Nov. 23, 2016 — The Associated Press yesterday projected California Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove/ Sacramento) the winner in the hotly contested CA-7 District campaign, even though there are approximately 43,000 ballots still left to count.
Rep. Bera has pushed his lead to 6,008 votes over Sacramento County Sheriff Doug Jones (R) at the end of the day’s counting. This means, with what will likely be just under 300,000 total votes cast in the district, that Jones would need approximately 57 percent of the outstanding ballots to overtake Bera. While not impossible, the projection appears legitimate considering that Jones has yet to lead this race.
The Bera victory means the Democrats are assured of at least 194 seats in the new Congress. Republicans are guaranteed of 239. The GOP looks to win the second of two Louisiana run-off elections, after wrapping up the first (District 3) on November 8th when two Republicans advanced to the general election run-off. The LA-4 contest is projected to go Republican on Dec. 10. Continue reading →
Nov. 21, 2016 — Already, there is a lot of talk about various senators considering races for governor in their respective states, while at least one term-limited governor publicly muses about running for Senate.
With 38 governors’ races coming to the forefront in the next 24 months — two (New Jersey, Virgninia) in 2017 and 36 in 2018 — we already know that 20 of these states, due to term limits, will choose new governors.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) cannot succeed himself after four years at the state’s helm. Virginia is still the only state in the country that limits its governors to just one term. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is ineligible to seek a third term. There is a chance, should Christie obtain an appointment from the Trump Administration, that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) would ascend to the governorship and be in a position to run as an appointed incumbent, however.
In the coming even-numbered year 36 gubernatorial chairs are in-cycle. Eighteen state chief executives are barred from seeking a third term (15 Republicans; 3 Democrats), while eight GOP governors and six Democrats can run for re-election. Alaska Independent Gov. Bill Walker is also eligible for a second term.
Nov. 14, 2016 — While there were no significant weekend changes in the uncalled federal races — Michigan remains outstanding in the presidential race (Trump ahead 47.6 – 47.3 percent there), and and we still have two undecided California congressional campaigns (Rep. Ami Bera, D-CA-7, leads Sheriff Scott Jones 50.6 – 49.4 percent; Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA-49, has a 51.0 – 49.0 percent advantage over retired Marine Colonel Doug Applegate) — we do have virtually complete state race results.
The legislatures and governors are an important influence at the federal level because in most instances these bodies and officials determine congressional redistricting. With live challenges in Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia, and a possible re-draw of central Texas this coming year, it is not too early to monitor party strength in the newly elected state legislatures.
As we covered in the post-election report series, Republicans earned at least a net gain of two gubernatorial chairs. They converted governors’ mansions in Missouri (Eric Greitens), New Hampshire (Chris Sununu), and Vermont (Phil Scott), while potentially losing North Carolina (Attorney General Roy Cooper-D leading Gov. Pat McCrory-R, but the race is not officially called).
Sept. 16, 2016 — After two very close New Hampshire Republican primaries were left with remaining votes to count, both received closure.
In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-Manchester) barely survived his re-nomination challenge. He recorded a 46-45 percent, 649-vote victory over businessman Rich Ashooh. Since the latter man conceded the race, there will be no re-count and Guinta advances to the general election to again face former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-East Rochester) and three independent and minor party candidates.
This will be the fourth consecutive campaign between the two political principals. Guinta defeated Shea-Porter in 2010 and 2014, while she won in 2012. NH-1 has defeated more incumbents during the last 10 years than any congressional district in the country. The 2016 version promises to again be a difficult general election campaign, albeit a shortened one considering the lateness of the New Hampshire primary. Guinta’s 46 percent showing within his own party is clearly a sign of major political weakness, which does not bode well for him in the general election.
Sept. 15, 2016 — Tuesday night’s Granite State primary featured a pair of very close Republican races, one involving an incumbent. It is unclear if either the governor’s contest or the 1st Congressional District race will go to a re-count once the final accounting is recorded.
The Senate nominations, however, are decided. Sen. Kelly Ayotte scored a 79 percent victory in her Republican primary against former state Sen. Jim Rubens and three minor candidates. Gov. Maggie Hassan was unopposed for the Democratic Senatorial nomination. This race will go a long way to deciding which party controls the new Senate majority.
In the 1st Congressional District, before an electorate that has unseated more incumbents than any other CD during the last ten years, incumbent Rep. Frank Guinta (R-Manchester) appears to have barely won re-nomination. From a turnout that broke 55,000 voters, Guinta held just a 661 vote lead over businessman Rich Ashooh with four precincts still outstanding. The congressman’s margin was only a plurality (46 percent), as three minor candidates drew enough support to keep both leaders below the 50% majority mark.
Sept. 14, 2016 — Yesterday marked the end of the congressional primary season as voters in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island went to the polls to choose the 2016 cycle’s final House and Senate nominees.
At-large Rep. John Carney (D-Wilmington) is leaving the House to pursue the open governor’s position and little doubt remains about the outcome in the state house race. Rep. Carney was unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and will replace term-limited Gov. Jack Markell (D) as the party standard bearer. For the GOP, Republican state senator and former state treasurer nominee Colin Bonini easily out-polled his lone opponent, minor candidate Lacey Lafferty, a retired police officer. Rep. Carney will be a heavy favorite to win the governorship in the general election.
The more interesting contest was the battle to succeed Rep. Carney as the Democratic congressional nominee. A six-candidate race culminated in victory for one contender. Former state Labor Secretary Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) was widely considered the favorite and that showed when she won by 19 points over the closest challenger.
By Jim Ellis
Aug. 11, 2016 — House Speaker Paul Ryan recorded an 84-16 percent landslide victory against Republican primary opponent Paul Nehlen Tuesday night in southern Wisconsin. Nehlen was on his way to approaching the $1 million mark in campaign expenditures, but it did little to help expose any weakness in the Ryan political base.
Ryan followed the lead of his predecessor, former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8), when faced with a similar primary circumstance in 2014. Boehner re-invented himself as the local congressman for that particular race, returning to his roots in western Ohio and never mentioning his GOP opponent in ads or speeches. In fact, never did Ryan even indicate that he was the House Speaker, instead confining his personal description to that of local congressman.
Nehlen attacked heavily on immigration and trade, but it was Ryan’s years of work in the district and never losing touch with his political base and core constituency that allowed him to record such a big primary victory. In fact, the current Speaker actually ran 13 points ahead of the former Speaker’s final primary performance against a more difficult political opponent.