By Jim Ellis
June 17, 2020 — We continue to see vote counting ramifications stemming from the extensive mail electoral procedures employed in several states. A full week after the Georgia and Nevada primary elections concluded, a second previous result was reversed, while across the country in the Silver State a congressional contest winner finally emerges.
GEORGIAIn the immediate days following the Georgia primary, it was consistently reported that 7th District 2018 nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux had failed to win outright her Democratic primary and that she would be forced to an Aug. 11 runoff election with state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross). Now, that projection has been reversed.
A similar situation occurred in the state’s 13th District where veteran Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) was projected to have fallen into a runoff election only to see the outcome change when thousands of post-election ballots came streaming into the government offices. The now presumably final totals find both Bourdeaux and Rep. Scott exceeding 51 percent of their respective primary vote.
Bourdeaux now wins the Democratic nomination outright and advances into the general election against Republican Rich McCormick. McCormick is a physician and retired Navy officer who won his open seat primary with clear majority support on election night.
Two years ago, Bourdeaux came within just 420 votes of unseating Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville), which may be one reason why the congressman is retiring this year. McCormick defeated six other Republicans in last week’s primary with 55 percent of the vote, meaning he will be a very substantial candidate in the general election. Therefore, avoiding being bogged down for almost two months to win her nomination would have been a major setback for Bourdeaux’s general election chances.
In northern Las Vegas, after a full week of counting mail votes, it has become apparent that former state assemblyman Jim Marchant has won the Republican primary in the 4th Congressional District, thus earning the opportunity of challenging Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in the fall. Marchant defeated insurance agency owner Sam Peters and a host of others by a 34-29 percent margin, with the other candidates splitting the remaining 37 percent.
This race could well become competitive. The 4th District was drawn for the first time in the 2011 redistricting plan after Nevada earned another congressional seat in the 2010 national reapportionment. While looking on paper to be a Democratic district, and it certainly has elected more Democrats than Republicans, no US representative has won re-election to a consecutive term. This includes current Rep. Horsford, who was first elected in 2012, defeated in 2014, and then returned in 2018. Therefore, another sleeper race could again emerge here.
More controversy is forthcoming from Virginia after the defeat of Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas) in Saturday’s “drive through” 5th Congressional District Republican convention. As we reported yesterday, Riggleman came at odds with his local Republican Party leaders largely due to his presiding over a gay wedding, voting for major spending bills, and for reportedly ignoring local GOP political leaders in his district.
The combined moves apparently cost the congressman re-nomination, but the candidate who beat him, Campbell County Supervisor and Liberty University athletic official Bob Good, now has another major self-imposed hurdle to clear. Failing to do so will create even more chaos in this district and potentially create an opening on the ballot for the general election.
The budding controversy surrounds Good failing to file his candidacy papers on time. Though the Virginia 5th District Committee has the paperwork now, his filing is several days late. This means the Republican Party has to appeal to the State Elections Board for a waiver and extension of the candidate filing deadline.
The filing deadline, which is usually primary voting day for candidates whose district is holding a nomination convention at a later date, as is the case in the 5th and 7th CDs, remained June 9 even though Gov. Ralph Northam (D) moved the original primary date to June 23 in response to the coronavirus situation.
The Virginia Republican Party, in a letter from the organization’s general counsel, is arguing that because the primary election was moved the pre-filing deadline should also be moved to the succeeding primary date, while Good and other leaders are making the point that the state election law also contains a post-filing grace period.
The State Board of Elections next meets on July 7, at which point they can order Good onto the general election ballot by granting the extension.
Precedent says, however, the Board may not rule the GOP’s way. When Republican state Delegate Nick Freitas (R) similarly missed the filing deadline for his 2019 re-election, the BoE rejected his claim, and he was forced to win re-election via a successful write-in campaign.
Inexplicably, Freitas, now a candidate in the 7th Congressional District, has also again missed the filing deadline. Therefore, the state party leadership is once more forced to attempt to obtain the same waiver for him.
Should the board not grant the waiver, we could see some type of do-over procedure take place to again nominate a Republican candidate in the 5th District. Four Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination through a primary election scheduled for June 23.
The 7th District convention is July 18, meaning Freitas’ candidate or non-candidate status will still give the GOP an opportunity to field a candidate since other contenders have properly filed.