Category Archives: House

CO-3: Rep. Boebert Challenge Looming

By Jim Ellis

2nd Amendment activist, local restaurant owner and now US Rep. Loren Boebert represents Colorado’s 3rd CD.

Feb. 8, 2021 — Colorado freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt), who first upset then-Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2020 Republican primary and later overcame more than $6 million in combined spending from her general election opponent and outside organizations, can count on seeing another tough campaign in 2022.

Already, candidates are lining up, and the most prominent one in the early going announced late last week. State Senate President Pro Tempore Kerry Donovan (D-Gunnison) released a video announcing that she will forego re-election to the state legislature in order to challenge Rep. Boebert in the next congressional campaign. Rancher Gregg Smith and former state House candidate Colin Wilhelm had previously declared their intentions to compete for the Democratic nomination.

Lauren Boebert is a Florida native who moved with her family to the Denver area when she was 12 years old. She then re-located to the Western Slope region in 2003 and, with her husband, opened their restaurant, Shooters Grill, in 2013.

Congresswoman Boebert has attracted much national attention so far with her insistence of carrying a firearm on the House floor. Such is nothing new since she has always holstered a side arm in her restaurant establishment and made defending the 2nd Amendment the cornerstone of her congressional campaign effort.

Despite being heavily outspent, Boebert carried the general election against former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Diane Mitsch Bush (D) by a 51-45 percent margin, meaning a spread of 26,512 votes. Former President Trump, who recorded only 42 percent of the statewide vote, also carried the 3rd District in a similar 52-46 percent margin.

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Another Delay in NY-22 Certification;
Rep. Ryan to Announce Senate Run

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2021 — After ordering the eight NY-22 counties to certify their final congressional election results by yesterday afternoon and now surpassing 90 days after the votes were cast, State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte has reversed course. Yesterday, he instructed the county election officials to suspend their certification process.

Justice DelConte said he now wants to consider at least until Friday the effect of 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) possibly winning his motions for legal relief at the appellate level after race leader Claudia Tenney (R) is certified the winner and takes office. This new direction suggests it could be several more weeks before we see a member sworn into the House from this particular Upstate New York district.


OHIO SENATE

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown)[/caption]Yesterday, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) indicated that he will officially announce a campaign for the state’s open Senate seat in March. Ryan becomes the first prominent Democrat to begin organizing a campaign.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown)

As we will remember, Rep. Ryan joined the Democratic presidential field attempting to approach the electorate from a union jobs, more centrist perspective. His campaign failed to gain legs and he dropped out well before the first votes were cast in the Iowa Caucuses. During his 10 terms in the House, Ryan has publicly considered running for lieutenant governor, governor, and the Senate, only to back away each time in order to seek re-election to the House.

This time, however, his statement is definitive about running, and such a move makes political sense. Ohio is slated to lose another congressional seat in reapportionment and there is reason to believe that Rep. Ryan’s 13th District seat could be the one collapsed.

OH-13 begins at the Pennsylvania border and immediately encompasses the cities of Youngstown, Niles and Warren. Then the district moves further west to capture more than 228,000 individuals in the Akron metro area. Most of Akron city is shared with Rep. Marcia Fudge’s (D-Cleveland) 11th District, which is the least populated CD in the state. The 11th will likely need an influx of about 100,000 people to become compliant with the projected per district population number for the current decade under the new redistricting plan when adopted.

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The Next Step in NY-22

New York’s Congressional Districts

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 3, 2021 — Late yesterday, by judicial order, the seven affected counties in New York’s 22nd Congressional District finalized and completed the verification process of their final vote totals, but that doesn’t end the process.

The seven entities with the challenged ballots and Tioga County’s long ago completed results will then be sent to the State Board of Elections for final certification. The process, however, could conceivably endure further delays in the capital city of Albany.

First, 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who now will assuredly finish behind former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) in the final 2020 election count, has already filed an appeal to State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte’s ruling, asking for a hand recount of all ballots.

Second, as part of the 23-page judicial ruling directing the counties as to which votes must be added and subtracted from their counts because of eligibility rules, Justice DelConte indicated that his ruling is somewhat limited.

The Justice said he does not have the power either to order a new election or allow the 2,418 people who registered to vote before the Oneida County deadline but were denied ballots because election officials did not process their forms to vote post-election. Before the State Board of Elections, however, the final action could result in a different conclusion.

The SBoE is comprised of two appointed Democrats and a pair of Republicans. The panel is co-chaired by Democratic appointee Douglas Kellner and Republican choice Peter Kosinski. Nominees for the two co-chair positions are put forth to the governor from the partisan legislative leaders from both lawmaking chambers.

