Category Archives: Election Analysis

Ohio Specials Prelude

By Jim Ellis

OH-11

July 28, 2021 — Voters in north Texas went to the polls yesterday to decide the double-Republican runoff in their state’s vacant 6th District, but there is unfolding action in the two Ohio special elections right now. The Buckeye State’s vacant CD’s will culminate with partisan primary elections next week, on Aug. 3.

First, the Mellman Group, polling for the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC (July 13-17; 400 OH-11 likely Democratic primary voters, live interview), sees the multi-candidate contest in the Cleveland-Akron seat that has evolved into a race between two candidates getting even closer.

Mellman’s ballot test finds former state senator and ex-Bernie Sanders for president national co-chair Nina Turner leading Cuyahoga County ouncilmember and local Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown by a tightening 41-36 percent spread with the momentum again flowing toward the latter woman. The remaining 11 candidates all split an aggregate five percent, with the remainder categorized as undecided/don’t know/refused to answer.

We can expect a very active final week as the candidates continue attempting to convince their voters to cast early ballots or visit the polls a week from tomorrow. The eventual Democratic nominee will become the prohibitive favorite heading into the Nov. 2 special general election. The winner will replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) who resigned the seat upon her confirmation as Housing & Urban Development Secretary in President Biden’s cabinet.

Mellman’s most recent effort delivered the closest result from a Democratic polling firm. Compared to their June poll, Brown is the beneficiary of a net 19-point swing. In the June poll, Mellman found a 50-26 percent spread in favor of Turner. In early July, Normington Petts, polling for the Brown campaign, also detected movement toward their client. They forecast a 43-36 percent result, certainly in the same realm as the Mellman poll conducted more than a week later. The original Mellman poll came in April and found Turner more than doubling Brown’s support, at 42-19 percent.

The primary campaign is dividing along the past Democratic primary presidential lines. The Bernie Sanders’ group, including the candidate himself, has endorsed Turner, along with the Justice Democrats PAC associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and their individual congressional supporters.

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TX-6 Special Election Today

By Jim Ellis

Susan Wright, favored in today’s TX-6 special election

July 27, 2021 — The late Texas US Rep. Ron Wright’s (R-Arlington) replacement will be chosen today as the double-Republican special congressional runoff election draws to a conclusion. The late congressman’s widow, Susan Wright (R), is favored over state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie), but low turnout elections often produce surprising results.

From a partisan context, the race is anti-climactic since we already know a Republican will claim the seat and expand the House Republican conference total to the 212 mark. Democrats hold 220 seats.

Two more vacant House seats will largely be decided next Tuesday when voters in two Ohio districts will go to the polls in partisan primary contests. In each case, winning the party nomination is virtually tantamount to claiming the seat, so it is highly likely that the two parties will split the elections. The Ohio nominees, however, will have to wait until Nov. 2 for their final vote. The special election season will conclude on Jan. 11, 2022, when South Florida voters will choose a successor to the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach) in the state’s 20th District.

As is generally the case in special elections, voter turnout is the critical factor. The Texas Secretary of State has released the 6th District early voting participation numbers, and we see 20,534 ballots having been cast through July 23. In the May 1 jungle primary election, 45,259 people voted early, or 57.7 percent of the total voting universe for that election (78,471).

So far in this runoff, only 4.2 percent of the registered voter universe of 493,077 individuals have cast their ballot. Considering that 65.4 percent of Ellzey’s vote came via early voting in the special primary as compared to 47.2 percent for Wright, the low early totals should prove a benefit to the latter candidate.

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New Special Election Data

By Jim Ellis

Susan Wright

July 26, 2021 — The Texas 6th District special election to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) is scheduled for Tuesday, and the Susan Wright campaign has just released the results of their most recent American Viewpoint poll.

According to AV (July 19-21; 400 TX-6 likely runoff voters, live interview), Wright, the late congressman’s widow who placed first in the original May 1 special jungle primary, leads state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) by a 44-34 percent count with 12 percent saying they are undecided. The sample’s remaining ten percent apparently didn’t answer the ballot test question since they appear unsegmented.

The Wright pollsters argue in their survey synopsis that the ballot test numbers are actually stronger than presented for underlying reasons. Among the voters who rate themselves as most enthusiastic about voting in the special election (a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 having the highest level of enthusiasm), Wright expands her lead to 54-33 percent.

