Category Archives: Election Analysis

Schiff Explores Senate Race; Valadao Re-Elected; House Candidate Filings

By Jim Ellis — Nov. 23, 2022

Senate

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

California: Rep. Schiff Exploring Senate Race — With most people believing that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will not seek re-election in 2024 when she will be 91 years of age, Southern California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said that he is considering launching a US Senate exploratory committee. Schiff is already in a battle to keep his seat on the Intelligence Committee after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — should he be elected Speaker — said that Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) would be removed from the panel.

Should Sen. Feinstein retire, we will see a strong Democratic battle to replace her. In California’s jungle primary system, it is likely that two Democrats would advance into the general election. One thing is certain: Rep. Schiff would be able to raise the money to compete. In his bid for re-election to the House in the current cycle, he raised more than $22 million.

House

CA-22: Rep. David Valadao Wins Re-election — The Associated Press, late Monday afternoon Pacific time, projected that Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) had defeated state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) in their hard-fought congressional race. This, despite Rep. Valadao finishing a distant second on the jungle primary back in June when he received only 26 percent of the vote versus Salas’ 45 percent in a field of four candidates in the most Democratic congressional district in the country that elects a Republican to the House.

According to the California Secretary of State’s official count, Valadao held a 3,381 vote lead with just over 100,000 votes counted. Based upon the number of outstanding ballots and where they are from, the AP made the unofficial projection. The Valadao victory gives the Republicans 220 members in the new Congress as compared to 212 Democrats. Three races, two in California and one in Alaska, remain uncalled. Republicans lead in both Golden State races, Democrats in the Last Frontier.

NC-13: Hines Files 2024 Committee — The court-drawn North Carolina congressional map featured a new 13th District that contained the southern Raleigh suburbs, the city of Fayetteville, and Republican Johnston County, which made the CD a toss-up seat. Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel carried the district with a 52-48 percent margin, defeating Republican Bo Hines, who received the Trump endorsement in the GOP primary.

Hines, 27, was a former football player for North Carolina State University, but had no other particular ties to the region and actually planned to run in another district before this open seat was drawn. He filed a new 2024 committee on Monday, presumably sending signals that he intends to run again.

Hines did not receive particularly favorable marks as a candidate, and there is a good chance we will see a new North Carolina map drawn after the Supreme Court rules on the state’s partisan gerrymandering case before them. Even if Hines decides to run, he can expect heavy competition in the Republican primary before getting another opportunity of opposing Rep-Elect Nickel.

WV-2: State Treasurer Announces for House — Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) already announcing that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the next election year has ignited the first of what promises to be political musical chairs for what will be an open 2nd Congressional District. State Treasurer Riley Moore (R) announced his congressional candidacy Monday and is the first major candidate to enter the 2024 race. Rep. Mooney’s successor will likely be decided in the Republican primary in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+34.

Murkowski Takes Lead; Manchin Opponent Announces; Each Party Gains Seat in House

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

Senate

Alaska incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Murkowski Takes Lead — The Alaska ballot count slowly continues, and now with 87 percent of the projected vote recorded Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) has assumed the aggregate vote lead over Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka. According to this latest tabulation, Sen. Murkowski now has a 1,658-vote edge over Tshibaka.

The aggregate count, however, won’t likely end this election. Since the leading candidate will almost assuredly finish under the 50 percent majority mark – Sen. Murkowski now has 43.3 percent – we will then see the contest falling into the Ranked Choice Voting system. This, too, should favor Sen. Murkowski. Though Tshibaka is likely to receive more second-choice votes from the first eliminated conservative Republican candidate who has already endorsed her, Sen. Murkowski will receive many more from the second eliminated candidate, sure to be Democrat Pat Chesbro. At the end of this very long counting process expect Sen. Murkowski to be re-elected.

West Virginia: First Senate Announcement — West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) last week announced that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the 2024 Senate race. He is the first such individual to announce for the next Senate election cycle in any state. In the 2022 election cycle, Mooney was paired with Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) because West Virginia lost one of its three congressional seats in national reapportionment. In a tough Republican primary campaign, Rep. Mooney defeated Rep. McKinley, 54-36 percent, and went onto win the general election with 65 percent of the vote.

