Though reapportionment only happens once every decade anchored to the new census, the gaining or losing of congressional districts for individual states clearly affects delegation politics almost unceasingly.*
The Census Bureau just recently released new population growth figures, based upon July 1, 2013 data, that gives us a very early look into which states may be headed for reapportionment changes in 2020. The projection process occurs throughout the 10-year period and very often the early numbers do not correctly reflect end-of-the-decade trends, so predicting now with any certainty how the population formula will unfold in late 2020 is highly speculative.
That being the case, the new growth numbers suggest that Texas will again gain multiple seats – at this point two – and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Virginia appear headed for one-seat additions. Offsetting these increases are again New York, Pennsylvania, Continue reading >
For the better part of a year, retirement rumors have been swirling around House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA-25), and a new political move yesterday suggests that such speculation may soon become reality.
Unusual political occurrences have been happening in and around Ventura and west Los Angeles counties during the past two weeks. Tony Strickland is a former Republican state senator, statewide candidate, and 2012 congressional nominee in Ventura County’s new District 26. Last November, Strickland lost to then-Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) 47-53 percent. He originally had been planning to seek a re-match with Rep. Brownley in the upcoming mid-term election, but suddenly reversed course and recently said he would not run in the 26th District next year. He made it plain, however, that his personal plans included running for a different office.
The local Republican leadership then recruited Assemblyman Jeff Gorell to replace Strickland as their favored 26th District candidate. Gorell’s official announcement last week included an endorsement from Tony Strickland. Continue reading >
If a group of California citizens get their way, massive change will envelop the national presidential election process.
Yesterday, this group of individuals launched the “Make Our Vote Count” campaign by filing a Request for Title and Summary with the California attorney general’s office, attempting to begin the process of qualifying a voter initiative that, if adopted, would cause the state’s 55 Electoral College votes to be awarded on a proportional basis. According to the filing language, the new system would distribute electoral votes to the individual presidential candidates consistent with their statewide vote percentage earned, rounded to the nearest whole number.
From time to time, talk arises about states splitting their Electoral College votes, either as a way to gain partisan advantage or simply to make themselves more important in the general election.
Currently, two entities split their votes: Maine and Nebraska. Both do so in the same manner. The candidate who wins the statewide vote receives two electoral votes. One more is awarded for each congressional district carried. Maine has two CD’s; Continue reading >
Though the government shutdown delayed filing of the candidates’ quarterly disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission, some of the dollars and cents information has already started flowing into the media. Of all the data being reported, three specific campaigns are noteworthy because challengers to incumbents within their own party are already reporting more money raised and in the bank than for their respective opponent.
The first salvo has been fired in Michigan in attorney David Trott’s (R) challenge to freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R), and it is a serious blow. According to published reports, the challenger is going to post raising over $648,000, including a substantial contribution from himself – although the exact amount was not released – with $452,000 cash-on-hand. Bentivolio had a very poor second quarter, raising only $39,000, and reporting approximately $59,000 in his campaign account. We will soon see the extent of his third quarter take.
Rep. Bentivolio is often described as an “accidental congressman” because he entered office under unusual circumstances. Filing as a Tea Party challenger against then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R), Bentivolio became the only qualified Republican candidate on the ballot when the incumbent failed to submit enough valid nominating petition signatures. He then went on to win the general election with strong help from the Liberty for All Super PAC, which spent more than $600,000 as an independent expenditure on his behalf.
It is unclear if the congressman will receive such support this time around, but it is becoming apparent that he will need major assistance in order to compete against Trott. Armed with heavy establishment Republican Party support, Trott will soon be sporting the type of campaign resources usually reserved for an incumbent. A primary challenger victory is highly possible in this suburban Detroit district.
Another Republican congressman who might be denied renomination is Tennessee sophomore Rep. Scott DesJarlais. A scandal broke late in his first re-election bid, one Continue reading >
With virtually all of the early election cycle attention being paid to the Senate races, it’s time to divert and take a preliminary look at the upcoming House projections. As we know, the Republicans have a 233-200 advantage with two vacant seats. Later this year, both the MA-5 seat of Sen. Ed Markey (D) and resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) seat will be filled in special elections. Each party is expected to hold the seat they previously maintained.
