Category Archives: Election Analysis

Rep. Pete Olson to Retire

Texas Congressional District 22, currently represented in the US House by Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land), who just announced his retirement.

By Jim Ellis

Texas Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land)

July 29, 2019 — Six-term Texas Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) announced late last week that he will not seek re-election next year, bringing the House open seat total to an even dozen and leaving what appears to be a competitive race in his wake.

Over the years, the 22nd District has had a colorful history. Originally crafted as a swing district in the 70s, Ron Paul first won it in a 1976 special election before losing it in the regular election later that year. He would return to win the district back in 1978 and then hold it for three terms before running unsuccessfully for the Senate.

Succeeding Dr. Paul was then-state Rep. Tom DeLay (R), who would win 11 elections in the congressional district and rise through leadership to become Majority Whip and Majority Leader.

Leaving mid-term in 2006, the Republicans were barred from replacing DeLay on the ballot, which led to then-Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R) running as a write-in candidate and losing to a Democrat, former Rep. Nick Lampson. Two years earlier, Lampson had lost his Beaumont-anchored district. Republicans re-claimed the seat two years later in the person of the current incumbent, Pete Olson.

Rep. Olson issued the following statement explaining his decision: “as someone who has long advocated for policies that put our families first, it’s time for me to take my own advice and be a more consistent presence to help our family. To that end, while I will complete my term in the 116th Congress, I will not be seeking reelection.”

Continue reading

Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell to Retire:
“Rhetoric Overwhelms Policy …”

Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden)

By Jim Ellis

July 26, 2019 — Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) who represents the eastern part of the state known as “the thumb of Michigan”, announced Tuesday that he will not seek a third term in the US House.

His reason for departing after what will be only four years in office and spending over $7 million of this own money to win election to Congress over three campaigns is to spend more time with his family because of his special needs son. Rep. Mitchell also expresses displeasure and frustration with Washington because, he says, “rhetoric overwhelms policy, and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city.”

Rep. Mitchell was originally elected in 2016, replacing Rep. Candice Miller (R) when she retired after 14 years in the House. He won a five-way Republican primary that year with 38 percent support, or more than 8,000 votes beyond he and his closest competitor, state Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-Port Huron). Mitchell won the ’16 general election with a 63-32 percent margin and was re-elected last year, 60-35 percent.

In his first venture into elective politics, Mitchell ran in the vacant 4th District when former Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-Midland) retired in 2014 after his time leading the panel had reached its term limit. In the three-way Republican primary, Mitchell lost 52-36 percent to current Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland). After the defeat, he moved across the state to Lapeer County, an area where Mitchell had business interests.

Continue reading

Biden Rebounding Across the Nation

Former vice president, Joe Biden

By Jim Ellis

July 25, 2019 — Former Vice President Joe Biden is re-establishing his pre-debate lead in the Democratic presidential race according to a new Morning Consult political survey.

The poll (July 15-21; 17,285 likely Democratic primary voters from an online pool of 5,000 US registered voters), part of a regular ongoing Morning Consult research series, finds Biden registering 33 percent preference. Following with double-digit support are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 18-14-13 percent, respectively. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who led all of the Democratic candidates in second quarter fundraising with $24 million obtained during the three-month period, posted only five percent support in placing fifth.

Though we see more support for both Warren and Harris than was present in pre-debate polling, the remainder of the field appears to be reverting to their support levels detected prior to the first Democratic presidential forum held in Miami at the end of June.

Results such as those found in this MC study still suggest the pressure is squarely on the former vice president to deliver an improved performance at his next debate scheduled for July 31 from Detroit. While it was clear his support dipped after the last debate, it will now become imperative for him to command the stage in order to re-establish long-lasting confidence from his political base.

The post-debate slippage indicated that much of Biden’s voter base can be described as vacillating, thus identifying a point of weakness. The upcoming national debate will give him the opportunity of cementing his early lead.

