Category Archives: Election Analysis

What Kari Lake’s Senate Bid Means;
Ex-Michigan Police Chief Out to Early Lead; CA-27 Democrat Drops Bid; NJ-7 Candidate Withdraws; Houston Mayoral Runoff Likely

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023

Senate

Kari Lake (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Arizona: Kari Lake Announces — As has been anticipated, 2022 Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee and former news anchor Kari Lake announced her US Senate candidacy yesterday. She enters what will likely be a three-way race with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), the latter of whom appears to be the consensus Democratic candidate. With Lake officially in the Senate race, 2022 Senate nominee Blake Masters will likely withdraw. He announced a 2024 campaign several weeks ago but said he would depart if Lake entered the race.

Kari Lake has created much post-election controversy in Arizona with election fraud accusations, but she is still likely strong enough to win the Republican Senate nomination. Also in the race is Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. Sen. Sinema has not formally announced her re-election campaign, but she is raising money and taking action to prepare for what will be the most interesting Senate general election in the country. All three candidates will have a path to victory, so the contest officially should be rated a toss-up. This Senate race will attract a great deal of national attention as the election cycle moves forward.

Michigan: Ex-Police Chief Craig Jumps Out to Early Lead — Public Policy Polling went into the Wolverine State to test Republican primary voters and just released their results. The survey (Oct. 9-10; 430 likely Michigan Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig beginning with a 30-19 percent Republican primary lead over former Congressman Mike Rogers in the open US Senate race. This contest will develop over time with a late Aug. 6 primary scheduled.

The winner will likely face US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) who is a clear favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Four-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring at the conclusion of this Congress.

House

CA-27: Democrat Drops Bid — Franky Carillo, who was once convicted of murder but freed after spending decades in prison when DNA evidence proved his innocence and has since become a Los Angeles County probation officer, has ended his congressional bid. This paves the way for former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides (D) to advance into the general election to face three-term Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita).

CA-27 is one of the most politically marginal seats in the Republican Conference, ranked as the fourth most vulnerable on the Daily Kos Elections site scale. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as D+8, but Rep. Garcia has proven a consistent winner in the north Los Angeles County district. The 2024 election, however, is the first time he will face an opponent other than former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D), whom he defeated three consecutive times.

NJ-7: Mayor Withdraws — Roselle Park Mayor Joe Signorello (D), who originally announced a challenge to Sen. Bob Menendez (D) but dropped out to instead enter the congressional race against Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), has now withdrawn again. Signorello announced during the week that he would end his congressional effort.

The Signorello move leaves former State Department Counterterrorism official Joe Blazakis and progressive activist Sue Altman as the remaining Democrats vying for the party nomination. Others could still enter the race.

Rep. Kean will be a slight favorite for re-election in a politically marginal district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+3. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 51.5R – 46.5D partisan lean. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NJ-7 as the 16th most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Cities

Houston: Mayoral Runoff Likely — A new poll from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston (Sept. 30-Oct. 6; 800 likely Houston mayoral voters; text message), finds state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) almost assuredly advancing to a December runoff election from the Nov. 7 initial municipal vote. According to the University of Houston ballot test, Sen. Whitmire, the longest serving legislator in Texas history (first elected in 1972), leads Rep. Jackson Lee 34-31 percent among the seven tested Houston mayoral candidates. A candidate must obtain majority support to be elected outright.

Looking ahead to the succeeding runoff, Sen. Whitmire outpaces Rep. Jackson Lee by a substantial 50-36 percent margin. The best news for Sen. Whitmire is that 40 percent of the undecided voters said they would consider voting for him, while 53 percent said they would never vote for Rep. Jackson Lee. Incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

RFK Jr.’s Declaration to Run as an Independent Could be a Presidential Race Game-Changer

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy’s Independent Gambit: Potential Game-Changer — The 2024 presidential campaign may have dramatically changed this week. Though Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement to run as an Independent was expected, it is unclear just how he will affect next year’s general election.

At a rally event in Philadelphia on Monday, Kennedy officially declared his presidential candidacy as an Independent. He answered two major questions with his speech. First, he will run as an Independent candidate and not as the nominee of a minor party. Second, he is not running to be a spoiler in a race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump but will campaign to win.

