Category Archives: Election Analysis

Dems Lead in Early Voting in Georgia Runoff; VA-4 Rep. McEachin Passes Away; Defeated Rep. Herrell Already Files to Run Again

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Dems Lead in Early Voting; Two Favorable Polls for Walker — With the Georgia Senate runoff fast approaching on Dec. 6, the early voting, or Advance Voting as the procedure is called in Georgia, is widely favoring the Democrats. After the state Supreme Court granted Advance Voting to begin when the Democratic plaintiffs requested, it was clear that the party would score a large advantage in the pre-election ballot casting process. Republicans typically catch up to early voting disparities on election day itself.

Polling, however, suggests that the race is anything but over. Two surveys were recently released, from Phillips Academy and Frederick Polls, and they arrived at similar conclusions. Phillips (Nov. 26-27; 862 likely Georgia runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) finds Republican Herschel Walker leading Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) by a single point, 48-47 percent. Frederick (Nov. 23-26; 939 Georgia runoff likely voters) shows the two men breaking even at 50-50 percent. It is presumed the latter survey was pushing initial undecideds to take a position, but the actual study and crosstabs were not released.

The polling suggests that the electorate remains virtually split in this race, almost exactly what we saw in the November tally when Sen. Warnock placed ahead of Mr. Walker, 49.4 – 48.5 percent, but fell short of the majority threshold.

House

VA-4: Rep. Don McEachin (D) Passes Away — Three-term Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) passed away Monday evening after a long battle with cancer. McEachin was re-elected to a fourth term on Nov. 8 with 65 percent of the vote in a 4th Congressional District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will schedule a special election to replace McEachin in accordance with state law. The true battle for the seat will come in the Democratic primary. Candidates will likely begin announcing for the special election after McEachin in laid to rest.

NM-2: Defeated Rep. Herrell Files 2024 Committee — US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) is wasting no time in recovering from her tight 50.3 – 49.6 percent loss to Rep-Elect Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces). Yesterday, it was reported that she filed a 2024 campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

This action does not necessarily mean she has decided to run in 2024. Filing a new committee allows her to raise more money in preparation for a proposed race without becoming an official candidate. Herrell certainly may run again but will probably wait to make a final decision until she sees whether the two impending US Supreme Court redistricting rulings will affect the New Mexico congressional lines. The decisions on the Alabama and North Carolina redistricting cases are due before the end of next June.

A re-draw could certainly help Herrell or any other Republican who wants to run for the 2nd District seat. The Democratic legislature changed the district lines under the 2021 map. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization the previous map rated the 2nd District as R+14. The changes converted the seat into a D+4, thus leading to the 2022 election result.

Murkowski Re-Elected, Peltola Wins Full Term in Alaska; CA-13 is The Last Outstanding Race to be Called

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski Re-Elected — Over the Thanksgiving break, we saw several more races called. The complete results came in Alaska where the final tabulations, including the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) rounds, were released and contests decided.

As expected, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was re-elected after nipping former State Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka (R), 43.4 – 42.6 percent in the aggregate vote, a margin of 1,914 votes. In the first RCV round, with fourth place finisher Buzz Kelley’s (R) votes being distributed, the race became even tighter, with Sen. Murkowski’s lead reduced to only 44.5 – 44.3 percent, a spread of just 339 votes. 

The final result was easily predictable, and one could argue Sen. Murkowski really won her re-election when people voted to change the state’s election system in 2020. Initiated with support from the senator’s political organization, the hybrid jungle primary/Ranked Choice Voting system allowed Sen. Murkowski to skip what was her most vulnerable election, a partisan Republican primary. With four people now automatically advancing into the general election, the partisan nomination phase within the traditional election cycle was in effect eliminated. In 2010, Sen. Murkowski lost the Republican primary, but was re-elected when she won a write-in Independent campaign in that year’s general election.

House

AK-AL: Rep. Peltola Wins Full Term — After winning the August special election through the Ranked Choice Voting system to replace the late Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), at-large Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has now clinched a full term after the state’s preliminary final vote count was released the day before Thanksgiving. The end result was predictable, especially when Rep. Peltola easily placed first in the aggregate count, with a 49-26-23 percent margin over former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and businessman Nick Begich III (R).

The first round of Ranked Choice Voting, which eliminated distant fourth-place finisher Chris Bye (Libertarian), almost put Peltola over the top. In this round, against both Palin and Begich, Rep. Peltola scored 49.2 percent of the adjusted vote. This result meant eliminating Begich, who was the third-place finisher. The third RCV round easily went to Rep. Peltola, who defeated Palin on a 55-45 percent tabulation. The Peltola victory increases the House Democratic Conference to 213 members as compared to the Republicans’ 221 with one California race remaining outstanding.

