Category Archives: Redistricting

Tennessee Primary Today; Tight Race Forming in Arizona Senate; Godlewski Drops From Wisconsin Senate Race; Indiana Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash

Tennessee Congressional Districts (click on image to see larger)

By Jim Ellis — August 4, 2022

Primary

Tennessee Primary Today: While still waiting for the remaining final numbers from Tuesday’s Arizona, Michigan, and Washington primaries, Volunteer State voters will go to the polls today to choose their nominees in the nation’s only Thursday primary.

There is no Senate race in the state in this election cycle, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) will next be on the ballot in 2024 with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) presumably running for his second term in 2026. While Gov. Bill Lee (R) is in-cycle this year, he is unopposed in today’s Republican primary.

Three Democrats are tonight vying for their party nomination, which of course will give the winner the right to challenge the governor in November. The only elected official of the group is Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley. Challenging him are physician Jason Martin and African American History Museum founder Carnita Atwater. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gov. Lee will be rated as a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

In the nine congressional races, five Republican incumbents are all unopposed for re-nomination this evening. Two incumbents — Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the state’s lone Democratic member on the ballot this year — face only minor opponents. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) has three opponents tonight, but none look to be serious challengers. Therefore, all of the action lies in the open 5th District.

Retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) has represented the district since the beginning of 2003. However, as a result of redistricting, Tennesseans decided to restructure a new 5th District, which was formerly a Nashville center city seat and wholly contained within Davidson County. As a result, the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 5th as R+15, thus upending what was a D+17 domain, which is one of the widest partisan redistricting swings in the nation. The Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean calculations sees the new 5th as 54.4 – 42.6 percent in the Republicans’ favor. Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and with no runoff law in Tennessee, a plurality winner will be chosen tonight.

TN-5 attracted much attention just after redistricting because the state Republican Party decided to add qualifications for their candidates, such as voting in the most recent three statewide elections. The party requirement, which survived a court challenge, was designed to bounce former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, music producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee from participating in the election. It was successful. All three had just recently moved to the area.

Once today’s Tennessee primary concludes, 36 states will have completed their nomination process. Two big states will remain, however, Florida, and the New York congressional and state Senate primary, both scheduled for Aug. 23.

Senate

Arizona: New Post-Primary Poll Shows Tight Race Forming — Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, and a new OnMessage survey already shows him within striking distance of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). The poll (Aug. 1-2; 600 likely Arizona general election voters) finds the senator leading Masters, 49-44 percent.

We can expect the Arizona race to be one of the most heavily polled general election campaigns during the remaining time before the Nov. 8 election. Arizona is a tight political state, and this race will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Wisconsin: Dem Race Ends — While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, that will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the Aug. 9 primary election.

Late last week, however, Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.

House

IN-2: Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash — Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three others were all tragically killed in a car accident yesterday. The congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when another vehicle crossed the median line and struck them head-on. The driver of that car also died.

Walorski, who was 58, is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Indiana state law will govern the succession procedure to replace the late representative.

Incumbent Defeats — Tuesday’s defeats of Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries are the ninth and tenth House incumbents to lose their seats in this election cycle. Five come from both parties. Five of the incumbent losses are redistricting related, two because of ethics or personal behavior problems, one for ideological reasons, and a pair on the Republican side, such as Rep. Meijer, for voting to impeach then-President Trump.

Not So Close in Maryland; Sen. Murray Pulling Away in Washington; de Blasio Out in New York

By Jim Ellis — July 21, 2022

Primary Results

Maryland: Not So Close — Though polling was suggesting that several close races would be present on the Maryland primary ballot, it appears none materialized Tuesday night. Approximately 40 percent of the Democratic ballots and 20 percent of the GOP’s tallies still remain to be counted, and it will be several days until we see final totals, but the margins from the various races are such that they are unlikely to reverse any finishing order.

It appears that author and anti-poverty activist Wes Moore will win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. At this writing, he has almost a full 10-percentage point lead over his closest rival, former labor secretary and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, with state Comptroller Peter Franchot now a distant third.

