Category Archives: House

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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House Activity Percolates With Open Seats in 2020: Here’s an Overview

By Jim Ellis

April 2, 2019 — Last week we spent a great deal of time analyzing the 2020 Senate races, and now we begin to take a look at some of the expected US House activity.

With Republicans now fighting to regain the majority they lost in November, are there enough opportunities for them to convert the 18 or 19 (depending upon the NC-9 special election result) districts that they will need to reclaim the House?

After the November vote, we see 31 seats that President Trump carried in 2016, which a Democrat now represents. That number rose from 12 before the election. These districts will form the basis of the Republican target list, but it doesn’t appear they will have enough open seats to augment their conversion inroad opportunities. And, as has been the case in the previous four elections, Republicans are already risking many more of these latter seats than Democrats.

Generally, a feature of the House flipping is the winning party converting a sizable number of open seats. That certainly happened in 2018 as we again saw an unusually large number of incumbent-less campaigns (64), with 16 of them going to the opposite party (13 R to D; 3 D to R). Since the congressional seats were re-drawn before the 2012 election, a total of 64 (2012), 47 (2014), and 49 (2016) districts were open, in addition to the aforementioned 64 for the last cycle.

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The Effect of Two Retirements

By Jim Ellis

March 28, 2019 — Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) both made public on Monday their intentions not to seek re-election in their respective houses of Congress. The Udall announcement was a surprise, and we updated our outlook on his open seat in our 2020 Senate Review, Part III, yesterday. Retirement rumors had begun to swirl around Rep. Serrano, especially with New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres (D) last week declaring his intention to run for the congressional seat.

The New Mexico Senate After Udall

Sen. Udall’s announcement saying that he will not seek a third term was unexpected. Both parties are now scrambling to see who will begin to line up to run for the open seat.

There is no question that Democrats will be favored to hold the seat but the new campaign evolving into a competitive battle is not out of the question. Though Republicans last won a New Mexico Senate seat with the late Sen. Pete Domenici’s last victory in 2002, the party did elect Susana Martinez governor both in 2010 and 2014.

Though Gov. Martinez’s approval numbers were low when she left office, she would have to be considered a possible, and viable, Senate candidate. Additionally, former US representative, and Senate and gubernatorial nominee Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs), who is now the New Mexico Republican Party state chairman, will also likely surface as a potential candidate.

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NC-9: Ten Republicans File

By Jim Ellis

North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District

March 19, 2019 — Candidate filing for the upcoming special election cycle closed for North Carolina’s 9th District on Friday, and the official field now features 10 Republicans, one Democrat, and two minor party candidates.

The special election is necessary because no winner was officially declared in the 2018 general election due to voter fraud accusations in one county. If the special cycle extends through the full calendar, which will happen if any one of the nomination battles are forced into a run-off, the special general won’t occur until Nov. 5, a day short of what will be a full year since the 2018 votes were cast.

We already know the Democratic Party won’t require a runoff. The 2018 nominee, Dan McCready, will be unopposed for the special election nomination, meaning he is guaranteed a ballot position in the general. Minor party candidates Allen Smith (Green) and Jeff Scott (Libertarian) will also advance because they, too, are unopposed in their respective party primaries.

But, with 10 Republicans running, there is a good chance that none of the GOP contenders will reach the 30 percent threshold necessary to claim a plurality nomination. If the Republicans nominate someone in the May 14 primary, the special general then moves to Sept. 10. If, however, a runoff is required, the campaign then stretches to the aforementioned November date.

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Rep. Moulton Sees A Different Path

By Jim Ellis

March 13, 2019 — While former New York City mayor and media magnate Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) both backed away from entering the presidential campaign because they couldn’t see a path for themselves to win the Democratic nomination, a different Democratic office holder appears to be taking the opposite view.

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) was one of the leaders of the group who attempted to deny Nancy Pelosi a return to the speakership. Therefore, with little thought of becoming a factor in the current House Democratic majority, Moulton is looking at other opportunities.

While he didn’t expressly deny examining a potential primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey (D) earlier in the year, such a move no longer appears to be on the congressman’s horizon. Rather, he appears to believe his chances might be a bit better in trying for the “big prize.”

Scheduling visits to neighboring New Hampshire and then over to Iowa in the coming weeks, Rep. Moulton is clearly testing the waters to enter the presidential race. And, according to reports from people close to his effort, a national campaign announcement is likely forthcoming at the end of April or beginning of May.

Rep. Moulton, who served four tours of duty in the Iraq War and saw significant combat action, is a liberal Democrat, but he seems to be a hybrid in falling between the socialist Democrats such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and his Massachusetts colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and the former Blue Dog Democrats who trend more centrist.

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