Category Archives: NEW YORK

NY Overreach = GOP Majority

CNN’s New York state redistricting map (more coverage on CNN)

By Jim Ellis — Nov. 22, 2022

House

New York State: Redistricting — There is an argument to be made that the New York Democratic redistricting brain trust helped create the new Republican US House majority. With their over-reach on the original map that the legislature and governor enacted, the end result became so egregious that even the Democratic lower and upper courts rejected the congressional map as a pure partisan gerrymander.

The original enacted plan would have yielded a 22D-4R partisan split in the NY congressional delegation of 26 members, thus costing the Republicans four of the eight Empire State seats they control in the current Congress.

Once the votes were cast on Nov. 8 in the districts that the judges’ special master drew to replace the legislature’s plan, the end result saw Republicans not losing four seats but rather gaining three in relation to the current map and seven when compared to the Democrats’ original draw.

Therefore, instead of the intended 22D-4R plan, the New York delegation now headed to Washington is comprised of 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans. With a small Republican majority of what ultimately may be 220-222 seats once the outstanding California and Alaska races are finally projected, the NY swing is arguably the difference in determining which party controls the House.

The Democrats’ map would have reduced the Republicans to just one seat on Long Island, taken the lone district they have in New York City, turned the GOP’s Syracuse seat strongly Democratic, and collapsed the southwestern Upstate seat of resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R) as the lost district in national reapportionment.

You will remember that New York lost a congressional seat by just 89 people when the Census Bureau announced each state’s congressional district compilation under the national reapportionment formula.

After striking down the legislature’s map and replacing it with their own special master’s plan, the court in effect restored much of New York to its historic congressional district pattern.

Under the legislature’s plan, Long Island’s 1st District (Rep. Lee Zeldin) was drawn from the far eastern part of Suffolk County all the way into Queens. This led to stashing a preponderance of the region’s Republican voters in Rep. Andrew Garbarino’s (R-Sayville) South Shore 2nd District. The concept then allowed the map architects to make Districts 3 and 4, both open in 2022 with Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) running unsuccessfully for governor and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) retiring, safely Democratic. The court undid this design.

Now, the 1st District returns to a Suffolk County anchored seat, a CD that Republican Nick LaLota, a former local official and Navy veteran, won to succeed Rep. Zeldin. Rep. Garbarino is back but with a less Republican South Shore seat, which then created a marginal North Shore District 3 seat that Republican George Santos won 54-46 percent in a domain that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+4.

The biggest surprise in New York, and perhaps the country, came in Rep. Rice’s open 4th CD, where Republican Anthony D’Esposito defeated heavily favored Democrat Laura Gillen, 52-48 percent, in a district that actually became more Democratic under the court map at D+10.

The other Republican gains came in the Hudson Valley, where state Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R-South Salem) upset Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) in a D+7 District 17, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) rebounded from a special congressional election loss in August to claim a 51-49 percent win in a new 19th District rated as R+1.

In the 18th District, state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R) came within a percentage point of sweeping the Hudson Valley seats for the GOP, but Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Gardiner) held onto the 18th CD seat after he had won the 19th District special election three months earlier.

The Republican victory string ended with tech executive Brandon Williams (R) defeating former intelligence officer Francis Conole (D) by a percentage point to hold the open Syracuse seat, and former New York Republican Party Nick Langworthy easily won the new 23rd District from which Rep. Reed resigned and Rep. Joe Sempolinski (R-Canisteo) is serving as a caretaker.

The New York 2022 election cycle illustrates just how important map drawing and judicial decisions are in determining US House elections. The New York courts, for example, created a much more competitive political playing field, which certainly led to different results than we would have seen under the legislature’s partisan draw.

Considering that the US Supreme Court is likely to make landmark Voting Rights Act rulings on the Alabama and North Carolina cases before June ends next year, we will likely see new redistricting maps being drawn in several states, and New York could be one of those places. Any newly constructed map would take effect in the 2024 election. A major Supreme Court decision will add yet another dimension to what already promises to be another hot House campaign cycle coming in the new term.

Pennsylvania Ballot Count Goes On; Ballot Issues in Oregon; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis
May 24, 2022

Senate

Pennsylvania ballot

Pennsylvania: Related Court Ruling Could Add Votes — A three-judge federal panel sitting in the capital city of Harrisburg issued a ruling Friday on a Lehigh Valley case that relates to the current vote counting situation. The judicial action mandated the counting of mail ballots where no date appears on the carrier envelope. PA ballot procedure requires the voter to date the envelope before mailing. Immediately upon the ruling being announced, the Dave McCormick for Senate campaign sent a letter to all 67 county chief election officials reiterating the decision. The Dr. Mehmet Oz-Dave McCormick race is down to a lead of 1,070 votes for the doctor, suggesting that any new ballots added to the mix could theoretically help McCormick. It is unclear when we will see a final count publicized.