Claiming the Democratic nomination makes him a prohibitive general election favorite against Donald Trump-backed state Delegate Dan Cox (R-Frederick) who clinched the Republican primary over former state Commerce Department Secretary Kelly Schulz. Assuming a November win, Moore will become Maryland’s 63rd governor and first African American to hold the post. He would replace term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is ineligible to run again because of the state’s term-limited law.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen was a landslide Democratic primary winner as expected. He will face Republican activist and home-building contractor Chris Chaffee in what should be an easy re-election run for the incumbent.

US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) also was easily nominated as the Democratic candidate for attorney general in another race polling projected as trending close. Rep. Brown has so far claimed approximately 60 percent of the vote against retired district judge Katie Curran O’Malley (D), wife of former governor and presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

Tuesday night’s competitive US House races saw the open 4th District going to ex-Prince Georges State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, who surprisingly easily defeated former US Rep. Donna Edwards (D). The ex-House member, who served nine years after winning a special election in 2008, was attempting a political comeback after losing the 2016 US Senate Democratic primary to Van Hollen.

In the 6th District, State Delegate and 2020 Republican nominee Neil Parrott easily defeated journalist Matthew Foldi who attracted support from Gov. Hogan and other key GOP leaders. Parrott will again challenge Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), but now in a district that is more favorable to a Republican candidate.

Senate

Washington: Sen. Murray Pulling Away — For the second time in a matter of days, a poll finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) re-establishing a strong lead in her 2022 re-election effort after earlier surveys were projecting a tight race. Elway Research (July 7-11; 400 registered Washington voters; live interview & text) projects Sen. Murray to be holding a 51-33 percent lead over veterans advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R). The result is almost identical to the Survey USA poll that was conducted during the same period. The S-USA data found a 53-33 percent Murray advantage. The confirming Elway result suggests the two pollsters are detecting a positive response to the recent Murray ad blitz.

House

NY-10: de Blasio Out — After two released polls from progressive left survey research firms found him stuck in low single digits for his US House run, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has ended his congressional effort. In a video message thanking people for their help and support, de Blasio indicated that since it is clear the people of the new 10th District prefer a different direction, it is time that he found a different way to serve. Therefore, de Blasio says he will exit elective politics.

Though the former city chief executive won two terms as New York’s mayor, he met a similar fate in short-lived bids for president and governor. With 100 percent name identification according to both Data for Progress and Justice Research, de Blasio managed a preference factor of only five and three percent in the two polls.

Redistricting

Ohio: State Supreme Court Strikes Again — Continuing the fight between the Ohio Supreme Court and the Buckeye State legislature, the high court again struck down the enacted congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, once more on a 4-3 ruling, and mandated that the plan be re-drawn for the 2024 election. It is likely that the US Supreme Court will issue a ruling on partisan gerrymandering at some point next year, which may make the Ohio decision moot. This ruling does not affect the 2022 election cycle, which will be run under the plan that the court just struck down.

States

Missouri: No Top Four — The grassroots organization attempting to convert the Missouri primary system into a Top-Four jungle primary format a la Alaska, has failed to qualify for the November initiative ballot. Though the group recruited more than 300,000 signatures, they failed to reach the mandated number of verified petition signatures in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. The organizers vowed to mount a similar effort for the 2024 election.

The Top-Four system, used only in Alaska and for the first time in the 2022 election cycle, features a jungle primary that includes all candidates on the same ballot. The top four candidates then advance to the general election regardless of party preference and vote percentage attained. Once the four general election finalists are determined, the system converts to Ranked Choice Voting System, where voters prioritize their candidate choices from 1-4. Contenders are eliminated once one reaches the 50 percent mark.

Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead, Kemp & Abrams Tied in Georgia; Incumbent Rep. Lee Trailing in NV-3

By Jim Ellis — July 1, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Jumps to Significant Lead — The new Georgia Quinnipiac poll (June 23-27; 1,497 registered Georgia voters; live interview) finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) claiming a 54-44 percent lead over Republican Herschel Walker, the most lopsided pro-Democratic ballot test to date. The previous polling from December to mid-April (six polls) had given Walker a slight edge.

Sen. Warnock carries a positive 49:39 percent job approval rating in contrast to President Biden’s upside-down 33:60 percent approval rating. Walker scores rather poorly on honesty, 39:43 percent honest to dishonest, and is not perceived to have particularly good leadership skills, 37:43 percent. As point of reference, the same polling sample finds Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) tied at 48 percent.

However, the study could be an anomaly.

