Category Archives: House

New Mexico Special Called

By Jim Ellis

March 19, 2021 — The latest House vacancy now has a special election calendar.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) announced yesterday that the candidates from the 1st Congressional District, open since former Rep. Deb Haaland (D-Albuquerque) resigned the seat upon her confirmation as US Interior Secretary, will go to a vote on June 1. This will be the only election for the seat since New Mexico election law allows the political parties to choose special election nominees internally.

Each party will vote through their state central committees. These are political party governing boards where party members elect those serving from each of the state’s 33 counties.

Both major party committees will have many candidates from which to choose. At this point, eight Democrats, including four sitting state legislators, and eight Republicans are announced candidates. Libertarian Aubrey Dunn, a former New Mexico Land Commissioner where he served as a Republican, is also running.

Others still have time to join the race, and we may see a few more since there is no primary and campaigning among a finite group of party insiders is not particularly expensive. Therefore, more than an average number of individuals would be inclined to run since they would perceive the political risk as minimal.

The eventual Democratic nominee will be a heavy favorite for the June 1 election. Though the Albuquerque-anchored seat was competitive even at the beginning of the current decade, it no longer appears so. The last Republican to hold the seat was Heather Wilson who vacated to run unsuccessfully for US Senate in 2008. The CD-1 electorate then chose Democrats in the person of Martin Heinrich, now US senator; Michelle Lujan Grisham, now governor; and Haaland, now Interior Secretary; since Wilson left the House.

The district started to turn heavily Democratic with the first Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Obama scored a 60-40 percent victory within the 1st District confines. Four years later, he won 55-40 percent. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried the seat with a 52-35 percent margin, and Joe Biden did best of all, recording a 60-37 percent spread last November.

In the subsequent House races, Heinrich averaged 54 percent in his two congressional elections; Grisham, 61 percent in her three campaigns; and Haaland 59 percent in her pair of victorious congressional contests.

The 1st District house 95 percent of Bernalillo County, and the state’s top city of Albuquerque. CD-1 also contains all of Torrance County and small portions of Sandoval, Valencia, and Santa Fe Counties. The district is basically a majority Hispanic seat with over 49 percent of the citizen population being recorded as such. The non-Hispanic white percentage is just under 41.

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Louisiana Special Election Poll Suggests at Least One District Runoff

Louisiana congressional districts


By Jim Ellis

March 15, 2021 — Two of the upcoming special elections to fill vacancies in the US House will occur next weekend, and a new Louisiana poll suggests one of them will likely advance two candidates into a secondary April 24 runoff election.

The Edgewater Research/My People Vote survey tested 651 likely voters in Louisiana’s vacant 2nd Congressional District over the March 2-7 period in preparation for the March 20 jungle primary election. A likely voter for purposes of this study were people who have voted at least seven times in the last 10 statewide elections.

The pollsters, however, only named three of the 15 candidates on the ballot in testing the electorate. The query asked if the respondent is supporting “Troy Carter, Karen Carter Peterson, Gary Chambers, or someone else.”

The names refer to state Sens. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) and Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), and Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers. No Republican was named in the survey even though author Claston Bernard and Greg Lirette have raised more money than Chambers, for example. The latter man, however, is well known as an activist who attracts a great deal of attention in the Baton Rouge media market.

The ballot test found the electorate breaking 35-24-11 percent in favor of Sen. Carter, with Peterson and Chambers following, respectively. The response for “someone else” was 16 percent. Sen. Carter, however, leads Sen. Peterson only 39-35 percent among Democratic voters, the dominant party in this district that captures most of the city of New Orleans and meanders northwest to include heavily African American Baton Rouge precincts.

The 2nd District basically divides into just two races: black and white. Of the citizen voting age population, blacks account for 61.5 percent and whites 31.7 percent. All other race categories comprise the remaining 6.8 percent of the demographic composition.

