Category Archives: Election Analysis

Alabama Map Ruling Stayed; Redistricting Update

By Jim Ellis

Alabama redistricting map (Click on the map above or go to DavesRedistricting.org to see interactive map)

Feb. 9, 2022 — On a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court voted to stay the lower court ruling that invalidated the new Alabama congressional map. A Republican three-judge panel had ruled that a second majority minority district could have been drawn among the state’s seven congressional districts, and thus disqualified the plan on Jan. 23.

Writing a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that the lower court decision was made too close to the 2022 election, meaning that the judicial process would not have proper time to hear the appeal and make an educated ruling prior to the state’s scheduled primary election. The ruling does not mean the appeal was granted, but merely postpones hearing the case to a later date.

Analysts say the stay ensures that the original map will be in place for this year’s election. It does not mean, however, that the map won’t be altered for the 2024 election and beyond.

The new plan is virtually an extension of the current map, which elected six Republicans and one Democrat in the 2020 election. It was a curious original decision, not only because the judges that ruled against the GOP map drawers were appointed by former President Donald Trump (2) and the late President Ronald Reagan (1), but that the same map footprint stood unencumbered for the past 10 years.

The major change made from the current map to the new draw came in the 7th CD, which is the Voting Rights district. The legislature, however, had no choice but to make a substantial change. AL-7 was 53,143 people short of reaching the state’s congressional district population quota of 717,754 individuals.

The previous ruling also postponed the Jan. 28 candidate filing deadline for the Alabama US House candidates. Those running for all other offices have now already filed and been qualified for the respective party primary ballots. The congressional candidates will now file on Feb. 11.

Redistricting Notes

• Summarizing the legal action in other states, the North Carolina map has been disqualified and the legislature will now return to redraw the congressional and state legislative maps. As has been the case throughout the previous decade, the partisan Republican legislature and the partisan Democratic state Supreme Court continue to go back and forth over the issue of partisan gerrymandering.

• The lower court ruling in Michigan rejected the Detroit area Democratic current and former state legislators’ claim that the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission members violated the Voting Rights Act in drawing the city of Detroit’s congressional and state legislative maps. Unless an appeal is granted, the new Michigan maps will stand for this year’s elections.

• The Kansas legislature adjourned without voting to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the state’s congressional map. The hasty adjournment move, however, allows the legislature to reconsider the veto override. Without a successful override vote, the map will go to the courts for a redrawing of the Kansas City metro area.

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North Carolina Map Rejected

Rejected 2022 North Carolina Congressional Redistricting map (click on map above or here to go to an interactive map at DavesRedistricting.com)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 8, 2022 — In what has almost been a decade-long game of gerrymander ping pong, the state Supreme Court on Friday rejected the new North Carolina congressional and state legislative maps, thus repeating their actions from the two previous times the panel’s majority disqualified a Republican legislature’s map.

The vote was 4-3, with all four Democrats voting in favor of declaring the map a partisan gerrymander, consistent with their past action, while the three Republicans voted to uphold the plans.

We are again looking at a relatively quick re-draw situation because the twice-postponed North Carolina primary is now scheduled for June 7. If an agreement cannot be reached, it is possible the candidate filing deadline and statewide primary are again postponed.

The high court’s move was expected, but this is a serious setback to Republicans from a national perspective since North Carolina appears to be the only state where the party can gain multiple seats through redistricting.

It is likely that the inter-party pairing of Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) and Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) will be re-drawn when a new congressional version is passed. The Greensboro area has been the major focal point of this and the previous maps, with the partisan Republican legislature and partisan Democratic court continuing to battle over a map that will eventually become the state’s 2022 political playing field.

As drawn, the legislature’s map — under North Carolina law and procedure, the governor, in this case Democrat Roy Cooper, has no veto power over redistricting — would have returned either 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats or possibly has high as 11 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Under the current draw, the Republican advantage is 8-5.

North Carolina gained one seat under national reapportionment, and the last iteration of the state Supreme Court map, ordered before the 2020 election, resulted in the Republicans losing two seats, one in Raleigh and the other in the Greensboro area.

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House Money: Year-End 2021

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 7, 2022 — The Federal Elections Commission finally posted the year-end 2021 campaign financial disclosure numbers, and the Daily Kos Elections site statistical team has already compiled the totals for both the House and Senate.

