Category Archives: House

New Hampshire Primary Today

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 8, 2020 — Winding through the final state primaries, voters in the Granite State cast their ballots today in order to nominate candidates for US Senate, governor, and two congressional districts. After today, only three primaries remain: next Tuesday in Delaware and Rhode Island, and the Louisiana jungle primary that runs concurrently with the general election.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen stands for a third term this year and draws only minor opposition on the Democratic ballot. On the Republican side, businessman Corky Messner, who has already loaned his campaign approximately $4 million, is favored to top retired Army General Don Bolduc.

Messner certainly has the resources to run a competitive race against Sen. Shaheen, but there is no question she is a heavy favorite in the general election. Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2008, Shaheen served three two-year terms as governor but lost her first Senate bid opposite then-US Rep. John E. Sununu (R) in 2002.

Since the turn of the century, however, New Hampshire has been one of the most volatile political states, and swingingly wildly from the top of the ticket all the way down the ballot has become a frequent occurrence. Therefore, incumbents from both parties can never be considered completely safe.

Gov. Chris Sununu (R) stands for a third two-year term – New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont are the only two states that mandate two-year gubernatorial terms – and faces only Franklin City councilwoman and radio talk show host Karen Testerman and a man named Nobody, who frequently runs for New Hampshire political office as a Republican or a Libertarian Party member.

The Democrats feature a two-way gubernatorial nomination race between state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D-Concord) and Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky. New Hampshire’s unique Executive Council is a five-member panel elected in districts and serve as gubernatorial advisors and a check on the governor’s power. The Executive Council has veto power over pardons, nominations and large state contracts. Polling suggests a close race.

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Markey, Neal Win Big in Massachusetts

By Jim Ellis

Sen. Ed Markey recorded a strong double-digit victory over Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton) yesterday in Massachusetts.

Sept. 2, 2020 — The Massachusetts primary election was held yesterday, and Sen. Ed Markey recorded a strong double-digit victory over Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton) after a year-long campaign in the US Senate Democratic race, which, in the Bay State, is tantamount to winning the seat in November.

Sen. Markey’s victory spread landed at exactly 10 percentage points with an estimated 20 percent of the vote still outstanding, 55.5 – 45.5 percent, and the 131,651-vote margin left no doubt about the outcome. Turnout is just under 1.2 million Democratic voters and will go higher when late-arriving ballots are collected and counted. The total turnout could reach 1.5 million individuals, which would be higher than the March 3 Democratic presidential primary participation figure that fell just under 1.4 million.

The county largely responsible for the senator’s victory margin was his home county of Middlesex; with a total population figure of over 1.5 million people, it’s the state’s largest local entity. There, Sen. Markey recorded a 65-35 percent margin and an 88,858-vote spread, which accounts for two-thirds of his statewide vote difference. Sen. Markey scored majorities in 10 of the state’s 14 counties.

The only place Rep. Kennedy recorded a county victory outside of his 4th Congressional District was in western Massachusetts. He carried Hampden County, which houses the city of Springfield, and, rather surprisingly, Worcester County despite the flap that found the Kennedy campaign sending a mailer into the locality with the name spelled, “Worchester.”

Temporarily, at the very least, Rep. Kennedy’s defeat spells the end of the Kennedy family political dynasty in the state. In fact, according to the MSNBC network, this is the first loss for a family candidate in 27 Democratic primary campaigns dating back to when John F. Kennedy won the 1946 congressional primary in what was then the Boston area’s 11th CD.

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Massachusetts Primary Today

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 1, 2020 — A major political dynasty will end this evening. Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts and the long-awaited Democratic intra-party battle between two icons of Bay State politics, Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton) will be decided.

Sen. Markey was first elected to the state legislature in 1972 and has served in elective office consecutively ever since. He spent four years in the state House of Representatives, 36 years in the US House, and was elected in a special US Senate contest in 2013 to replace then-Sen. John Kerry (D) who had resigned to become US Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Markey was re-elected to a full term in 2014.

Rep. Kennedy is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, and thereby related to President John F. Kennedy, and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). He is the latest member of the famed Kennedy political dynasty. Joe Kennedy III was elected to the House in 2012, replacing retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton) in the district that contains the cities of Newton and Brookline before moving south to annex Taunton and Fall River. Should he lose tonight, he will be the first Kennedy not to win a Massachusetts campaign.

The race appeared close from the outset, but Sen. Markey appears to be pulling away in both campaign funds ($11.8 million raised through the pre-primary filing period on Aug. 12 to $8.8 million) and polling. Both see significant expenditure organizations conducting independent operations to support their Senate bids.