Back in August, Triton Research ran early ballot test questions pairing Sen. Manchin with several potential Republican challengers, including Rep. Mooney. In that pairing, Mooney led the senator 45-38 percent. Another potential Manchin opponent, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) who challenged him in 2008, indicates he is considering another Senate bid but said he is also looking at what will be an open governor’s race, a potential bid for what will now be Rep. Mooney’s open congressional seat, or simply to seek re-election to his current position.

House

CA-13: Closest Race Continues On — In what could end as being the closest race in the country when all the votes are finally counted, Republican agri-businessman John Duarte (R) has re-captured the lead over state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) with 73 percent of the projected vote counted. Currently, Duarte has an 865-vote lead. Looking at the five counties in the newly created District 13 that stretches from the Stockton area border to the south of Fresno, the race is close in each place.

Though the outstanding vote total in San Joaquin County is the largest and a place that clearly favors Gray, the total vote is too low to make a substantial difference in the overall count. Therefore, if percentages for the two candidates remain consistent among the outstanding votes, Duarte could win a very close victory. Therefore, we can expect not only a long waiting period to arrive at a final count, but a recount and vote challenge period will almost certainly follow. This may be the last race in the country to be called.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert Projected; Dem Concedes — Though Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) may be the projected winner with just a 554-vote margin from a total vote count of 327,110, and Democrat Adam Frisch has conceded the race, the tabulation process may not be over. Because the race is within the .5 percent range that triggers an automatic recount under Colorado state law, we still may see a post-election proofing procedure after the final canvass even though Rep. Boebert has declared victory and Frisch conceded. At this point, however, with the Boebert projection, the Republican House total increases to 219.

CO-8: Democrat Caraveo Wins New Seat — Colorado’s new 8th District earned in national reapportionment was drawn as a 50/50 seat with the slightest Democratic lean, and that is exactly the way the election finished. Over the weekend, Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Eastlake) was projected the winner, claiming a 1,625-vote win from a total of 236,426 currently counted ballots, giving her a 48.4 – 47.7 percent victory over Weld County Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.

Because this margin is likely to remain beyond the .5 percent mandatory recount range, this win will soon be certified. The Caraveo victory brings the Democratic House total to 212 with four seats remaining outstanding.

Where the Uncalled Races Stand

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

House

The House majority has been decided and leadership races are underway; still seven congressional contests remain uncalled. Today, we take a quick look at where each of these campaigns are leaning.

The seven uncalled races are all in Alaska, California and Colorado. They are: AK-AL (Peltola-D), CA-3 (open), CA-13 (open), CA-22 (Valadao-R), CA-47 (Porter-D), CO-3 (Boebert-R), and CO-8 (open). At this writing, Republicans lead in four of these campaigns and Democrats three.

Alaska’s Mary Peltola (D) on track to be re-elected.

• AK-AL — According to the CNN Elections site, 81 percent of the Alaska vote has been recorded. A two-week post-election period to accept ballots from the wilderness has always been part of Alaska election law, so the elections take a long while to be finalized and certified. With the change in the state’s voting system beginning with this election, where the Ranked Choice Voting system has been added for races where no candidate receives majority support in the aggregate vote, the process is even longer.

In the at-large congressional, freshman Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel), who won the August special election to replace the late Rep. Don Young (R), has a healthy lead and is approaching the majority plateau. She leads former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and businessman Nick Begich III (R) by a 48.1 – 26.1 – 23.8 percent. Libertarian candidate Chris Bye holds the remaining 1.7 percent, and he will be the first eliminated assuming the campaign advances into the RCV round. At the end of the elongated process, expect Rep. Peltola to be re-elected.

• CA-3 — California’s 3rd Congressional District is a redistricting-created open seat that contains much of the territory that Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) currently represents. McClintock chose to seek re-election in new District 5, and scored a 61 percent victory.

The leader in this R+8 district that stretches from Sacramento down the California-Nevada border all the way into the southern part of the state is Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento). He holds a 52.4 – 47.6 percent lead over physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones (D), a margin of 9,479 votes with 60 percent tabulated.

Kiley leads in six of the district’s nine counties, but one of his biggest advantages is in Placer County, the district’s largest and where only 42 percent of the vote is tabulated. With Kiley receiving 55.9 percent of this county’s votes to date, he has a big edge. Therefore, when more of this district is finally reporting under California’s very long counting system, expect Kiley to clinch this seat for the Republicans.

• CA-13 — In the redistricting-created open 13th CD that stretches from the Sacramento County border to Fresno, we see one of the closest uncalled races. Here, with 71 percent of the estimated vote counted and the lead seesawing back and forth between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), the race is still anybody’s to win.