Saying his “smoldering movement” wants to “ … reclaim democracy, resurrect the promise of our republic, the promised land,” Kennedy ended his Democratic primary challenge to President Biden and now moves to implement a general election strategy.

He will first face an uphill battle to secure ballot placement in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is an expensive proposition, but time, rather than money, might be his bigger obstacle since the window to accomplish the large task is small.

Though Kennedy may be in the race to win, the chance of any non-major party nominee or candidate winning a majority of Electoral College votes is a long shot to say the least, even for a man named Kennedy.

It does appear, however, that he will attract a significant number of votes, which could throw a key state to either President Biden or former President Trump, thus altering the national campaign outcome.

In looking at a Kennedy candidacy, we analyze which states might be receptive to his campaign. Naturally, considering the Kennedy family history in New England, he could see some success in a couple of the northern domains. While the Kennedy home state of Massachusetts would still be a lock for President Biden, its neighbor to the north, New Hampshire, could be a different story.

In 2020, Biden scored a 52.7 – 45.3 percent victory margin over Trump (a spread of 59,277 votes) in the Granite State, with third party or Independent candidates attracting two percentage points (translating into a raw number of 15,625 votes). If Kennedy could approach the 10 percent range (approximately 80,000 votes based upon New Hampshire’s 2020 turnout figure), the outcome could change from Biden winning the state to Trump. Under this model, Biden would have to lose 14 percent of his aggregate vote to Kennedy while Trump could lose no more than five percent of his total.

If Kennedy’s presence in the race would throw New Hampshire to Trump, the state’s four electoral votes switching might make a difference. For example, a combination of Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire switching to Trump would give the former president 272 electoral votes, or two more than the bare minimum required to secure the presidency.

Maine could be another state where Kennedy would have the ability to draw some votes. In addition to the state splitting its electoral votes to the point where the individual congressional districts carry their own tally, Kennedy scoring into double digits in Maine’s 1st District could transform the final vote.

Even though the aggregate 1st District vote would still go to Biden, the closer finish coupled with a solid Trump win in the 2nd CD, might be enough to cast the statewide total Trump’s way and award the Republican three electoral votes instead of the one he has received in the past two elections.

Alaska is a place where the Kennedy presence could turn a state President Biden’s way. In 2020, Trump carried the state with 52.8 percent of the vote as compared to Biden’s 42.8 percent. Under the state’s Ranked Choice Voting system, the tables could turn if the leading candidate drops below 50 percent.

In 2020, 4.4 percent of the Alaska electorate chose a minor party or Independent candidate. Kennedy’s candidacy could easily see the latter percentage increase rather substantially, and most of his vote coming from the Trump total would force multiple rounds of Ranked Choice voting. This, in the end, would almost assuredly favor President Biden.

Kennedy already has two key attributes that almost none of the minor party or Independent candidates have, which is universal name identification and access to enough money to run a credible outreach campaign. Having these two points in his favor makes him a different type of Independent candidate, and thus should have the ability to attract a higher number of votes when compared to past non-major party candidates.

How the Kennedy candidacy ultimately affects the 2024 presidential race is clearly undetermined at this time, but he will have the opportunity of making his mark on this election.

Key State Shock Poll:
Stunning Presidential Results

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023

President

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Wisconsin Poll: Key State Indicates Trouble for Biden — Marquette Law School surveyed the Wisconsin electorate as they do every quarter (Sept. 18-25; 781 registered Wisconsin voters; live interview) and arrived at some stunning results. Since the Badger State will be one of four places that decides the next presidential election, the importance factor of data coming from this domain merits greater attention.

Wisconsin is known for close political races. In the past two presidential elections, the winner, Donald Trump in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020, scored a victory margin with less than one percentage point. In the 2022 governor’s race, incumbent Tony Evers (D) was re-elected with a 51-48 percent margin and Sen. Ron Johnson (R) won a third term with only a 50.4 – 49.4 percent spread.

