Category Archives: House

Former Navy SEAL Edges Tester in New Montana Poll; California Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling; Challenger to Florida Rep. Lee

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, April 11, 2024

Senate

Retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy

Montana: Sheehy Edges Tester in New Poll — JL Partners returned a poll for the Montana State News Bureau (March 26-29; 503 likely Montana voters) and, for the first time this year, data shows the Republican challenger leading Sen. Jon Tester (D) as he attempts to secure a fourth term.

The survey finds presumptive Republican nominee Tim Sheehy, an aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL, edging the senator 48-45 percent in one of the most important races to determine the next Senate majority.

The questionnaire did not contain a question about the presidential race, but Montana is again expected to be one of former President Donald Trump’s strongest states. Thus, a favorable Republican turnout model will also elevate Sheehy’s chances.

House

CA-20: Appeals Court Upholds Pro-Fong Ruling — A California appellate court upheld the lower court ruling that allowed Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) to compete in the congressional race after he was certified as a candidate for state Assembly. The Secretary of State barred Fong from entering the regular congressional primary under the premise that an individual cannot seek two public offices simultaneously. Through court ruling, Fong, in fact, did seek both offices, placing first in the congressional regular election and runoff, while running unopposed for the Assembly.

The appellate court ruling for the state would have sent the Central Valley political situation into chaos and, as the judges stated, would have invalidated a legitimate election. Such a move would have led to even more ambiguity, confusion, and additional special elections not only for the vacant US House seat, but also for Fong’s Assembly district should the assemblyman successfully win the congressional special election set for May 21. At this time, he is favored to win both the special and general election. Upon winning the special, Fong would immediately replace former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R), who resigned.

It is possible that Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) could still continue along the appellate process, hopefully, from her perspective, convincing the state Supreme Court to address the matter. Unless that happens, Fong is likely headed to Congress.

FL-15: Candidate Comes Forth to Challenge Rep. Lee — In March, former President Trump called upon Tampa Bay area Republicans to field a primary challenger to freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa) because she endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the ’24 presidential campaign. Now, James Judge, who ran in the area’s 14th District against entrenched Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) in 2022, is answering the call and will switch districts. He began the ’24 election cycle attempting to challenge Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) in adjacent District 12.

Rep. Lee should still be considered a heavy favorite, however. Judge, running in a D+14 district according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, recorded 43 percent of the vote against Rep. Castor. This is the type of performance one would expect for a Republican congressional nominee in such a Democratic district. Additionally, he spent just over $200,000 for that race, indicating he doesn’t have much fundraising ability, and a judge had to award him ballot placement in the 2022 election because he did not file the proper candidate forms, which originally led to his disqualification.

Rep. Lee was elected to the House with 59 percent of the vote in the last election from a district that 538 rates as R+7, but one that Trump carried only 51-48 percent. Prior to running for Congress, Lee served as a Circuit Court judge and as secretary of state when Gov. DeSantis appointed her to the position. In 2022, she won a five-way open Republican primary by just under 14 points against her closest competitor.

GOP VP Polling Results; CO-8 GOP Nomination; Bowman Trails Badly in NY-16; Washington Governor’s Race

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 8, 2024

President

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) leading the VP pack in polling.

YouGov Poll: Tests Enthusiasm & Trump VP Choices — International online pollster YouGov, again polling for the Economist publication as they do on a regular basis, included questions about enthusiasm for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, as well as favorability rating for eleven potential Republican vice presidential choices.

On the enthusiasm questions, as we have seen from primary turnout numbers across the country, President Biden has a major problem. Among self-identified Democrats in the latest YouGov national survey (March 30-April 2; 1,813 US adults; online) only 38 percent responded affirmatively that they are enthusiastic about Biden’s candidacy. Another 21 percent said they are dissatisfied with the president’s candidacy, with an additional six percent of Democrats confirming they are “upset” with the status of his campaign. A final 37 percent said they are satisfied with Biden, but not enthusiastic.

Compared with former President Trump, 57 percent of Republicans said they are enthusiastic about his candidacy, six percent dissatisfied but not upset, eight percent upset, while 26 percent say they are satisfied but not enthusiastic.

On the vice presidential front, 11 prospects were tested. They are (alphabetically):

  1. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
  2. former HUD Secretary Ben Carson
  3. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
  4. ex-Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
  5. former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
  6. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
  7. former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
  8. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  9. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
  10. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
  11. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH)

Rating the candidates equally on their favorability indexes and awarding individual points for standing in the high favorable, low unfavorable, and best ratio between the two scores, the top finishers were Sen. Scott and Dr. Carson. Finishing dead last among the group, and the only candidate viewed with an upside-down favorability index, is Haley. Though Gov. DeSantis is ineligible to serve as vice president because both he and Trump reside in the same state, he was still included in the poll and fared well, placing just behind Scott and Carson.

