Category Archives: FLORIDA

McCormick Concedes in PA; Michigan Gov. Whitmer Holds Huge Lead

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick

By Jim Ellis — June 6, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania: McCormick Concedes to Dr. Oz — The long post-primary Pennsylvania Republican Senate drama finally came to a close Friday when former hedge fund CEO David McCormick conceded to television Dr. Mehmet Oz. The general election between Dr. Oz and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is now underway, but the Democratic nominee also has issues.

With the recount of the May 17 election progressing, including the ballots arriving after election day being added to the count, the results were not turning around to the degree that McCormick had publicly predicted. Therefore, instead of forcing what could have been a long drawn out post-election period of individual ballot challenges and lawsuits attempting to overturn Dr. Oz’s approximate 900 vote lead, McCormick decided the best course of action was to concede and allow the party to move forward.

As we know, Democratic nominee Fetterman suffered a stroke right before the primary as a result of a blood clot in his heart. Fetterman is now making statements that he was near death during the ordeal, and must refrain from active campaigning for an undetermined time. The situation creates a unique general election with both parties having internal challenges while having to conduct tough campaigns before a swing electorate.

Redistricting

Florida: State Supreme Court Says No — The Florida state Supreme Court, responding to a petition asking the high panel to review the new congressional map, said they do not have jurisdiction at this point in the process. The high court indicated that the District Court of Appeals is the body that must hear the case. With the June 17 candidate filing deadline coming nearer, further delays likely point to the enacted map being in place for the 2022 elections. The Florida primary is Aug. 23.

Governor

Michigan: Republicans Reeling After Ballot Disqualification — A new Target Insyght poll (May 26-27; 600 registered Michigan voters) finds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) holding huge leads against the remaining GOP candidates after former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson were disqualified from the race because they failed to produce enough valid required petition signatures. Against all of the largely unknown Republican candidates, Gov. Whitmer scores either 57 or 58 percent opposite 24 percent for the top current GOP contender, businessman Kevin Rinke. With the candidate filing deadline long since passed, the Republicans now find themselves buried in a major political hole from which it will be difficult to recover.

Ohio: DeWine Leading, but Under 50 percent — Two days ago, Suffolk University released the results of their Ohio US Senate survey, which we covered, and yesterday their gubernatorial numbers were made public. The Suffolk study (May 22-24; 500 likely Ohio general election voters; live interview) finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) leading Dayton Mayor Nan Whatley (D), 45-30 percent, with Independent Neil Petersen attracting 11 percent support. Gov. DeWine won re-nomination in May, but did so with only a plurality within his own party. While his general election lead is comfortable, being well under 50 percent continues to show a significant degree of political weakness.

Oregon: New Shock Poll — Republican pollster Nelson Research (May 25-27; 516 likely Oregon general election voters; live interview) finds new Oregon GOP gubernatorial nominee Christine Drazan, the former state House Minority Leader, taking a small but surprising 30-28 percent lead over former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D). Additionally, Republicans are only one point behind (39-40 percent) on the generic ballot question.

These results are particularly surprising when seeing the Democrats outperform the Republicans in the recent May 17 primary turnout. Examining the polling methodology, the sampling universe skews high for both major parties. The survey respondents divide 40.1 percent Democratic, 33.5 percent Republican, and 26.4 percent non-affiliated. Actual Oregon partisan registration for May of 2022 is listed as Democratic 34.3 percent; Republican 24.6 percent; and Unaffiliated 34.3 percent. Therefore, the sample skew could largely account for the unexpected ballot test result.

Pennsylvania Ballot Count Goes On; Ballot Issues in Oregon; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 24, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania ballot

Pennsylvania: Related Court Ruling Could Add Votes — A three-judge federal panel sitting in the capital city of Harrisburg issued a ruling Friday on a Lehigh Valley case that relates to the current vote counting situation. The judicial action mandated the counting of mail ballots where no date appears on the carrier envelope. PA ballot procedure requires the voter to date the envelope before mailing. Immediately upon the ruling being announced, the Dave McCormick for Senate campaign sent a letter to all 67 county chief election officials reiterating the decision. The Dr. Mehmet Oz-Dave McCormick race is down to a lead of 1,070 votes for the doctor, suggesting that any new ballots added to the mix could theoretically help McCormick. It is unclear when we will see a final count publicized.