What makes this poll particularly interesting is that the sampling universe, while now preferring Trump over Biden by a slim 51-48 percent margin when leaners to both candidates are included, claims to have voted for President Biden in a seven percentage point margin when asked whom they supported in 2020. In actuality, Biden’s final Wisconsin victory spread was just 49.4 – 48.8 percent.

The presidential support discrepancy, therefore, suggests that these polling results actually skew left, so it is reasonable to assume that Trump is faring even better than the three-point spread that this poll calculates.

As mentioned above, Wisconsin is part of a quartet of states that will likely determine who ultimately wins the 2024 presidential campaign. In order to deny President Biden a second term, Trump must convert some combination of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump is now ahead in the Marquette Wisconsin survey, and approximately tied in Pennsylvania (Quinnipiac University posts Trump to a 47-45 percent lead; Susquehanna Polling & Research sees President Biden leading in exactly the same percentage, suggesting the race is already a dead heat).

The latest Georgia poll, from Rasmussen Reports (Sept. 8-11; 1,061 likely Georgia general election voters; interactive voice response system) posts Trump to a surprising 47-38 percent advantage. There is no recent polling from Arizona.

Therefore, as the key state polling data suggests, if the election were held this past September, Trump would have had enough swing votes to wrest the White House away from President Biden. Yet, much will happen to potentially alter these results between now and November 2024.

This poll also confirms a rather unique pattern seen nationally. That is, either the Republican Party or former President Trump is viewed more favorably to handle certain issues by generally a wide margin, but those perceptions do not commensurately transform into votes for the party candidates or Trump.

For example, in the Marquette Wisconsin poll, Trump is viewed as “better at handling,” the economy (52 percent say Trump; 28 percent Biden), immigration/border (52:28 percent), inflation (50:27 percent), job creation (49:30 percent), and foreign relations (43:38 percent). Conversely, Biden is favored on climate change (44:24 percent), better viewed on abortion (43:34 percent) and has a slight edge on Social Security/Medicare issues (39:37 percent).

Yet these generally favorable Republican ratios translate into only a three-point advantage among responses to the ballot test question. This discrepancy problem is not confined to Trump. It appears to affect most Republican candidates, meaning the GOP again has a messaging disconnect with the general election voter base.

In order to best take advantage of their current stronger issue standing, the Republican consultants must revamp their messaging operation to concentrate on the future and explain in a resonating fashion how their ideas will solve the nation’s problems.

The window will soon close on Republicans’ ability to formulate that message for the current election cycle. We can count on seeing an aggressive effort from the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee apparatus, and their outside allies to improve the issue area perception for their side and relate to what likely voters want in terms of national policy goals and objectives.

While the latest polling suggests that former President Trump would be in position to unseat President Biden if the election were held during this period, there is no guarantee we will see similar numbers once the campaign messages are cemented and actual votes are cast and recorded.

Republicans Coalesce in IL-17; Alabama’s New Congressional Map; Baird Rumors in Indiana False; Crowded Field in PA-10; Kentucky Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Oct. 9, 2023

House

Illinois Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) / Photo provided by Eric Sorensen for Illinois campaign

IL-17: Republicans Coalesce — Republicans plan to target Illinois’ 17th District as a conversion opportunity in the next election. It has been the site of two close electoral contests, and Republicans tend to do better in western Illinois during presidential election years. Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) is the freshman incumbent who will be seeking a second term.

Republicans are coalescing around retired circuit judge Joe McGraw, who will soon officially announce his candidacy. Paving the way for the McGraw announcement, businessman Ray Estrada (R) who has been running for the seat himself, said that he will no longer pursue his candidacy. This likely paves the way for an easy McGraw Republican primary run.

The 17th, which stretches to form a craggy letter “C” from Rockford to the Quad Cities to Galesburg, Peoria, and finally Bloomington, rates a D+4 classification from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. The Daily Kos Elections site rates IL-17 as the 26th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic Conference.

Alabama: Court Releases New Map — The court-appointed special master returned the new congressional map to the three-judge panel late last week, as directed. Not surprisingly, the new map will feature a Republican district that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia along the Florida border that pairs Reps. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) and Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). As a result, a new 2nd District has been created, designed to elect the choice of the dominant minority community, in this case African Americans. Democrats will gain one seat in the Alabama delegation as a result of this new plan.