We concentrate on the House financial picture since all of the competitive Senate races will feature each party’s nominee having more than enough funding with which to communicate their message to the targeted voter segments.

Our first table illustrates the House leadership’s fundraising totals, as they are a key focal point of national funding for their candidates. With a close House partisan division, and a large number of competitive races slated for November, the political dollars will be flowing abundantly.

The text shows the member’s name (party identified by color: red = GOP; blue = DEM ), the amount (in thousands) raised in the 4th quarter of 2021, the cash-on-hand reported in the member’s campaign account on Dec. 31, 2021, and how much the income each campaign committee reports for the entire 2022 election cycle.

Leadership

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
CLYBURN, JIM SC-6 $523       $2,452       $1,761
HOYER, STENY MD-5 $443       $1,164       $1,916

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Non-Leadership Incumbents

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
KIM, YOUNG CA-40 $1,216       $2,564       $4,009
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
JACKSON, RONNY TX-13 $1,126       $1,079       $2,450
KRISHNAMOORTHI, RAJA IL-8 $1,108       $11,551       $4,447
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026

$1 Million in Qtr 4 – Open Seats & Challengers

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
FLOWERS, MARCUS GA-14 $1,321       $1,544       $4,603
LUTTRELL, MARCUS TX-8 $1,186       $1,618       $1,923
HUNT, WESLEY TX-38 $1,004       $1,555       $2,029

Most Cash-on-Hand – $3 Million +

NAME ST-DIST 4TH QTR CASH-ON-HAND CYCLE-TO-DATE
SCHIFF, ADAM CA-30 $2,806       $16,766       $9,997
PORTER, KATIE CA-47 $2,515       $16,125       $10,231
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH NJ-5 $1,041       $12,012       $3,950
JORDAN, JIM OH-4 $1,448       $8,532       $6,891
McCARTHY, KEVIN CA-20 $3,758       $8,350       $14,890
SCALISE, STEVE LA-1 $2,652       $6,524       $12,888
HARDER, JOSH CA-9 $867       $6,316       $3,660
OCASIO-CORTEZ, AL. NY-14 $1,422       $6,236       $9,879
DELGADO, ANTONIO NY-19 $708       $5,481       $3,219
DOGGETT, LLOYD TX-37 $166       $5,476       $582
PELOSI, NANCY CA-11 $2,844       $5,420       $15,941
SHERRILL, MIKIE NJ-11 $771       $5,078       $2,911
THANEDAR, SHRI MI-13 $5       $5,000       $5
CHENEY, LIZ WY-AL $2,043       $4,715       $7,221
HOULAHAN, CHRISSY PA-6 $464       $4,545       $2,005
CRENSHAW, DAN TX-2 $2,115       $4,516       $10,794
SLOTKIN, ELISSA MI-7 $957       $4,509       $3,894
KHANNA, RO CA-17 $310       $4,330       $3,556
FOSTER, BILL IL-11 $383       $4,264       $917
LaHOOD, DARIN IL-17 $550       $4,244       $2,080
SCHRIER, KIM WA-8 $1,002       $4,022       $3,026
SHERMAN, BRAD CA-32 $244       $3,956       $1,083
PALLONE, FRANK NJ-6 $362       $3,836       $1,296
BROWNLEY, JULIA CA-26 $223       $3,658       $930
SCHRADER, KURT OR-5 $427       $3,563       $1,408
GREENE, MARJORIE T. GA-14 $1,185       $3,512       $8,690
CONNOLLY, GERRY VA-11 $199       $3,497       $1,079
KILMER, DEREK WA-6 $258       $3,464       $1,147
KIM, ANDY NJ-3 $761       $3,300       $3,369
CHU, JUDY CA-28 $214       $3,177       $656
STEFANIK, ELISE NY-21 $1,078       $3,140       $5,050
JEFFRIES, HAKEEM NY-8 $787       $3,119       $3,046
SPANBERGER, ABIGAIL VA-7 $776       $3,036       $3,066

Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll

By Jim Ellis

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

Feb. 4, 2022 — Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), who trailed in the most recent published statewide poll (Trafalgar Group; Nov. 24-29; 1,034 likely Nevada general election voters; Adam Laxalt (R) 44 percent, Cortez Masto (D) 41 percent) has rebounded to regain the lead according to a new OH Predictive Insights survey, but warning signs persist for the first-term incumbent.

