Category Archives: House

Apportionment Surprises


By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2021 — In virtually every 10-year apportionment announcement at least one surprise occurs, but the census unveiling Monday contained multiple blockbusters.

For example, two states had their final number of congressional districts determined by less than 90 people. Reportedly, if New York had just had 89 more people, that would have saved an Empire State congressional seat. Minnesota becomes the beneficiary allowing the state to barely hold its eighth district.

Instead of 10 seats changing states as had been forecast, only seven, affecting 13 domains, switched. Perhaps the main reason for the lower number is the decade population growth rate. According to yesterday’s final report, the nation grew at only a 7.4 percent rate, the lowest since the 1930 census’s 7.3 percent. By contrast, the population increase from the 2010 total was 9.7 percent.

Pre-census projections, for better than a year, had been predicting that Texas would gain three seats, Florida two, and Arizona one. The analysts also estimated seat losses for Alabama, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. None of these projections proved accurate.

On the other hand, prognostications for the balance of the map were accurate. Texas, and Florida did gain, but two and one, respectively, instead of three and two seats. Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon each added one district apiece as expected. The one-seat losers were California, for the first time in history, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

It’s a bit too soon to determine which party will benefit the most from these numbers at the congressional level, though Republicans should be up slightly in the Electoral College for the next presidential campaign. Once we see how the population is distributed within the states will better tell us whether Democrats or Republicans will take the most advantage of the apportionment. This will depend upon how the population spreads through the cities, suburbs, and rural regions.

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LA-2 – Troy Carter Wins Special

By Jim Ellis

Louisiana state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), the establishment candidate, defeated state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) who the Justice Democrats supported, in the LA-2 special election Saturday. (Photo: Troy Carter Campaign)

April 27, 2021 — In a race pitting the Louisiana Democratic establishment opposite the national progressive left Justice Democrats’ movement, state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), the establishment candidate, defeated state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) who the Justice Democrats supported, to win the 2nd Congressional District special election on Saturday night.

The district, open because former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) resigned from Congress to accept a position in the Biden White House, featured a double-Democratic runoff, meaning the party was guaranteed to hold the seat, but which faction ultimately would end up with the win was open to question.

In the end, the competitive and at times nasty campaign between the two state legislators culminated in a 55-45 percent win for Sen. Carter, a margin of 9,216 votes. The unofficial final turnout figure was 87,806, a little less than 6,800 voters under the original March 20th primary participation factor of 94,567. The figures translated into a vote drop-off percentage rate of 7.2.

Sen. Carter captured six of the 10 parishes that comprise the 2nd District. He recorded a big win in Jefferson Parish (67-33 percent), the district’s second-largest local entity. The now representative-elect performed better only in St. Charles Parish (70-30 percent). As was the case in the primary election, Sen. Peterson’s greater strength came in the Baton Rouge area, and the pattern repeated itself on Saturday.

The district’s largest locality, Orleans Parish, which encompasses the city of New Orleans, produced a little more than half of Saturday’s turnout. The parish yielded a close vote with Sen. Carter prevailing there with only 53 percent in the area where both candidates call home.

Each contender spent upward of $1 million for their campaigns, with outside organizations also weighing in with equivalent expenditures.

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LA-2’s Saturday Special Election

(LA-2 Candidate Troy Carter’s Closing Ad)

By Jim Ellis

April 26, 2021 — The special election to fill the vacant Louisiana congressional district from which former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) resigned when he accepted a Biden White House appointment was decided Saturday, with the contest having evolved into a more significant race than originally anticipated.

The one thing we knew coming into the special election was that a Democratic New Orleans state senator would win the race, but the question around which of the two would prevail was one of longer-term national importance. We saw in this race not just a runoff between two Democratic contenders for a Democratic congressional seat, but rather an intensifying battle between the more traditional party base and the hard left movement that has had success in other places.

A victory for the Justice Democrats in the person of state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) will increase the movement’s strength and likely lead to stronger primary challenges against more traditional Democratic incumbents come 2022.

Remember, state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) placed first in the March 20 jungle primary with 34 percent of the vote. Sen. Peterson edged Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers, Jr. by 22.9 – 21.3 percent, a margin of 1,510 votes of 94,567 votes cast and spread among 15 candidates.

In the LA-2 special election on Saturday, Carter won by a 10-point spread over Peterson, 55-45%.

Peterson ironically qualified for the runoff with a better-than-expected performance in the Baton Rouge section of the district and fell below expectations in her home city of New Orleans. Conversely, Chambers proved weaker in his home of Baton Rouge but stronger in New Orleans.

Chambers’ endorsement of Sen. Peterson marked the beginning of the support we saw moving toward the second-place finisher, but the lack of available polling data – the last poll we’d seen for this race came from Edgewater Research over the March 1-2 period, which gave Sen. Carter a 35-24 percent lead – allowed us to surmise that Saturday’s end result was likely to be close and could have trended in either direction.

