Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Ohio Senate, Maine Gubernatorial Races Tight

By Jim Ellis — June 3, 2022

Senate

Ohio: First Post Primary Poll Tight — The Ohio primary was May 3, and now we see the first public general election poll testing US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) and Republican best-selling author J.D. Vance. Suffolk University surveyed the Ohio electorate (May 22-24; 500 likely Ohio general election voters; live interview) and finds Vance jumping out to a slight three-point lead, 42-39 percent. The poll’s tight results is not unusual for an Ohio race, which typically are rated as toss-ups until the final two weeks.

In other questions, 42.6 percent of the respondents answered that either the economy or inflation was their most important issue, with abortion registering third at 11.6 percent. Even though he was leading the race, Vance’s favorability index was surprisingly upside down at 35:38 percent positive to negative. Rep. Ryan held a 40:23 percent positive ratio. President Biden fell to 39:56 percent. A total of 49 percent said they want to change the direction in which President Biden is leading the nation, while 24 percent said they want to support the President’s leadership.

Governor

Maine: Gov. Mills Holds Tepid Edge — Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D), who has seen her approval ratings drop from strong heights of late, still tops former Gov. Paul LePage (R) in a combined new statewide survey from Fabrizio Lee & Associates (R) and Impact Research (D) for AARP (May 10-13; 1,050 likely Maine voters with a representative sample of 500 likely voters; live interview & text), but the respondents have a sour outlook regarding the future. While Gov. Mills holds a 51-46 percent edge on the ballot test against ex-Gov. LePage, her lead drops to just one point, 44-43 percent, among those who say they are definitely committed to one of the candidates.

By a whopping margin of 18:82 percent, however, the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track. The state of Maine is also viewed negatively in a 43:56 percent ratio. President Biden’s job approval is upside-down at 45:54 percent. Gov. Mills’ job approval ratio barely remains in positive territory at 49:47 percent favorable to unfavorable.

House

MI-3: Rep. Meijer Trails in New Survey — Michigan freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) fared poorly in redistricting, taking his Grand Rapids-anchored district from a R+9 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization to a D+3 with 50 percent new territory. A new Public Policy Polling survey (May 25-26; 676 registered MI-3 voters; interactive voice response system) shows Rep. Meijer falling behind Democrat Hillary Scholten, his 2020 general election opponent, by a 39-37 percent clip. The change in district lines and the new partisan complexion certainly makes this result believable. The 2022 MI-3 race will be rated a toss-up with no clear favorite.

SC-1: GOP Primary Tightening — A new Trafalgar Group survey (May 26-29; 556 likely SC-1 Republican primary voters; multiple data collection sources) sees the Republican primary challenge of former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington coming within potential upset range of freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston). The Trafalgar organization sees the race closing to 46-41 percent, which is much different than a Basswood Research poll taken around the same period (May 21-22; 400 likely SC-1 Republican primary voters). The latter poll found the congresswoman taking a commanding 44-24 percent lead. The South Carolina primary is scheduled for June 14.

PA GOP Senate Recount Continues; Wisconsin Dem Primary Tightening; House Races News

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

By Jim Ellis — June 2, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania: McCormick Campaign Attempts “Hail Mary” — The latest signals coming from the Pennsylvania Republican Senate recount suggest that former hedge fund CEO David McCormick’s campaign representatives know their collective backs are against the proverbial wall. The McCormick contingent is now asking for hand recounts from certain precincts in certain counties where they suspect “data abnormalities.”

Since Dr. Mehmet Oz’s small lead did not lapse opposite to what the McCormick campaign had originally predicted, it appears the chances are growing strong that Dr. Oz will be certified as the primary winner on June 8. The eventual nominee, presumably Dr. Oz, will face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who easily won his party’s nomination on May 17.

Wisconsin: Dem Nomination Tightening — Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama White House aide Alex Lasry has released another of his internal polls testing the Democratic US Senate primary. The Normington Petts survey (May 18-22; 700 likely Wisconsin Democratic primary voters; live interview) finds Lasry moving closer to race leader Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor. The new numbers find the Dem contest within three percentage points, with Barnes leading 34-31 percent, while state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski trails with an 18 percent preference factor.

In February, Barnes’s margin was 35-27-9 percent over Lasry and Godlewski, respectively. In actuality, this poll finds that Godlewski is the candidate having the most dynamic momentum right now, in effect doubling her level of support from the last quarter. The Democratic primary winner on Aug. 9 will then face Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

NY-10: A 15th Candidate Joins — State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) became the 15th Democratic candidate to announce for the open court-drawn 10th Congressional District. The new 10th covers Lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is moving from over an hour away to run in this district and faces former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, ex-Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, now two state Assembly members, and two NYC City councilmembers within the large pack of candidates. This will clearly be one of the key races to watch in the New York congressional primary scheduled for Aug. 23. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates this seat a D+69, so the Democratic primary will determine the new member.