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NY-22 Vote on Brink of Certification

By Jim Ellis

Former New York Rep. Claudia Tenney (R)

Feb. 2, 2021 — After being suspended in political limbo for three months after Upstate New York voters cast their ballots, it appears that former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) is on the threshold of being declared the winner of the disputed NY-22 contest.

State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte issued his ruling late Friday after weeks of hearings regarding disputes over more than 1,000 contested ballots and 2,100-plus individuals who registered to vote in a timely manner but whose documentation were not properly processed.

Justice DelConte released a 23-page ruling detailing his findings. As a result, it appears his acceptance or rejection of various ballots and a decision governing the mis-applied voter registrations allow Tenney to increase her lead from 29 votes to 122.

The justice first ordered Tioga County’s election officials, the only entity from the eight-county district that had no issues, to immediately certify their final totals. From the remaining seven counties with outstanding ballots, those election officials were ordered to appear in court Monday to count or remove votes at the Justice’s direction.

Once completed, the DelConte ruling ordered the counties to then implement a final canvass and certify their results by mid-day today. At this point, the final results from all eight counties will be sent to the State Elections Board in Albany for final certification.

In summary, the original totals found the two candidates, Tenney and 116th Congress incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), separated by just 12 votes from the 317,727 ballots cast: 155,492 to 155,480, respectively, and including 6,755 votes for the Libertarian candidate. Through the ballot challenge period, we saw Brindisi moving ahead by 14 votes, and then back to Tenney’s most often reported 29-vote edge. It was only through Friday’s ruling when her advantage expanded to 122.

In all, 1,118 ballots were challenged. A total of 533 of those were withdrawn through agreement between the two campaigns, and after the two camps had resolved challenges to an additional 43 ballots. Three more ballots were “not preserved for judicial review.” Of the 609 challenges the justice considered, 470 were admitted to the count while 139 were rejected and ordered removed.

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More Redistricting Delays

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 29, 2021 — The Census Bureau announced at mid-week yet another postponement in releasing the national apportionment figures, this time until April 30. Reapportionment should have been completed by Dec. 31, but the Bureau previously announced that March 6 would be the new release date due to COVID-related problems. Now, we see further delays.

Reapportionment is the process of creating a new census data algorithm in order to project the number of congressional seats each state will be awarded for the coming decade. It appears that 10-12 seats could change states, with the northeast and Midwest typically losing districts to southern and western states. This time, however, California, for the first time in history, is reversing their trend and appears headed for the losing list.

Once the apportionment numbers are known and the individual data dispersed, the states can begin the redistricting process. The Census Bureau further stated that individual states won’t be receiving their particular data necessary for redistricting until at least July 30. This will clearly set the redistricting cycle back significantly, which could cause major problems for the coming election cycle.

In the past, the Census Bureau has prioritized the states with early primaries to be first to receive their data. This meant that New Jersey and Virginia initially received their new population numbers ahead of the others because they have odd-numbered year state legislative elections. Texas and Illinois were next to receive since they traditionally schedule their regular primaries in March of the election year.

Knowing that the numbers would not be available for them in 2021, New Jersey and Virginia took preparatory action. Garden State officials placed a referendum on the November ballot asking voters for approval to postpone legislative redistricting until 2023. The measure passed.

The Old Dominion leaders decided they would run their 2021 state Delegate elections on the amended 2011 map but could conceivably call elections again for next year once they receive their updated data and can draw district boundaries. Virginia state senators do not stand for election until 2023, so it is unlikely the redistricting delay will affect those campaigns.

The data distribution and processing delay could place most legislatures in a conundrum. Most will be adjourned when the data is received, so special sessions will have to be called in most cases to complete the process prior to the 2022 candidate filing deadlines. This suggests that the states having redistricting commissions might prove to be in better position to complete the task because they won’t have to deal with legislative politics, priorities, or calendars, all of which result in a lengthy process.

Additionally, since almost every map is challenged in court, we could well see a plethora of lawsuits being filed late in the year that keep the redistricting process tied in figurative knots for months.

The states in the most difficult situations will be those gaining and losing congressional representation. Because the number of districts these particular states will have differ from their current allotments, they do not have the option of reverting to the current map once 2021 apportionment becomes final.

In the case of gainers and losers not having completed maps, we may see at-large races for the House. This would be particularly difficult for the losing states because we may see all members in the affected places having to run at-large for seats in their House delegations.

Unofficially, the gaining states appear to be Texas (3 seats), Florida (2), Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. The losers may be New York (possibly 2 seats), Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Reports suggest that the closest developing situation concerns whether Alabama loses a seat or New York drops two.

President Biden’s executive order that mandates non-citizens be counted in the census will certainly affect the final data projections and may be another reason for this latest delay.

The only certainty about 2021 reapportionment and redistricting is the many moving parts in these various states will likely produce surprising political results.