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House Money

By Jim Ellis

April 22, 2021 — The first quarter Federal Election Commission financial disclosure reports were due from all incumbents and official candidates on April 15, and the statistical staff from the Daily Kos Elections website, as they typically do, tallied and organized all the monetary results.

For the quarter, 493 House incumbents and candidates filed reports. The incumbent category does not include those who have already announced they are not seeking re-election in 2022. As a group, the 493 House political organizations raised an aggregate $138,944,000 for a mean average of $281,915 per individual campaign. Conversely, the median average, defined as a number of which an equal share of entities are above and below, was only $143,000.

This particular median average result tells us that the 1st quarter House political dollar stats are very top heavy, with a total of 23 contenders, all incumbents, raising more than $1 million for the quarter.

The top fundraiser, not unexpectedly, obtaining just under $4 million was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The second-place finisher, however, was a surprise. Controversial Republican freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was stripped of her committee assignments because of her association with QAnon theory, amassed over $3.22 million, virtually all from small donors. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) recorded $3.16 million in receipts, just about $400,000 ahead of party leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The cash-on-hand numbers were actually quite stunning. The aggregate total for the 493 reporting entities is $442,131,000 for a mean average per campaign unit of $856,259. Again, this is weighted heavily to the top quarter of campaigns, as the median average is only $458,000.

The House member with the most money in his account is California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) with a whopping $14.4 million cash-on-hand. Raising almost $2 million in the first quarter, Schiff, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during the Trump impeachment hearings was able to rake in millions.

He may need to make heavy expenditures in the next election campaign, however. California is likely to lose a seat in reapportionment, and Schiff, whose district sits in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and has the lowest population level of all 53 current Golden State US House districts, is in danger of seeing his seat being the one eliminated.

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Ohio Rep. Stivers to Resign

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus)

April 21, 2021 — The growing list of US House vacancies has risen again, but this one came as a surprise. Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus), who had raised close to $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2021 in testing the waters for a possible US Senate campaign, has decided to leave elective politics altogether.

Effective May 16, Stivers will resign from the 15th District in the Buckeye State’s US House delegation in order to become President/CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. His about-face from joining the open Senate race leaves former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken and ex-state Treasurer Josh Mandel in the GOP field along with author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, who appears ready to enter.

Also in the contest are businessmen Mike Gibbons, a 2018 US Senate candidate, and Bernie Moreno. North Ohio state senator and Cleveland Indians baseball club minority owner Matt Dolan is also a possible Republican candidate. Democrats appear to be coalescing around Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), though he has yet to formally announce his Senate campaign.

The Stivers move could open the door for one or more of his congressional colleagues who have been considering the Senate race, namely Reps. Mike Turner (R-Dayton), Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), and David Joyce (R-Russell Township).

The Stivers’ seat will become the fifth vacated House district once he departs in the middle of May and the Louisiana congressional vacancy (LA-2) is filled in a special election this Saturday, April 24. Currently, in addition to Rep. Stivers, seven House members have announced they will not be standing for re-election in 2022, either retiring or seeking a different office.

Once Rep. Stivers officially resigns, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will schedule a replacement special election for the balance of the term. It is more than likely he will follow the same calendar set for the state’s other congressional vacancy, the 11th District of former representative and now-Housing & Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland/Akron).

The 11th CD schedule calls for a partisan primary on Aug. 3 with the general election Nov. 2. Ohio election law allows for special elections to be called only in certain months, hence the long cycle for these vacant seats.

The 15th District sits largely in the center of the state and occupies approximately 20 percent of Franklin County, including part of the city of Columbus, and also contains all or portions of 11 other counties. The seat encompasses the rural areas west, southwest, and southeast of the Columbus metro area. It is traditionally Republican, though a version of the seat elected Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in the 2008 election after eight-term Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) had retired. Kilroy defeated Stivers, then a state senator, in a close 46-45 percent result. He returned for a re-match in 2010 and won a convincing 13-point victory, ousting Kilroy after just her first term in office. Since his first victorious congressional election, Stivers averaged 63.1 percent of the vote over five re-election campaigns.

In presidential elections, the 15th District backed Donald Trump in both of his national elections, 56-42 percent last November, and 55-40 percent against Hillary Clinton in 2016. We can expect a crowded special Republican primary with the eventual nominee beginning the general cycle as the favorite. Democrats can be expected, however, to field a credible nominee and will likely make a concerted effort to win the special election.

Though Ohio is set to lose a congressional district in reapportionment, the 15th, which touches the main growth region of the state, in and around Columbus, will likely remain relatively intact. According to the latest available Census records, the 15th would need to gain less than 10,000 residents, while adjacent Districts 3 (Rep. Joyce Beatty-D) and 12 (Rep. Troy Balderson-R), the only two over-populated CDs in Ohio, must shed people.