Since the end of July, Sen. Markey has pulled away. He has led in seven consecutive polls by an average of 8.7 percentage points after trailing in the early stages of the race. The latest poll, from Emerson College (Aug. 25-27; 453 likely Massachusetts Democratic primary voters) gives Sen. Markey a 56-44 percent lead when all respondents were prodded to make a choice. Interestingly, the last poll to find Rep. Kennedy leading also came from Emerson College during the early part of May. Those results show just how much the race has changed. Emerson previously projected Rep. Kennedy to a 58-42 percent advantage.

The Senate race is not the only major campaign on the Massachusetts ballot, however. House Ways & Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is striving to avoid becoming the ninth US House incumbent to be denied re-nomination in 2020. He faces a spirited challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is hitting Rep. Neal from his left and criticizing him for being part of the “status quo.” Like the other Democratic upset winners this year, he Justice Democrats PAC has endorsed Morse, but their spending here appears less than the other campaigns in which they became involved.

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OK-5: Bice Wins Runoff

By Jim Ellis

State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City) scored a mild upset victory last night in the OK-5 Republican runoff election.

Aug. 26, 2020 — State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City) scored a mild upset victory last night over former lieutenant governor nominee and businesswoman Terry Neese with a 53-47 percent OK-5 Republican runoff victory. She wins the right to oppose freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma City) in the November election from a district that voted 53-40 percent for President Trump in 2016.

Sen. Bice withstood strong opposition from a Club for Growth independent expenditure totaling just under $1 million, almost all of which was spent on negative media and digital ads, with the goal of denying her the congressional nomination. This, on top of the seven-figure resources that Neese expended for her own campaign.

In the June 30 primary, Neese placed first in a field of nine candidates with 36.5 percent of the vote, while Sen. Bice secured the second runoff position with 25.4 percent more than six percentage points ahead of the third-place finisher. In the primary, 68,032 GOP votes were cast.

Last night, it was the district’s predominant county, Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, that carried the day for Bice. She scored a 55-45 percent majority of the Republican votes cast in the county, while Neese recorded 57 percent in the district’s two other counties, Pottawatomie and Seminole. Both of those counties, however, are small and accounted for just over 13 percent of the aggregate Republican vote.

At this point in the counting process, and there will likely be votes added to the final total, 51,762 individuals returned for the run-off election, meaning a retention rate of at least 76 percent when compared to the late June primary.

The OK-5 general election now becomes a top-tier Republican challenger race, joining at least 13 other such contests from around the country. Each of these district political battles is of clear importance to any chance the Republicans have of re-gaining the House majority. Realistically, the party must win all of them to even be in position to challenge for the majority, and that also assumes the GOP holds its own defensive toss-up districts.

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House-Critical Runoff in OK-5 Today

By Jim Ellis

OK-5 encompasses just over 91 percent of Oklahoma County, and all of Oklahoma City.

Aug. 25, 2020 — Voters in the Oklahoma City area will go to the polls today to choose a Republican general election opponent for freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma City) who scored a major upset victory here in 2018. The Sooner State’s 5th District race is one of the top national congressional races, and a Republican must win if the party is to have any chance of re-taking the House majority they lost two years ago.

The 5th District of Oklahoma had been a Republican domain since 1977 when GOP candidate Mickey Edwards captured the seat after 47 consecutive years of Democratic representation, though in the final two years of Rep. John Jarman’s 26-year congressional career before retiring, he served as a Republican.

During the interval between Edwards’ election and 2018, four other Republicans were elected here including future Gov. Mary Fallin and current US Sen. James Lankford. In 2018, then-Rep. Steve Russell lost to Horn in a 51-49 percent result, a margin of 3,338 votes.

Today’s GOP competitors are former lieutenant governor nominee Terry Neese, from both the 1990 and 1994 elections, and state Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City). In the June 30 Republican primary, Neese secured 36.5 percent of the vote, outdistancing Bice’s 25.4 percent from a turnout of 68,032 GOP votes cast. A total of seven Republicans were on the ballot. A mandatory 50 percent was required for outright nomination. With no one receiving the required majority, the top two finishers, Neese and Bice, advanced into today’s runoff election.

Both Neese and Bice were the top fundraisers for the primary. For the campaign through the Aug. 5 pre-election period before this runoff, Bice had raised over $1.463 million, just ahead of Neese’s $1.235 million. According to Neese’s financial disclosure report, however, $450,000 of her receipts were self-contributed in the form of a candidate loan. Helping Neese has been an ongoing $982,000-plus media independent expenditure from the Club for Growth whose leadership is opposing Bice. An expenditure of this size obviously gives Neese a huge boost in the runoff election.

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