at least one more floor vote would be required, and the Super Delegates would return as a major force.

Gillum Tallies Upset in Florida;
A Look at Arizona, Oklahoma Results

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesAug. 29, 2018 — Turnout favored the Republicans in both contested states; about 110,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted in Florida, while the Arizona GOP participation rate was approximately one-third higher than Democrats. The big surprise of the day was Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s win to become the Democratic nominee for governor in Florida.


FLORIDA

Yesterday, we covered the impending Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary in terms that suggested the surge detected related to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum would likely be too little, too late, and that former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) was in the best position to win the open Democratic primary. In reality, most of the polling was flawed, and the Gillum surge was enough for him to score a 34-31-20-10 percent victory over Graham, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire developer Jeff Greene, and four others.

Up until the last two weeks, Gillum didn’t appear to be much of a factor as he consistently hovered only around 10-12 percent in the polling. But, combined independent spending from liberal billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros designed to increase his turnout, an endorsement from former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and what was obviously inaccurate polling — the only survey to show Gillum ever ahead was an internal study, but that was discounted because it came from the mayor’s campaign — allowed Gillum to claim the statewide Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, the polling appeared to be more reliable. Six of the seven August polls projected Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast/Daytona Beach) to be holding a substantial lead over Agriculture Commissioner and former US Congressman Adam Putnam, the early race leader. Such predictions proved true, as Rep. DeSantis scored a 20-point, 57-37 percent victory, and put him in solid position moving into the general election.

With Rep. DeSantis possibly being the most vociferous Donald Trump supporter of any winning GOP candidate within this election cycle and Mayor Gillum coming from the Democratic Party’s far left flank, the open general election will feature an extreme contrast.

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Today: Arizona, Florida & Oklahoma

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesAug. 28, 2018 — We have now come to the end of the multi-state primaries for the 2018 election cycle. Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma voters go to the polls today in one of the last major primary days of the current election cycle. We take a look at how all the primaries look like they will shake down:


ARIZONA

Two statewide campaigns are on the Grand Canyon State primary ballot, the Republican US Senate contest, and the Democratic race to determine the general election opponent of Gov. Doug Ducey (R).

The Senate primary is now clouded, of course, with the death of Sen. John McCain (R), though his passing should have no effect upon today’s vote. Gov. Ducey will appoint a replacement for the late senator, but he announced over the weekend that an individual won’t be named until after Sen. McCain is laid to rest. The new senator will serve until the 2020 election, at which point a special vote will be held for the winner to serve the balance of the term. Sen. McCain was re-elected in 2016, meaning the seat again comes in-cycle in 2022.

Republicans in the state will choose among Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. With polling showing McSally pulling away from the other two, and Ward sending an ill-advised tweet after Sen. McCain’s death — her former opponent in the 2016 Senate Republican primary — the stage appears set to propel the Tucson-area congresswoman to victory tonight.

If the predicted match-up does come to fruition, the open general election will feature two prominent female House members doing battle: McSally and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) who is virtually unopposed on the Democratic ballot. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is retiring after one term.

Gov. Ducey is set for re-nomination and figures to face either Arizona State University professor David Garcia, state Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson), or Lutheran minister Kelly Fryer. Polling suggests that Garcia is favored by what appears to be a large margin.

Three congressional district races are of note. In the sprawling 1st District that comprises most of eastern Arizona, a trio of Republicans is vying for the opportunity of opposing freshman Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona). State Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), retired Air Force officer and frequent candidate Wendy Rogers, and attorney Tiffany Shedd are the candidates competing for the GOP nomination. This general election has the potential of becoming competitive in what is now a marginal political district that leans towards the Democrats.

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MA-3: A Sleeper?

Massachusetts congressional districts

Massachusetts congressional districts


By Jim Ellis

Aug. 27, 2018 — One of the few interesting remaining primaries in this 2018 election cycle is the open northern Massachusetts congressional race a week from tomorrow featuring 10 Democratic candidates all attempting to succeed retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell).

A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell and Boston Globe survey of the impending MA-3 Democratic primary (Aug. 14-21; 849 MA-3 registered voters, 553 MA-3 likely Democratic primary voters) finds ex-Boston mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh forging into the lead, but with only a 19-13-13 percent edge over former ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, and state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) as the state’s Sept. 4 partisan primary draws near.

But other candidates could possibly make a run, too. Business consultant Lori Trahan posts eight percent in the poll, and while state Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) has just six percent, she is dominant within the district’s Hispanic community. In such a crowded campaign with a low voter turnout, any candidate with a major support base must be taken seriously. The other five candidates each register four percent and below.

But there could be more to this campaign than the winner of a crowded primary going on to easily take the general election in what should be a safe seat for the dominant party in the district, in this case the Democrats.

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