Category Archives: 2022

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.

Pennsylvania Ballot Count Goes On; Ballot Issues in Oregon; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 24, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania ballot

Pennsylvania: Related Court Ruling Could Add Votes — A three-judge federal panel sitting in the capital city of Harrisburg issued a ruling Friday on a Lehigh Valley case that relates to the current vote counting situation. The judicial action mandated the counting of mail ballots where no date appears on the carrier envelope. PA ballot procedure requires the voter to date the envelope before mailing. Immediately upon the ruling being announced, the Dave McCormick for Senate campaign sent a letter to all 67 county chief election officials reiterating the decision. The Dr. Mehmet Oz-Dave McCormick race is down to a lead of 1,070 votes for the doctor, suggesting that any new ballots added to the mix could theoretically help McCormick. It is unclear when we will see a final count publicized.

House

OR-5: Counting Stalled — Oregon’s 5th District ballot counting has ground to a halt because of a major malfunction in one of the district’s anchor areas, Clackamas County. Due to a reported bar code error on the printed ballots, election officials are having to record the votes of every ballot individually, punching a new ballot for each with the correct bar code. Hence, only 57 percent of the expected vote has been reported.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is trailing badly, 60-40 percent in the Democratic primary, to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The congressman’s base is Clackamas County, but it appears, according to votes currently recorded there, that he won’t likely have enough support there to fully overcome his opponent’s large early advantage. If Schrader does lose, he will be the third House incumbent who fails to secure re-nomination, joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

PA-12: State Rep Nearing Victory — One of the other Pennsylvania races that was too close to originally call was the open 12th District Democratic primary. Though she has not yet been officially projected the winner, state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has increased her small lead to 737 votes of more than 94,000 ballots cast. Her main opponent is lobbyist Steve Irwin, and Lee’s lead may now be too wide for him to overcome. The eventual Democratic nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) from the downtown Pittsburgh-anchored district.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Districts Still Unclear — Legal wrangling among judges imposing and then lifting and then re-imposing stay rulings regarding the Florida’s congressional map may be decided this week at the appellate court level. It is increasing possible, however, that the state Supreme Court will become the final arbiter should the Republicans’ motion to fast-track the maps to the high court be granted. Many argue that fast tracking the maps is the only way to give candidates adequate time to campaign in districts with definable boundaries prior to the Aug. 23 primary election. Most of the objections pertain to eliminating the majority black 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that extends from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

New York: Congressional Districts Enacted — Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister approved the special master’s congressional maps with some changes, particularly in the Brooklyn area. The special master’s footprint helps Republicans to an extent, cutting their current delegation size from eight to five, which is one better than the Democratic map provided.

The new map does create at least five additional Democratic districts that will be competitive, and pairs Democrats Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) into a new 12th District. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) will move from his current 17th CD into a new west-side Manhattan 10th District where he will face former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others in a hotly contested primary. New York’s congressional and state Senate primaries are delayed until Aug. 23. The statewide contests and all other races will be decided in the previously scheduled June 28 primary.

Brooks Continues Momentum in Alabama; An Unusual Alaska Endorsement; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 23, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks With Momentum — US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) continues to make strong strides to capture one of the two runoff positions in Tuesday’s primary election. All polling suggests that none of the three top candidates will reach the 50 percent plateau to claim the nomination outright. The latest survey, from the Cygnal research group for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 15-16; 634 likely Alabama Republican primary voters), sees Rep. Brooks moving past retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, while knocking on race leader Katie Britt’s door.

The ballot test breaks 31-29-24 percent (Britt, Brooks, Durant) meaning that all three candidates still have the potential of qualifying for the two-person runoff. Tuesday’s vote will undoubtedly be close. The eventual Republican nominee is a lock to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November. The runoff election is scheduled for June 21.

House

AK-AL: Cross-Endorsing — Previously, the Alaska Republican Party endorsed businessman Nick Begich III in the special election to replace the late US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R). Now, we see another unusual endorsement. Begich is the grandson of the late US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash in 1972. This led to Young winning the special election in 1973. While Nick Begich III is following in his family’s footsteps in running for public office, he is doing so as a Republican. This move now leads his uncle, former US Sen. Mark Begich (D), to endorse Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant (D) in the large field of 48 candidates instead of his nephew.

Under the new Alaska electoral system, four of the 48 candidates on the June 11 jungle primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election.

