Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Understanding State
Delegate Nuances

By Jim Ellis

April 5, 2016 — This past Sunday, the Drudge Report led with a story from a St. Louis political blogger who claimed Sen. Ted Cruz will be eliminated from obtaining a first ballot victory on April 26 even if he wins the Wisconsin primary today as all public polls indicate (The Gateway Pundit). The story’s premise is incorrect.

Joe Hoft, writing for the Gateway Pundit political blog, errs because he misunderstands the Republican National Committee delegate apportionment formulas. Therefore, to set the record straight, although Cruz is on political life support for a first ballot nomination, he likely won’t be mathematically eliminated this month.

Hoft misstates several points regarding exactly how the delegates are apportioned, particularly in the remaining Winner-Take-All by congressional district states. To capture all delegates in the seven states that use this system, one would have to place first in the statewide vote, and then carry every congressional district. Donald Trump accomplished this feat in South Carolina, but it appears unlikely Cruz will do so in Wisconsin today. Plus, Hoft’s projection (see chart in the linked article) that Trump would win two delegates from the Badger State is impossible because winning a CD awards the candidate three delegates. And, since even the three RNC delegates here are bound to the statewide winner, the remaining votes are assigned in groups of three after the 15 at-large delegates go to the statewide first-place finisher.

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New York Numbahs

By Jim Ellis

April 1, 2016 — The first meaningful 2016 New York presidential poll was released late last week, providing us insight as to what may happen in the state’s April 19 Democratic and Republican primaries.

Quinnipiac University conducted a survey of likely New York primary voters (March 22-29 — 1,667 registered New York voters; 693 likely Democratic primary voters, 457 likely Republican primary voters) and rather unsurprisingly finds Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump leading their respective party primaries.

For Clinton, who was twice elected as one of New York’s US senators (2000; 2006), the Q-Poll forecasts her holding a 54-42 percent lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). If anything, this advantage is smaller than one might have guessed, but the margin is substantial enough to put the state out of reach for Sanders.

The segmentation cells that bring the Vermont senator even within 12 points of Clinton are those who identify themselves as being “very liberal” (Sanders leads within this group, 57-43 percent), and men (Sanders up 49-46 percent).

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Swinging Wisconsin Numbers

By Jim Ellis

April 1, 2016 — A new Marquette Law School political poll (March 24-28; 1,405 registered Wisconsin voters, 471 “certain” Wisconsin Republican primary voters, 405 “certain” Wisconsin Democratic primary voters) reveals a major swing involving the Republican presidential candidates when compared to the organization’s previous survey taken one month earlier.

With the Wisconsin primary being decided on Tuesday, the latest polls are being taken seriously. According to the just-released data, a net 31-point swing now puts Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) into a significant lead well beyond the margin of error. The late March Marquette results find Cruz leading Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 40-30-21 percent, respectively. At the end of February, Trump held a 30-19-8 percent lead over Cruz and Kasich.

Wisconsin Republican Party leaders chose the Winner-Take-All by congressional district delegate apportionment system, meaning 24 of the state’s 42 delegates will be awarded to the candidate placing first in each of the eight congressional districts (three in each CD). Another 15 are awarded to the statewide winner, while the three Republican National Committee delegates also go to the top at-large vote-getter.

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Competitive House Primaries

By Jim Ellis

March 31, 2016 — The anti-Washington political sentiment is more than just a factor in the presidential race. The feeling is permeating the early congressional nomination campaigns, particularly among Republicans, and House incumbents are taking serious notice.

So far six states have held their congressional primaries: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas, and though no incumbent has lost many have deflected competitive intra-party challenges, while several others loom on the horizon. In the six states that have nominated their 2016 congressional candidates, including four with run-off systems, none has even been cast into a secondary election. The closest two results came in Texas and Illinois, where veteran representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) and John Shimkus (R-IL-15) won respective 53 and 60 percent re-nomination victories.

The most serious current primary campaigns are occurring in North Carolina, now scheduled for June 7 after a court-mandated major redistricting plan forced the state to move its congressional primaries from March 15.

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North Carolina: New Districts, New Candidates

By Jim Ellis

March 30, 2016 — The court-ordered North Carolina redistricting map is final and the new candidate filing period closed at the end of the preceding week.

The statewide and local legislative primaries were previously conducted, in conjunction with the presidential primary on March 15, but the congressional nominations were moved to June 7. Originally, all North Carolina primaries were scheduled for March 15, but the late court action necessitated opening a new filing period for the significantly altered congressional map.

The original 2011 congressional map elected 10 Republicans and three Democrats to the 13 total seats. When the court remanded the map back to the legislature with instructions to change the districts in relation to minority representation, the legislature did just that: a rather radical redraw that will still likely keep the state at 10R-3D, but assures a somewhat different group of people representing many of the changed districts.

The biggest difference will be the elimination of at least one Republican House member, as representatives Renee Ellmers (R-Dunn) and George Holding (R-Raleigh) are squaring off against each other in the new 2nd District that contains all or parts of six counties. The district contains all of Wake County with the exception of the city of Raleigh.

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