Category Archives: Redistricting

Manchin Declines Presidential Run; Tester Up in Latest Montana Poll; Texas Polls Bouncing About;
NC Governor’s Race a Dead Heat; Nevada Redistricting Push Fails

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024

President

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D)

Sen. Joe Manchin: No Presidential Run — After testing the political waters for a minor party presidential run, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) over the weekend announced that he will not be pursuing a national candidacy. While not said, it is clear that the task of obtaining ballot position in enough states to be competitive proved daunting, and at this point in the cycle very unlikely to be achieved. Without a party label, it is extremely difficult, as even Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is finding, to qualify fully for the national campaign.

Senate

Montana: Tester Up in Latest Senate Poll — Survey USA, polling for the NonStop Local organization (Feb. 12-15; 700 North Carolina adults; 612 registered North Carolina voters; 549 likely voters) tested the Montana electorate shortly after Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) announced his short-lived Senate campaign. The results provided good news for Sen. Jon Tester (D), who faces the political winds in his face this year. Against both aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy and Rosendale, Sen. Tester posted identical 49-40 percent leads. Earlier surveys found a much closer ballot test.

Rep. Rosendale’s abrupt exit from the Senate race virtually clears the GOP field for Sheehy, who already has the entire Republican state and national establishment backing his campaign. The Montana race is a top-tier GOP challenge contest and one of the states likely to determine which party will claim the Senate majority in the next Congress.

Texas: Senate Polls Bouncing Around — We’re already seeing very predictable Texas Senate polling. Recent polls have shown a tight race between Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas). It is expected that the various ballot tests will show a close contest all the way to election day, at which point Sen. Cruz will pull away and post a 5-plus point victory. Additionally, while Rep. Allred has been very successful on the fundraising front, he still must navigate through a contested Democratic primary that has a good chance of advancing into a runoff election.

The National Public Affairs Republican polling firm (Feb. 6-8; 807 likely Texas voters; live interview & text) is the latest to survey the Texas electorate. While the data produces a three point Republican advantage on the generic congressional question and former President Donald Trump tops President Joe Biden at 42-35 percent, the Senate race between Cruz and Allred finds the two tied at 44 percent apiece. Previously, we saw chronological polls giving Cruz a nine-point (YouGov), two-point (Emerson College), and six-point (YouGov) lead.

Governor

North Carolina: Open Gov Race a Dead Heat — Of the eleven 2024 gubernatorial campaigns on the ballot, the North Carolina contest is clearly the most competitive. With Gov. Roy Cooper (D) ineligible to seek a third term, it appears that Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and Attorney General Josh Stein (D) are headed to the general election.

East Carolina University just completed a poll of the state (Feb. 9-12; 1,207 registered North Carolina voters; Interactive Voice Response system) and posts Robinson to a 53-13-7 percent lead over attorney and former prosecutor Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, AG Stein records a similarly strong 57-7 percent margin over retired state Supreme Court Judge Mike Morgan.

Turning to the general election, this polling universe yields a 41-41 percent tie between the two men. North Carolina typically features tight statewide races, and this open governor’s race appears to be consistent with such voter history.

States

Nevada: Redistricting Ballot Prop Rejected — Proponents of creating a redistricting commission were dealt a major setback at the end of last week. Two measures that would begin the process to remove redistricting power from the legislature and governor and create a citizens’ commission to draw maps can’t appear on the ballot this year according to a Nevada state court ruling. The ruling cited the Nevada statue stating ballot initiatives must demonstrate that adopting the measure will pay for itself. The redistricting commission proposition lacked such proof.

In Nevada, ballot measures must pass in consecutive elections in order to be adopted. Therefore, it appears this support group will have to wait until 2026 and 2028 to attempt qualifying the proposition since the latest court ruling will likely prohibit the supporters from obtaining the 102,362 valid petition signatures required for ballot qualification in this election year.

Rosendale Out, Retired Navy SEAL Sheehy In; Hogan Doing Well in MD; NY Redistricting Commission Approves Map; Ashcroft Leads in Missouri

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Feb. 19, 2024

Senate

Retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy

Montana: Rosendale’s Quick Exit — After months of speculation as to whether US Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Glendive) would enter the Montana US Senate race culminating with his declaration of candidacy on February 9th, we now see a quick end.