NY-17: Internal Dem Chaos — Assuming the presiding judge adopts the special master’s redistricting map, it appears that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has created a political hornet’s nest with his declaration that he would challenge freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who happens to be African American, in the new 17th District rather than compete for the seat directly to the north, the new 18th District. Rep. Maloney said he is running in the 17th because that is where the map placed his home, but a substantial part of his current constituency also lies in the new 18th.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) criticized Maloney saying, “I don’t think he should be DCCC chair if he’s going to challenge another member. It’s completely inappropriate.” Neighboring Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) was more critical. He said Rep. Maloney is trying “to dismantle and tear down Black power in Congress” and should run in his own district (meaning District 18).

Redistricting

Missouri: Map Adopted — Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the legislation enacting the new Missouri congressional districts. With that, now New Hampshire remains the only state that has not completed the re-mapping process. The Missouri map is largely an extension of the current eight-district plan and will likely continue to send six Republicans and two Democrats to Washington. Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Ballwin) 2nd District becomes more Republican, thus stabilizing her seat. Interestingly, the legislature did not change the candidate filing deadline of March 29, so no new individuals can enter the congressional races even though the district lines are somewhat different.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Back Over 50 percent — A new Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system; and text) tested the governor’s Republican primary. In another poll, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) had dropped below the 50 percent threshold, but Emerson finds her rebounding in this study. Here, she captures 53 percent support, while developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, posts 21 percent preference and ex-ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, records 13 percent. All other candidates fall into single digits.

Alabama’s Battle for Second; Conflicting Polls in Missouri;
de Blasio Returns in NY

By Jim Ellis
May 19, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Battling for Second — Emerson College released a new survey for next Tuesday’s Alabama Senate primary, and the results again show that US Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has made a competitive comeback after former President Donald Trump rescinded his endorsement because he felt the congressman was running a poor campaign. For the third time, a recent poll shows Brooks rebounding to a virtual tie for the second runoff position.

For the three contenders, former Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Britt, retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant, and Brooks, advancing to a secondary runoff election is a virtual certainty. In Alabama, candidates must achieve majority support to win a party nomination.

The Emerson College survey (May 15-16; 706 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview; interactive voice response system and text) again finds Britt claiming first place with 32 percent, while Durant and Brooks closely follow with 26 and 25 percent, respectively. In other words, the latter two are in an effective tie for the second position. Assuming no one receives majority support Tuesday, the top two finishers will advance to a June 21 secondary runoff election. The Republican nominee then becomes a lock to succeed the retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R) in November.

Missouri: Conflicting Polls — Former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who was forced to resign from office due to a sex scandal and is now dealing with abuse accusations from his ex-wife, has catapulted back into the lead according to a new Survey USA poll. The study (May 11-15; 1,412 likely Missouri general election voters; 642 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; 500 likely Missouri Democratic primary voters; online) projects Greitens to a 26-17-11 percent lead over Attorney General Eric Schmitt and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia). The Democratic candidates, led by Iraq War veteran Lucas Kunce and philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine, are all lagging around the 10 percent mark in primary support. All Republicans defeat the Democratic candidates in preliminary general election pairings.

This S-USA poll is a significant change from previous polling and is in direct conflict with the latest Remington Research Group survey taken within the same period (May 11-12; 945 likely Missouri Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system). These results find AG Schmitt with a 29 percent lead over Rep. Hartzler’s 23 percent, and Greitens trailing with 21 percent. The Missouri primary is Aug. 2.

House

NY-10: de Blasio, State Senator Announce — The revised New York congressional map has not yet received final judicial approval, but candidates are starting to make moves in anticipation of this being the active 2022 district plan. Because the map pairs NYC Democratic incumbents Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, another safe Democratic open seat was created adjacent to the hotly contested 12th CD. The new 10th District will be decided in the Democratic primary.

Yesterday, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his congressional candidacy, but so did state Sen. Brad Holyman (D-NYC). Assuming the map is approved, this will be a hotly contested primary election that should attract national attention. Because the original congressional map and that of the state Senate were disqualified, the judge postponed the primary election for races in these categories until Aug. 23.

Redistricting

Kansas: High Court Overturns — In April, a Kansas district court disqualified the legislature’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander. Gov. Laura Kelly (D) originally vetoed the map, but the legislature was able to override her action with two-thirds support in both houses. The Kansas state Supreme Court has overturned the lower court ruling, meaning the original map that puts the state’s 3rd District, in and around Kansas City, into competitive status is back for the 2022 cycle. Two-term Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park) currently represents the district. This seat will again become a 2022 Republican conversion target.

