Category Archives: House

Rep. Riggleman Loses Re-nomination

By Jim Ellis

Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas)

June 16, 2020 — Despite Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas) being the incumbent representative for the state’s 5th District, losing his party’s re-nomination for a second term on Saturday came as no surprise.

Largely blamed upon his presiding over a same-sex marriage involving two of his campaign volunteers, Rep. Riggleman fell at odds with the district Republican Party leaders. Virginia has the most unique nomination system in the country. There is no standardized primary, and each set of congressional district party authorities can conduct a virtually autonomous process for choosing its partisan general election candidates.

The congressional district committees can nominate in a standard primary or through what they call a “firehouse primary,” where only a few voting places are established throughout the jurisdiction, or, in what often happens on the Republican side, a district convention. Usually the party leaders work with their incumbents to choose the system that will benefit the top officeholder in the region, but not in Riggleman’s case.

In fact, the 5th District Republican committee chose exactly what would be to Rep. Riggleman’s greatest detriment. Because of the COVID-19 situation, they were unable to host a typical district convention. Therefore, the committee adopted what they termed a “drive-in convention,” where the delegates would come from throughout the district to just one specific location, drive into a building parking lot, and cast their ballot.

The fix against Riggleman went so far as to hold the drive-in convention in the church parking lot of where his challenger, Campbell County Supervisor and Liberty University athletic official Bob Good, is a member. Campbell County is in the far western end of the district, near the city of Lynchburg, and is more closely aligned with the 6th District.

The location decision meant the vast majority of delegates, and everyone from Riggleman’s geographic strength, would have to drive several hours in order to simply deposit their ballot envelope. The 5th stretches all the way to the Washington, DC outer Virginia suburbs, but the main population anchor is in and around the city of Charlottesville.

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GA-13: Rep. Scott in Runoff

By Jim Ellis

GA-13 Rep. David Scott (D)

June 11, 2020 — Voting problems in Atlanta delayed counting and reporting from Tuesday’s primary, but it is now clear that nine-term veteran Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) has been forced into an Aug. 11 runoff election with a candidate who spent less than $1,000 on her primary campaign.

With votes still being counted, Rep. Scott garnered only 46.8 percent of the vote to date, with the remaining 53.2 percent being divided among three Democratic challengers. Advancing into the runoff is former state representative Keisha Waites, who managed to attract 31.1 percent of the vote despite spending only $875.00 on her race.

In third place is former local county Democratic Party chairman Michael Owens (14.1% percent), who has previously challenged Rep. Scott in a party primary, while former East Point mayor Jannquell Peters finished fourth (8.0 percent). The latter two candidates have been eliminated.

Though tabulating continues, almost 88,000 votes have been recorded in this primary race, suggesting that turnout is robust. In the only recent Democratic primary from this congressional district, back in 2014, the total turnout was under 36,000 individuals. Combined, the latter two candidates, Owens and Peters, spent approximately $60,000. By contrast, Rep. Scott spent almost $900,000 so far on his 2020 political effort.

As mentioned above, the only other time Scott was challenged for re-nomination since his original 2002 congressional campaign came in 2014. The congressman defeated Owens in that year, 82-18 percent. In his nine general election victories, Scott has averaged 79.4 percent of the vote, including running unopposed three times.

The 13th District is a suburban Atlanta district that sits south and southwest of the city before moving westward and then north to encompass part of Cobb County. The CD contains all of Douglas county and parts of five others, including Cobb, Fulton, and Fayette. The Citizen Age Voting statistics record a 58.1% percent population figure for African Americans here as compared to 33.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

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Last Night’s Results

By Jim Ellis

June 10, 2020 — Voters in Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia chose nominees last night or sent finalists to runoffs in the two southern states.


• GEORGIA: Former vice president Joe Biden clinched his party’s presidential nomination with an 83 percent victory in the Georgia primary and sweeping the state’s 105 delegates. By all counts, Biden has secured the 1,991 bound first-ballot delegate votes to seal the nomination.

In the Democratic US Senate primary, former congressional candidate and documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff looks to have fallen just short of the 50 percent mark to secure the party nomination. If the trend holds as the final votes are counted, he will advance to an Aug. 11 runoff election. After trailing former lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico most of the night, ex-Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson appears to have secured the second runoff position in a close vote.

Logistical problems in the Atlanta area could delay the final totals, so whether Ossoff won outright and deciding the second runoff position are still not necessarily determined. It is likely, however, that a runoff will occur between Ossoff and Tomlinson, assuming the latter candidate chooses to continue. The percentage spread between the two is a lopsided 49-16 percent.

Numbers are also not final in the Atlanta suburban 7th District, but it appears that 2018 Democratic nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, who came within 420 votes of winning the seat in that year, came close to avoiding a runoff with 46 percent of the vote. Should this trend hold, she will face state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) in the secondary election.

