Tag Archives: FiveThirtyEight

Sinema Being Cut Off; VA-4 Counting Underway & Continuing; Surprising National Gallup Poll Results

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

Senate

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I)

Arizona: Sinema Being Cut Off — With Sen. Kyrsten Sinema leaving the Democratic Party to become an Independent, reverberations already are being felt pertaining to her 2024 re-election campaign. Two of her consulting firms have left her, understanding that they would be eliminated from consideration for contracts within the Democratic Party establishment for servicing a candidate who is not a member of the party. According to a report from the Huffington Post, the data firm that controls the national Democratic Party voter file will now deny the Sinema campaign access to their services after Jan. 31.

These developments are not surprising since she will no longer be a Democrat, but further underscores that she will not caucus with the Democratic conference, a move that the Senate’s other two Independents, Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME) continue to make. Therefore, the latter two are treated as Democratic incumbents in relation to consultant contracts and party resources.

Forfeiting these types of resources will leave Sen. Sinema on her own as she mounts a re-election effort. Obviously, she knew this would happen when making the decision to become an Independent, and these latest developments further suggest that we will see a true three-way 2024 race among Sinema and eventual Democratic and Republican nominees.

House

VA-4: Counting Begins, No Tabulations Released — Despite monumental societal technology improvements that we ubiquitously experience, vote counting continues to return to a bygone era. Election officials announced that counting more than 26,400 ballots cast in the VA-4 Democratic firehouse primary for the special election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) will take some days.

The local party reported that just five volunteers are handling the counting, and as of this writing, had completed processing about 4,000 ballots. No results were released, however. Some numbers may trickle out today or over the weekend.

The two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond), are expected to battle for the nomination victory among the four candidates on the ballot. The Democratic nominee will have the inside track toward winning the Feb. 21 special election. The Republican nominee is the party’s previous congressional candidate and local pastor Leon Benjamin. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 4th District as D+30.

National Parties

Gallup Survey: Republicans Better Viewed — The well-known Gallup research organization continually polls the country, testing and monitoring the electorate’s responses to issues of the day along with analyzing voting trends.

In a surprising post-election survey series result, considering the Republicans generally under-performed expectations in the November election, Gallup finds that a plurality of their latest national poll respondents (post-election poll; Nov. 9-12; 1,000 US adult respondents, part of the ongoing Gallup Poll Social Series project originally began in 2001) find the GOP in a slightly more favorable position than the Democratic Party.

According to this latest data, the Republican Party records a 42 percent favorable view within the sampling universe as compared to 39 percent who have a similar view of the Democratic Party. The number is the opposite of Gallup’s average since this question was first tested in 2011. During the overall time period between 2011 and the present, the Democrats hold a 44-40 percent average advantage on the favorability question.

Electoral College — Left Coast, Right Coast; Republicans Choose Nominee in VA-4; North Carolina Supreme Court Rejects Map

Electoral College Votes Per State, 2022 — blue moving more left, red moving more right


By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

President

Electoral College: West Moving Left, East Moving Right — The researchers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics have completed a study regarding the country’s ideological shift during the past 20-plus years. Tracking all 50 states’ presidential votes from the 2000-2020 elections, we first see all of the western states now voting Democratic in greater percentages with the exception of Wyoming. The biggest shifts came in Alaska, California, Colorado, and Utah, though two of those four states still regularly produce at least smaller majority or plurality Republican victories.

Conversely, the south and east have trended more Republican with the strongest swings generally occurring in central south with only Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia becoming more Democratic. Mid-Atlantic states such as New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have moved decidedly more Republican, though two of these four continue to regularly deliver clear Democratic majorities. Remaining constant in their voting pattern during this entire 20-year span are Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Carolina.

House

VA-4: Republicans Choose Special Election Nominee — Republicans re-nominated their 2020 and 2022 candidate in the Saturday, Dec. 17 “firehouse primary” through Ranked Choice Voting. The local 4th District Republican Party leadership did not release the actual results, only to say that pastor and US Navy veteran Leon Benjamin had defeated former Mecklenburg School Board member Dale Sturdifen, and non-profit advocacy organization director Derrick Hollie. Benjamin now advances to the Feb. 21 special general election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond). He will again be a decided underdog in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+30.