Though polls have been moving toward Sen. Warnock, the Q-Poll takes a giant leap, so it is possible that this survey is an outlier. Democrats support Warnock, 97-2 percent; Republicans are for Walker in a 93-7 percent clip.

The Independent sector is where we may be detecting a significant skew. This group, on virtually every question but the Biden job approval query moves significantly toward the Democratic position and/or candidate, and in a greater degree than one would expect from people who self-identify as “independents” (62-33 percent for Warnock).

While this particular poll may well skew toward Sen. Warnock, it is probable that we will soon see other data yielding a much closer ballot test. The Georgia Senate race is one that is far from over.

Missouri: Independent Joins Race — Answering former Sen. John Danforth’s (R) call for a new candidate in the Senate race, former US Attorney John Wood announced his plans to enter the contest as an Independent. He claims this is a move to potentially stop former Gov. Eric Greitens from prevailing in the general election should he win the Republican nomination. In reality, however, by splitting the vote in such a manner — if Wood were to become a top-tier candidate — would likely elect the Democratic nominee.

Wood says that if elected, he would support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for Majority Leader and would presumably caucus with the Republicans. To qualify for the ballot in Missouri, an Independent candidate must submit 10,000 valid registered voters’ signatures by an Aug. 1 deadline.

House

FL-2: Close Poll in Paired Race — The new northern Florida’s 2nd District is rated R+16 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization. A new Sachs Media poll (June 20-23; 400 likely FL-2 general election voters), however, finds Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Panama City) leading Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) by only a 43-40 percent margin. Perhaps the most troubling segment for Rep. Dunn is the unaffiliated voters who are breaking for Lawson by a 42-18 percent margin.

NV-3: Rep. Lee Trailing in New Survey — The Tarrance Group, polling for the April Becker (R) campaign (June 20-23; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters), posts their client and Republican challenger to a 46-44 percent edge over incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). Likely most troubling for the Lee campaign is her deficit among Hispanic voters who comprise almost 19 percent of the 3rd District of Nevada’s population. Within this segment, Becker leads the congresswoman 48-42 percent. President Biden’s job approval rating here is a poor 37 percent.

OK-2: Runoff Set — With enough votes counted, it is now clear that the Republican runoff to replace Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) will feature state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee), who finished first with just 14.7 percent among the crowded field, and former state Sen. John Brecheen, who was close behind with 13.8 percent support. The two just eclipsed Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee (13.0 percent) and Oklahoma Republican Party chairman John Bennett (11.3 percent). The runoff winner is a lock to win the general election in a R+55 rated seat according the the 538 data group.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Supreme Court Stays Ruling — The federal judge’s ruling that disqualified the new Louisiana congressional map because it did not draw a second black district has been stayed. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took the action to at least temporarily block the ruling from taking effect. The conclusion will mean the legislature’s map will return at least for the 2022 election.

The courts, either through this case or the Alabama Voting Rights case that the SCOTUS has already scheduled for hearing, will likely determine how the Voting Rights Act is to be interpreted moving forward. This could mean that the Louisiana map and many others will be re-drawn for the 2024 election and beyond.

Lee Ahead in Utah; Louisiana Redistricting; Tight Gubernatorial Race in New Mexico

By Jim Ellis — June 23, 2022

Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Utah: Sen. Lee Well Ahead in Latest Survey — Coming on the heels of a Dan Jones & Associates survey (May 24-June4; 810 registered Utah voters) that found Sen. Mike Lee (R) holding only a 41-37 percent lead over Independent Evan McMullin, who has coalesced with the Democrats, a new WPA Intelligence poll puts the senator in much better position. According to the WPA results (June 14-16; 300 likely Utah general election voters) the senator’s lead is 52-33 percent.

Both surveys have issues. The Dan Jones poll has a very long sampling period and is of registered and not likely voters. The WPAi survey has a sampling university of only 300 individuals, which is low for a statewide study in Utah.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Federal Judge to Draw New Black Seat — Federal Judge Shelly Dick, since the legislature did not produce a new congressional map that adds a second black district to the delegation by her imposed June 20 deadline, says she will draw such a map before June 29. Currently, the Louisiana delegation stands at 5R-1D, with the one Democratic seat being majority black and stretching from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The move will likely add a Democratic district to the delegation and cost the Republicans a seat. Republicans have asked the US Supreme Court to stay Judge Dick’s ruling, but so far the high court has not taken any action.