CO-8: GOP Nomination Virtually Secured — Colorado Republicans from the Denver suburban 8th Congressional District met in caucus and advanced state Rep. Gave Evans (R-Westminster) into the general election with 62 percent delegate support.

The other qualifier is state Rep. Janak Joshi, but he resides all the way south in Colorado Springs, far from the 8th District. Health insurance consultant Joe Andujo is now disqualified since he failed to reach the 10 percent threshold at the party convention. He was also circulating petitions to qualify, but those efforts are now discarded because he failed to reach the minimum delegate support threshold. Andujo then endorsed Rep. Evans at the convention.

Very likely, we will now see Evans advancing from Colorado’s June 25 primary election, where he will become the general election candidate to oppose freshman Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton). The congresswoman, first elected in 2022 in what is Colorado’s newest congressional seat, scored only 48.4 percent of the vote, defeating her Republican opponent by less than a full percentage point. Count on this race becoming a major national GOP offensive target.

NY-16: Rep. Bowman Trails Badly in New Dem Primary Poll — Justice Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), who unseated veteran Rep. Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary, appears to be in trouble as he seeks renomination for a third term. A new Mellman Group survey (March 26-30; 400 likely NY-16 Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) conducted for the George Latimer campaign finds the challenging Westchester County Executive leading Rep. Bowman by a whopping 52-35 percent margin as the June 25 primary comes into view.

Rep. Bowman aligns himself with the group that calls themselves “the Squad” that comprises the far left of the Democratic Conference. Latimer, prior to his election as county executive, served in both the New York Senate and Assembly. This race is now becoming another key primary campaign as several incumbents from around the country face stiff competition in their quest for renomination.

Governor

Washington: Ex-Rep. Reichert (R) Takes Lead in New Gov Poll — An Echelon Insights survey finds Republican former US Rep. Dave Reichert leading Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson in the open race for governor, thus providing more evidence that the Washington race is becoming much more competitive than originally projected.

Echelon Insights tested the Evergreen State electorate (March 18-21; 600 registered Washington voters; online, text & live interview) and sees Reichert grasping a 39-30 percent advantage over AG Ferguson in what is one of the most Democratic states in the country. Some suggest that the poll skews more Republican since Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) claims an underperforming 44-36 percent margin over physician and 2020 gubernatorial candidate Raul Garcia (R), and President Biden posts only a plurality number over Donald Trump, 48-37 percent.

While a skew may well exist, the poll is in the realm of other research findings and confirms that Reichert is a Republican candidate with staying power and capable of becoming a viable challenger.

Nebraska Moves to Change Electoral Vote Apportionment; Curious GOP Targeting in Alaska House Race; A Tie in CA-16?; Braun’s Lead in Indiana

Click on above map to go to interactive version. | 270towin.com

By Jim Ellis — Friday, April 5, 2024

President

Nebraska: Move to Change Electoral Vote Apportionment — With the support of Gov. Jim Pillen (R), a bill in the Nebraska unicameral legislature would change Nebraska’s electoral vote apportionment system, which allows each of the state’s three congressional districts to carry their own electoral vote and change the system to the more common winner-take-all option.

Nebraska and Maine are the two states where presidential candidates win two electoral votes for clinching the statewide vote and one each for every carried congressional district.

The move would help former President Donald Trump in this year’s presidential race, because he is a lock to carry the statewide vote but is the underdog in the Omaha-anchored 2nd Congressional District.

Though Republicans have a large majority in the ostensibly non-partisan state Senate, there is no guarantee the votes will be present to change the system. Doing so, however, would likely deliver an important electoral vote to the Trump candidacy.

House

AK-AL: CLF’s Curious Targeting — The Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republicans’ top House Super PAC, unveiled their first 20 targets for the upcoming general election. Nineteen of the supported candidates are not particularly surprising, but their choice in Alaska’s at-large CD does raise eyebrows. The CLF is supporting Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) in the top-four contest, even though published research finds that Republican attorney and former candidate Nick Begich fares better against incumbent Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

In a recently released poll (Data for Progress; Feb. 29-March 2; 1,120 AK-AL likely voters), Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom trailed Begich by 25 points and was 34 points down to Rep. Peltola on the initial multi-candidate ballot test. Once the hypothetical Ranked Choice Voting rounds were simulated, Begich finished at parity with Pelota with each garnering an equal 50 percent share. Therefore, it is curious that the CLF is bypassing Begich to support a weaker candidate.