CA-13: The Last One Outstanding — We now have 434 US House races projected and the final partisan division count comes down to the end result from California’s new 13th Congressional District in the Fresno area. This post-election period could go on for some time.

The aggregate count, with a projected 96 percent of the votes recorded, although these estimates have not proven particularly reliable throughout the California counting process, gives Republican agri-businessman John Duarte a 593-vote lead over state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). The county with the largest outstanding vote at a 90 percent estimated recorded figure, is Stanislaus, which slightly favors Gray.

Depending upon this last outcome, the Republican House majority will be either 221-214 or 222-213. Another Speaker vote for California Republican Kevin McCarthy could also be critical in relation to how that internal race unfolds on Jan. 3.

We can expect further days before a preliminary count is revealed, and it is likely we will see a long period of vote challenges from both sides prior to final certification of a winner. The California election certification deadline is Dec. 16.

Governor

Alaska: Gov. Dunleavy Re-Elected Outright — One race that did not need a Ranked Choice Voting round was the Alaska governor’s contest. Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won a second term in the aggregate count, scoring 50.3 percent of the vote against three other candidates.

In a distant second place was Democratic former state representative Les Gara who posted 24.2 percent of the vote, while former Gov. Bill Walker, again running as an Independent, followed. The latter man recorded 20.7 percent of the aggregate popular vote. In the final general election qualifying position was Republican former Kenai Borough Peninsula Mayor Charlie Pierce who managed to secure only 4.5 percent of the vote.

Gov. Dunleavy, who faced an aborted recall effort early in his tenure, is the first re-elected Alaska chief executive since Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles won a second term in 1998.

Warnock Leads in New Runoff Poll; WVa. Gov. Considers Senate Race;
Kiley Wins CA-3 – Republican Majority Now at 221; Questions Over McCarthy’s Leadership

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 28, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leads in New Poll — The Fabrizio Lee (R) and Impact Research (D) polling team conducted another survey for the AARP organization, this time of the Georgia Senate runoff election scheduled for Dec. 6.

According to the joint poll (Nov. 11-17; 500 likely Georgia runoff voters; live interview), the first published study of this race since the general election yielded a 49.4 – 48.5 percent result for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) over retired professional football player Herschel Walker (R), the incumbent again posts a small advantage. The AARP ballot test finds Sen. Warnock’s lead a reaching 51-47 percent. As is the case with all runoff elections, voter turnout will likely be the determining factor.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice Considering Senate Race — While Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has already announced his bid to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, indicated last week that he, too, is considering launching a Senate campaign.

Gov. Justice’s approval numbers are high – rated as the sixth most popular governor nationally at 65:29 percent favorable to unfavorable according to the Morning Consult quarterly ratings for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022 – so he would certainly be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination and against Sen. Manchin. A Triton Polling & Research organization August poll found Gov. Justice leading Sen. Manchin 47-32 percent in an early hypothetical race survey, for example.

House

CA-3: Republican Kevin Kiley Declared Winner — The Associated Press, in a race that appeared to be clinched days ago, finally projected California Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento) as the winner of the newly created open 3rd Congressional District that stretches from the northern Sacramento suburbs all the way into southern California via the Nevada border. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-3 as an R+8 district, so the outcome of Kiley defeating Democratic physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones is hardly a surprise result.

The Kiley victory brings the Republican House total to 221 with two races outstanding, the CA-13 seat that is a close contest between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and the at-large Alaska seat of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

Once the Alaska contest advances into the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, which began right after Thanksgiving, the system will produce another victory for Peltola. Therefore, count her in the Democratic column. The race between Duarte and Gray is very tight: Duarte has an 852-vote lead with an estimated 93 percent of the vote counted. Therefore, this contest can still go either way when examining from where the outstanding votes lay.

Speakership: More Republicans Express Negative Views Toward McCarthy — Last week we covered a story indicating that three Republicans were headed toward a “No” vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his quest to become Speaker of the House. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) publicly announced their opposition to McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he does not believe McCarthy would be a successful Speaker.

Now joining the “No” chorus are Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Bob Good (R-VA). Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was among those expressing similar feelings of failure regarding a McCarthy Speakership. With the Republicans having a 222-member conference at best (if John Duarte holds his lead in the CA-13 outstanding race), McCarthy has little margin with which to play in order to secure his 218 votes to be elected Speaker during the Jan. 3 initial roll call of members.

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.