Within the black vote, Sen. Carter leads Sen. Peterson, 40-26 percent with Chambers getting 11 percent and someone else 8 percent. Within the white vote, the contest is much closer. In this case, the someone else category places first at 28 percent with Sen. Carter then topping Sen. Peterson in a much tighter 23-20 percent spread. Chambers had 10 percent support in the white category.

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Will Miller-Meeks’ 6-Vote Win Stand?

By Jim Ellis

IA-2 Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks

March 12, 2021 — Yesterday, the House Administration Committee met virtually to consider Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) motion to dismiss the Federal Contested Elections Act challenge from Democrat Rita Hart in relation to the state certified results of the 2020 congressional election in Iowa’s 2nd District. The committee voted 6-3 on partisan lines to postpone the dismissal action.

To review, Rep. Miller-Meeks’ victory margin is only six votes of 394,800 ballots cast. Hart is challenging the results before the House Administration Committee claiming that 22 ballots, enough to overturn the final result, were legal but not counted.

Yesterday’s hearing was procedural in that committee chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) moved to postpone hearing the dismissal motion in order for the members to fully consider Hart’s argument of contestant. Rep. Lofgren indicated that both the Iowa Republican and Democratic Parties, along with Iowa election officials, will be sent identical questionnaires to fully investigate the matter. This means we can expect a much longer process to fully examine the contested ballots, allow testimony, and review the Iowa recount process.

Committee Minority Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) countered, indicating that the Iowa officials have twice counted the votes and, as committee member Bryan Steil (R-WI) reported, recount boards in all 24 counties that form the 2nd District – three member panels comprised of a Miller-Meeks’ appointed member, a Hart appointed member, and a county appointed member – all agreed on the final totals in each local entity.

Davis further explained to the committee members and listening audience that Hart, a former Iowa state senator and 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor, had eschewed the available legal process, which is to petition the Iowa court system. Davis said he concludes Hart made the decision to come directly to the House because she knew the courts would reject her legal arguments.

The Iowa recount process changed the original totals. The first reported outcome revealed a 44-vote Miller-Meeks margin. It then dropped to 30 votes during the recount and Scott County (Davenport), the district’s largest entity, reduced the number even further culminating in the current six-vote final result that the Iowa secretary of state certified as official, with which the bipartisan Iowa Election Canvass Board unanimously concurred. On Jan. 3rd, the House voted to provisionally seat Miller-Meeks until the Hart challenge is resolved.

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Biden-Trump Swings in 2020

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website completed their analysis of the congressional districts that changed the most when comparing the 2020 presidential vote performance to that of 2016. The list is divided into the top 25 districts from two categories, those that swung the most to Joe Biden from Hillary Clinton and the seats where Donald Trump improved to the greatest degree when compared to his 2016 showing.

Perhaps the more interesting chart is the Trump improvement calculations, because every one of the top 25 D to R swing districts has a substantial minority population, particularly Hispanic. In fact, in these 25 CDs, the average Hispanic population figure is 59.8 percent, and we see a mean average improvement swing of 12.3 percent for Trump in 2020 with a median of 11.5 percent when compared with his 2016 standing in these districts.