IN-4: Rep. Baird to Seek Re-Election — A couple weeks ago, reports were forthcoming from Indiana that 4th District US Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) was planning to retire and announce that just before the candidate filing deadline expired in order to give his son, state Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle), the inside track toward winning the Republican nomination. That rumor is false. Congressman Baird announced late last week that he will run for a fourth term next year and is heavily favored for re-election.

PA-10: More Join Already Crowded Field –– As expected when she announced her retirement from the newsroom, television anchorwoman Janelle Stelson (D) on Thursday formally declared her intention to run for Congress. She joins what is becoming a crowded Democratic field, however, as each of the candidates are vying for the right to challenge six-term US Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg). Also in the Democratic primary are 2022 congressional nominee and Harrisburg City Councilwoman Shemaine Daniels, Carlisle School Board member Rick Coplen, and international business consultant John Broadhurst.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates PA-10 as R+9. The Daily Kos Elections site rates this central Pennsylvania seat as the 37th most vulnerable seat in the 222-member Republican Conference.

Governor

Kentucky: Cameron Gaining Against Gov. Beshear — WPA Intelligence conducted their second September poll of the Kentucky governor’s race for The Club for Growth organization. The survey (Sept. 25-28; 500 likely 2023 Kentucky general election voters; live interview) found Gov. Andy Beshear (D) leading Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) by a 48-42 percent count. In their early September survey, WPA found a 48-40 percent Beshear advantage.

The slight movement suggests that Cameron has a chance to gain further support as the campaign enters its critical final month. The election is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Trump Nips Biden in New Poll; Close Pennsylvania Senate Race; McCarthy Retirement Talk Rumblings; Hoyer Faces More Opposition

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 6, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Pennsylvania: Trumps Nips Biden in New Q-Poll — Quinnipiac University tested the Keystone State electorate (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 1,725 Pennsylvania adults; 1,470 registered Pennsylvania voters; 759 self-identified Democratic registered voters; 711 self-identified Republican registered voters; live interview) and sees former President Donald Trump moving into a slight lead over President Joe Biden in this critical swing state. The ballot test yields Trump a 47-45 percent edge.

Both candidates have upside-down favorability scores. President Biden registers 39:57 percent favorable to unfavorable. Trump’s index is a similar 40:56 percent. The president’s job approval ratio is 41:55 percent positive to negative. Pennsylvania has 19 electoral votes and is one of the four states (Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin are the others) that will likely decide the presidential campaign’s final outcome.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Q-Poll Shows Close Race — The aforementioned Pennsylvania Quinnipiac Poll (see presidential post above) also tested the state’s budding Senate race between three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) and Republican businessman and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R).

Here, we see a closer than expected early result with Sen. Casey holding only a 50-44 percent lead over McCormick. The surprising data point in this survey is McCormick already carrying the Independent voter segment by a percentage point, 45-44 percent.

Sen. Casey holds a 48-31 percent job approval score. With 57 percent of the people saying they need to know more about McCormick, he records a 25:17 percent favorability index. By contrast, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) holds a strong 53-27 percent job approval rating, but Sen. John Fetterman (D) finds his ratio in upside-down territory at 41:48 percent favorable to unfavorable.

House

CA-20: McCarthy Could Retire — Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) conceded that he will not again run for his former House speaker position and said he will not resign, but left unanswered whether he will seek another term in Congress. The California candidate filing deadline is Dec. 8 for the March 5, 2024, all-party jungle primary, so the congressman does not have much time to decide. Should he opt for retirement, it is likely that several of the state legislators whose districts overlap his Central Valley CD will enter what would be an open race.

State Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), a former Minority Leader, represents 89 percent of the 20th Congressional District, thus putting her in strong position to be McCarthy’s successor. The state assemblyman with the most overlap is Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who represents 58 percent of the McCarthy territory.

CA-20 is the safest Republican district in California with a FiveThirtyEight data organization rating of R+31. The Daily Kos Election site ranks CA-20 as the 146th-safest seat of the 222-member Republican Conference.

