Category Archives: States

Rep. Budd’s Nomination Secure in NC?
A Close Gov. Race Brewing in NM

By Jim Ellis
May 16, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Dueling General Election Polls — With US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) now substantially ahead in 12 consecutive Republican primary polls from the end of March to present, it appears clear he is going to be nominated on Tuesday. Therefore, attention is already being paid to the formulating general election. Two polls featuring Rep. Budd and consensus Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, have just been released.

The first, from the Beasley campaign that the Global Strategy Group conducted (April 28-May 4; 800 likely North Carolina general election voters) finds the poll sponsor and Rep. Budd tied at 45 percent. Emerson College also released their survey (May 7-9; 1,000 registered North Carolina voters) that gives Budd a 48-41 percent advantage. We can expect this to be one of the top Senate races in the country come November and will feature a plethora of public polls.

House

NC-1: Dems Have Clear Poll Leader; Republicans Attacking Their Own — The GQR survey research firm ran a poll of the open 1st District Democratic primary (May 6-8; 407 likely NC-1 Democratic primary voters) and find state Sen. Don Davis (D-Snow Hill) leading former state senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, 44-31 percent, as the candidates make their final pitch before Tuesday’s primary election.

The Republican-oriented Congressional Leadership Fund, loosely associated with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), is actively running ads against GOP candidate Sandy Smith, the 2020 CD-1 nominee who held incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) to a 54-46 percent re-election victory.

The CLF does not indicate support for another candidate, but former Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson appears to be Smith’s strongest competitor. The move is curious in that the ads lay out personal negatives against Smith that could be used against her in the general election should she win the GOP nomination. The new 1st, which the state Supreme Court drafted, is rated D+5, thus suggesting a competitive general election.

Governor

New Mexico: Close Race Brewing — Survey USA polling for KOB-TV in Albuquerque (April 29-May 7; 1,389 likely New Mexico general election voters; interactive voice response system and online) tested the upcoming governor’s race and finds 2020 US Senate Republican nominee and former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti pulling to within the margin of polling error against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

The ballot test breaks 47-43 percent in favor of the incumbent. More troubling for Gov. Lujan Grisham, however, is her results against the entire Republican field. Paired individually with each of five candidates, Gov. Lujan Grisham, though leading in every case, fails to reach 50 percent against any of her GOP opponents. The cumulative results portend a highly competitive November race.

Pennsylvania: Senate President Drops Out — Just days before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, state Senate President Jake Corman has dropped his Republican gubernatorial bid and endorsed fellow contender Lou Barletta, the former congressman and 2020 US Senate nominee. With Corman never able to increase his support from low single digits, his withdrawal is designed to help Barletta overcome the polling lead that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (D-Fayetteville) has established.

Pennsylvania Republican leaders are reportedly nervous that Sen. Mastriano, who was a legislative leader in attempting to determine if there was widespread fraud in the state during the 2020 election, would be unable to defeat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the consensus Democratic gubernatorial nominee. It is likely that the Corman-Barletta move will prove too little, too late, however.

States

Texas Attorney General: Paxton Leading Big — A CWS Research poll (May 4-10; 992 likely Texas Republican primary runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) reports that Attorney General Ken Paxton is substantially ahead of Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The CWS results find AG Paxton holding a whopping 58-31 percent lead as the candidates move toward the state’s May 24 runoff election date. In the primary, Paxton garnered 42.7 percent of the vote, which is obviously short of the majority vote a candidate needs to win the nomination outright. In a field of four candidates, Bush finished second with 22.8 percent.

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.

Ohio’s Lost Seat

Ohio’s Congressional Districts

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 8, 2021 — In some of our previous redistricting articles, we’ve alluded to Ohio’s interesting situation. With a 16-member congressional delegation reducing to 15, it seemed unlikely that Republican map drawers would stretch the new map to 12R-3D from its current 12R-4D split. Outside pressures and other factors, however, suggest the first Buckeye State map could have such a partisan division.

Recently, news coming from Illinois suggests that Democratic leaders are looking at ways to reduce the Republican federal contingent in the Land of Lincoln from five House members to just three. If so, states like Ohio, where Republicans are in complete control of the redistricting process, face national pressure to maximize the partisan gain.

Another factor pointing to the Democrats losing the Ohio seat is that only one member to-date, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown), is not running for re-election. The eastern Ohio congressman is an announced US Senate candidate, meaning that his 13th District, which stretches from Akron to the Pennsylvania border, is largely unprotected.

As in Pennsylvania, where Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) is the lone House member not seeking re-election in his state because he, too, is running for the Senate, it is reasonable that the collapsed seat would be the one with no incumbent. Therefore, in both cases, Republican map drawers would have a defensible opportunity to collapse a Democratic seat. Furthermore, a Democratic power grab in Illinois, should that happen, makes Republican retribution in Ohio and Pennsylvania more likely.