The Democratic firehouse primary will be held today. Four candidates filed to run: state Sens. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Joseph Morrisey (D-Richmond), former state Delegate Joseph Preston, and businessman Tavorise Marks. While the special election will be held in late February, Gov. Glenn Younkin’s (R) call required the parties to choose nominees by Dec. 23.

In another development, Colette McEachin, the late congressman’s widow, announced her endorsement of Sen. McClellan, joining most of the Virginia Democratic establishment who has already done so.

States

North Carolina: NC Supreme Court Tosses State Senate Map — The North Carolina state Supreme Court, with the 4-3 Democratic majority on the cusp of expiring, rejected the NC Senate map on a partisan vote as a partisan gerrymander. But, the action is likely to be short-lived and adds fuel to the speculation that the new legislature will re-draw all of the state’s redistricting maps after commencement. Doing so may well render moot the partisan gerrymandering case that the US Supreme Court recently heard.

Under North Carolina legislative procedure, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation, so whatever the legislature passes will become law. Because of the current court’s farewell action, the state Senate map must be re-configured. Since Republicans gained two seats on the state Supreme Court in the November election and will have a 5-2 majority beginning in January, the likelihood of not only the Senate map being redrawn but also the state House and congressional delegation plans is greater. The latter two maps are court-drawn interim placeholders, which the legislature can replace at any time.

Cruz Polling Up for Renomination, Down for President; Ariz. Dem Primary Looking Competitive; VA-4 Special Election Scheduled;
Sen. Braun Announces Candidacy

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022

President

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R)

Texas: Cruz Polling Up for Renomination, Down for President — According to a Texas-based Republican pollster, Sen. Ted Cruz is in strong shape among prospective GOP primary voters for renomination, but not for a presidential campaign. The CWS Research firm recently conducted a Texas poll (Nov. 8-29; 860 likely Texas 2024 Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system and online) and finds the senator posting a strong 81 percent renomination score, but only records three percent support for another presidential bid.

The CWS poll leader is former President Donald Trump at 37 percent preference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis following closely with 34 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also finish slightly ahead of Sen. Cruz in his home state. Pence draws five percent backing and Haley four percent, as compared to Sen. Cruz’s three percent.

Senate

Arizona: Dem Primary Could Be Competitive — Apparently Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) is not the only Arizona Democratic congressman considering a run for the Senate. According to a report from the Daily Kos Elections site, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) — who served six years as mayor of Phoenix and nine years on the Phoenix City Council before being elected to the US House in 2018 — has conducted a statewide US Senate poll. If he were to run in what would now be an open US Senate Democratic primary since new Independent incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will advance directly into the general election, a tough battle would develop in an August 2024 primary between the two Phoenix-based congressional Democrats.

Rep. Stanton was re-elected in November with a 56-44 percent margin against a credible Republican, businessman Kelly Cooper. This, after his district was changed from a D+15 to a D+1 rating according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization calculations, meaning he rather impressively exceeded expectations.

House

VA-4: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has surprisingly scheduled the special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) for Feb. 21. With Democrats certain to hold this seat in the special election, it was thought Gov. Youngkin would delay a bit longer, possibly to early April, in order to give the Republicans a further one-seat edge in the House party division count.

With the Feb. 21 general election date that will fast approach, the political parties must quickly assemble and determine how their nominees will be chosen. At this point, their realistic options are to nominate in a special district convention or hold a “firehouse primary,” that is an election with very few polling places around the district.

The Democratic nomination will be the contest to watch, since the 4th District is rated as D+30. At this point, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond) have announced their intention to file as candidates. For the Republicans, two-time nominee Leon Benjamin and insurance agent and frequent candidate Ron Wallace have declared that they will run.

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Announces — First-term Hoosier State Sen. Mike Braun (R) made his obvious intentions to run for governor official Monday with his formal announcement. He will be a strong favorite for the Republican nomination, which gives him the inside track in the general election.