House

OR-5: Counting Stalled — Oregon’s 5th District ballot counting has ground to a halt because of a major malfunction in one of the district’s anchor areas, Clackamas County. Due to a reported bar code error on the printed ballots, election officials are having to record the votes of every ballot individually, punching a new ballot for each with the correct bar code. Hence, only 57 percent of the expected vote has been reported.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) is trailing badly, 60-40 percent in the Democratic primary, to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The congressman’s base is Clackamas County, but it appears, according to votes currently recorded there, that he won’t likely have enough support there to fully overcome his opponent’s large early advantage. If Schrader does lose, he will be the third House incumbent who fails to secure re-nomination, joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

PA-12: State Rep Nearing Victory — One of the other Pennsylvania races that was too close to originally call was the open 12th District Democratic primary. Though she has not yet been officially projected the winner, state Rep. Summer Lee (D-Braddock) has increased her small lead to 737 votes of more than 94,000 ballots cast. Her main opponent is lobbyist Steve Irwin, and Lee’s lead may now be too wide for him to overcome. The eventual Democratic nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election and will replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) from the downtown Pittsburgh-anchored district.

Redistricting

Florida: Congressional Districts Still Unclear — Legal wrangling among judges imposing and then lifting and then re-imposing stay rulings regarding the Florida’s congressional map may be decided this week at the appellate court level. It is increasing possible, however, that the state Supreme Court will become the final arbiter should the Republicans’ motion to fast-track the maps to the high court be granted. Many argue that fast tracking the maps is the only way to give candidates adequate time to campaign in districts with definable boundaries prior to the Aug. 23 primary election. Most of the objections pertain to eliminating the majority black 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that extends from Tallahassee to Jacksonville.

New York: Congressional Districts Enacted — Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister approved the special master’s congressional maps with some changes, particularly in the Brooklyn area. The special master’s footprint helps Republicans to an extent, cutting their current delegation size from eight to five, which is one better than the Democratic map provided.

The new map does create at least five additional Democratic districts that will be competitive, and pairs Democrats Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) into a new 12th District. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) will move from his current 17th CD into a new west-side Manhattan 10th District where he will face former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others in a hotly contested primary. New York’s congressional and state Senate primaries are delayed until Aug. 23. The statewide contests and all other races will be decided in the previously scheduled June 28 primary.

Primaries Set for Five States Today

Pennsylvania primary GOP candidates Kathy Barnette, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and David McCormick are in a virtual dead heat with McCormick fading.

By Jim Ellis
May 17, 2022


Primaries

Today’s Voting — Primaries are being conducted in five states today, including the crucial Pennsylvania and North Carolina races. The most watched campaigns being decided tonight include the Pennsylvania Senate and governor’s races in both parties, the North Carolina Republican Senate race, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) nomination challenge, and the hotly contested new open 13th District seat in the Tar Heel State.

In Oregon, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) faces a significant Democratic primary challenge, while Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) is defending himself from a challenge from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, who has former President Trump’s support. The open Louisville seat in Kentucky will be virtually decided today as state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) appears as a lock to capture the Democratic nomination. In this 3rd District seat, clinching the Democratic nomination is tantamount to winning the seat.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Final Polling Still Too Close to Call — Major occurrences are happening in both parties on primary eve. For the Republicans, The long-awaited Pennsylvania primary is on tap, and the Republican side is ending with a flurry of outside organizations running media attack ads. Supporters of former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz turned their attention in the final days of the race toward trying to blunt Army veteran and 2020 congressional candidate Kathy Barnette who has driven herself into the top tier and beginning to peak at the optimum time. Supporting Barnette is the Club for Growth organization, spending $2 million in a media blitz around the state to bolster her improving chances of winning the primary.

Susquehanna Polling & Research released their final poll before the votes are counted (May 12-15; 400 likely Pennsylvania Republican primary voters) and it projects a virtual dead heat at the top of the ticket. The Susquehanna numbers find Oz leading Barnette by just a single point, 28-27 percent, with a 24 percent undecided factor. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is way back, according to this study, with just 11 percent support.

Democratic front-runner John Fetterman was hospitalized with a stroke over the weekend, but appears well positioned to make a full recovery and capture the nomination today. Lt. Gov. Fetterman has a large polling lead over US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) and looks to be the clear favorite on the Dem side today.