MD-5: Dem County Chairman to Oppose Rep. Hoyer — Charles County Democratic Party chair Lenny Proctor earlier this week became the fifth member of Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D-Mechanicsville) party to announce a primary challenge against the former majority leader, a 44-year congressional veteran who appears primed to seek election to yet another term.

The crowded field, also including Prince Georges County Environmental Director Angela Crooms, public affairs specialist Sean McKelvey, two-time congressional candidate McKayla Wilkes, and Democratic activist Joey Thompson, will split the anti-Hoyer vote, thus allowing him to again win easily.

Hoyer will have little trouble winning the Democratic primary, and then the general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates at D+28. The Daily Kos Election site ranks MD-5 as the 109th-safest seat of the 213-member Democratic Conference.

Haley Gaining in Poll Test; McCarthy Out as House Speaker; Ex-North Las Vegas Mayor Announces for House Race; Majewski Returns

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023

President

Insider Advantage Poll: Haley Gaining — The Insider Advantage polling organization (Sept. 29-30; 850 likely US voters) finds former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley getting a bounce from the second Republican primary debate. According to the IA ballot test, former President Donald Trump continues to dominate the field with 50 percent support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is second with 15 percent, just ahead of Haley’s 14 percent score.

Haley gained three percentage points since the firm’s late August poll, while Gov. DeSantis’ support fell by the same margin. No other candidate reached double digits. The candidate falling furthest from August, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, dropped from seven to three percent support.

House

Former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Speaker Vote: Eight Rs Against McCarthy; Three Not Voting — The House Speaker saga continues with Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) being removed from the post on a 216-210 vote. McCarthy likely has at least two more votes from those Republicans not voting yesterday. Texas US Reps. John Carter (R-Round Rock) and Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) were loyal McCarthy supporters in the original 15 votes. The other non-voting Republican was Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who typically votes with the Freedom Caucus.

With the two vacancies – the RI-1 and UT-2 special elections are scheduled for Nov. 7 and Nov. 21, respectively – the House stands at 433 members. Therefore, the winning speaker candidate must obtain 217 votes instead of the typical 218. Assuming at least two more votes from yesterday’s non-voters, McCarthy would need to convince five of the nine Republicans who either voted against him or did not vote (Luna).

The eight Republicans against are: Reps. Eli Crane (R-AZ-2), Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1), Matt Rosendale (R-MT-2), Nancy Mace (R-SC-1), Tim Burchett (R-TN-2), and Bob Good (R-VA-5). Six of these members consistently opposed McCarthy in January. Reps. Buck and Mace are the newcomers to this group.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-9), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-3), Dan Bishop (R-NC-8), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5), Andy Ogles (R-TN-5), and Chip Roy (R-TX-21), who had either opposed McCarthy in January or voted “present,” all supported him in this vote. Filling that now vacant seat is a fluid and ever-evolving situation.

NV-4: Ex-Mayor Announces — John Lee (R), the former North Las Vegas mayor and ex-state legislator, announced that he will enter the competitive 4th District congressional race next year. Assuming Lee wins the Republican primary, he will face four-term US Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas). Lee entered the 2022 gubernatorial race but did not fare well in the Republican primary. He placed fourth, only attracting eight percent of the vote.

In the congressional race, with his North Las Vegas base included within this district, he will be a formidable general election candidate in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+5. The Daily Kos Elections site ranking the district as the 34th most vulnerable seat in the 213-member Democratic Conference.

OH-9: Majewski Returns — J.R. Majewski, the 2022 Republican nominee who lost to veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) on a substantial 57-43 percent vote largely due to his January 6 history, was originally in the 2024 race, then out, and has now injected himself back into the race. Majewski was able to win a contested primary in 2022 with just a base conservative vote of 36 percent, since the remaining votes were split among three others.

His main opponent in the 2024 primary election, former state Rep. Craig Riedel, was one of the multi-candidates in the last GOP nomination contest. It appears Riedel has more unified support this time around and will likely be favored over the returning Majewski.

With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating OH-9 as R+6, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranking the district as the fifth most vulnerable seat in the Democratic Conference, expect this race to draw a great deal of national political attention from beginning to end.