CA-16: An Apparent Tie — It appears that all votes have finally been counted in California’s open 16th Congressional District and the long anticipated result for the second general election qualifying position has apparently ended in a flat tie. Both San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) each have an unofficial 30,249-vote tally.

If this result becomes final both men will advance into the general election against former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) who long ago secured the first qualifying position. This would lead to a three-way general election among a trio of Democrats, a rarity in a top two jungle primary system. The eventual winner of this race succeeds retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton).

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Continues with Significant Lead — Crossroads Public Affairs, polling for the Indy Politics campaign blog, released a new survey for the upcoming open Hoosier State Republican gubernatorial primary scheduled for May 7. The survey (March 24-25; 500 likely Indiana Republican primary voters) sees US Sen. Mike Braun leading the primary field with a 33-11-11-10 percent margin over Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, businessman Eric Doden, and former Indiana Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers.

While still holding a strong lead, Sen. Braun’s advantage has decreased since the last published poll from Emerson College, which found him posting a 34-7-7-5 percent lead. Therefore, while the opponents have shown some collective gain in the past three weeks, the fact that the challengers are all so closely bunched will allow Sen. Braun to capture the gubernatorial nomination even if he only attains plurality support.

Party Division Changes in US House; Credible Challenger in FL-6; Challenger to Rep. Mace Drops Out; Legal Wranglings in New Jersey

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 2, 2024

House

House: Party Division Changes — There is a great deal of confusion as to where the House party division currently stands with the large number of resignations and related special elections soon to occur. Because of this unusual situation the numbers are going to change frequently as we head through the June primaries.

Right now, the House stands at 218R — 213D. There are four vacancies, three Republican seats — ex-Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), and Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) and one Democratic (Brian Higgins (D-NY-26). Rep. Gallagher will resign on April 19. Because Gallagher is staying past April 9, the replacement special election will be concurrent with the general election. The count will then recede to 217R — 213D.

  • The first special election is April 30: Higgins, NY-26. The Democrats are a virtual lock to win. Doing so will make the division count 217R — 214D.
  • The next special is May 21: McCarthy, CA-20. Republicans will win. The division count will then move to 218R — 214D.
  • The Ohio special election is June 11: Johnson, OH-6. Republicans will win in the person of state Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem). The division count goes to 219R — 214D.
  • The Colorado special is June 25: Buck, CO-4. The Republicans will win with a caretaker candidate named Greg Lopez, the former mayor of the city of Parker. The division count will then move to 220R — 214D.

FL-6: Prominent NAACP Leader to Challenge Rep. Waltz — Three-term Florida US Rep. Michael Waltz (R-St. Augustine Beach) has drawn a credible challenger for the first time since his original election in 2018. Marion County NAACP president and pastor James Stockton (D) announced his candidacy yesterday as the Florida candidate filing deadline fast approaches on April 26 in conjunction with the state’s Aug. 20 primary election.

Marion County is the second largest population entity in Florida’s 6th District. Though Stockton may be the most credible of Rep. Waltz’s challengers, his chances of upsetting the incumbent are slim to say the least. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates FL-6 as R+28. Former President Donald Trump recorded a 61-38 percent victory percentage here in 2020, the third strongest of Florida’s 20 Republican congressional districts.

SC-1: Ex-Chief of Staff Drops Bid Against Rep. Mace — Earlier this winter, news was made when Dan Hanlon, the former chief of staff to South Carolina US Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) resigned his position and announced he would oppose his former boss in the coming Republican primary. Just before candidate filing expired yesterday, Hanlon closed the committee he filed with the Federal Election Commission and chose not to enter the race.

Perhaps the main reason for his action is the presence of a serious opponent, former South Carolina cabinet secretary Catherine Templeton who clearly is capable to offering a credible Republican alternative to Rep. Mace. Templeton also announced that she has topped the $500,000 mark in fundraising after just eight weeks on the campaign trail.

A third contender, non-profit executive Bill Young, while not a threat to outpace either Mace or Templeton, could attract enough votes to force the leader below the 50 percent mark. Should that happen, the top two finishers would then advance to a June 25 runoff election to determine the nominee. This will be a primary race to watch on June 11.

States

New Jersey: Caveat to Court Ruling — Last week, we reported on a New Jersey court ruling that agreed with Rep. Andy Kim’s (D-Moorestown) lawsuit over the local political parties having the power to award favorable ballot positions at the expense of their primary opponents. The judge agreed and issued an injunction that will stop the practice at least for this election.

