Tag Archives: FiveThirtyEight

Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary Still Undecided, Moving to Recount; House News Includes NY, PA, TX

By Jim Ellis — May 27, 2022

Senate

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

Pennsylvania: Recount Ordered — It’s now been more than a week since the primary election here and still no declared winner in the Republican Senate primary. Pennsylvania election authorities have already ordered election officials in the state’s 67 counties to begin the inevitable recount. Officials know the final unofficial count, which could be released as early as today or tomorrow, will be within the half percent that triggers an automatic recount.

At this writing, the numbers show Dr. Mehmet Oz leading former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes from more than 1.3 million ballots cast. The deadline for military, overseas, and provisional ballot reception was Tuesday. It is being reported that this is the closest primary in Pennsylvania’s modern political era.

House

NY-16: New Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker (D) announced her intention to challenge Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) in the upcoming Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Another Westchester Legislator, Vedat Gashi (D), is already in the race. Parker says the new district lines move Gashi’s political base outside the district’s confines, hence her becoming a candidate. Irrespective of this activity, Rep. Bowman is favored for re-nomination and re-election in the new 16th CD.

NY-17: Two Republicans Oppose Rep. Maloney — After state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) announced her Democratic primary challenge to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), two Republicans have jumped into the new 17th District campaign, state Assemblyman Matt Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Rockland County Legislator Charles Falciglia.

The new 17th is rated D+7 through the FiveThirtyEight data organization’s calculations. While the seat clearly leans Democratic, Rep. Maloney has attracted a great deal of attention since he announced against freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) instead of running just north in what is now the open 18th CD. For his part, Jones is now running in the southwestern Manhattan/Brooklyn new 10th District.

PA-17: New Poll Already Shows Toss-Up — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already out with a new poll of the open PA-17 CD taken before the May 17 primary (May 9-10; 494 likely PA-17 voters; live interview & text). They project a 44-41 percent lead for their new nominee, election law attorney Chris Deluzio (D) over former local official Jeremy Shaffer, the new GOP nominee. When the DCCC first started releasing polling several years ago, the data was heavily slanted in their candidates’ favor, thus forfeiting credibility. In the last several years, however, their results have been closer to the mark, but still slightly slanted. Therefore, a DCCC poll finding Deluzio only ahead three points is a clear indication this race already begins in the toss-up realm.

Texas: TX-24, TX-15 — Two electoral contests from Tuesday remain uncalled and are very tight. In the 28th District, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) holds only a 177 vote run-off lead over opponent Jessica Cisneros (D). The Secretary of State’s released results show all precincts reporting, meaning ancillary votes arriving in the mail and provisionals are likely the only ballots remaining. A recount will probably be requested, but based upon the trends of where the remaining ballots lie, it appears that Rep. Cuellar’s slim advantage will likely grow.

Staying in South Texas, the Democratic 15th District runoff between businesswoman Michelle Vallejo and attorney Ruben Ramirez leans toward the former by just 23 votes. The voter pool at this point, however, is just over 12,000 individuals, an extremely low participation total. The final ballots can clearly tip this race to either candidate. The eventual winner will face Republican 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz. The general election campaign will likely begin as a toss-up. If the Democratic decision is drawn out over a long period, de la Cruz would be staked to a key advantage in the early general election period. The FiveThirtyEight rating for TX-15 is EVEN.

Michigan Candidate Filing Closes

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D)

April 22, 2022 — Major party candidate filing has now closed in the Wolverine State, and we see some highly competitive contests forming for November.

With no senator on the 2022 ballot, the governor’s race tops the ballot. No fewer than 10 Republicans filed in an attempt to oppose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the November election. The governor drew no Democratic opposition for the Aug. 2 state primary.

The leading GOP contender appears to be former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, but he must first secure the Republican nomination.

Within the large field, he can expect competition at least from chiropractor and well-known anti-lockdown activist Garrett Soldano, former Berrien County Commissioner and ex-state police captain Mike Brown, and online talk show host Tudor Dixon. The general election yields a race that promises to be one of the top campaigns in the country and polling suggests that the projected Whitmer-Craig contest is already a toss-up.

We will also see serious November competition in most of the state’s 13 congressional districts on a map the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission members purposefully drew to feature the maximum number of tight political districts.