Late last week, Rosendale announced that he will not file for the Senate, saying in a released statement that he has “been forced to calculate what my chances of success would be with Trump supporting my opponent.” On the day of Rosendale’s Senate announcement, former President Donald Trump issued his endorsement of aerospace company CEO and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy. Rosendale indicated he will take time to ponder his next political step.

Maryland: Hogan Doing Well in New Poll — A release from Emerson College (Feb. 12-13; 1,000 registered Maryland voters; 543 likely Democratic primary voters; 246 likely Republican primary voters; multiple sampling techniques) finds former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) tied with US Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), who has already spent $23 million in attempting to win the Democratic Party nomination, at 42 percent apiece. He would lead Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, 44-37 percent, if she were to become the Democratic nominee.

What is particularly surprising and may well not hold up once the campaign begins in earnest, is Hogan’s standing among Independent voters and even Democrats. If Trone were his general election opponent, Hogan would lead among Independents and rather stunningly attracts approximately one-quarter of Democratic voters. With Alsobrooks as his opponent, Hogan’s numbers are much better. Within this pairing, he would lead among Independents 43-18 percent, while converting 31 percent of Democratic voters.

House

New York: Redistricting Commission Approves Cong Map — The New York Independent Redistricting Commission, on a vote of 9-1, late last week adopted a new congressional map, but it looks very much like the current court-drawn plan. It appears the commissioners adopted a “least change” model in that the early reported change seems to adversely affect Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse), at least slightly, but conversely helps adjacent Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-Red Hook). Much more will be known about the map when statisticians delve into the partisan patterns of the new boundaries.

The “independent” commission is not so independent. The legislature must now approve the commission map and it is uncertain whether large Democratic majorities in both houses will accept a “least change” map.

SC-6: Rep. Clyburn Steps Down from Leadership Post — In a written press release, US Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) announced that he will be resigning his leadership position as Assistant to the Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. While stepping down from the Democratic Leadership tree, the 83-year-old veteran House member, who is completing his 16th term in Congress, additionally said that he will seek re-election to his Columbia anchored seat in the South Carolina delegation. News reports suggest that Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette/Boulder) is a strong candidate to replace Clyburn as Minority Leader Jeffries’ (D-NY) Assistant.

Governor

Missouri: Ashcroft Continues to Lead — Republican polling firm ARW Strategies conducted a survey of the Missouri GOP electorate (Feb. 5-7; 611 likely Missouri Republican primary voters) and found Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, son of former US senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft continuing to lead the open gubernatorial field. According to the ARW results, Ashcroft leads Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and state Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) by a 36-13-13 percent margin. The findings are consistent with other previously conducted polls.

This survey, however, skews male (51.1 percent) and to those 65 years of age and older. This age demographic represents only 16 percent of the Missouri at-large population, but 46 percent in this particular poll. Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Nevada Primary Underway, Caucus Begins Thursday; Spartz “Un-Retires”; Louisiana Redistricting Fight;
Strong Challenger in MI-3

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024

President

Nevada: Primary Today; GOP Caucus Thursday — Nevada voters will cast their votes for a Democratic presidential nominee with 49 delegates at stake in their primary, while Republicans will be participating in what is termed as only a “beauty contest” primary because delegate apportionment will not correspond to the cast ballots. The delegates will be awarded in a caucus system with meetings scheduled for Thursday.

President Joe Biden will easily sweep the small Democratic field, maybe not to the point of getting 97 percent support as he did in South Carolina, but he will win in a substantial landslide. On the Republican side, where the candidates chose to enter either the primary or caucus, sees ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on the outside; she will win a virtually meaningless primary, against virtually meaningless minor candidates, while former President Donald Trump opted to enter the caucus and is likely to sweep Nevada’s 26 convention delegates.

House

IN-5: Rep. Spartz “Un-Retires” — In early 2023, Indiana sophomore US Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) became the session’s first lame duck House member when announcing that she would not seek a third term in order to spend more time with her two daughters who are entering their teenage years. Yesterday, Spartz reversed course and now becomes the first of the burgeoning departing group of members to “unretire.”

