Category Archives: House

GOP Battle Brewing in
North Carolina Senate

Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) – on thin ice in Senate bid? / Photo by Hal Goodtree, Flickr

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 17, 2022 — The North Carolina Senate candidates have dealt with more uncertainty than any other set of statewide political contenders in this election cycle. Some of the questions have now been answered, but others remain.

Due to the continuing congressional and state legislative redistricting legal battles that have hampered the state for virtually the entire preceding decade, even the candidate filing date and the primary schedule itself were in doubt until the courts finally set a political calendar.

In order to be more relevant for the 2020 presidential election, the legislature moved the state’s traditional May primary to early March to better influence the presidential nomination selection. By not taking action to move the primary back to May, it appeared that voters would choose their ’22 nominees on March 8.

In December, the state Supreme Court, after an early flurry of lower court redistricting action, took it upon themselves to transfer the state primary to May 17. They merely suspended the Dec. 17 candidate filing deadline, but did not issue a new date. Earlier this week, as part of its ruling upholding the GOP legislature’s congressional and legislative maps, the special three-judge panel assigned to hear the redistricting challenges set the filing deadline for March 4.

With these basic questions now answered, the candidates finally have a clear electoral timeline in which to work. With the Democrats earlier coming together on a consensus candidate, fireworks are beginning on the Republican side. In mid-December, state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), thought to be a major US Senate contender, dropped his statewide bid. This makes former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley an overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination.

In the past few days, a pair of Tar Heel State Republican primary Senate polls were released almost simultaneously, with both finding former Gov. Pat McCrory holding an edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). The ex-state chief executive’s advantage isn’t what one would expect for a well known party leader before his own partisan electorate, however. The McCrory campaign released their Strategic Partners Solutions survey (Jan. 5; 800 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters) that gives their man a 30-21-8 percent lead over Rep. Budd and former US Rep. Mark Walker.

The Civitas Institute’s latest Cygnal statewide poll (Jan. 7-9; 600 likely North Carolina Republican primary voters) also found McCrory holding an initial lead, but only through a 24-19 percent spread. Pushing for a decision from the 48 percent who said they were undecided and adding those preferences to the total actually finds Rep. Budd pulling into a small lead, 34-33 percent, when accounting for those who have “definitely” and “probably” made up their minds.

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Rep. Hollingsworth to Retire;
Tennessee Map Advances

By Jim Ellis

Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville)

Jan. 14, 2022 — Three-term Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the autumn, becoming the 12th Republican to retire in this election cycle. The congressman’s retirement decision means at least 46 seats will be open in the 2022 House election.

Saying, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process,” Hollingsworth will draw his congressional career to a close after six years. When he first ran in 2016, he pledged to serve no more than four terms. He expresses a desire to return to the private sector.

Indiana’s 9th District occupies most of the state’s southern sector and for years was a Blue Dog Democratic area. For 17 terms, Congressman Lee Hamilton (D), who became chairman of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, represented the district. Democrat Baron Hill succeeded him in 1998, and served until his defeat at the hands of Republican businessman Mike Sodrel in 2004. Two years later, Hill recaptured the seat and held it until his second loss in 2010, this time to attorney Todd Young (R) who is now the Hoosier State’s senior senator.

Since the Young victory in 2010, the 9th has performed as a solid Republican district. Donald Trump carried in the seat in 2016 with a 61-34 percent margin, and again in 2020 with a similar 61-37 percent vote spread.

Under the new Indiana congressional map, the new 9th moves to the north and east, but retains its population centers in Jeffersonville, Clarksville, and New Albany, all across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY, and in the college town of Bloomington where the Indiana University resides.

Dave’s Redistricting App rates the new seat as a 59.7 percent Republican domain, while the FiveThirtyEight statistical site projects the new IN-9 with an R+30 rating, up from R+27 on the current map. The Republican primary is expected to be crowded and competitive. The Indiana candidate filing deadline is Feb. 4 for the May 3 statewide primary.
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Cherfilus-McCormick Easily Wins Special election in Florida’s FL-20 Congressional District

By Jim Ellis

Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick easily won Tuesday’s special election in Florida’s FL-20 Congressional District.

Jan. 13, 2022 — Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, as expected, easily defeated Republican Jason Mariner Tuesday in a district that gave President Biden a 77-22 percent majority in 2020. Cherfilus-McCormick scored a 79-20 percent victory with 55,457 people voting and will now serve the balance of the late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ (D-Delray Beach) final term.