Another transitional Ohio factor is the two new members coming into the House right after the Nov. 2 special election. Since the partisan primaries have already nominated candidates in a pair of vacated congressional districts that have consistently performed for each party, it became clear on primary night that Democrat Rep. Shontel Brown and Republican Rep. Mike Carey would be joining the delegation.

Brown’s 11th District that stretches from Cleveland to Akron is likely to be a key redistricting focal point. The 11th must gain 94,091 people to reach the new 15-District Ohio population quota of 786,630 individuals, which is the second most of any Buckeye State CD. Since this is also a majority minority seat, adding the necessary people from the Akron area would be a reasonable move, and such a population segment would have to come from Rep. Ryan’s 13th District.

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Michigan’s Lost Seat

Michigan Congressional Districts

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 31, 2021 — Losing a congressional seat is nothing new to the Michigan delegation. Since the 1980 census, inclusive, the state has lost a district in every reapportionment and two in the 1990 iteration. Today, we continue our series about the states gaining and losing congressional districts under 2020 national reapportionment with a look at the Wolverine State.

Michigan is difficult to draw not only because of the consistent seat losses, but so many of the state’s districts abut immovable objects: i.e., an international or state border, or a body of water. Under the current map, 10 of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts at least partially border a country, state, or lake.

The Michigan per district population number for the 2020 census is a high 775,179 individuals. High per district resident numbers often occur when a state loses a seat. In this case, all of Michigan’s 14 districts must gain population, hence the underlying reason for another delegation reduction.

Another factor in making the state a rather unique draw for the new Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that is tasked with creating the new congressional map for the initial time, is the areas needing to gain the most population lie in opposite ends of the state. This, added to the fact that over 70 percent of the current districts border an immovable object, means the 2021 redistricting process is a significant challenge for the eleven commissioners (4R; 3D; 4N) with no previous experience in drawing political maps.

The area with the largest population shortfall comes in the northern part of the state. Rep. Dale Kildee’s (D-Flushing/Flint) 5th District is the seat furthest away from the population quota, down 104,476 individuals. Directly to his west, Rep. John Moolenaar’s (R-Midland) 4th District is 77,325 people under quota, and to the north all the way to the Canadian border, Rep. Jack Bergman’s (R-Watersmeet) Upper Peninsula 1st District will require an additional 70,829 residents. Combined, these three seats are 252,630 people short of the population quota for three congressional districts.

The area in the second-most need of population is the city of Detroit. The two districts that encompass the city, Districts 13 (Rep. Rashida Tlaib-D) and 14 (Rep. Brenda Lawrence-D) are a combined 184,290 people short for a pair of districts. Because both CDs 13 and 14 and majority minority seats, it is more than probable that the commission won’t collapse these districts because of Voting Rights Act requirements.

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Census Patterns

By Jim Ellis

April 30, 2021 — Monday’s Census Bureau’s congressional apportionment and state population report continues to be digested, and its many surprises will potentially lead to legal action from unanticipated sources.

First, the ongoing Alabama lawsuit against the census counting methodology, among other issues, will likely be drastically altered since the Yellowhammer State did not lose its seventh district. An in-person hearing has been scheduled for Monday, May 3, in the state capital of Montgomery.

Second, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is already making noises that his state will sue over the apportionment formula that eliminated one of his state’s congressional districts by just 89 individuals. Others are questioning how the state, where projections forecast a loss of potentially two congressional districts, landed exactly on the national growth average and came within just a few people of not even losing one seat.

The 50-state population segmentation is interesting in that it again provides us clear growth and mobility patterns. Regionally, the immense area starting in the center of the country and moving west to the Pacific Ocean is the big population gainer. The Midwest and Northeast is the major loser, with the South and Southeast producing mixed data.

In the 17 states beginning at the eastern border of North Dakota and moving down all the way to Texas’ eastern border and then back through the entire west but not including Alaska and Hawaii, the regional population growth rate was 10.6 percent, or 3.2 points above the national growth rate of 7.4 percent.

If, however, the five states within this sector that fell below the national growth rate are removed, California (6.1 percent growth rate), Oklahoma (5.5 percent), Kansas (3.0 percent), New Mexico (2.8 percent), and Wyoming (2.3 percent), the regional average for the 12 states that exceeded the national growth rate becomes 13.4 percent, or a full six points above the US benchmark.

Therefore, the fact that this western region gained five of the seven new congressional seats is consistent with the recorded sector growth data.

The South/Southeast segment, which includes 11 states, produced inconsistent regional data. Area-wide, the average growth rate was 6.7 percent, or 0.7 percent below the national average. This is a surprising number considering the region gained two congressional seats in reapportionment.

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