Author Archives: Jim Ellis

An Incumbents’ Night

By Jim Ellis

May 26, 2016 — It was an incumbents’ night on Tuesday. For example, despite wide dissatisfaction with their federal elected officials, particularly among Republican voters, incumbents again scored well in the Georgia primary.

Georgia

Several House members have now been effectively re-elected for another term. Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA-1), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), and David Scott (D-GA-13) faced no primary opposition and have no major party opponent for the fall campaign, thus effectively winning a new term.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA-9) prevailed in his multi-opponent re-nomination battle. He scored 61 percent of the vote against former Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10), who previously represented about half of this seat pre-redistricting and was attempting an ill-fated political comeback after losing the 2014 Senate Republican primary. Broun notched 22 percent, while the remaining three candidates split the outstanding 17 percent. With no Democratic opposition for November, Collins also won his re-election last night.

Continue reading

VA GOP Challenge Rebuked

By Jim Ellis

May 25, 2016 — Monday, the US Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Virginia Republican congressional delegation’s lawsuit to overturn the new court-ordered federal district map. The high court ruled that the delegation did not have legal standing to bring the suit.

Since this was the final legal hurdle to making the new map permanent, it is now virtually assured that the Virginia map will remain intact for the remainder of the decade.

To review, back in mid-2015, a three-judge federal panel invalidated Rep. Bobby Scott’s (D-Newport News) 3rd District, thus forcing a re-draw of the Tidewater area. In 2011, when originally crafting the map, the Republican map drawers made a basic mistake that eventually forced this geographic segment to fail.

Under previous court orders and legal precedent, when a federal district crosses a body of water it must remain in “line of sight” in order to adhere to the contiguous district requirement. The original 3rd CD violated this condition because it connected disparate regions along the James River. The 2011 3rd District, like the one that was drawn in 2001, began in Richmond and traveled southeast to the Norfolk area to encompass that city, the city of Portsmouth, and other land area portions around the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Continue reading

Today’s Primaries

By Jim Ellis

May 24, 2016 — Voters in several states go to the polls in primary elections today, but only one group will vote for president.

Washington

Washington State Republicans will visit the polling places and cast ballots in the presidential contest even though the delegates were just chosen over the weekend. Though the state convention participants overwhelmingly chose Sen. Ted Cruz supporters as national delegates, they will still be bound to the voters’ choice on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.

Turnout will likely be low because the nomination of Donald Trump is now a foregone conclusion, and the state primary, featuring the US Senate and House races, will not occur until Aug. 2. Therefore, today’s vote is a stand-alone Republican presidential contest since Democrats have previously voted in caucus.

Washington is a 20 percent threshold state, and there is a reasonable chance that Trump will be the only contender to exceed the minimum percentage. If so, he would be awarded all 11 at-large delegates.

Continue reading

Two Sad Retirements

By Jim Ellis

May 23, 2016 — Two additional House members announced late last week that they would not file for re-election, both due to health reasons.

Hawaii Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea/Honolulu) issued a public statement indicating that his pancreatic cancer is spreading and he is unable to seek re-election to a second term. Takai was diagnosed with the disease last year, had surgery in November, and doctors cleared him to run for another term.

Now, unfortunately, his health has taken a serious turn for the worse and he is forced to retire. Rep. Takai, 48 years of age, won a 51-47 percent victory in 2014 after serving 20 years in the Hawaii legislature.

Florida Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Bonita Springs/Ft. Myers) also announced that he will not seek re-election. He is returning to Florida to care for his ailing father. Clawson won a special election in 2014, and a full term later that year. Rep. Clawson, a multi-millionaire former business owner, is serving in his first elective office and says he doesn’t rule out again running for office in the future.

Continue reading

McCain Teetering

By Jim Ellis

May 20, 2016 — A new Public Policy Polling survey (May 13-15; 896 registered Arizona voters, 443 likely Republican primary voters) provides further evidence that the Arizona Senate race will attract a great deal of attention in the fall campaign. If this data is accurate, then the Aug. 30 Republican primary will be noteworthy, too.

According to the results, five-term Sen. John McCain (R) holds only a 42-36 percent lead over Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) in the general election pairing. Though the ballot test presents an ominous sign for McCain, this data is actually better for him than an April Behavior Research Center study. That poll found he and Rep. Kirkpatrick tied at 42 percent.

But this PPP survey, for the first time, shows McCain becoming potentially vulnerable in the Republican primary. The senator has four Republican primary challengers, including former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

According to the primary ballot test question, McCain would only lead the GOP field with 39 percent, followed by Ward who registers 26 percent support. Adding all of the minor candidates together totals an additional nine percentage points, with 27 percent undecided. If McCain and Ward are isolated in a one-on-one contest, the two are actually tied with 41 percent apiece.

Continue reading