House

MI-13: Another Close Primary Race — Target Insyght completed a poll of Detroit’s open new 13th District (May 3-5; 600 likely MI-13 Democratic primary voters; live interview) and finds another political contest that is tight among several candidates. Eleven candidates are in the Democratic field, but only three enter double digits.

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail leads the group at 20 percent, John Conyers III, son of former 52-year congressional veteran John Conyers, is second with 15, and state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) is third with 12. The Michigan primary is Aug. 2. The seat is open after Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) announced her retirement and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) decided to seek re-election in District 12.

Governor

Minnesota: Former State Senator Wins Party Endorsement — Minnesota Republicans met in their state nominating endorsement convention and chose, on the sixth ballot, former state Sen. Scott Jensen as their official party candidate. Others may oppose him in an Aug. 9 primary election. Should Jensen come through the primary, he will then challenge Gov. Tim Walz (D). A recent Survey USA poll (May 5-10; 629 registered Minnesota voters; 513 who identify themselves as likely general election voters; live interview) finds Gov. Walz leading Jensen only 44-39 percent, and carrying a favorability index of 44:41 percent positive to negative.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Pulling Away — Susquehanna Polling & Research (see Senate post above) also tested today’s governor’s race. Here they find state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville), despite two candidates dropping out in an attempt to deny him the nomination, expanding his polling lead. The results project Mastriano to a 29-18-15 percent lead over former US Attorney Bill McSwain and ex-US Rep. Lou Barletta. Tonight’s winner faces Attorney General Josh Shapiro who is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Redistricting

New York: Draft Map Sent to Judge — The special master hired to draw a replacement New York map after the judiciary ruled the legislature’s plan was a partisan gerrymander, presented his effort to the presiding judge yesterday, meeting the previously assigned deadline. The judge is now accepting public comments and pledged to finalize the congressional and state Senate plans by Friday. The congressional map improves the political situation for Republicans, giving them at least one more seat than the Democratic draw, but putting possibly as many as 10 of the 26 seats into potential competition.

The map also pairs two sets of Democratic incumbents. In New York City, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are placed in one district. Both said yesterday that they would run. The new district contains 61 percent of Maloney’s district and 39 percent of Nadler’s. It is safely Democratic in the general election.

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) finds himself having to choose a Democratic pairing either against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) or Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers), or possibly running in an open 18th District that is relatively far from his current CD. If this map is adopted, we will see a much different New York election cycle than what was originally intended.

Vance on the Move Up in Ohio; Kemp Leads in Georgia While McKee Trails in Rhode Island; Redistricting News

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2022:

Senate

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance Continues Upward Swing — A pair of ending polls were released late last week as the Ohio Senate candidates move toward today’s primary election. Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (April 25-26; 800 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) and Emerson College (April 28-29; 885 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) both see author J.D. Vance forging into the lead.

FL&A, polling for the Protect Ohio Values PAC, posts Vance to his largest lead of the campaign, 31-19-12-12-8 percent over former state treasurer, Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons, state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken, respectively. Emerson College sees a similar division, but with Vance holding a much smaller edge, 24-22-18-14-7 percent over Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons, with Timken again trailing behind. It has become clear that both Vance and Dolan have upward momentum, while Gibbons and Timken have lost their earlier political steam. Mandel continues to poll relatively well but appears unable to expand his base of support.

The numbers are close enough that any of the current top four candidates, meaning Vance, Mandel, Dolan, and Gibbons could win the nomination vote.


Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Takes Commanding Lead — Survey USA largely confirms the University of Georgia poll that found Gov. Brian Kemp (R) establishing a firm lead in his battle against former US Sen. Davide Perdue, who former President Donald Trump endorses. The S-USA poll (April 22-27; 2,000 Georgia adults; 1,587 registered Georgia voters; 559 likely Georgia Republican primary voters; online) posts Gov. Kemp to a strong 56-31 percent advantage, suggesting that he would win the Republican nomination outright on May 24. Should all candidates be held under the majority mark, however, the top two would advance to a July 26 runoff election.

The general election ballot test gave Gov. Kemp a 50-45 percent edge over former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D).

Rhode Island: Gov. McKee Trailing — A Lake Research Partners survey for the Nellie Gorbea gubernatorial campaign was released on Friday (April 11-14; 600 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters; live interview) and the results project Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee as falling behind Secretary of State Gorbea as the candidates move toward the late Sept. 13 Democratic primary. The ballot test posts Gorbea to a 30-24-10 percent edge over Gov. McKee and ex-Secretary of State Matt Brown. All other candidates fell below the 10 percent threshold. Gov. McKee ascended to his position in March when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.


