By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
SenateChris Christie: Fails to Qualify for Maine Ballot — Due in part to a notary clerical error, GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie has failed to qualify for the Maine Super Tuesday primary scheduled for March 5, 2024. It remains to be seen if the Christie campaign will attempt to access the ballot via court order. Christie is the only significant GOP candidate not to meet the Maine ballot qualification requirement of submitting 2,000 valid registered voter petition signatures.
Florida Redistricting: Appeals Court Overturns Map Rejection — A Florida appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that declared the state’s congressional map as an illegal racial gerrymander. This means the ruling that the northern portion of the map be redrawn is nullified. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is likely. Even if the plaintiffs move forward, however, the time it would take for the high panel to hear the complaint could well extend past the April 26 candidate filing deadline. This means the current map now has a relatively strong chance of lasting at least through the 2024 election cycle.
In its ruling, the appellate directive stated, “The constitution cannot demand that all voters are treated equally without regard to race and at the same time demand that voters are treated differently based on race.” The plaintiffs want a majority minority district reinstated in northern Florida. In the previous decade a 5th District that stretched from Tallahassee into Jacksonville was drawn to elect an African American Representative.
NY-3’s Rep. Santos Expelled: What Now? — Based upon the House Ethics Committee report about now former Rep. George Santos’ (R-Long Island) alleged unethical and illegal activities, the House on a 311-114 count reached the necessary two-thirds vote of those present and voting to expel the freshman member. A special election will now be called to fill the balance of the term. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will have 10 days in which to schedule the vote. According to New York governing parameters, the eligible election days are either Feb. 20 or 27.
Under the Empire State procedure, the affected county party chairmen have the power to nominate their special election standard bearers. Because Nassau County comprises three quarters of the 3rd District, only one individual will effectively select the nominee for the various parties. Since the county chairmen votes are weighted based upon entity population, the Nassau chairman can out-vote the Queens Borough chairman.
The Democrats are apparently going to announce their nominee today, which will very likely be former Congressman Tom Suozzi. He will be favored in the special general against whomever the Republican chairman chooses. It is less clear what action the Republican chairman will take and when.
Suozzi represented the 3rd District for three terms beginning in 2017. He did not seek re-election in 2022 because he launched a long-shot campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was unsuccessful.
The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-3 as D+4, but Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a more favorable Democratic partisan lean, 56.4D – 42.0R. President Joe Biden posted a 53.6 – 45.4 percent victory here opposite Donald Trump in 2020. Republicans scored a rebound in 2022, however. Gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin carried NY-3 with a 56-44 percent margin despite losing statewide. The Republicans also saw their Nassau County Executive candidate unseat a Democratic incumbent.
UT-2: New Rep. Maloy Already Challenged — While Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-Cedar City) was just sworn into office last week after winning the Nov. 21 special election, she has already drawn a 2024 Republican primary opponent. Army Reserve colonel and technology company executive Colby Jenkins (R) declared his congressional candidacy against the new congresswoman on Friday.
Jenkins says he will pursue the controversial ruling that awarded Maloy a ballot position even though she registered to vote after the candidate filing deadline. At this point, Rep. Maloy should be favored for renomination, but it is likely that she will already become embroiled in a new campaign. The Utah state primary is scheduled for June 25.
House Members: Re-Election Announcements — While we saw a spate of House retirements in November (13 in all), five members on Friday declared for re-election. Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), Chris Smith (R-NJ) second in House seniority and returning to seek a 23rd term, Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Joe Wilson (R-SC) are en masse reversing the retirement trend.