After winning the special Democratic primary over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness on Nov. 2 by just five votes, Rep-Elect Cherfilus-McCormick can now expect a highly competitive regular election Democratic primary challenge. Holness has already said he will oppose the new incumbent in the 2022 nomination election as he continues to pursue legal action in hopes of overturning the special primary results.

The Florida special congressional election was the nation’s eighth during this legislative session. Like the other seven, the candidate of the party originally holding the seat won the special vote. Five were Democrat seats, and three Republican. A ninth special election, that for resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R) seat in California, has been scheduled for April 5 with a runoff on June 7 if none of the eventual contenders garner majority support in the first vote.

Though predictions of a coming wave Republican election appear to be rampant, the odd-year election pattern reveals no such precursor. As mentioned, 100 percent of the congressional special elections have remained true to the originating party, but that has almost also been true among special elections in state legislatures.

A total of 33 state special elections occurred in 2021. Republicans captured three Democratic seats in Connecticut, Iowa, and Texas, but Democrats turned the tables on Republicans in another three: New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Therefore, a net conversion factor of zero resulted.

When the Democrats predicted their “blue wave” coming for the 2018 election, the commensurate election cycle saw much change in the special elections. In the 2017-18 cycle the Democrats flipped a net total of 19 seats that some believe was a prelude to the Democrats’ success in the regular ’18 election.

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Rep. Ed Perlmutter to Retire;
Yesterday’s FL-20 Special

Colorado’s Congressional redistricting map (click on image or here to go to the Dave’s Redistricting App’s interactive Colorado map)

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 12, 2022 — Colorado US Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Arvada) announced Monday that he will not stand for a ninth congressional term later this year, becoming the 26th Democratic House member not to seek re-election in 2022.

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission changed the 7th District toward the Republicans’ direction meaning Perlmutter, still favored to retain his seat, would have seen a much more competitive general election in addition to representing much more rural territory in the Centennial State’s central region.

CO-7 appears to be the second-most competitive district in the state’s eight-member delegation. Only the new 8th District, which contains a significant portion of the current 7th CD, is more competitive and already considered a toss-up district. Colorado was awarded a new seat in reapportionment largely because of its position as the nation’s sixth fastest growing state during the previous decade according to the 2020 Census Bureau population growth analysis.

The current 7th District lies wholly within Jefferson and Adams Counties, but the new 7th stretches to include parts of ten other counties while retaining only a sliver of its Adams County base. The 7th’s anchor population, more than 521,000 individuals, still resides in Jefferson County, commonly referred to as Jeffco.

The Dave’s Redistricting App statistical site calculates that Democrats historically receive 51.7 percent of the vote as compared to the Republicans’ 43.8 percent in the new 7th CD. The redistricting commission analysis of eight past elections finds the Democrats to have a 6.9 percent advantage in the new district, while winning all eight of the tested contests but generally with small margins.

The FiveThirtyEight statistical site rates the new 7th District as a D+6. Under the previous map, the 7th District was a stronger D+15 and supported President Biden with a 60-37 percent margin.

Prior to his election to Congress, Perlmutter served eight years in the Colorado state Senate. He announced his gubernatorial candidacy in the 2018 election cycle, but withdrew before the filing period concluded and instead ran for re-election.

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Redistricting Recap –
Competitive Race Chart

By Jim Ellis

In the trifecta of political parties controlling the House, Senate and Executive branches in a state, how many will really benefit from that power in the redistricting process?

Jan. 11, 2022 — A total of 27 states have completed their redistricting process and, at this point, it appears that the new district boundaries yield 89 competitive US House races, 36 of those in a respective party or jungle primary. Three of the six at-large states also feature competitive campaigns (Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming). Two of the three are primary contests.

Early reports of this redistricting cycle reducing the number of competitive 2022 campaigns contain a narrow definition of “competitive,” does not factor nomination battles or jungle primaries, and misjudged that states with citizens’ redistricting commissions have a clear bias toward creating contested seats.

Below is a chart of the 27 states where redistricting is complete, listing the potentially competitive races. If a member is not listed, his or her new district is rated as safe.

Of the remaining 17, three big states have not yet drawn final districts: Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. Therefore, a total of 152 CDs remain to be drawn in the uncompleted states.