There is a good possibility that his Democratic opponent will be former US senator and current Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly. The Holy See is the government of the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. Ironically, this would set a re-match between the two men of the 2018 Senate race, a campaign that Sen. Braun won with a 51-45 percent victory margin. The Braun announcement now sets into motion a competitive Senate campaign that will likely feature a crowded Republican primary.

Sen. Sinema Officially Becomes an Independent; Rep. Khanna Considers Senate Race; Automatic Recount Beginning in Rep. Boebert’s CO-3

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 12, 2022

Senate

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)

Arizona: Sen. Sinema Officially Becomes an Independent — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Friday announced that she is leaving the party and will represent Arizona as an Independent. As her standing before the Democratic Party electorate is poor, this move seems to clearly indicate that she is preparing for a re-election campaign. According to job approval ratings that were taken from polls conducted well before the November election, Sen. Sinema’s numbers had dropped to the point where she would be a severe underdog in a Democratic primary against her likely intra-party opponent, US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix). In a three-way race against Gallego and a Republican nominee, however, her re-election chances significantly improve.

Little will change in terms of her voting record, but the campaign strategy completely transforms for all involved. Not having to worry about re-nomination, Sen. Sinema will advance directly into the general election assuming she can obtain valid registered voter petition signatures from 45,000 Arizonans. She can begin signature gathering right away, so even this large number should be attainable over such a long duration.

Rep. Gallego, who had been rumored as a Sinema Democratic primary challenger, continues to move forward with his Senate plans. While admittedly convening a Senate planning group, the congressman says he will not formally decide about running until after the first of the year. Republican Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb also confirms he is considering entering the Senate GOP primary.

Regardless of who decides to run, the 2024 Arizona Senate race will be another contest attracting huge national attention. Sen. Sinema’s move to the Independent ballot line certainly increases her chances of winning, but she is certainly no lock to claim a second term in the next election.

California: Rep. Khanna Considers Senate Race — California Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), who was just elected to a fourth term in the House, said over the weekend that he would consider running for the Senate in 2024 if incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), who will be 91 years of age at the time of the next election, decides to retire as expected.

Rep. Khanna further said he would more than likely seek re-election in 2024, but the door is clearly open to him exploring a senatorial run in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic battle should the seat open. The congressman has been a strong fundraiser, averaging a total receipts figure of over $4 million per election cycle for his four successful congressional campaigns along with $5-plus million remaining in his federal account, so he would have the financial base to begin a statewide run.

House

CO-3: Automatic Recount Beginning — The recount for the close CO-3 congressional race featuring Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) and Democratic former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch is close to completion in the district that covers Colorado’s Western Slope region. Though Frisch has already conceded the race to Rep. Boebert, the recount is taking place under the state’s election law that mandates a re-tabulation for any contest that falls within a margin of just one-half a percent.

Though Rep. Boebert’s 548-vote lead from 327,124 ballots cast is expected to stand, the 27 involved counties that comprise the 3rd District must continue the recount. Frisch says he is likely to run again in 2024. The recount process must be completed by tomorrow so the election certification process can be completed.

VA-4: Special Election Candidates Beginning to Come Forward — While Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has yet to call a special congressional election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) who passed away in late November, several individuals have come forward to announce their candidacies.

The first is state Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), who has been a long-time supporter and confidant of Rep. McEachin’s. State Sen. Jennifer McCellan (D-Richmond), who placed third in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary, also says she will enter the special congressional election. Before winning her state Senate seat in 2017, McClellan served six terms in the state House of Delegates.

For the Republicans, who have little chance in a 4th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30, their two-time nominee and Christian pastor Leon Benjamin says he will enter the special election field.

Virginia’s 4th Congressional District begins in Richmond and then travels south all the way to the North Carolina border. The CD includes the cities of Richmond, Petersburg, and Emporia, along with the Colonial Heights, Chester, and Lawrenceville communities.

