Category Archives: House

Another House Retirement Ahead

By Jim Ellis

Iowa Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City) to retire

April 16, 2019 — Seven-term Iowa Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa City) announced Friday that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Loebsack, a former college professor, first came to Congress in the 2006 election when he unseated GOP Rep. Jim Leach in a major upset victory.

Since his first re-election, Loebsack has generally faced Republican competition, but the GOP has never been able to elevate a challenge against him to top-tier status. Still, in his seven elections, Rep. Loebsack recorded only a 53.7 percent average victory margin. Last November, he defeated Republican Chris Peters, who also ran in 2016, 54-42 percent.

Iowa’s 2nd District occupies the southeastern quadrant of the four congressional districts in the state under a mapping plan that divided the territory geographically by quarters. The two largest 2nd District population centers are the cities of Davenport (102,000 population) and Iowa City (74,000).

Politically, the 2nd looks to be the strongest Democratic district of the state’s four seats, but the electorate did support President Trump with a 49-45 percent margin. Previously, however, President Obama ran strong here in both of his national campaigns, carrying the district 56-43 percent in 2012 and 57-42 percent during his initial 2008 campaign.

With President Trump needing to win Iowa next year, it is clear that his campaign will attempt to maximize right-of-center turnout in IA-2, meaning a potential Republican open seat congressional candidate should get an indirect boost. Now, with no Democratic incumbent running to defend the seat, this district figures to become a key GOP conversion opportunity.

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Swalwell In; Sanders Up in Bay State

By Jim Ellis

California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D)

April 10, 2019 — California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin/Hayward), who for many months has been indicating that he would run for president, finally announced his intentions Tuesday and becomes the 18th Democratic candidate.

Swalwell, who will likely be a minor candidate throughout the process, has said he will not run for both president and the US House simultaneously. Therefore, expect him to depart the presidential race well in advance of the California congressional candidate filing deadline on Dec. 6.

The Golden State will now hold its presidential and state primary on March 3, since the legislature and governor changed the schedule in order to provide them more influence in the presidential nomination process. But Swalwell will have to decide well in advance of the first national votes being cast as to whether he wants to relinquish a safe US House seat in order to continue in what will likely be a long shot presidential effort with little realistic hope of success.

Emerson College released a new Massachusetts poll (April 4-7; 371 likely Democratic Massachusetts primary voters) that projects Sen. Bernie Sanders overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden and finding home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren running a distant third.

According to the Emerson results, Sen. Sanders leads 26-23-14-11 percent over ex-VP Biden, Sen. Warren, and South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg. All others, including Texas former congressman, Beto O’Rourke, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), record only single-digit support.

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Ohio Rep. Ryan Makes it #17 for Dems

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announces his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election on the TV talk show, “The View.”

April 8, 2019 — Calling himself a “reform-minded Democrat” who is “for the free enterprise system,” and a “progressive who knows how to talk to working-class people,” Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Youngstown) announced his presidential campaign at the end of last week.

Rep. Ryan becomes the 17th official presidential candidate, but he will not necessarily be leaving the House if he loses his long shot national bid. Under Ohio election law, individuals may simultaneously run for more than one office and the congressman says he will also file for re-election.

More announcements are expected in April. As we have recently seen, it appears former Vice President Joe Biden will soon enter the race, as will at least one and possibly a second House member. California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin/Hayward) will reportedly announce his presidential campaign next week, an effort he has been discussing for more than a year.

Swalwell is saying he won’t run for both offices as is Rep. Ryan, but he does leave himself a path to return to the House. Rep. Swalwell indicates that if his presidential effort isn’t proceeding as planned when the California candidate filing deadline approaches, he could end his national campaign and then file for re-election.

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Analyzing Tuesday’s Elections

By Jim Ellis

Chicago Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot (D)

April 5, 2019 — This Tuesday, elections were held in several jurisdictions with very mixed results. Democratic Socialists won big in the Chicago municipal elections; the Republicans scored an apparent upset in the Wisconsin state Supreme Court campaign; a former Democratic congressman failed in his bid to join the Las Vegas City Council by literally five votes; and Democrats converted a politically marginal Republican state Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

In the Chicago Mayor’s race, as expected, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot (D) easily beat Toni Preckwinkle (D), the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners whose campaign seemed to collapse in the runoff over tangentially being involved in a Chicago City Council bribery situation, using government resources for campaign purposes, and sexual harassment allegations levied against one of her county staff members. Lightfoot, who becomes the first black female and openly gay individual to become Chicago’s mayor, captured just over 73 percent of the vote.

But, perhaps the more significant story, is the election of five Democratic Socialists of America party members to the Chicago City Council. One upstart (as described on Fox News) Andre Vasquez, defeated Alderman Patrick O’Connor, a leader for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council’s Finance Committee chairman.

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The Early Targets

By Jim Ellis

April 3, 2019 — Continuing our early outlook of the 2020 House situation, we can begin by narrowing the field to those districts where Republicans will be concentrating at least their initial efforts in order to reclaim the majority they lost in November.

After the 2016 election, there were 12 districts that supported President Trump but elected a Democrat to the House. After the 2018 midterm, that number rose to 31. For the Republicans to regain the majority, they will need to convert a net 18 seats back to their column, or 19 if the Democrats score a victory in the NC-9 special election to be held later this year in the Charlotte-Fayetteville metro areas in southern North Carolina.

The other two House special elections, PA-12 (May 21) and NC-3 (Sept. 10), unless huge upsets occur, look to remain within the Republican stable of districts.

Of the 31 Trump/House Democrat seats, 16 of them also voted for Mitt Romney over President Obama in 2012. Furthermore, a dozen within this group elected a Republican Representative until the 2018 election. They are:

  • GA-6 – Rep. Lucy McBath (D) – Defeated Karen Handel (R)
  • IL-14 – Rep. Lauren Underwood (D) – Defeated Randy Hultgren (R)
  • MI-8 – Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) – Defeated Mike Bishop (R)
  • MI-11 – Rep. Haley Stevens (D) – Replaced David Trott (R)
  • NJ-11 – Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D) – Replaced Rodney Frelinghuysen
  • NM-2 – Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D) – Replaced Steve Pearce (R)
  • NY-22 – Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) – Defeated Claudia Tenney (R)
  • OK-5 – Rep. Kendra Horn (D) – Defeated Steve Russell (R)
  • SC-1 – Rep. Joe Cunningham (D) – Replaced Mark Sanford (R)
  • UT-4 – Rep. Ben McAdams (D) – Defeated Mia Love (R)
  • VA-2 – Rep. Elaine Luria (D) – Defeated Scott Taylor (R)
  • VA-7 – Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) – Defeated Dave Brat (R)

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