Yesterday, however, the judge clarified his ruling in saying that the injunction applies only to the Democratic primary to which the plaintiff, Kim, who is now the prohibitive favorite to win the Senate Democratic primary regardless of where is appears on the ballot, limited his complaint.

Trump Stirs Controversy in Florida; Fong Saga Continues in California; Republicans Choose CO-4 Candidate; New Jersey Primary Challenge

By Jim Ellis — Monday, April 1, 2024

House

Florida Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa)

FL-15: Rep. Lee’s New Opponent — Former President Trump may have ignited a hornets’ nest when he called for a MAGA candidate to come forward to oppose GOP freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa). While that has yet to happen, the controversy within the Republican base may have encouraged a new Democrat to come forward in what is a competitive district. Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp (D) announced on Friday that he will enter the Democratic primary and immediately becomes the favorite for the party nomination.

Trump targeted Rep. Lee because she was the only member of the Florida Republican delegation to endorse Gov. Ron DeSantis against the former president in this year’s national campaign. Florida’s 15th District carries an R+7 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. However, Trump won the district by only a 51-48 percent margin in the 2020 presidential election.

CA-20: Appellate Court to Hear Fong Ballot Status — The Vince Fong ballot saga is not yet over. You may remember because former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) resigned from the House at the California candidate filing deadline, the Secretary of State disqualified Fong from running for Congress because he was already certified as a candidate for state Assembly to remain in his seat there. California election law prohibits candidates from running for more than one office simultaneously and the withdrawal deadline had already expired.

Fong sued over the decision and the court awarded him the congressional ballot line. Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) appealed the ruling, however, and arguments will be heard this week. Therefore, though Assemblyman Fong has qualified for both the special and regular general elections for the congressional seat, an adverse appellate court ruling could send this succession election into political chaos.

CO-4: Republicans Choose Caretaker Candidate — Late last week, the local Republican committee formed to choose a special election nominee for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District special election to replace resigned Rep. Ken Buck (R) chose a candidate who agreed not to run for the regular term. The move is a break for US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt), switching over from District 3, and the 10 other candidates in the regular Republican primary.

The committee chose former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez as their special election candidate. He will be favored to win the upcoming special election which is held concurrently with the regular primary on June 25.

Lopez, a former state director for the Small Business Administration, will be favored against the Democratic nominee who will be chosen later today. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CO-4 as R+26. Former President Donald Trump won the seat 58-39 percent in the 2020 presidential election.

States

New Jersey: Court Rejects Party County Line Balloting — New Jersey is one of the few remaining states where the county political parties have substantial power. What makes them strong is endorsing candidates in the primary and providing them extremely favorable ballot placements to the point where opponents are listed on separate ballot pages.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), running for the Senate, filed suit against the practice and the federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to halt the practice. While Kim is now becoming the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic Senate nomination since First Lady Tammy Murphy exited the race and Sen. Bob Menendez announced that he is not seeking the party nomination, his legal move will likely create a more even playing field for down-ballot races. This will probably become a major factor in changing how New Jersey primaries are run.

Christie Says No to No Labels; Florida, South Carolina Redistricting; Quick Candidate Filing in New Hampshire

By Jim Ellis — Friday, March 29, 2024

President

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says no to No Labels. / Photo by Gage Skidmore

No Labels: Christie Says No — The No Labels Party is seemingly having a difficult time either choosing a presidential nominee or having someone accept their offer to run on their ballot line. A story emerged that former New Jersey governor and ex-presidential candidate Chris Christie (R), after being in negotiations with No Labels, has decided not to pursue entering the 2024 presidential general election as this party’s standard bearer.

Christie, in announcing his decision, said “I also believe that if there is not a pathway to win and if my candidacy in any way, shape or form would help Donald Trump become president again, then it is not the way forward.”

The No Labels membership has voted to field a presidential ticket, but so far, the leadership has not brought forth a national candidate pairing.

House

Florida Redistricting: Federal Judicial Panel Rejects Plaintiffs’ Arguments — A three-judge federal panel has rejected a lawsuit claiming that the Sunshine State congressional map violates the 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution. The ruling’s result means that the current plan will remain in place.

The Florida map, from which the district electorates chose 20 Republicans and eight Democrats, is the Republicans’ strongest, nationally. Therefore, not changing this plan boosts GOP chances of maintaining their small majority.