Currently, Duarte has re-captured a lead with a scant 827-vote lead. Gray, however, leads in three of the district’s five counties, but the margins are tight in each of the domains. This is one that could come down to the very last few votes. Going to a re-count after the total vote is finally presented is a likelihood.

• CA-22 — This Fresno-Bakersfield district is the most Democratic seat in the country, D+10 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, that sends a Republican to the House. At this point, with only 51 percent counted, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) leads state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) by 4,445 votes.

From the three counties, however, Salas leads in the largest, Kern, with 52.3 percent of the vote and only 43 percent of the county vote is tabulated. Therefore, Salas has room to grow. Rep. Valadao holds strong leads in the other two counties, which are smaller, and at least 90 percent has been recorded in each. This race will get closer, but as long as Valadao continues to hold his share in Kern County, he might have enough of a margin to hold on.

• CA-47 — Some entities have already projected Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) as the winner over former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R). With a reported 8,250-vote lead in the Orange County seat, it is likely just a matter of time until she is officially declared the campaign’s victor.

• CO-3 — Yesterday was the deadline in Colorado to accept all post-election ballots including ones from overseas. The after-count has seen Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Silt) lead cut in half, and now she has only a 551 vote edge over former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch (D). Depending upon how many votes remain to be counted, this election could still go either way. Expect the final totals to be released as early as today, and a re-count will likely be part of this campaign’s conclusion.

• CO-8 — Colorado’s new congressional district, CD-8, awarded through national reapportionment, was drawn as a 50-50 partisan seat and is performing as drawn. With the after-votes still being counted, Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Eastlake) holds a 1,625 vote lead over state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County). Though more of the votes are expected to come from Kirkmeyer’s home turf, the margin will likely reduce even further. This could be another re-count race, but it appears likely that Caraveo will be leading when the count finalizes.

In the end, the uncalled races should yield the Republicans two to three more seats, meaning their majority figure will be 220 or 221.

Former President Trump Announces, Already Polling Conflicts; Republicans Clinch House Majority

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

President

Former President Donald Trump announced that he will run for president in 2024.

Donald Trump: Officially Announces — Former President Donald Trump officially announced Tuesday night from his Palm Beach, Florida home in Mar-a-Lago that he will again run for president in 2024. He becomes the first official candidate in the next presidential race.

With controversy surrounding him and being tagged as the prime Republican loser in the 2022 elections because candidates he endorsed, supported, and in some cases recruited, went on to to lose their general election bids, Trump begins his new quest in a more weakened political position than he would have otherwise. It is now clear that he will not move unencumbered through the Republican nomination process as several candidates will eventually step up to challenge him in a fight as to who will become the party standard bearer.

Polling: Already Conflicts — Expect to see a plethora of polling released into the public domain for the 2024 presidential contest, and much of it will conflict with other data. Already, such a pattern has begun. Since the election, we’ve seen three Republican presidential primary polls being released.

YouGov, for the Economist periodical (Nov. 13-15; 432 US adults; online) posts Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a seven-point, 46-39 percent advantage over former President Donald Trump. A largely unfamiliar pollster, called Seven Letter Insight (Nov. 10-15; 542 US likely Republican primary voters) sees a similar result, Gov. DeSantis topping the former president, 34-26 percent. Morning Consult, polling for Politico, sees a much different result. Their survey (Nov. 10-14; 1,983 US registered voters) finds Trump with a sizable 47-33-5 percent result over Gov. DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.

None of these polls should be taken particularly seriously. All are national polls, two of which have small samples and are not reflective of Republican primary voters casting ballots in state primaries.

House

Majority Status: Republicans Clinch — Late yesterday afternoon Pacific time, California US Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) was projected the winner of his 27th District congressional race, which was enough to officially clinch the US House majority for the Republicans. The Garcia victory became the 218th GOP seat and with this result, four consecutive years of Democratic control comes to an end.

Rep. Garcia had led consistently throughout the 2022 race, and the size of his lead was somewhat surprising. Running for his second full term after winning a special election in early 2020 and being re-elected by a razor-thin margin in the regular election later that same year, Rep. Garcia was viewed as a highly vulnerable incumbent in heavily Democratic California.