House

OR-5: Counting Stalled — Oregon’s 5th District ballot counting has ground to a halt because of a major malfunction in one of the district’s anchor areas, Clackamas County. Due to a reported bar code error on the printed ballots, election officials are having to record the votes of every ballot individually, punching a new ballot for each with the correct bar code. Hence, only 57 percent of the expected vote has been reported.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is trailing badly, 60-40 percent in the Democratic primary, to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The congressman’s base is Clackamas County, but it appears, according to votes currently recorded there, that he won’t likely have enough support there to fully overcome his opponent’s large early advantage. If Schrader does lose, he will be the third House incumbent who fails to secure re-nomination, joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

PA-12: State Rep Nearing Victory — One of the other Pennsylvania races that was too close to originally call was the open 12th District Democratic primary. Though she has not yet been officially projected the winner, state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has increased her small lead to 737 votes of more than 94,000 ballots cast. Her main opponent is lobbyist Steve Irwin, and Lee’s lead may now be too wide for him to overcome. The eventual Democratic nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) from the downtown Pittsburgh-anchored district.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Districts Still Unclear — Legal wrangling among judges imposing and then lifting and then re-imposing stay rulings regarding the Florida’s congressional map may be decided this week at the appellate court level. It is increasing possible, however, that the state Supreme Court will become the final arbiter should the Republicans’ motion to fast-track the maps to the high court be granted. Many argue that fast tracking the maps is the only way to give candidates adequate time to campaign in districts with definable boundaries prior to the Aug. 23 primary election. Most of the objections pertain to eliminating the majority black 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that extends from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

New York: Congressional Districts Enacted — Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister approved the special master’s congressional maps with some changes, particularly in the Brooklyn area. The special master’s footprint helps Republicans to an extent, cutting their current delegation size from eight to five, which is one better than the Democratic map provided.

The new map does create at least five additional Democratic districts that will be competitive, and pairs Democrats Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) into a new 12th District. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) will move from his current 17th CD into a new west-side Manhattan 10th District where he will face former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others in a hotly contested primary. New York’s congressional and state Senate primaries are delayed until Aug. 23. The statewide contests and all other races will be decided in the previously scheduled June 28 primary.

Alaska’s Palin in Trouble?
Florida Redistricting Map Tossed

By Jim Ellis
May 13, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Palin Begins Special with Slight Lead, but May Not Prevail — The Alaska Survey Research firm, headed by longtime local pollster Ivan Moore, released their new special election US House study featuring 48 candidates. The survey (May 6-9; 605 AK-AL likely special election voters; online) finds former governor and 2008 vice presidential Republican nominee Sarah Palin leading the huge field with 19 percent, followed closely by officially endorsed Republican Party candidate Nick Begich III at 16 percent, with Independent and former 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee Al Gross and North Pole City Councilman Santa Claus (the former Thomas O’Connor) capturing the third and fourth qualifying positions with 13 and six percent, respectively.

Under the new Alaska election law, the top four finishers from the jungle primary, in this case scheduled for June 11, will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election. If no one receives majority support among the finishing four in the succeeding vote, the Ranked Choice Voting System takes effect. It is here where Palin may find trouble. Under this configuration, ASR projects that Claus would be first eliminated, then Palin in the next round. A Begich-Gross final round would favor Begich at 53-47 percent.

Nick Begich III is the grandson of former US Rep. Nick Begich (D), who died in a plane crash before the 1972 election. His uncle is former US Sen. Mark Begich (D). Nick Begich, III, however, is a Republican. ASR tested four different iterations with four separate fourth-place contenders, and in each scenario Begich ultimately wins the seat.

NE-2: Dem Group Poll Shows Rep. Bacon Trailing — Democratic pollster Change Research, polling for the left of center 314 Action group (May 6-10; 564 NE-2 general election voters of whom 94 percent say are definite or probable voters; online) finds Omaha Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas leading US Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), 42-39 percent, in a survey conducted just before the Nebraska primary.

The poll skews slightly left, meaning that the race is likely no worse then being tied from Rep. Bacon’s perspective. Approximately 25,000 more people voted in the NE-2 Republican primary than Democratic suggesting the enthusiasm level favors the GOP. The seat became three points more Republican in redistricting. Despite this particular poll result, Rep. Bacon is still favored for re-election.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Map Tossed — A Florida state judge, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appointed, disqualified the new Florida congressional map, ruling that the elimination of Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) majority minority District 5 violates Florida’s Fair Districts Act. The state will clearly appeal, but the map’s fate, the Republicans’ best in the country, now is suspended in political limbo.

Governor

Alabama: Gov. Ivey Below 50 Percent — A Cygnal group poll for the Alabama Daily News and Gray Television (May 6-7; 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) two days ago covered the Alabama Senate race confirming that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is gaining on his two GOP opponents. Wednesday, Cygnal released its data on the state’s gubernatorial campaign. While Gov. Kay Ivey (R) still holds a comfortable lead according to the poll, the survey shows that she has dropped to 40 percent support.