Redistricting Update – Part II

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

House

A look at how things might play out in key states in the redistricting tug of wars

Five States Affected: Democrats Have Upper Hand — Today we conclude our two-part series on the current status of Round II redistricting. We now examine the affected states from North Carolina through Wisconsin.

• North Carolina: In what looks to be a strong new redistricting run for the Democrats in most of the other states, the North Carolina situation will mitigate some of the national Republican losses. North Carolina redistricting had been a virtual omnipresent issue throughout the previous decade, since we saw a new congressional map created in almost every election cycle.

The problem was largely politics. The state legislature alone controls redistricting (the North Carolina governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation), and the majority consistently held a different view of how districts should be drawn than did the Democratic state Supreme Court.

In the 2022 election, Republicans gained two seats on the seven-member judicial panel, thus turning a 4-3 deficit into a 5-2 majority. Now, seeing the legislature and judiciary largely on the same page as it relates to redistricting, it is very likely that the map legislators will draw in the next week or so will obtain the needed judicial approval. If so, such will be the final congressional redistricting map until the 2030 census.

It also appears that the legislature will return to the basic model that the Democratic Supreme Court failed to approve. Therefore, we can expect the current 7R-7D delegation map to probably end with 10 districts favoring Republicans and four trending Democratic.

Thus, Reps. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), Wiley Nickel (D-Cary), and Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) each could find themselves without a winnable district. Gaining three Republican seats in North Carolina would go a long way toward keeping the GOP in position to hold their slim US House majority.

• South Carolina: Soon after the first of this year, a federal three-judge panel declared the state’s Charleston anchored 1st Congressional District (Rep. Nancy Mace-R) to be an illegal racial gerrymander. This means the map drawers will likely add to the 1st African Americans from Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-Columbia) adjacent 6th District. This would make Rep. Mace more vulnerable to a Democratic candidate.

Nothing, however, has happened since the ruling, and it is unclear when the legislature will address the issue. Some movement is expected before the next election, but chances are strong that the legal challenges are not over.

Therefore, the Republicans may be able to delay long enough to push the final judicial decision, after the inevitable appeals are filed against whatever new map version is developed, until after the 2024 general election.

• Tennessee: A lawsuit claiming the new central Tennessee 5th Congressional District (Rep. Andy Ogles-R) is a partisan gerrymander is filed, but no judicial action has yet occurred. Even if the lower court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, an appeal to the state Supreme Court will likely require more time than remains in the 2024 election cycle. Therefore, any change in the Tennessee map most likely will not happen until the 2026 election cycle.

• Texas: As in Tennessee, a lawsuit challenging the Texas map as a partisan gerrymander has been filed without seeing any judicial action. In this situation, regardless of how a lower court may rule, the Texas state Supreme Court would almost assuredly become involved. Therefore, it is probable that we will not see any substantive action changing the Texas congressional map in the 2024 election cycle.

• Wisconsin: The 6R-2D congressional map became a key point in the campaign to elect a new state Supreme Court Justice. Democrat Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the high court, and her presence now gives her party a majority. She campaigned on what she sees as a Republican gerrymandered congressional map. The GOP filed a motion saying that she should be recused from hearing the 2023 redistricting because her stated campaign positions against the map demonstrates a preconceived bias. Predictably, the Supreme Court rejected the motion.

If the Democrats can get a map to the state Supreme Court, the result will almost assuredly be adverse for Republicans. The two most affected members will be those representing districts in the southern part of the state, Reps. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) and Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien/La Crosse).

One Democrat who may not be in favor of drawing a new map, however, is Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Currently, she is not being seriously challenged for re-election, but if a new map forces either Steil or Van Orden out of their districts, at least one would likely jump into the Senate race.

Chances are fair to good that the Democrats can force a new map to be drawn. The state has a late primary – August 13, 2024 – so time remains for a new redistricting plan to be enacted. If so, then count on seeing either Rep. Steil or Van Orden, or both, being displaced. This will likely mean one of the two enters the Senate race to challenge Baldwin. Though the GOP would sustain a US House loss, redistricting could ironically put the Wisconsin US Senate seat into play.