Rep. Spartz said the urging from many of her constituents to run again and what she termed as the “failed leadership in Washington,” were her reasons for deciding to stand for another term just as the Indiana candidate filing deadline approaches on Friday.

The focus now turns to the 10 Republicans who are vying to succeed Spartz and see just how many, if any, will terminate their campaigns. State Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) is viewed as the leading contender and has already spent over $1 million on his congressional effort. He also has more than twice the amount of money in the bank than does Rep. Spartz ($679,000 to $313,000) according to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission disclosure report. No other candidate has significant resources.

Louisiana: New Map Challenged — While the Louisiana legislature and governor complied with a court order to draw a new majority minority seat in the congressional delegation, a group of “non African-American voters” have filed suit against the new plan as a racial gerrymander.

A different three-judge panel will hear the lawsuit suggesting the possibility that this map could be rendered illegal, too. The plaintiffs site a 1994 case where a similarly drawn district, one that stretches from Baton Rouge to Shreveport to create a black majority district, was in fact declared a racial gerrymander, which forced a redraw then. This lawsuit suggests that Louisiana congressional redistricting may not be quite over.

Now, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) weighed in on “X” saying, “there are multiple other map options that are legally compliant and do not require the unnecessary surrender of a Republican seat in Congress.” The new 6th District virtually cuts Johnson’s 4th District into two parts, driving through the middle of the Speaker’s current territory in order to annex the black dominated precincts in Shreveport.

MI-13: A Second Strong Democrat to Challenge Rep. Thanedar — In 2022, then-Detroit state Rep. Shri Thanedar won an eight-person Democratic congressional primary with 28 percent of the vote to claim his seat in the US House. In doing so, Thanedar self-financed his effort to the tune of $9.1 million.

In October, Rep. Thanedar’s top 2022 challenger, former state Sen. Adam Hollier, announced that he would return for a Democratic primary rematch. Yesterday, another major Detroit political figure joined the primary race. Detroit City council member and former state House Minority Leader Mary Waters filed a congressional campaign committee with the FEC. She did not run in 2022. Another potential entry is two-time former candidate John Conyers III, the son of the late Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit), who held the seat from his initial election in 1964 to his resignation from the House in 2017.

From the freshman incumbent’s perspective, he benefits from having more opponents that will split the vote just the way the 2022 race unfolded.

Regardless of his number of opponents, the congressman looks again to be the biggest spender. According to the year-end (2023) Federal Election Commission campaign finance disclosure report, Rep. Thanedar shows $2.6 million in his political committee bank account. The Michigan candidate filing deadline is April 23 in conjunction with the Aug. 6 primary election.

Rep. Mace Challenged by Ex-Staffer; Support Coalesces for North Dakota Candidate; Nebraska GOP, Trump at Odds; West Virginia Candidates Set

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024

House

Two-term Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston) challenged by former staffer Dan Hanlon. (Handout photo)

SC-1: Ex-Staffer Announces Against Rep. Mace — Dan Hanlon, a former chief of staff to two-term South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston), announced that he will challenge his former boss in the upcoming Republican primary. The move had been rumored for several weeks.

A further complicating factor is the lawsuit arguing that this district is a racial gerrymander has been heard at the US Supreme Court, and the state is awaiting a decision. If the high court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, a 1st District redraw could be ordered. With an April 1 candidate filing deadline for the associated June 11 primary, it may be difficult to reconfigure the district for the 2024 election cycle even if SCOTUS compels the change.

Additionally, former state representative and 2018 congressional nominee Katie Arrington (R) has also not ruled out running. Without changing, the seat should easily remain in Republican hands, but the GOP primary will become interesting.

Governor

North Dakota: Rep. Armstrong Building Consensus — At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) continues to solidify himself as the heir apparent to retiring Gov. Doug Burgum (R). Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R), an announced gubernatorial candidate, has already pulled out of the race. Instead, he will run for Rep. Armstrong’s open US House seat. It already appears that Armstrong is becoming a consensus gubernatorial candidate, and the real race will be the Republican primary to succeed him in the US House.