DISTRICT | WINNER  |   HOUSE 2020 % | PRES. 2020 % | HOUSE WINNER | HISPANIC %
FL-26 Trump   52-47 52-47 Gimenez 68.6
FL-25 Trump   61-38 Unopposed Diaz-Balart 75.8
TX-34 Biden   52-47 55-42 Vela 83.7
FL-27 Biden   51-48 51-49 Salazar 70.4
FL-24 Biden   75-24 76-20 Wilson 37.0
TX-28 Biden   52-47 58-39 Cuellar 77.4
NY-15 Biden   86-13 89-11 Torres, R. 66.1
TX-15 Biden   50-49 50-48 Gonzalez 81.2
CA-51 Biden   67-31 69-32 Vargas 70.1
CA-40 Biden   77-21 73-27 Roybal-Allard 87.6
TX-29 Biden   66-33 71-27 Garcia 77.1
NY-7 Biden   82-17 85-14 Velazquez 41.8
CA-44 Biden   78-19 68-32* Barragan 70.0
CA-29 Biden   74-24 57-43* Cardenas 68.7
NY-14 Biden   73-26 72-27 Ocasio-Cortez 49.1
NY-13 Biden   88-11 91-8 Espaillat 54.5
CA-19 Biden   70-28 72-28 Lofgren 40.8
FL-23 Biden   58-41 58-42 Wasserman-Schultz 35.5
CA-34 Biden   81-17 53-47* Gomez, J. 64.3
TX-9 Biden   76-23 75-22 Green, A. 38.5
NY-6 Biden   62-37 68-32 Meng 19.2
CA-35 Biden   65-33 69-31 Torres, N. 70.0
CA-46 Biden   64-33 69-31 Correa 66.4
NJ-8 Biden   73-26 74-25 Sires 54.4
PA-2 Biden   70-29 72-28 Boyle 27.9

* Faced another Democrat in general election
• Avg. Swing 12.3 | Median 11.5 | Average Hispanic percent: 59.8%


Biden Swing

Obviously, President Biden still won all but two of these districts, and the vast majority with overwhelming percentages. Even so, the fact that so many of the Hispanic districts were giving former President Trump a double-digit vote total increase is significant, nonetheless. This could be a positive 2020 presidential campaign after-effect upon which the Republican Party can build.

As you will see similarly in the districts below that swung significantly to Biden, only one of the Trump improvement seats performed differently at the House level when compared to that same electorate’s presidential vote. The one CD of the 25 swings that voted Biden for president and a Republican for House was Florida’s 27th District as Maria Elvira Salazar (R) upset incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Miami).

Of the districts that showed the most significant gain for Trump we look to South Texas. This contrasts greatly with the vote changes in North Texas. As we can see, ex-President Trump showed significant improvement in all of the Texas-Mexican border districts.

The district with the sharpest Trump swing was Florida’s 26th District, with a 21.9 percent factor. The lowest of the 25 were New Jersey’s 8th and Pennsylvania’s 2nd CDs, both with a 7.0 percentage improvement for the Republican former president.

The chart immediately below shows the top 25 districts that produced the sharpest swing for the race winner, President Biden. Remember, the 2016 Democratic number was that of Hillary Clinton.
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Louisiana Poll Shows Clyburn in Lead;
Nevada Candidate Shows Up in Texas

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 5, 2021 — In the Baton Rouge area, a pre-election favorite shows a solid lead, and in Texas, a surprise candidate who previously was the NV-3 GOP front-runner in the Las Vegas area enters a Texas race.


LA-2

Louisiana state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans)

A new survey for the upcoming March 20 special election in the New Orleans-Baton Rouge vacant 2nd Congressional District places the pre-election favorite into a discernible lead.

While state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), who House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the Louisiana Democratic Party, and resigned Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) have all endorsed, posts a 28-19 percent lead over state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), he is nowhere near the 50 percent mark required to elect outright. Therefore, it appears the odds are strong that we will see a secondary runoff election on April 24.

A Silas Lee study of 450 “chronic” LA-2 voters conducted during the February 12-14 period but released only this week, gives Sen. Carter the nine-point advantage within a field of 15 candidates – eight Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian – thus, the pair of competing local state senators appear headed toward an April 24 runoff election. Finishing a distant third in the Lee poll with just six percent support is Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers, Jr. (D).

While Sen. Carter was dominant in New Orleans, he falls into third position when moving to the district’s Baton Rouge sector. There, Chambers led Sens. Peterson and Carter with a 14-12-7 percent respective spread.

The state’s vacant 5th District also will be settled within the same schedule, but no relevant polling data is readily available for that race. In both contests, early voting begins this Saturday, March 6, and will continue only through March 13, a week before actual Election Day voting takes place.