The OHPI poll commissioned for the Nevada Independent news site (Jan. 19-26; 755 likely Nevada registered voters, online) finds Sen. Cortez Masto topping former state Attorney General Laxalt (R) in a general election ballot test by a 44-35 percent margin. While the spread is relatively strong in her favor, posting a 44 percent support number is low for any incumbent.

For example, the same poll tested Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, and found his preference figure reaching 52 percent if Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo were his Republican opponent, and 54 percent if former US Sen. Dean Heller were to become the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Because OHPI forced preference answers, meaning no recorded undecided responses for the governor’s ballot test, the Sisolak support numbers are high. It is unlikely, however, that a traditional preference question would find him dropping to the senator’s current support level.

The OHPI pollster isolated Sen. Cortez Masto’s most significant problem as her being tied to President Biden’s low approval ratings. According to this study, the president only posts a 41:53 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval index, and 33 percent, which is the poll’s top issue response, said that the economy and jobs are most important to them. Isolating Biden’s score on his handling of the economy, the president’s disapproval rose to 55 percent, darkening the political climate for the senator even further.

Laxalt’s low support number (35 percent) is likely due to him recording only a 76 percent preference factor among Republicans. This is likely due to the fact that challenger Sam Brown, a businessman and disabled Afghan War veteran, is becoming a significant contender for the Republican nomination.

Though the GOP sample segment is low in the OHPI survey – only 230 respondents and well below the 300 that becomes statistically significant in a state the size of Nevada – we still see only 37 percent of the Republican base supporting Laxalt while 14 percent names Brown as their preferred candidate. This means that 49 percent of those Republicans polled say they are undecided about whom to support in the GOP Senate primary. Despite having a short sample, the results suggest that Laxalt still has work to do in securing the nomination.

Another changing element that could affect this race, but in a heretofore unknown way, are the party registration changes occurring throughout 2021. Comparing the partisan breakdown in the state from January of 2021 through December of last year, both the Democrats and Republicans lost patrons. Democratic registration dropped 2.9 percent, while Republicans were down 2.5 percent. This meant that those registering Non-Partisan and “Other” were up substantially.

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Michigan House Action Wave

Michigan Congressional Redistricting Map. (Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com to see interactive map.)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 3, 2022 — Though the Michigan congressional lines are in litigation and filing time is still more than two months away in preparation for the state’s August 2nd primary election, Tuesday was a busy day on the Wolverine State’s US House front.

First, in the paired Republican incumbent 4th District where Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) is seeking re-election and appears ready to face fellow Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), a third candidate announced that he would not abandon his own Republican campaign despite seeing an unfavorable district draw.

State Rep. Steve Carra (R-Portage) said that he intends to remain in the new 4th Congressional District race despite potentially having to face two incumbents and not having any of his current state House District lying in the new 4th. His legislative district will now be fully contained in Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R-Tipton) new 5th CD that stretches the width of Michigan along the state’s southern border. Carra earned former President Trump’s endorsement in his pre-redistricting bid against Rep. Upton.

When queried about the difficulty of the paired nomination race for a non-incumbent such as himself, Carra said, “It doesn’t matter whether there’s one or two status quo Republicans in the race.”

For his part, Rep. Upton is not yet committing to run for a 19th term, saying he wants to further study the new district and see whether the courts disqualify the current map. A group of current and former Democratic state legislators have filed suit against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission claiming the members violated the Voting Rights Act with their draw of the congressional and state legislative districts in Detroit and Wayne County.

The 4th District will be one of the most interesting primary campaigns in the state and possibly the nation if Huizenga and Upton ultimately face each other. With Carra coming to the race with the Trump endorsement and potentially testing just how much the ex-President’s support actually means, he becomes a wild card entry.

Another incumbent who did not fare well in the redistricting process is freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids). His 3rd District moves from an R+9 to a D+3 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical site. Dave’s Redistricting App scores the CD at 50.1 percent Democratic and 46.5 percent Republican. President Biden would have carried the new 3rd, 53-45 percent. Therefore, Rep. Meijer, along with potential primary problems because he, too, voted in favor of the Trump impeachment, has a difficult political road ahead.

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