The pollsters reason the most enthusiastic voters, in this case ones who rated themselves at or between 8 to 10 on this scale, are the most likely group to vote. On the negative side, however, this segment is small. Only 8 percent of the entire sampling universe rated themselves in the highest positive category.

Drilling further into the polling sample’s core, American Viewpoint finds that among the respondents who said they are “certain to vote,” Wright leads Ellzey, 51-33 percent.

Where the state representative scores higher in this double-Republican runoff contest is among the Democrats who choose to participate. Here, Ellzey leads 44-31 percent. The pollsters conclude that Democrats who are motivated to vote largely want to make a statement in supporting the candidate that former President Donald Trump did not endorse…in the 6th District race, Ellzey.

Among what the pollsters describe as the “Trump Movement Republicans,” presumably those who have a positive impression of the former president and generally are inclined to back his endorsement choice, favors Wright by a 61-28 percent spread.

Rep. Ellzey first ran for office in 2018, when he opposed Wright in the 6th District open seat regular congressional election. Underestimated in the primary election, Ellzey finished second and forced Wright, then the Tarrant County Assessor, into a runoff. With Wright favored, Ellzey reduced the former man’s margin of victory to 52-48%, again exceeding expectations.

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Cheney: The Battle Intensifies

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY)

July 23, 2021 –The internal Republican strife involving Wyoming at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) reached a heightened negative level Wednesday.

In what seems like a news story that won’t die, Rep. Cheney again sided with the Democrats regarding the continuing saga of reviewing the violent situation that occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6th and this time publicly attacked her party’s top House leader.

The controversy again erupted on Wednesday when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of the Republican members that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appointed to the select committee charged with investigating what occurred in the Capitol building on that January day.

Leader McCarthy had appointed Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) as the ranking Republican for the select committee and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) among his five designated appointments. Earlier, Pelosi had already chosen Rep. Cheney as her lone Republican committee selection, leaving McCarthy to recommend members to fill the remaining GOP slots.

After the Speaker rejected Reps. Banks and Jordan, Leader McCarthy pulled the remaining members on his slate and called the committee a partisan sham. Cheney, however, chose to remain as part of the Speaker’s contingent.

Rep. Cheney then held a news availability in front of the Capitol where she slammed McCarthy as being unfit to serve as Speaker, if the Republicans re-claim the majority in the next election, saying that “any person who would be the third in line to the Presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law, and Minority Leader McCarthy has not done that.”

Those comments then led to Texas Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) tweeting, “when will Liz Cheney officially switch to the party that she truly represents? We don’t want her in the Republican Party any longer! She is a disgrace!”

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WI-Senate: Lt. Gov. Announces

By Jim Ellis

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes

July 22, 2021 — As expected, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) declared his candidacy Tuesday for a Wisconsin Senate seat. Incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has yet to say if he will seek a third term (when he first ran in 2010, he committed to serving only two terms) but there is no question whatever the senator decides that the Wisconsin race will be highly competitive and become a national campaign.

Before the eventual Democratic nominee even gets the opportunity to face Sen. Johnson, he or she must traverse a difficult primary battle that won’t conclude until August of next year. Already vying for the party nomination in addition now to Lt. Gov. Barnes are state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, state Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and Milwaukee Bucks basketball club senior executive and former Obama White House aide Alex Lasry. Still others may enter.

Wisconsin has been the site of very close election in the latter part of the decade. Two presidential campaigns and a gubernatorial race fell within one percentage point (2016 Presidential: Trump: 47.2 – 46.5 percent; 2020 Presidential: Biden 49.4 – 48.8 percent; 2018 Governor: Tony Evers-D: 49.5 – 48.4 percent; 2016 US Senate: Johnson: 50-47 percent), and another photo finish is expected for 2022.

Polling will again be another question mark since the survey research community’s joint record in Wisconsin has been poor since 2016.

In the Trump-Clinton race, pollsters ran 32 polls and Donald Trump led in none, yet he won the state. In the 2016 Senate race, Sen. Johnson was ahead only once in 29 public polls, yet claimed a three-point re-election victory when the actual votes were tabulated. Again, in the 2020 presidential race, while correctly predicting that Biden would carry Wisconsin, their average margin was way off the mark, finding the Democrat leading by a mean average of 6.7 percentage points in eight polls conducted after Oct. 20. The actual Biden victory margin was just beyond 22,000 votes.

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