Governor

New Mexico: A Pair of Polls Predict Tight Gov Contest — A pair of new surveys coming from two different polling organizations simultaneously arrived at virtually the same conclusion — that is, that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and challenger Mark Ronchetti (R) are already in a toss-up campaign.

Public Policy Polling, surveying for the New Mexico Political Report (June 13-14; 642 New Mexico voters; live interview & text), finds Gov. Lujan Grisham topping Ronchetti, a former Albuquerque weatherman who was the 2020 Republican US Senate nominee, by only a 45-42 percent margin. The closeness is confirmed and then some from an internal Public Opinion Strategies poll that the Ronchetti campaign released. According to this study (June 11-14; 600 likely New Mexico general election voters; live interview), Ronchetti holds a tight one-point lead, 46-45 percent. The New Mexico gubernatorial race is quickly becoming a key nationally watched race.

GOP Dogfight Continues in Arizona; Rep. Cori Bush’s Competitive Primary

By Jim Ellis — June 10, 2022

Senate

Arizona: GOP Dogfight Continues — A new Data Orbital poll (June 1-3; 550 likely Arizona Republican primary voters) again finds a three-way virtual tie for the party’s US Senate nomination that will be decided on Aug. 2. In the last 10 published polls, all three top candidates, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessmen Blake Masters, who now has former President Trump’s endorsement, as well as Jim Lamon have led in at least two polls apiece.

The latest Data Orbital results also suggests that any of the three can win the primary. In their ballot test results, Lamon leads AG Brnovich and Masters, 20-18-15 percent. The eventual winner will challenge Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in what promises to be a competitive general election campaign.

House

Freshman Missouri Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) has a competitive race on her hands.

MO-1: Rep. Bush’s Tenuous Lead — A new internal campaign poll suggests that controversial freshman Missouri Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) has a competitive race on her hands as the candidates look ahead to the Aug. 2 state primary. State Sen. Steve Roberts (D-St. Louis) released a Lincoln Park Strategies poll (May 24-29; 500 MO-1 registered voters; live interview) that finds the congresswoman leading by only a 36-19 percent spread over the poll sponsor, and that obviously places the incumbent far below the 50 percent threshold. Three other Democrats are also on the ballot, suggesting that the winner can claim the party nomination with only a plurality margin.

This survey suggests that the MO-1 Democratic primary, for the second consecutive election cycle, will be competitive. In 2020, Bush upset veteran Congressman Lacy Clay in the party primary that paved the way for her easy general election victory. The Democratic primary controls the general election since the district is rated D+52.

NY-23: State Chair Langworthy New Nominee — The local Republican chairmen whose counties comprise the current 23rd Congressional District have decided that newly announced congressional candidate Nick Langworthy — the New York Republican Party chairman — will be the party’s special election nominee for the race to succeed resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning). Langworthy will face retired Air Force Colonel Max Della Pia whom the Democratic chairmen had previously selected. Under New York election law, the county parties choose nominees in the event of a vacancy.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) scheduled the special to be concurrent with the regular congressional primary on Aug. 23. We can expect both Langworthy and Della Pia to win their respective regular election primaries, so we can count on seeing the two battle not only on Aug. 23, but also for the general election. Langworthy now becomes a big favorite in the southwestern upstate district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23. Dave’s Redistricting App scores it 55.37 percent R and 41.98 percent D. Former President Trump carried the new 23rd District in 2020 by a 55-43 percent count.

Redistricting

Louisiana: Federal Judge Rejects Map — A federal judge has struck down the Louisiana legislature’s 2022 congressional map under the argument that another minority seat can be drawn in the state. The current map and the new plan features a 5R-1D delegation split with the lone Democratic seat, which is 58.6 percent black and 70.2 percent minority, stretching from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The judge ruled that such a plan violates the Voting Rights Act.

Expect the Republicans to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The US Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a similar Alabama case, and this one will set the record for Voting Rights interpretation. Therefore, the chances of the Appellate Court staying the new Louisiana ruling and reinstating the map for the 2022 elections are high. Under the rejected plan, all six of the state’s incumbents would have safe seats in which to run for re-election.