With Biden again pitted against Sen. Harris, and this time with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) joining him as part of the 10 candidates appearing on stage, his key opponents make up a formidable presence who will likely seize more than their allotted share of speaking time. Fighting for time could become problematic for Biden, especially if he becomes a joint target as the evening proceeds.

Continue reading

A Highly Anticipated Challenge:
Texas Rep. Chip Roy vs. Wendy Davis

By Jim Ellis

July 24, 2019 — Late last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee brain trust, members of the House Majority leadership including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and most of the Texas Democratic delegation, announced they are supporting an event to encourage former Lone Star State gubernatorial candidate and ex-state Sen. Wendy Davis to run for Congress.

Texas freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and ex-state Sen. Wendy Davis (D)

Even before the event, held last night, got underway, Davis had confirmed that she would challenge freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) who won a close 50-48 percent open seat victory in 2018 from a district that stretches from San Antonio to Austin and through the Texas Hill Country.

Davis was the 2014 Texas Democratic nominee for governor but went down to a crushing 59-39 percent defeat at the hands of then-attorney general Greg Abbott (R). At the time, Davis was a Ft. Worth area state senator who had gained statewide publicity for attempting a 2013 solo filibuster to block a bill that would have outlawed abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, in addition to other restrictions.

The publicity jettisoned her into becoming a statewide candidate but ended in a 20-percentage point loss. Now the party leadership is hoping to make her a viable congressional candidate some 200 miles from her legislative district. Davis was elected twice to her Ft. Worth area Texas senate seat, defeating an incumbent Republican in her first election in 2008 and winning re-election in equally close proportion.

Interestingly, the vote totals for and against her hardly changed from 2008 to 2012. In her first election, Davis attracted 147,832 votes. In her successful re-election bid, she received 147,103. Though her Republican opponents were different individuals, including an incumbent in 2008, they too, received almost an identical number of votes: 140,737 (2008) and 140,656 (2012). Texas is one of two states, California being the other, where the state Senate seats are more populous than congressional districts. After losing the gubernatorial race, Sen. Davis chose not to seek re-election in 2016 and moved to the Austin area.

Continue reading

Q2: The Money Count – House

By Jim Ellis

The top Democratic fundraiser in the House for Q2 was New York freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx), with $1.22 million raised from April 1 – June 30.

July 23, 2019 — Yesterday we covered the fundraising and cash-on-hand figures for the 2020 Senate campaigns; today we look at the House.

The Daily Kos Elections site surveyed the entire House universe and segmented the large group into a competitive race category. They find 158 House incumbents who will be in a competitive 2020 campaign or have the potential of being in one at this point in time.

Within this incumbent segment, the aggregate amount raised is over $61.4 million for the second quarter period ending June 30. As one would expect, the majority Democratic members had the larger haul, $39.4 million for the 94 Democrats surveyed as compared to $21.9 million for 64 Republicans. The average amount a Democratic member raised was just over $419,000 as compared to $342,000 for Republicans.

As was the case in 2018, when fundraising records were shattered for US House incumbents and candidates, this election cycle appears to be again featuring candidates who are prolific in this campaign element. For the campaign cycle-to-date aggregate figure, meaning the amount of money raised from Nov. 9, 2018, the day after the last general election, to June 30, 2019, these same incumbents have raised over $135 million, meaning an average of just under $855,000 per member.

For the 94 Democratic incumbents isolated for this report, just over $75 million was raised campaign-to-date, for an average of almost $798,000 per member. The 64 Republicans attracted an aggregate $41.4 million, with an average of $646,000 raised CTD.

In terms of current cash-on-hand, the average competitive, or potentially competitive, Democratic House incumbent posted almost $1 million CoH, or $987,000. Their Republican counterparts averaged $657,000. While Democrats have a clear money advantage, is it equally evident that the GOP candidates will also have more than enough to communicate their message. These figures obviously do not include the large amount of money that outside organizations will raise and spend independently to boost their favored candidates of both parties.

Continue reading