Real Estate developer Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is second with 18 percent, and former US ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, is a close third with 15 percent. Three more candidates divide 14 percent of the vote, while the remainder is recorded as undecided/won’t say. There is little doubt that Gov. Ivey will finish first, but the question remains whether she can attain the 50 percent threshold to avoid being forced into a secondary runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24. If a runoff becomes necessary, that election would occur on June 21.

Rep. Budd Cements Lead in NC;
Sen. Manchin Goes Republican?

By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Cements Lead — The Club for Growth, running a support independent expenditure for Rep. Ted Budd’s (R-Advance) US Senate campaign, released the results of their most recent WPA Intelligence poll (April 24-26; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview). While Rep. Budd led in the last six consecutive polls, the WPAi numbers now post him to a 20 percentage point lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory, 43-23 percent. Ex-US Rep. Mark Walker trails with nine percent support, while author Marjorie Eastman records four percent preference.

Considering North Carolina only has a 30 percent threshold to win a nomination outright, it appears the congressman is in strong position to clinch on May 17. The GOP winner will face consensus Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring after three terms.

House

FL-15: Candidates Enter Race — With the Florida congressional map now adopted, candidates are beginning to come forward. In the new open 15th District that contains half of the city of Lakeland and part of Hillsborough County, former US Rep. Dennis Ross is drawing Republican primary opposition. In the race are state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), retired Navy officer Kevin McGovern, and Afghan war Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes.

The seat leans Republican, but expect Democratic competition in the general election. At the early going, considering he represented more than 70 percent of this district for eight years in the House before retiring, Ross is the clear favorite for the party nomination and to capture the seat.

WV-2: Manchin Involved in Republican Campaign — The paired Republican congressional campaign between Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has drawn an unusual advocate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Rep. McKinley, and is now starring for him in a new testimonial ad. Sen. Manchin dispels the notion that Rep. McKinley supported the Build Back Better legislation and directly criticizes Rep. Mooney.

With the primary fast approaching on May 10, we can expect Rep. Mooney to quickly counter the message. Sen. Manchin’s approval numbers are strong in West Virginia, but bringing a Democratic figure in to help decide a Republican primary battle could well backfire. Expect Mooney to attempt to turn the tables regarding this endorsement.

Helping explain Rep. McKinley’s move to highlight the Democratic senator, the latest public poll (Public Opinion Strategies for the Mooney campaign; April 26-28; 400 likely WV-2 Republican primary voters) gives Rep. Mooney a 20-point, 50-30 percent advantage as the two candidates begin the final week of campaigning. The two were forced into one district because West Virginia lost one of its three seats in national reapportionment.

DeSantis Releases Congressional Map

Proposed Florida redistricting map moving from 27 to 28 districts (click on map or here to go to FiveThirtyEight interactive map).

By Jim Ellis

April 15, 2022 — After vetoing the legislature’s congressional map and forcing a special legislative session to finish the redistricting process, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) now commands the upper hand. As a result, legislative leaders say they are willing to pass his map.

Applying the district political numbers that the MCI Maps organization calculated, we see 20 of the 28 new districts that would have voted for former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden. Overlaying the Ron DeSantis-Andrew Gillum governor’s race of 2018, a total of 18 new CDs would have supported the current state chief executive. Today’s Florida congressional delegation splits 16R-11D.

The major point of contention during the regular legislative session pertains to the elimination of the current northern Florida majority minority 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that stretches from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Gov. DeSantis wants a race neutral map. Should his map be enacted, there is no question that lawsuits would be filed immediately, and this fight could lead to a fundamental examination of the national Voting Rights Act.

Assuming the map clears the legal hurdles, the Republicans could add as many as four seats to the Sunshine State delegation, which would negate Democratic gains in New York, for example. Many of the new districts could lead to increased competition for GOP members, however, as several would drop into lean Republican seats instead of ones that are currently safe.

The only displaced incumbent is Rep. Lawson, as he would have no reasonable place from which to seek re-election. His situation would then create another seat in the Jacksonville area and give current 4th District Rep. John Rutherford (R-Jacksonville) likely the choice of running in new District 4 or 5.

As a result of this northern state map strategy, Rep. Neal Dunn’s (R-Panama City) 2nd CD would become significantly less Republican, largely because the entire city of Tallahassee would be placed in his new CD. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the current 2nd as R+40. Ex-President Trump would have carried the new 2nd with 54.86 percent, with Gov. DeSantis approximately a percentage point lower.

Continue reading