On the Republican side, retired Navy officer and physician Rich McCormick won the crowded primary outright as he topped 55 percent, an impressive total within a field of seven candidates. State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Gwinnett County) placed a distant second.

In the open 9th District, the seat that Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) is leaving to run for the Senate, state Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) and retired Navy officer Andrew Clyde will advance to the Aug. 11 runoff. Former US Rep. Paul Broun finished in fourth position. In this safely Republican northeast Georgia district, the runoff winner will clinch the general election.

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NY-16: Jamaal Bowman, the New AOC?

http://https://youtu.be/1sOUsipNZYEDemocratic NY-16 candidate Jamaal Bowman political ad

By Jim Ellis

June 5, 2020 — In the New York City district adjacent to Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez’s Bronx-anchored congressional seat, a new candidate challenging another veteran Democratic congressman in an upcoming primary election is emerging into a political threat.

Late this week, Rep. Ocascio-Cortez endorsed Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal who is opposing 16-term US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) for New York’s 16th District Democratic nomination.

Accompanying the AOC endorsement were pledges to spend $500,000 between now and the June 23 primary from her affiliated Justice Democrats Super PAC and the Working Families Party to support Bowman’s campaign to replace Rep. Engel. Additionally, another chief Democratic opponent, local NYC educator Andom Ghebreghiorgis, ended his campaign and endorsed Bowman.

Inadvertently providing more momentum to the Bowman campaign, Engel made a major mistake when he was picked up on video telling Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. that he needed to address the organized borough news conference about the George Floyd killing. When Diaz said he (Engel) wouldn’t be allowed to speak because none of the many elected officials attending the session would be addressing the media and audience, the congressman responded saying, “I wouldn’t care but I have a primary.”

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Moving to the General

By Jim Ellis

June 4, 2020 — The June 2nd primary featured 10 states, and now the candidates are set for November. Below is a recap of the races from Tuesday’s primary that project as competitive this fall, and an early prognosis for each.


IN-5:

• St. Sen Victoria Spartz (R) vs. Christina Hale (D)
Trump ’16: 53-41%    |   2018 Congressional: 57-43% R (Brooks)

Ukrainian born state Senator Victoria Spartz topped a field of 15 Republican candidates with 41% on Tuesday night, after a nasty primary that resulted in some of the other contenders running ads touting that they were born in America. Democrat Christina Hale, a former state Representative and 2016 Lt. Governor nominee, had an easier time in her primary, and won with 39% of the vote, which was slightly under pre-election estimates.

Ms. Spartz is the favorite to win in November in a traditionally Republican district, but one that is moving more toward the center. Democrats will see how this race begins to unfold, but this is a seat on their secondary target list. We can expect Spartz to be tested early, and if the numbers suggest an opening, the Democrats will go for an upset win.


IOWA-SENATE:

• Sen. Joni Ernst (R) vs. Theresa Greenfield (D)
Trump ’16: 51-42%    |    2016 US Senate: 60-36% R (Grassley)

Iowa is one of three Republican firewall states to keep the Senate majority, with Montana and Maine being the other two. Sen. Joni Ernst seeks her first re-election and is now paired with Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield. The Democratic establishment backed Greenfield, but she came under attack in the primary and defeated two opponents with 47% of the vote, a bit under pre-election projection.

All races in Iowa are competitive, so we can expect intense political competition here from the presidential race all the way through each of the state’s four House districts. Polling will show the Senate race as close until Election Day, but what should be another Trump victory here will help set the table for the remainder of the races. Sen. Ernst is rated as a slight favorite as the general election now officially begins.


IA-1:

• Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) vs. St. Rep. Ashley Hinson (R)
Trump ’16: 49-45%     |     2018 Congressional: 50-45% D

Freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque) defends her seat for the first time and faces a top opponent in Republican state Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Cedar Rapids), a former television news anchor. The 1st District looked to be the safest Democratic seat in the state after 2011 redistricting, but the electorate hasn’t voted that way. This will be a top tier Republican challenge race, and one to watch. Rep. Finkenauer certainly begins with the incumbent’s advantage, but the IA-1 campaign is a top national GOP target. If the Republicans are to have any chance of re-taking the House majority, Ms. Hinson will have to win.


IA-2:

• Rita Hart (D) vs. St. Sen. Marianette Miller-Meeks (R)
Trump ’16: 49-45%     |     2018 Congressional: 54-42% D (Loebsack)

The 2nd District, located in Iowa’s southeastern sector, is the district that has played best for Democrats during the decade despite President Trump carrying it in 2016.

Democrats feature former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart who was even unopposed in an open seat primary. Republicans counter with first-term state Senator Marianette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa), who begins her fourth race for the congressional seat. Ms. Hart is the clear favorite here, and Dr. Miller-Meeks will have to prove her credibility nationally after three losses. If she does not begin the general election in competitive fashion, this race will quickly turn Ms. Hart’s way.
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