States

Nebraska: GOP Refuses to Endorse Incumbents — Exacerbating the feud between Cornhusker State incumbents — supported by former President Donald Trump — and establishment Republicans, the Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee issued endorsements to all of the GOP primary congressional challengers.

In the Senate race, the party has endorsed retired Air Force officer John Glen Weaver over appointed senator and former Gov. Pete Ricketts. In US House District 2, the committee is officially supporting financial services executive and former congressional candidate Don Frei over Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha), and in District 3, the party delegates issued an endorsement for businessman John Walz against nine-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering).

In the contests where the Republican incumbents are running unopposed for the party nomination, Sen. Deb Fischer, and Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk), the committee members issued no endorsement. It is also worth noting that none of the incumbents sought the party endorsement.

West Virginia: Candidate Filing Closes — The West Virginia primary races are now set, as candidates will begin officially campaigning for the May 14th plurality primary. The races for governor and US senator will capture the most attention, while crowded primaries are underway for the open attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor’s offices. The only statewide incumbent seeking re-election is Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt (R).

Despite all the other statewide races being hotly contested, an oddity occurred in the open state treasurer’s race in that only one candidate filed. Former state Delegate Larry Pack (R) is unopposed both in the Republican primary and the general election.

The Republican gubernatorial primary features four top candidates, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; Secretary of State Mac Warner; former state Delegate Moore Capito, the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R); and businessman Chris Miller, son of US Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The Senate Republican primary is considered a match between two-term Gov. Jim Justice and US Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town), though four other candidates filed. The Democratic side features Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and former CEO and convicted felon Don Blankenship (a frequent candidate), along with former congressional aide Zack Shrewsbury. Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is retiring.

In the House races, 1st District Rep. Carol Miller faces only minor opposition in the Republican primary and general elections. In the open 2nd District, state Treasurer Riley Moore leads a Republican field of five candidates. His most serious opponent appears to be retired Air Force General Chris Walker. For the Democrats, retired Navy Cmdr. Steve Wendelin is unopposed for the party nomination.

Sen. Cruz in Potentially Competitive Re-Election Bid; Senate Challenge in New Mexico; Rep. Susie Lee Draws Opponent in Nevada; Redistricting Developments in Wisconsin

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 29, 2024

Senate

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Texas: Tight New Poll — Emerson College just released the results of their latest Texas statewide survey (Jan. 13-15; 1,315 registered Texas voters; interactive voice response system & online) that finds Sen. Ted Cruz (R) heading into a potentially competitive general election. The ballot test found the senator leading US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) by a slight 42-40 percent margin, and holding only a one-point, 41-40 percent split over state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). Simultaneously, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden 49-41 percent.

The poll is not particularly surprising in that Sen. Cruz’s personal favorability numbers have never been particularly good. However, there are a number of things that favor Sen. Cruz: the presidential election turnout model, Trump beating Biden in the state, the Biden energy policies being detrimental to Texas, and the southern border controversy — all play politically to Sen. Cruz’s favor. Therefore, despite the likelihood that we will see many close Texas Senate polls between now and the November election, the actual votes will favor Sen. Cruz winning re-election by a relatively comfortable margin.

New Mexico: Republicans Making Move to Challenge Sen. Heinrich — In order to expand what is a favorable Republican US Senate map, a prominent member of the GOP announced her candidacy. Nella Domenici, a former hedge fund CEO and daughter of the late six-term Sen. Pete Domenici (R), is the latest Republican to declare for the seat. Last week, former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales switched parties to enter the GOP Senate primary. The eventual winner of the June 4 Republican primary will challenge two-term incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich (D).

The senator is favored for re-election, but Republicans improving among Hispanics could make this a competitive contest. New Mexico’s Hispanics register 50.2 percent of the state population universe according to the latest US Census report. The last time Republicans won a New Mexico statewide race was in 2014 when then-Gov. Susanna Martinez was re-elected. An August Public Policy Polling survey showed President Biden topping former President Trump 49-41 percent, suggesting the state could become competitive in the national election.