In this current election, however, Garcia was projected the winner when holding a 54.2 percent preference factor with 78 percent of the vote tabulated. Obviously, his margin of 13,846 votes was enough to sustain even a late influx of Democratic votes.

Colorado: Projections Coming Soon — Tomorrow, we will reach the ballot acceptance deadline in Colorado. This means that, with all ballots finally in the system, we will soon see projections being made in the state’s two uncalled races, the 3rd District contest involving Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt), and the new 8th District where state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Eastlake) holds a slight 1,691-vote advantage over state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County).

Party Division: Seven Seats Remain Uncalled — With four more seats being called yesterday, the overall House count now stands at 218R – 210D, with seven elections remaining to be called. In addition to Rep. Mike Garcia’s (R-CA) victory that clinched the Republican House majority, Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA), Jared Golden (D-ME), and state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D) in the new OR-6 seat were all projected as winners.

In the seven outstanding districts, both parties lead in three races, with the CA-13 contest headed to a potential seesaw ending where both candidates, state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) and agribusinessman John Duarte (R), both have legitimate chances to win.

The three Republican advantage races are the CA-3 open seat, CA-22 (Rep. David Valadao), and CO-3 (Rep. Lauren Boebert). Democrats lead in AK-AL (Rep. Mary Peltola), CA-47 (Rep. Katie Porter), and the open CO-8 new district. CA-13 is too close to call.

2024 Presidential Polls Already Emerging; CNN Exit Polling Numbers; Senate Election Turnout Stats; Sen. Kennedy Planning to Run for Gov?

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R)

New Polling: Already Testing for 2024 — The House of Representatives isn’t even decided yet, and already we see a series of polls testing newly re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pitted against former President Donald Trump. The WPA Intelligence polling series finds the Florida governor opening up big Republican primary leads against Trump in several important nomination states: Iowa (+11), New Hampshire (+15), Texas (+11), Georgia (+20), and of course, Florida (+20). Count on presidential fever going non-stop for the next two years.

Voting

Exit Polling: CNN Releases Results — Though exit polling has not proven particularly accurate in past elections, looking at the results of the organization’s data still has value. A quick glance at the CNN data brings forth a couple of key observations. First, the Independent vote, which polling suggested through most of the election cycle was moving toward the Republicans, came back to the Democrats at election time. Self-described moderates were breaking Democratic, 56-41 percent. Those describing themselves as Independents voted Democratic in a 49-47 percent split. Within the cell segment, Independent women moved toward the Democrats in a 54-42 percent clip.

On the other end of the spectrum, Republicans actually were making their marks with minority voters, at least according to this data. Republicans were able to attract 39 percent of the Hispanic vote, 40 percent among Asians, and 13 percent with black voters. All of these numbers are an improvement from immediate past elections.

Additionally, while all men break toward the Republicans 56-42 percent, all women prefer the Democrats, 53-45 percent. Still, CNN measures that the national vote went Republican in a 51.3 – 46.7 percent swing even though Democrats held the Senate majority and it appears House control will come down to a minimum number of seats.

Senate

Senate States: Key Turnout Stats — Now that we are seeing closer to final turnout numbers in many places, we have derived some interesting participation statistics from the most competitive US Senate states.

In Georgia, the turnout may fall just short of the 4.0 million voters who cast ballots in 2018. The Nevada turnout, projected to just exceed the 1 million mark, will be an approximate four percent increase over 2018. In Wisconsin, once the final turnout report is released will likely show the same relative participation rate as recorded in 2018.

The Pennsylvania turnout looks to be up five percent from 2018. Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio won an impressive 58-41 percent victory over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), who was clearly one of the strongest Democratic candidates in the nation, looks to be six percent under 2018’s total. In Iowa and Ohio, where Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) won an eighth term and Republican J.D. Vance held the open seat over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), turnout appears to be down just under nine percent when compared to the 2018 participation rate in both states.

Governor

Louisiana: Sen. Kennedy Releases Poll — Armed with a fresh six years in the Senate with his 62 percent re-election vote against nine opponents, Sen. John Kennedy (R) is now admitting he is considering a run for governor next year when incumbent John Bel Edwards (D) will be ineligible to seek a third term. He then released a Torchlight Strategies poll (Nov. 9-12; 800 likely 2023 Louisiana jungle primary voters; live interview & text) that posted him to a 22-18-13-7-6 percent lead over state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D), attorney general and former Congressman Jeff Landry (R), Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R), and fellow US Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), respectively.