NC-11: First Post-Primary Poll — Democratic nominee Jasmine Beach-Ferrara released an internal small sample poll from the Survey 160 firm (May 18-20; 308 likely NC-11 voters; text) that projects new Republican nominee Chuck Edwards, a Hendersonville area state Senator, to a 46-40 percent general election lead. Sen. Edwards defeated US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) by a percentage point on May 17 to claim the GOP nomination.

Soon after a tough primary, it is not particularly surprising to see Edwards with an upside down favorability index of 36:40 percent. Rated as an R+14 district, it is likely the voting patterns will move back toward Edwards in greater numbers as we move further away from a divisive primary and closer to the general election.

Governor

Connecticut: Gov. Lamont Begins with Lead — Home state pollster Quinnipiac University tested the Connecticut governor’s contest (May 19-23; 1,660 registered Connecticut voters; live interview) and sees incumbent Ned Lamont (D) holding a 51-43 percent lead over his 2018 GOP opponent, businessman Bob Stefanowski. Gov. Lamont’s almost unanimous support among self-identified Democrats (92-6 percent) largely accounts for his positive margin in this heavily Democratic political domain.

The governor holds a 52:38 percent favorable job approval rating, which compares very favorably to President Biden’s upside-down 40:54 percent ratio. Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal post 45:37 and 45:43 percent respective scores. Sen. Blumenthal is on the ballot this year, suggesting a race against him could be one that potentially turns more competitive than expected.

Budd Leads Beasley in NC; Oz Declares; Schrader Concedes in OR-5

By Jim Ellis — June 1, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Budd Lead Diminished — As we know, the May 17 North Carolina primary featured Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) scoring a major 59-25 percent win over former Gov. Pat McCrory in the 2022 Republican US Senate primary. Immediately after, East Carolina University released the first post primary poll (May 19-20; 635 registered North Carolina voters) that projected the congressman leading Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, by a 47-39 percent margin. This is well beyond the polling margin of error.

The Cygnal research group then conducted a subsequent study for the Civitas Institute (May 21-22; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview, text, and email). They also find Budd holding the advantage, but in only a small 44-42 percent spread. This result is a bit surprising when seeing that the same Cygnal poll posts President Biden with a heavily upside-down 33:61 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating, the Republicans ahead on the congressional generic question, 50-43 percent, and the right track/wrong track question breaking 22:73 percent.

Pennsylvania: Oz Declares Presumptive Victory — The Pennsylvania Republican Senate contest continues to drag on, and we probably won’t see a final determination until June 8, the day the Secretary of State must certify the election. According to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s unofficial preliminary count, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who on Friday declared himself the “presumptive” nominee, leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, by 922 votes from 1,344,104 ballots cast, an astoundingly high number for a Keystone State Republican primary.

The mandatory recount is already underway. Once the totals are reported and the election certified, the challenges to individual votes may begin. Therefore, this political drama could go on for quite awhile longer. The Pennsylvania primary was May 17.

House

OR-5: Rep. Schrader Concedes — Another political overtime race officially ended over the Memorial Day break. With the Clackamas County vote counting bar code problem finally being corrected, it became clear that seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) would not overcome his Democratic primary opponent’s early lead, and conceded the nomination to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The Oregon Secretary of State reports the McLeod-Skinner lead at 55.1 – 44.3 percent with 80,423 votes counted.

McLeod-Skinner will now face the new Republican nominee, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, in what will be the most competitive congressional seat in Oregon. The Democratic voting trends in the area favor McLeod-Skinner, but with a D+3 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, this seat becomes a 2022 Republican target.

Schrader becomes the fourth incumbent to be denied re-nomination joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA).

Texas: Final Decision Due Thursday — Yesterday was the last day that overseas votes could be received and counted for the Texas runoff elections that were held May 24. Two South Texas congressional seats are without confirmed Democratic nominees, the open 15th CD and Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) 28th District.

Adjusted totals from two counties in the 15th give businesswoman Michelle Vallejo just a 27 vote lead over attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez in a low turnout election that features a universe of only 12,063 individuals. The 15th District Democratic winner will face Republican Monica de la Cruz, the 2020 GOP congressional nominee.

In the 28th, either Rep. Cuellar or Jessica Cisneros will battle Republican Cassy Garcia, a former South Texas aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Rep. Cuellar has declared victory, saying his 177-vote margin over attorney Cisneros will be sustained. Cisneros says she believes the final count will reverse his lead. The counties must report their final runoff numbers to the Secretary of State tomorrow, Thursday, June 2.

Greitens Making a MO Comback? No Candidate Reaches 10 Percent in NY

By Jim Ellis — May 31, 2022

Senate

Ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R)

Missouri: Greitens Back Up — The Trafalgar Group joined the firms who have tested the Missouri Republican primary and just released their survey results (May 16-18; 1,065 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; live interview; text; online). They find scandal-tainted resigned Gov. Eric Greitens returning to first place, this time with 26 percent. In this poll, US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) is a close second with 23 percent, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 19 percent. US Rep. Billy Long (R-Springfield) leads the also-ran tier with nine percent. The candidates have bounced around in various polls, but no one reaches the 30 percent mark. Expect someone to break from the pack before the Aug. 2 statewide primary election.