House

NV-3: GOP Ex-State Treasurer Announces for House — Earlier this month, Republicans lost their top congressional recruit in state Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas), who instead of running for the House will seek re-election to what could become a tight Nevada Assembly. Kasama was clearly the top contender for the GOP nomination in a seat that is the most winnable for a Republican (FiveThirtyEight data organization rating: D+2) of the three Las Vegas competitive districts.

Now, former State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) is coming to the forefront to announce his congressional candidacy. While winning a statewide position in 2014, Schwartz has not fared well since, losing landslide races in his attempts to be elected governor, lieutenant governor, and a previous run for the 3rd Congressional District. It is likely the Republicans will have to recruit a stronger candidate against Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) if they are to move this race into the top tier.

Wisconsin: Congressional District Lines Challenged — A citizens group that famed Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias represents filed suit before the Wisconsin state Supreme Court arguing that the panel’s rejection of the state Senate and Assembly maps compels them to reconsider striking down the state’s congressional map.

According to the Daily Kos Elections site’s legal analysts, the legislature’s maps were returned for a re-draw because the court rejected the “least change” (from the previous map) practice that the legislature relied upon to draw the 2021 maps. The Elias group’s lawsuit maintains that the congressional map was also drawn under the “least change” practice, and therefore should be redrawn.

So far, however, the court has not taken action against the congressional map and time is running out. The secretary of state has informed the court that unless new maps are enacted into law by March 15, they will not be able to convert the electoral system in time for the 2024 election.

Trump, Biden Win in New Hampshire; Blood Challenges Flood in NE-1; North Dakota Candidates Line Up for Governor’s Race; Louisiana Redistricting Map Signed Into Law

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

President

New Hampshire: Trump, Biden Win — Former President Donald Trump successfully won the New Hampshire Republican primary last night and did so by about 12 percentage points, but his performance is apparently not enough to convince former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to leave the race.

In her concession speech, Haley pledged to continue moving forward and several times referenced going to her home state of South Carolina as a place that could reverse the political tide. Polling, however, suggests that she is not as strong there as she was in New Hampshire.

For the Democrats, President Joe Biden, despite not being on the primary ballot, won the primary with write-in ballots that tallied just over 67 percent of the vote. US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who said he had no fundamental disagreement with the president over issues but believes Democrats should have a choice particularly with an 81-year old in office, secured just over 20 percent of the vote. Author Marianne Williamson attracted the remaining votes, just under 4 percent.

The New Hampshire primary yielded a record Republican turnout. The final participation count could reach 320,000. The previous record of 284,120 was set in 2016. The final Democratic turnout number will only be in the 100,000 range.

House

NE-1: Gov. Nominee to Challenge Rep. Flood — State Sen. Carol Blood (D-Bellevue), who was the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and lost to now-Gov. Jim Pillen (R), 59-36 percent, announced that she will now challenge Rep. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) in the state’s 1st District that surrounds the Omaha metropolitan area on three sides. Flood was elected in a 2022 special election after Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) resigned. He won a full term in November with 58 percent of the vote. Blood’s candidacy gives the Democrats a credible challenger in what is considered a safe Republican seat.

Rep. Flood will be favored for re-election. The 1st District carries an R+17 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization. Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a partisan lean of 56.7R – 40.4D. The Daily Kos Elections site ranks NE-1 as the 72nd most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.

Governor

North Dakota: One In, One Out — After Gov. Doug Burgum (R) on Monday announced that he will not seek a third term, other North Dakota politicos began to make public their own political plans. At-Large US Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-Bismarck) quickly declared that he will run for governor. Armstrong leaving the House means that 46 seats will be open for the next election.

Conversely, Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), also viewed as one of the top potential contenders to succeed Gov. Burgum, announced that he will not run for governor, instead opting to seek re-election to his current position. Former state senator and ex-congressional candidate Tom Campbell (R) will also run for governor.

The Republican statewide nominating convention is scheduled for April 6. The ND primary is set for June 11.

States

Louisiana: Redistricting Map Signed Into Law — Meeting the court-ordered requirement to draw a new majority minority seat in Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry (R) yesterday signed into law the legislature’s map. The new lines will cost the Republicans one seat, as an African American Democrat will be heavily favored to win a newly drawn 6th District that stretches from Baton Rouge all the way to Shreveport, cutting through the middle of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton) 4th CD.