STATE DIST INCUMBENT TYPE RATING
Alabama 5 Mo Brooks Open Seat Safe R
Arizona 1 David Schweikert General Toss-Up
2 Tom O’Halleran General Lean R
4 Greg Stanton General Lean D
6 Ann Kirkpatrick Open Seat Toss-Up
9 Paul Gosar R Primary Safe R
Arkansas None
California 3 Created Open Seat Lean R
5 Tom McClintock Jungle Primary Safe R
6 Ami Bera General Likely D
8 John Garamendi Jungle Primary Safe D
9 Jerry McNerney General Lean D
13 Josh Harder General Lean D
15 Jackie Speier Open Seat Safe D
22 David Valadao General Lean D
27 Mike Garcia General Lean D
34 Jimmy Gomez Jungle Primary Safe D
37 Karen Bass Open Seat Safe D
40 Young Kim General Lean R
41 Ken Calvert General Lean R
42 Alan Lowenthal Open Seat Safe D
42 Lucille Roybal-Allard
45 Michelle Steel General Lean R
47 Katie Porter General Lean D
49 Mike Levin General Lean D
Colorado 7 Ed Perlmutter General Lean D
8 New Seat General Toss-Up
Georgia 2 Sanford Bishop General Lean D
6 Created Open Seat Safe R
7 Carolyn Bourdeaux Pairing Safe D
7 Lucy McBath
10 Jody Hice Open Seat Safe R
13 David Scott D Primary Safe D
14 Marjorie T. Greene R Primary Safe R
Idaho None
Illinois 1 Bobby Rush Open Seat Safe D
3 Created Open Seat Safe D
6 Sean Casten Pairing Safe D
6 Marie Newman
13 Created Open Seat Likely D
15 Mary Miller Pairing Safe R
15 Rodney Davis
17 Cheri Bustos General Lean D
Indiana None
Iowa 1 M. Miller-Meeks General Toss-Up
2 Ashley Hinson General Lean R
3 Cindy Axne General Toss-Up
Maine 2 Jared Golden General Toss-Up
Maryland 1 Andy Harris General Lean R
Massachusetts 4 Jake Auchinloss D Primary Safe D
Michigan 3 Peter Meijer General Toss-Up
4 Bill Huizenga Pairing Likely R
4 Fred Upton
7 Elissa Slotkin General Lean D
8 Dan Kildee General Lean D
10 Created General Lean R
11 Haley Stevens Pairing Safe D
12 Rashida Tlaib D Primary Safe D
13 Created Open Seat Safe D
Montana 1 New Seat Open Seat Lean R
Nebraska 2 Don Bacon General Lean R
Nevada 1 Dina Titus General Lean D
3 Susie Lee General Lean D
4 Steven Horsford General Lean D
New Jersey 7 Tom Malinowski General Toss-Up
New Mexico 2 Yvette Herrell General Lean D
3 Teresa L. Fernandez General Lean D
North Carolina 2 G.K. Butterfield Open Seat Lean D
4 Created Open Seat Lean R
6 David Price Open Seat Safe D
7 Ted Budd Open Seat Safe R
11 Virginia Foxx Pairing Likely R
11 Kathy Manning
14 New Seat General Likely R
13 Madison Cawthorn R Primary Lean R
Ohio 1 Steve Chabot General Toss-Up
9 Marcy Kaptur General Lean D
13 Tim Ryan Open Seat Toss-up
13 Anthony Gonzalez
Oklahoma None
Oregon 4 Peter DeFazio Open Seat Likely D
5 Kurt Schrader General Lean D
6 New Seat General Likely D
Texas 1 Louie Gohmert Open Seat Safe R
3 Van Taylor R Primary Likely R
8 Kevin Brady Open Seat Likely R
15 Filemon Vela Open Seat Toss-Up
21 Chip Roy General Likely R
23 Tony Gonzales General Lean R
27 Michael Cloud R Primary Safe R
28 Henry Cuellar D Primary Likely D
30 Eddie B. Johnson Open Seat Safe D
35 New Seat D Primary Safe D
38 New Seat R Primary Safe R
Utah None
Virginia 2 Elaine Luria General Toss-Up

Analyzing Arizona

Click on map to go to Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s interactive map.

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 10, 2022 — Now that the new redistricting maps have been finalized in as many as 27 states, analysts can produce more detailed data about how the new seats will perform politically.