North Carolina Redistricting Again Front and Center: A Deeper Dive

North Carolina Congressional District Plan Court-Ordered in 2022, used for the 2022 election (click on map to go to the state’s interactive map)


By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 9, 2022

Redistricting

North Carolina: Redistricting Under Scrutiny — During the past decade, no state has been forced to draw more redistricting maps than the Tar Heel State of North Carolina. Since the 2010 census, the Republican legislature and the Democratic state Supreme Court have gone back and forth over what is a partisan gerrymander or a legal district.

The North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case was heard before the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, and it is a potential landmark case — but some North Carolina state political sources suggest the arguments may go by the proverbial wayside. The high court will rule before the end of June, but before such a decision is rendered the new North Carolina legislature may draft updated redistricting plans for the US House, state Senate, and state House of Representatives. Since the current set of court maps are only interim plans, the legislature can replace them with permanent draws at any time. 

One of the Republicans’ more important victories in the November election was winning a majority on the North Carolina state Supreme Court. Now, with five Republican justices and two Democrats, many in the legislature believe the time will be right to craft new redistricting maps, plans they believe will this time pass legal muster through a different and more favorable state Supreme Court. 

If this occurs as described, and new maps are enacted – remember, in North Carolina, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation – it is possible that the action could render as moot the case before SCOTUS. If so, the issue of whether the Constitution views state legislatures as solely independent when handling redistricting could well go unanswered.

The North Carolina state Supreme Court rejected the Republican legislature’s plan again last year. Under that draw, which the court deemed a partisan gerrymander, the Republicans could have won 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts. North Carolina was one of the states that earned a new seat in national reapportionment. Therefore, a 10-4 split would have meant a net gain of three Republican seats when compared to the previous court map upon which the 13-member NC congressional delegation had last run.

Instead, under the state Supreme Court’s draw, the new Tar Heel State delegation features seven Democrats and seven Republicans. The map awarded the new 14th District to the Charlotte area as a safe D+11 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization calculation. State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), who was originally a 2022 candidate for the US Senate, won the new district with an easy 58-42 percent victory.

The other seat to go Democratic was the created open 13th CD, located in the south Raleigh suburbs that stretched to include the Democratic city of Fayetteville. The court balanced the district by adding Republican Johnston County. FiveThirtyEight rated this seat R+3, but Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) defeated Republican Bo Hines by a 51.6 – 48.4 percent margin.

The other major affected area that changed between the original Republican map and the state Supreme Court’s draw was the Greensboro-anchored seat of Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro). Under the Republican plan, this district would have favored a Republican candidate, and Rep. Manning would have had a difficult run for re-election. The Court altered this seat, too, thus giving Rep. Manning an even better district than the one to which she was originally elected — a 6th District seat now rated as D+9.

If the congressional map is in fact re-drawn early in the new state legislative session, we can expect these geographic areas again to be the most affected. If the Republican legislative leaders make a move to finalize permanent redistricting maps, then it might be some time before the issue of independent state legislatures relating to redistricting again comes before the high court. 

Or, if SCOTUS still issues a ruling on the North Carolina case irrespective as to what the legislature does, it could force even further changes in what may again be a new Tar Heel State congressional map.

Michigan Senate Okays Primary Move; Sen. Braun Moving Toward Indiana Gov Race; West Virginia Senator’s Son Announces for Gov

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

President

Michigan: State Senate Okays Primary Move — The Michigan Senate approved a bill to move up the Wolverine State presidential primary from the day designated as Super Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February. The move underscores the state leadership’s desire to move Michigan into one of the state slots allowed to vote before Super Tuesday.

With the Democrats clearly preparing to change the nominating rules, voting schedule, and primary order of the states, Michigan is attempting to get a head start toward being one of at least the first four states to vote before Super Tuesday. If the state formally takes this action, it is likely that the Republicans would have to follow suit and schedule the Michigan primary early in the process.

Senate

Indiana: Sen. Braun Moving Toward Gov Race — As expected, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R) filed papers with the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis Tuesday to become an open-seat gubernatorial candidate, which is his first step toward foregoing re-election to a second term in the US Senate. Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term under Indiana’s term limit law.