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The Impeachment Ten

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY)

March 4, 2021 — Another credible opponent for Wyoming at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) came forward earlier this week, which continues the onslaught of political activity against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump for his perceived role in the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising.

Already, Rep. Cheney has four credible opponents. The latest to announce is state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper). He joins state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie), former Pavillion mayor Marissa Joy Selvig, and energy consultant Bryan Miller.

Of the four, Sen. Bouchard and Rep. Gray are the most credible, but the large field assembling against her actually helps Rep. Cheney. Considering that Wyoming is a plurality primary state, a person is nominated by simply obtaining the highest number of votes regardless of percentage attained. Therefore, with Cheney’s opposition split among multiple candidates, the chances of her winning re-nomination with less than a majority becomes a plausible outcome.

The other nine pro-impeachment members are in different situations. From this group, only New York Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse) has not yet drawn Republican primary opposition.

Three others are from states with primary structures that will help them advance into the general election. Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) will file under a top-two qualifying system.

Rep. Valadao represents a Bakersfield-Fresno district that voted heavily in favor of both President Biden and Hillary Clinton, the latter back in 2016. With all candidates on the same ballot, and not being from a strong Trump district, it is less likely that his vote to impeach the sitting Republican president will greatly affect him.

In the race are former Rep. T.J. Cox (D), the man who lost to Valadao by a percentage point in 2020 after defeating him by an even closer split in 2018, former state Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D), and ex-Fresno City Councilman and 2020 congressional candidate Chris Mathys (R).

Washington Rep. Beutler, under the same top-two primary system as California’s Valadao, has already drawn three Republican opponents, none of whom have held elective office. We can expect a strong Democrat to emerge here, meaning the eventual preliminary vote division should provide Rep. Beutler with a relatively easy road into the general election.

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Ryan Hedging on Senate Run

By Jim Ellis

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

March 2, 2021 — Last month, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) indicated that he would launch a statewide campaign for retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s (R) open seat in March. Now, he looks to be backpedaling.

In an interview with the Spectrum News Service, Rep. Ryan said, “we’ll make a decision here, I guess, in the coming weeks. I don’t think a March kickoff is going to happen.”

Such equivocation has seemingly been the congressman’s standard operating procedure over the years. Several times before he has been looking seriously at races for the US Senate, governor, and even lieutenant governor, but has always retreated to the relative safety of his House seat.

He did briefly campaign for president in 2020 but dropped out of the race when it was obvious his message was falling on deaf ears, exiting in plenty of time to meet the Ohio candidate filing deadline. Last November, Rep. Ryan went onto win a more competitive House race than he normally sees, defeating former state Rep. Christina Hagan (R), 52-45 percent.

Going back to the House race, if that’s what Rep. Ryan ultimately decides, may look different in 2022. If redistricting actually happens, considering all of the Census Bureau delays, Ohio faces the loss of another congressional seat in reapportionment, and it may well be Ryan’s.

His current 13th District stretches from the Pennsylvania border, encompasses Youngstown and the congressman’s hometown of Warren, and then captures a large part of the Akron metropolitan area. From preliminary census reports, it appears OH-13 will require an influx of more than 75,000 people once the final numbers are calculated. The Ryan district looks to rank 13th in population of the 16 Ohio congressional districts.

Perhaps a bigger problem for the 10-term incumbent, and what makes his 13th District vulnerable to collapse, is the adjacent 11th District that houses the western side of Akron in Summit County, is the least populated seat in Ohio and will need to gain as many as 100,000 individuals.

Therefore, collapsing the 13th District portion of Akron into the 11th in order to keep the city and at least most of the county together would be a sensible draw, thus leaving Rep. Ryan’s eastern district sector as a standing fragment. Since Districts 14 to the north, 6 and 7 to the south, and 16 to the west will all require more population, eliminating District 13 becomes a plausible option.

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