States

Idaho: Ex-US Rep Defeats Incumbent AG — Former Congressman Raul Labrador, who served four terms in the House, will return to elective office. In the Idaho Republican primary, Labrador unseated the incumbent Attorney General Lawrence Wasden by a substantial 51-38 percent result. Prior to his service in Congress, Labrador was twice elected to the state House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, losing to current Gov. Brad Little, who also won his primary challenge on Tuesday. After leaving Congress, Labrador was elected as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.

Budd Wins in NC; PA Senate Race
Still Too Close to Call

By Jim Ellis
May 18, 2022

Primary Results

Yesterday’s Voting — As predicted, North Carolina US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) soundly defeated former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to win the US Senate nomination, winning 99 of the state’s 100 counties. Former US Rep. Mark Walker and author Marjorie Eastman finished third and fourth. The general election is now set, as Rep. Budd advances to face former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who became a consensus Democratic candidate. The Tar Heel contest will be one of the most important Senate races in the country.

US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) lost his battle for re-nomination last night to state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Hendersonville). In the field of eight candidates, Edwards claimed the nomination with 33 percent of the vote, as compared to the scandal-plagued congressman’s 32 percent. In North Carolina, runoffs only occur if all of the candidates fall below a 30 percent threshold.

In what appears to be another congressional defeat, veteran Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is running far behind his Democratic primary challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a former city manager, but half of the vote is still outstanding under Oregon’s all-mail voting system. Still, with a 61-39 percent margin, Rep. Schrader appears too far behind to make up all of the vote difference.

The Pennsylvania Senate Republican race is still too close to call, as television Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick are locked in a battle separated with less than two-tenths of a percentage point. It is difficult to tell how many votes remain uncounted because the state will allow ballots postmarked yesterday to be received in the coming days. It will be some time before we know the outcome, but Dr. Oz has a 2,672-vote lead of the more than 1.31 million votes cast. Pennsylvania election law guarantees an automatic recount if the margin is within .5 percent. McCormick claims the remaining mail votes will hand him the victory.

As expected, the Pennsylvania Democrats nominated Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who lays in a hospital recovering from a recent stroke that occurred from a blood clot in his heart. Fetterman, who underwent a pacemaker procedure, is expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for some time.

In the election, Fetterman easily defeated US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) with a 59-26-10 percent landslide victory margin. He won all of the state’s 67 counties in a turnout of more than 1.17 million voters. Surprisingly, Democratic turnout dropped below that of Republicans for the first time in decades. This, despite the party’s 45.8 to 35.9 percent voter registration advantage.

In the PA governor’s race, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) easily won the open Republican nomination and will face Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in the general election. The latter man was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Media reports suggest that Mastriano may be too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, but the large Republican primary turnout is a precursor that this race will be competitive.

In other key statewide races, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul romped to an 86 percent Republican primary victory. He will face former Louisville state Rep. Charles Booker who was an easy winner on the Democratic side. Sen. Paul is a heavy favorite for re-election. In the open 3rd Congressional District, state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, also as expected, won a landslide Democratic primary victory last night and will succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) in the Autumn.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) defeated Trump backed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, 53-32 percent, and becomes a prohibitive favorite in the general election. US Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) again defeated his 2014 primary opponent, attorney Bryan Smith, this time by 13 percentage points and will claim a 13th term in November.

Governor

Wisconsin: New Republican Leader According to Dem Poll — Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling surveyed the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial primary and produced results not found in other polls. The study (May 9-10; 675 likely Wisconsin Republican primary voters) projected construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels taking a small lead over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. This is the first poll find anyone but Kleefisch claiming the top position. The ballot test gave Michels a 27-26 percent edge, with businessman Kevin Nicholson trailing well behind in third place with nine percent preference. The Milwaukee Works, Inc. organization released the ballot test portion of the PPP survey.

States

Texas: Conflicting AG Polls — Next Tuesday, Texas Republican voters will decide the runoff election between incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush. The race has turned negative and earlier polls were giving Paxton, who is still under a stalled 2015 SEC indictment, a strong lead. The new University of Texas at Tyler survey (May 2-10; 570 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) projects Paxton’s lead to be only 41-35 percent.

During the same sampling period, as previously reported, the CWS Research group (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican runoff voters) produced a much different 58-31 percent ballot test result in the attorney general’s favor. Since these polls were conducted during the same period, we will have to see more data to determine the correct trajectory. It appears clear, however, that Paxton is the race leader, but whether his margin is wide or tight is open to question.