SC-1: District Looks to Stand — With the South Carolina candidate filing deadline upon us on April 1 and the US Supreme Court so far not ruling on the redistricting case before them, the original three-judge panel has taken action. The federal jurists who initially declared the Palmetto State’s 1st District (Rep. Nancy Mace-R) a racial gerrymander ruled yesterday that the current configuration can stand for the 2024 election. The panel acted because SCOTUS has failed to issue their decision after hearing oral arguments and considering that the filing deadline is Monday.

The fact that the high court has not yet ruled suggests that the district will stand. Though the lawsuit was targeted to the racial complexion of the 1st District, changing this seat will invariably alter at least one other. South Carolina has seven districts that are split in in a 6R:1D ratio.

NH-2: First Candidate Announcement — A day after six-term New Hampshire US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton) announced that she will not seek re-election, a former gubernatorial nominee came forward to declare for the seat. Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern (D), who held now-Gov. Chris Sununu (R) to an initial 49-47 percent victory in 2016, officially threw his hat into the congressional political ring.

New Hampshire’s 2nd is a politically marginal district that leans Democratic. Republicans will certainly contest the seat, but the quick Van Ostern move suggests he will become the early favorite not only for the Democratic nomination, but to hold the seat in November.

The New Hampshire filing deadline is not until June 14, so potential candidates have considerable time to make their decisions. Crowded fields are expected in both parties, but possibly less so for the Democrats now that Van Ostern has declared his intentions so quickly.

Figures Records Major Lead in Alabama Runoff; New Challenger in AZ-2; Rep. Kuster to Retire; Clear Leader Emerges in North Dakota

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 28, 2024

House

Former Obama Justice Department official Shomari Figures.

AL-2: Figures Records Major Lead in New Runoff Poll — Impact Research conducted a research study for the upcoming April 2 Democratic runoff election in Alabama’s new 2nd Congressional District anchored in the Montgomery and Mobile areas. The survey (March 14-18; 500 likely AL-2 Democratic runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) sees former Obama Justice Department official Shomari Figures, who finished first in the March 5 primary with 43.5 percent of the vote, leading state House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Montgomery) by a whopping 59-24 percent margin.

The eventual Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite in the general election. President Joe Biden carried this newly configured district with a 56-43 percent vote spread in 2020. The state’s congressional map was redrawn to comply with the US Supreme Court ruling in the Alabama racial gerrymandering case.

AZ-2: McCarthy Opponent Draws Primary Challenge — Freshman Arizona Rep. Eli Crane (R-Oro Valley), who is one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, has drawn a primary opponent. Yavapai County Supervisor Jack Smith (R) announced yesterday that he would follow through with a challenge to Crane after he filed a campaign committee weeks ago with the Federal Election Commission.

The 2nd Congressional District of Arizona covers the state’s northeastern sector and then stretches into Maricopa County, in and around the Phoenix metro area. The seat is safely Republican, so the true battle will be in the GOP primary scheduled for July 30.

NH-2: Rep. Kuster to Retire — Six-term New Hampshire US Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton) announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election next year. Her departure paves the way for a competitive primary and general election season. Kuster averaged 53.3 percent of the vote in her six victorious elections, dropping below 50 percent in 2016 (49.8 percent) while scoring her strongest vote of 55.8 percent in 2022. She was first elected in 2012, defeating then-Rep. Charlie Bass (R) in that year’s general election.

NH-2 becomes the 49th open seat heading into the next election. Kuster becomes the 25th House Democrat not to seek another term. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the western New Hampshire seat as D+2, and the Daily Kos Elections site ranks NH-2 as the 21st-most vulnerable district in the Democratic Conference. President Biden, however, recorded a 54-45 percent victory over former President Donald Trump in 2020, thus exceeding the typical Democratic performance in this swing seat.

ND-AL: Clear Leader Emerges — As candidate filing in North Dakota closed, the race for the open at-large congressional district is becoming clearer. Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R), viewed as a strong contender, decided not to file for the seat just after outgoing Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced his Republican primary endorsement of state Public Utilities Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

It appears that Fedorchak is becoming the favorite for the nomination. With the FiveThirtyEight data organization rating North Dakota as R+37 and former President Trump carrying the seat with a 65-32 percent margin, winning the Republican primary is typically tantamount to claiming the seat in the November election.

Three-term Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) is running for governor. In addition to Fedorchak, former state Rep. Rick Becker and farmer and retired Air Force veteran Alex Balazs comprise the open-seat GOP primary field. For the Democrats, educator and 2022 Public Utilities Commission nominee Trygve Hammer is unopposed for the party nomination.