House

NY-10: No one Reaches 10 Percent — Emerson College just released a poll for this primary. Though the results are inconclusive because no one reaches even eight percent support, the survey (May 24-25; 500 likely Democratic NY-10 primary voters; combination response online and by text) reveals two important points.

First, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) is already just as competitive as everyone else in the new Brooklyn/Lower Manhattan CD. In fact, he leads the group, but with only seven percent support followed by former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio with six percent, and all others with five percent or less. A total of 77 percent of the respondents said they are undecided. Second, de Blasio’s poor showing at six percent with total name identification is far worse than his upside-down job approval rating would have suggested. This tells us that the former mayor begins with only a small constituency in this district, and will likely have a difficult time expanding his base.

NY-12: Maloney Tops Nadler — The aforementioned Emerson College Poll (May 24-25; 500 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters; combination online and text) continues in the adjoining 12th CD that features a paired incumbents battle between New York City veteran Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. The survey finds Maloney, who like Nadler was first elected to the House in 1992, leading her opponent with a 31-21 percent support margin. Four other minor Democratic primary candidates score between only one and six percent preference. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the new NY-12, D+68, so the Democratic primary winner on Aug. 23 will win the general election in November.

Redistricting

New Hampshire: Process Heading to Court — The New Hampshire legislature adjourned Sine Die but passed another congressional redistricting map and again sent it to Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who, once more, says he will veto the bill. The governor’s promised action means the redistricting process will move to the state Supreme Court. The justices had previously said they will adopt a “least change” map, meaning both seats will lean toward the Democrats. Republicans were fighting to make the swing 1st District more Republican while conceding the 2nd District to incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). Gov. Sununu said he wanted both districts to be competitive. The move will likely cost the Republicans a seat, thus handing Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) a new district that he can again win.

Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary Still Undecided, Moving to Recount; House News Includes NY, PA, TX

By Jim Ellis — May 27, 2022

Senate

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

Pennsylvania: Recount Ordered — It’s now been more than a week since the primary election here and still no declared winner in the Republican Senate primary. Pennsylvania election authorities have already ordered election officials in the state’s 67 counties to begin the inevitable recount. Officials know the final unofficial count, which could be released as early as today or tomorrow, will be within the half percent that triggers an automatic recount.

At this writing, the numbers show Dr. Mehmet Oz leading former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes from more than 1.3 million ballots cast. The deadline for military, overseas, and provisional ballot reception was Tuesday. It is being reported that this is the closest primary in Pennsylvania’s modern political era.

House

NY-16: New Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker (D) announced her intention to challenge Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) in the upcoming Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Another Westchester Legislator, Vedat Gashi (D), is already in the race. Parker says the new district lines move Gashi’s political base outside the district’s confines, hence her becoming a candidate. Irrespective of this activity, Rep. Bowman is favored for re-nomination and re-election in the new 16th CD.

NY-17: Two Republicans Oppose Rep. Maloney — After state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) announced her Democratic primary challenge to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), two Republicans have jumped into the new 17th District campaign, state Assemblyman Matt Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Rockland County Legislator Charles Falciglia.

The new 17th is rated D+7 through the FiveThirtyEight data organization’s calculations. While the seat clearly leans Democratic, Rep. Maloney has attracted a great deal of attention since he announced against freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) instead of running just north in what is now the open 18th CD. For his part, Jones is now running in the southwestern Manhattan/Brooklyn new 10th District.

PA-17: New Poll Already Shows Toss-Up — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already out with a new poll of the open PA-17 CD taken before the May 17 primary (May 9-10; 494 likely PA-17 voters; live interview & text). They project a 44-41 percent lead for their new nominee, election law attorney Chris Deluzio (D) over former local official Jeremy Shaffer, the new GOP nominee. When the DCCC first started releasing polling several years ago, the data was heavily slanted in their candidates’ favor, thus forfeiting credibility. In the last several years, however, their results have been closer to the mark, but still slightly slanted. Therefore, a DCCC poll finding Deluzio only ahead three points is a clear indication this race already begins in the toss-up realm.

Texas: TX-24, TX-15 — Two electoral contests from Tuesday remain uncalled and are very tight. In the 28th District, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) holds only a 177 vote run-off lead over opponent Jessica Cisneros (D). The Secretary of State’s released results show all precincts reporting, meaning ancillary votes arriving in the mail and provisionals are likely the only ballots remaining. A recount will probably be requested, but based upon the trends of where the remaining ballots lie, it appears that Rep. Cuellar’s slim advantage will likely grow.

Staying in South Texas, the Democratic 15th District runoff between businesswoman Michelle Vallejo and attorney Ruben Ramirez leans toward the former by just 23 votes. The voter pool at this point, however, is just over 12,000 individuals, an extremely low participation total. The final ballots can clearly tip this race to either candidate. The eventual winner will face Republican 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz. The general election campaign will likely begin as a toss-up. If the Democratic decision is drawn out over a long period, de la Cruz would be staked to a key advantage in the early general election period. The FiveThirtyEight rating for TX-15 is EVEN.