Current 6th District Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) says he will run for the House, which likely means challenging Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in the state’s newly drawn, and safely Republican, 5th CD. Rep. Graves also says he is considering filing a lawsuit against the new map.

DeSantis Suspends Campaign; Louisiana Map Passes Legislature, State Changes Primary System;
NY-3 Poll Shows Tightening Race;

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Jan. 22, 2024

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) / Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ron DeSantis: Suspends Campaign: Two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once thought to be former President Donald Trump’s principal Republican challenger, announced that he is suspending his national campaign and endorsed the former president.

While DeSantis suspended his campaign, he didn’t soften his attacks on both President Joe Biden and fellow GOP challenger Nikki Haley. “I look forward to working together with him [Trump] to beat Joe Biden, who is the worst and most corrupt president in the history of our country,” DeSantis said.

Referring to Haley, Gov. DeSantis was quoted as saying, “I signed a pledge to support the nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He [Mr. Trump] has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

The GOP presidential fight now winnows to two major contenders, former President Trump, and ex-UN Ambassador Haley. Tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary may be close; Trump, however, will easily win in Nevada on Feb. 6, after which the campaign heads to Haley’s home state of South Carolina on Feb. 24 where polling finds Trump holding a 2:1 lead. If such margin holds, the Republican nomination will effectively be clinched before Super Tuesday on March 5.

House

Louisiana: Congressional Map Passes Legislature — The Louisiana state legislature agreed upon legislation to create a new congressional map as part of their special session to satisfy a court order. The bill now goes to Gov. Jeff Landry (R) for his signature. The agreed upon plan creates a new 6th District anchored in Baton Rouge, which then stretches through Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Benton), virtually cutting it in half, to reach Shreveport. This satisfies the court order to create a second majority minority seat in the state (54 percent black). According to the Dave’s Redistricting App statisticians, President Biden would have carried the new 6th by a 59-39 percent majority.

The big loser on this map is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge). He is now paired with Rep. Julia Letlow (R-Start) in a new 5th District seat that stretches along the Mississippi border on the south and east and going all the way to the Arkansas border on the north. The new 5th contains at least two-thirds of Rep. Letlow’s current constituency.

The partisan division will now award another seat to the Democrats, making the future Louisiana delegation 5R-2D. Under the plan, Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Reps. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), and Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette) all get safe seats from a partisan perspective.

NY-3: New Poll Shows Tight Special Election Race — A newly released Emerson College survey (Jan. 13-15; 975 registered NY-3 voters; 819 likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees a close special election race developing between former US Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R). The ballot test shows a 45-43 percent split in favor of Suozzi.

The best news for the former Democratic congressman is that the most likely voters within the sample break for him on a 51-37 percent split. While the majority white vote (58 percent of the district population) favors Pilip 49-40 percent, the largest minority group, Asians (24 percent of the district population), overwhelmingly favor Suozzi (60-25 percent). Hispanics (13 percent of the population) are moving toward Pilip in a 44-33 percent clip.

Possibly the most troubling news for Suozzi are President Biden’s and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) poor job approval ratings. Only one-third of voters, 33 percent, approve of President Biden’s performance in office (59 percent disapprove). Gov. Hochul’s numbers are even worse. Her approval index is 25:66 percent favorable to unfavorable. The special election is scheduled for Feb. 13.

States

Louisiana: Changing to Party Primary System — As part of the special Louisiana state legislative session, the House and Senate are sending a bill to Gov. Jeff Landry (R), one that he initiated, to change Louisiana’s primary voting system from a top-two jungle system to a partisan primary. The changes would take effect for the 2026 election and would institute a modified system where registered members of the political party must vote in their own primary while non-affiliated voters would have their choice of where to cast their ballot.

The change would mean, as in most other states, that only the political party nominees and qualified Independents would advance to the general election. The legislation would affect all federal races along with the state Supreme Court, the state school board, and the Public Service Commission. All other offices would continue with the current system of sending the top two finishers regardless of political party affiliation to the general election.