Such is the case in Arizona, as the Phoenix-based Data Orbital firm has published a new report about the Grand Canyon State’s congressional and state legislative maps. The DO research paints a more detailed picture of what we might expect in the 2022 elections.

At first glance, it appeared that the Arizona map might be one of the nation’s most competitive. The new Data Orbital information certainly supports such a conclusion, and tells us that two incumbents actually have more difficult situations than suggested at first glance, one a possibly easier road to re-election, and a third district that will likely produce razor-thin margins for either party in at least the decade’s early elections.

It was clear that Reps. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) and Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) were placed in more competitive situations than their current CDs yield, but the more detailed historical data finds that their respective roads to re-election are even rockier.

The Data Orbital firm measured each district through five statewide elections from 2020 and 2018, overlaid the partisan registration figures, added the new registration trends, and took into account district electorate performance in high and lower turnout situations.

Using all of this data, we see that Rep. O’Halleran clearly has the worst draw and his chances for re-election this year appear dim. His new 2nd District (previously numbered 1) went Republican in all five of the tested elections; Republicans have the edge in current and new voter registration, and the Republican candidates performed better in both high and low turnout elections.

In all, the Republican nominees averaged vote margins of more than 10 percent over their Democratic counterparts. There is no statistical measure where Democrats outperformed Republicans in the new 2nd District, which places Rep. O’Halleran in the most difficult position of all the incumbents seeking re-election.

Rep. Schweikert, who won his last re-election in the current 6th District with only 52 percent, sees a much tougher road ahead of him in 2022 within the confines of the new 1st District.

In the five tested races — 2020 presidential, 2020 Senate, 2020 congressional, 2018 gubernatorial, and 2018 attorney general — Republicans only won two. The winning percentage for the Republican victories, however, is much higher than the three Democratic victories – the Dems only scored a cumulative winning average of 1.2 percent — so Schweikert certainly has a chance of winning another term. The GOP does score an overall performance margin advantage of 4.1 percent and leads the Democrats in party registration, among new registrants, and in both low and high turnout elections.

At first glance, it appeared that Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) would have a more difficult re-election situation than what the deeper dive numbers suggest. Democrats won four of the five tested elections, the overall vote average favors the Democratic candidates by 5.6 percentage points, and while registration breaks almost evenly among the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, the vote performance figures suggest that the Independent sector clearly leans Democratic. While Independents overwhelming lead the new registration category, the Democrats also outperform the Republicans by 2.4 percentage points.

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Rep. Bobby Rush to Retire

US Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago)

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 6, 2022 — From Illinois Black Panther Party co-founder to 30-year member of Congress, US Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) after the first of the year announced that he will not seek a 16th term next year. Rush becomes the 24th Democrat to leave the House either for retirement or seeking another elective office. A 25th Democratic seat, that of the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), will be filled next week (Jan. 11) in a special election.

Bobby Rush co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, but left for the Democratic Party in 1974. He was elected to the Chicago City Council in 1983, and then to the US House in the 1992 election. In addition to his civil rights activism and background, his claim to national fame was defeating then-state Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic congressional primary of 2000.

Obama, of course, would go onto win the US Senate election in 2004, and the presidency in 2008. Interestingly, former President Obama is not the only recent president who lost a race for the House of Representatives. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also failed to win a district contest.

Illinois’ 1st District is heavily Democratic, even in its new form that meanders farther away from its south Chicago population anchor. The new 1st stretches all the way to the city of Wilmington, some 60 miles from the traditional heart of IL-1.

Likely anticipating that Rush would retire, seven Democrats had previously announced their 2022 candidacies, but none are elected officials. With the incumbent retirement now official, we can expect a number of Chicago Democratic politicians to enter the open race. As many as 11 sitting state and local officials are being mentioned as possible candidates in addition to Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton.

Regardless of who files before the March 14 candidate declaration deadline, the June 28 Democratic primary winner will easily claim the seat in November. While the new 1st is a bit more Republican than Rep. Rush’s current CD, the new district is still overwhelmingly Democratic and majority minority under the Democratic legislature’s gerrymandered map. According to the FiveThirtyEight statistical site, the new 1st is a D+41, down from the current 1st District rating of D+47.

Of the 24 Democratic incumbents not seeking re-election, 17 are retiring and seven are seeking another office, from US Senate and governor to state attorney general and big city mayor.

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