Should he become a candidate, Sen. Braun will very likely face credible opposition in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Already venture capitalist Eric Doden (R) has announced his Senate candidacy. Other potential names being bandied about include former two-term Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, retiring Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville), and former state senator and ex-Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jim Merritt. For the Democrats, the only announced candidate is Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick.

Assuming he shortly makes a formal announcement of candidacy, the Indiana Senate seat will be the first to open in the 2024 election cycle.

House

IN-3: Rep. Banks Signals Interest in Senate — With Indiana Sen. Braun (R) making moves to enter the open governor’s race, a fierce Republican primary battle for the right to succeed him in the Senate is sure to occur. Already saying through a spokesman that he is considering competing for the open statewide position is US Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who was recently defeated in his run for House Majority Whip. Other Republican names popping up are Attorney General Todd Rokita, retiring US Rep. Hollingsworth, and Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville), who was just re-elected to a second term. Term-limited Gov. Holcomb’s (R) political plans at this point are unknown.

Should Banks run for the Senate, we can expect a heated open battle for his northeastern Indiana 3rd District seat anchored in Ft. Wayne. A crowded GOP primary is sure to form with the winner punching his or her ticket to Washington in a district that the FiveThirtyEight organization rates as R+34.

Governor

West Virginia: Senator’s Son Announces for Governor — West Virginia state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and grandson of the late former Gov. Arch Moore (R), this week announced his own campaign for governor. He hopes to succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) who may soon launch his own run for US Senate. Delegate Capito was first elected to the state House in 2016 and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

Dems Lead in Early Voting in Georgia Runoff; VA-4 Rep. McEachin Passes Away; Defeated Rep. Herrell Already Files to Run Again

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Dems Lead in Early Voting; Two Favorable Polls for Walker — With the Georgia Senate runoff fast approaching on Dec. 6, the early voting, or Advance Voting as the procedure is called in Georgia, is widely favoring the Democrats. After the state Supreme Court granted Advance Voting to begin when the Democratic plaintiffs requested, it was clear that the party would score a large advantage in the pre-election ballot casting process. Republicans typically catch up to early voting disparities on election day itself.

Polling, however, suggests that the race is anything but over. Two surveys were recently released, from Phillips Academy and Frederick Polls, and they arrived at similar conclusions. Phillips (Nov. 26-27; 862 likely Georgia runoff voters; interactive voice response system and text) finds Republican Herschel Walker leading Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) by a single point, 48-47 percent. Frederick (Nov. 23-26; 939 Georgia runoff likely voters) shows the two men breaking even at 50-50 percent. It is presumed the latter survey was pushing initial undecideds to take a position, but the actual study and crosstabs were not released.

The polling suggests that the electorate remains virtually split in this race, almost exactly what we saw in the November tally when Sen. Warnock placed ahead of Mr. Walker, 49.4 – 48.5 percent, but fell short of the majority threshold.

House

VA-4: Rep. Don McEachin (D) Passes Away — Three-term Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) passed away Monday evening after a long battle with cancer. McEachin was re-elected to a fourth term on Nov. 8 with 65 percent of the vote in a 4th Congressional District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will schedule a special election to replace McEachin in accordance with state law. The true battle for the seat will come in the Democratic primary. Candidates will likely begin announcing for the special election after McEachin in laid to rest.

NM-2: Defeated Rep. Herrell Files 2024 Committee — US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) is wasting no time in recovering from her tight 50.3 – 49.6 percent loss to Rep-Elect Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces). Yesterday, it was reported that she filed a 2024 campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.

This action does not necessarily mean she has decided to run in 2024. Filing a new committee allows her to raise more money in preparation for a proposed race without becoming an official candidate. Herrell certainly may run again but will probably wait to make a final decision until she sees whether the two impending US Supreme Court redistricting rulings will affect the New Mexico congressional lines. The decisions on the Alabama and North Carolina redistricting cases are due before the end of next June.

A re-draw could certainly help Herrell or any other Republican who wants to run for the 2nd District seat. The Democratic legislature changed the district lines under the 2021 map. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization the previous map rated the 2nd District as R+14. The changes converted the seat into a D+4, thus leading to the 2022 election result.