Assuming the parties do hold, the Democrats will need to convert 17 Republican districts to claim a one seat majority. Based upon the early numbers, the paucity of open seats, quantity and quality of challengers, 2011 redistricting plans that generally created safe seats for both parties, and what should be a more favorable (to the GOP) mid-term turnout model, the Republicans should be able to hold the House majority if not modestly expand their numbers.
In the 2012 cycle, due to redistricting and an abnormally large number of House members retiring or running for different offices, 62 seats were open. Therefore, the fact that only 17 seats are incumbent-less at this point in time, including both of the vacant seats and Rep. Rodney Alexander’s LA-5 district that he will leave before the end of the month to accept an appointment in Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) administration, means even fewer contested campaigns.
Of the 17 opens, 10 are Republican-held with the remaining seven under Democratic Party control. No open seat is in the toss-up category and only a pair could be conceivably considered a lean (R or D) CD depending upon the final candidate field developing in each situation. The two opens that could be headed in the lean direction are AR-4 (Rep. Tom Cotton – Lean R) and WV-2 (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito – Lean R).
Only seven seats are today considered toss-ups, and five of those are Democratic districts. Obviously, if the Dems are to make a serious run at the Republican majority, the number of GOP seats in this segment must drastically increase.
The seven toss-up contests are:
• AZ-2 – Rep. Ron Barber (D) – 2012 re-election %: 50
Barber again will likely face 2012 nominee Continue reading >
In the previous decade, Californians defeated only one US House incumbent in more than 500 campaigns. This, among other factors, led voters to adopt a new electoral system creating a citizens’ redistricting commission and sending the top two finishers in a jungle primary format – that is, all candidates appearing on the same ballot – to the general election regardless of political party affiliation.
The changes have achieved their intended effect of creating more competition. Last year 22 races featured a winner receiving less than 60% of the vote, and seven incumbents were defeated.
This year, competitive campaigns appear to be already forming in at least 14 districts, including four seats that will likely feature two members of the same party advancing to the general election.
CA-3: Rep. John Garamendi (D) – 2012 result: 54 percent
Term-limited Assemblyman Dan Logue (R) has announced his challenge to Garamendi, the state’s former lieutenant governor. The competition level here should increase in comparison to 2012.
CA-7: Rep. Ami Bera (D) – 2012 result: 52 percent
Making his second attempt at running for Congress, Bera unseated former GOP Rep. Dan Lungren. Currently, ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA-3), 2012 US Senate nominee Elizabeth Emken, and congressional chief of staff (Rep. Tom McClintock) Igor Birman have formally declared their intentions to run. One will advance to the November election against the freshman congressman. This Sacramento area race should be hotly contested.
CA-10: Rep. Jeff Denham (R) – 2012 result: 53 percent
Denham clinched a second term in a much different district than the one he originally claimed in 2010, defeating former astronaut Continue reading >
The elimination of California’s partisan primaries, as was done prior to the last election, will again seriously affect Golden State politics in the 2014 mid-term vote. Under the state’s new jungle primary law, the top two candidates in the June election advance to the general regardless of political party affiliation and percentages attained. Therefore, former US Commerce Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Ro Khanna’s intra-party Democratic challenge to seven-term Rep. Mike Honda will likely last the entire campaign cycle.
Khanna has already been extraordinarily successful on the fundraising circuit, attracting more than $1 million for the 2014 race, and exceeding $1.7 million cash-on-hand. In the 2012 cycle, Khanna was briefly in the 15th District race when he believed that 80 year-old then-incumbent Pete Stark (D) was going to retire. Upon Stark’s decision to run again, all Democratic contenders with the exception of Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell withdrew. Swalwell then successfully unseated Rep. Stark 52-48 percent in a Democrat-on-Democrat general election.
Before exiting the Stark campaign, Khanna raised over $1.26 million and had north of $1 million remaining in his campaign account, thus explaining the large early war chest for his Honda challenge. Conversely, Rep. Honda has not been as financially prolific in early 2013, obtaining over $567,000, but ending with less than $375,000 in the bank.
But a just-released Public Policy Polling survey for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (Aug. 2-4; 806 registered CA-17 voters) shows that Khanna has a long way to go if he is to upset this incumbent, as Honda leads the ballot test 49-15 percent. The result is similar to the previously released Lake Research poll (Feb. 17-20; 503 registered CA-17 voters), commissioned for the Honda campaign, that posted the congressman to a 57-13-5 percent Continue reading >