Redistricting

New York: Deadlines; Primary Moved — Steuben County Surrogate Court Judge Patrick McAllister, who first declared the New York congressional and state Senate maps unconstitutional in reference to the New York constitution, now has the responsibility of drawing the new plans. He has appointed Dr. Jonathan Cervas of the Institute of Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University as the special master who will prepare the maps for judicial review. He was given a May 16 deadline to submit the plans, and the court has set May 20 as the date to publicly announce the final maps for the 2020 election cycle.

Additionally, the judge moved the date of at least the congressional and state Senate primary from June 28 to Aug. 23. The legislature now has the opportunity of moving the races not affected by the congressional and state Senate redistricting maps to join those who are now scheduled for Aug. 23. If the legislators take no action, New York will have two primary dates this year.


States

Georgia: Sec of State Race Runoff Bound — As mentioned above in the Georgia governor’s section, Survey USA conducted a statewide Peach State poll. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who was at the focal point of the state’s post-election voting controversy, has captured the lead in the Republican primary ballot test, but with just 31 percent. While enjoying an 11-point lead over US Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro), Raffensperger is well short of reaching the 50 percent mark in order to clinch the nomination. Therefore, the most likely scenario is he and Rep. Hice will advance to a July 26 runoff election.

Southern incumbents who are forced into secondary votes typically fail to finish on top, so even if he places first on May 24, Raffensperger will likely be regarded as an underdog for the run-off election.

Wisconsin Senate Race Tightens; House News; Surprising Governor Approval Ratings; New York Redistricting Map Rejected

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2022:

Senate

Wisconsin: Dem Race Tightening — Marquette Law School released its quarterly survey of the Wisconsin electorate (April 19-24; 805 registered Wisconsin voters; 363 likely Democratic primary voters; live interview) and sees a tightening Democratic US Senate primary. The ballot test gave Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes only a 19-16 percent lead over Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club executive Alex Lasry. The result represents a net seven-point swing in Lasry’s favor since the last Marquette survey in February. Lasry has been advertising heavily in media buys. This race has time to gel. The Wisconsin primary is not until Aug. 9. The winner faces Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in November.

House

NC-11: Rep. Cawthorn in Position for Plurality Win — The Differentiators Data research organization, polling for GOPAC (April 25-26; 400 NC-11 likely Republican primary voters; live interview and text), finds that a majority of GOP sampled voters saying they would not vote to re-nominate Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), but his hard-core support group appears large enough to allow him to win a plurality election.

When asked if they would support Rep. Cawthorn in the North Carolina primary, 61 percent said they would choose another candidate. The 39 percent coalition that would vote to re-nominate him is large enough to win the primary in a state that has a runoff law, but with only a 30 percent threshold. With seven opponents opposing him, Rep. Cawthorn is clearly playing to his benefit.

Governor

Wisconsin: Kleefisch Continues to Lead — As mentioned above in the Wisconsin Senate section, Marquette Law School released a new Wisconsin survey (4/19-24; 805 WI registered voters; 375 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) and former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch continues to lead the party nomination race. The numbers haven’t changed much since February, though this poll was taken before construction company executive and 2004 US Senate nominee Tim Michels entered the race. The ballot test finds Ms. Kleefisch holding a 32-10% lead over businessman and frequent candidate Kevin Nicholson. The winner will face Gov. Tony Evers (D) in the general election in what will be a highly competitive race.

Approval Ratings: Top 11 Governors are all Republican — The latest Morning Consult Governor approval ratings are out, and Republican governors led by Charlie Baker (R-MA), Phil Scott (R-VT), Larry Hogan (R-MD), and Jim Justice (R-WV) head a group of 11 GOP state chief executives who are the top rated in the nation. Of the 11, six are on the ballot for re-election this year including Gov. Scott, who has still not indicated that he will run for a fourth two-year term. Chris Sununu (R-NH), Kay Ivey (R-AL), Mark Gordon (R-WY), Doug Burgum (R-ND), and Mike DeWine (R-OH) are the other top-rated governors seeking re-election.

On the other end of the spectrum, the only two who have negative ratings above 50 percent, Govs. Kate Brown (D-OR) and David Ige (D-HI), are both retiring.

Redistricting

New York: High Court Rejects Dem Map — The New York Court of Appeals, the highest judicial body in the state, upheld the two lower court decisions to invalidate the Democrats’ 22D-4R congressional map. The high court ruled that the legislature did not have the power to usurp the created redistricting commission even though the members could not complete their task by the assigned date. The CoA also ruled that the map is a partisan gerrymander. The court remanded the map back to the lower court and instructed a special master be hired to draw the new congressional and state Senate maps. The court also recommended the June 28 state primary be moved to a time in August.