In two contests, the major party general election pairings are already set. First District US Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet/ Upper Peninsula) must subdue a challenge from Marquette County Medical Director Bob Lorinser (D). In an R+24 district, according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, where the congressman exceeded 61 percent of the vote in 2020, Rep. Bergman becomes a prohibitive favorite for re-election in November.

What began as an incumbent pairing between Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) because the state lost a seat in national reapportionment, is now a general election that will produce little in the way of political suspense.

With Upton recently announcing his retirement and state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Kalamazoo) deciding to exit the congressional race and seek re-election to his current position, those moves have surprisingly left Rep. Huizenga unopposed for re-nomination in the new 4th CD. His general election opponent will be retail banker Joseph Alfonso (D) in a race that should offer only minimal competition for the six-term incumbent.

Reps. John Moolenaar (R-Midland), Tim Walberg (R-Tipton), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), and Lisa McClain (R-Bruce) face little in the way of competition for both re-nomination and re-election. Rep. Dingell, however, is placed in a new 6th District that contains 44 percent new territory and is without the family’s home base of Dearborn. A member of the Dingell family has represented Dearborn as a part of their district in Congress consecutively since 1933.

Freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) received one of the tougher draws on the new map. His 3rd District, while still anchored in Grand Rapids, moves from an R+9 rating to D+3. He first must secure re-nomination over former Trump Administration official John Gibbs and attorney Gabi Manolache. Meijer then will again face his 2020 opponent, Democratic attorney Hillary Scholten, who held him to a 53-47 percent victory in the more Republican 3rd District version. The new 3rd contains 50 percent new territory for the congressman, including the Democratic city of Muskegon.

Even though Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/Lansing) loses her home base, finds herself in a district with 38 percent new territory, and must compete in an R+7 new 7th District, she actually gains a political point when compared to the current 8th District that she now represents. Still, winning re-election with just a 51-47 percent spread and facing tougher Republican competition from state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) means this race will become a top GOP national target.

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Maryland’s New Map Filing Closes

Please click on the image above or here to go to an interactive version of the map on FiveThirtyEight.

By Jim Ellis

April 20, 2022 — A surprising court decision that invalidated the original 2022 Maryland congressional map has made the Free State slightly more competitive for the coming election, and now we see the candidate universe.

The Maryland filing deadline was moved to April 15 from the first postponed deadline of March 22. The original filing was scheduled for Feb. 22 in conjunction with the June 28 primary. The latter election date was moved to July 19 as a result of the original congressional map being disqualified in court.

With the new map in place, two districts were most affected. The new 1st District of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Cockesyville) returns to safe Republican status at R+25 according to the FiveThirtyEight statistical team. Under the rejected Democratic legislature’s map, the Harris seat was rated only R+8. Rep. David Trone’s (D-Potomac) western Maryland 6th District now moves into Republican territory at R+1, a major change from the D+12 seat that the Democratic legislature drew.

A total of 69 candidates are running for the US House in Maryland, but the most emphasis will be the Democratic primary in Rep. Anthony Brown’s (D-Bowie) open 4th District and Trone’s 6th CD in the general election.

The Democrat’s July 19 primary will determine Rep. Brown’s successor as he joins the open race for state attorney general. The new 4th District, anchored in Prince Georges County, and which stretches as far north as Laurel, is just under 60 percent black and 87.7 percent minority. Therefore, this majority minority seat will elect its new member in the Democratic primary.

A familiar face filed towards the end of the period — former 4th District Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D), who won a special election in 2008, and then clinched four more regular electoral contests. She unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2016, and now is attempting a comeback with her successor, Rep. Brown, moving on.

Edwards’ main competitor is former Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey who was the clear leader until the former congresswoman returned. The third key candidate is former state Delegate Angela Angel. A fourth contender, state Delegate Jazz Lewis (D-Largo), decided to file for re-election and dropped out of the congressional race. Six other Democrats filed, but appear to be minor candidates as the race is winnowing to the three aforementioned contenders.

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DeSantis Releases Congressional Map

Proposed Florida redistricting map moving from 27 to 28 districts (click on map or here to go to FiveThirtyEight interactive map).

By Jim Ellis

April 15, 2022 — After vetoing the legislature’s congressional map and forcing a special legislative session to finish the redistricting process, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) now commands the upper hand. As a result, legislative leaders say they are willing to pass his map.

Applying the district political numbers that the MCI Maps organization calculated, we see 20 of the 28 new districts that would have voted for former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden. Overlaying the Ron DeSantis-Andrew Gillum governor’s race of 2018, a total of 18 new CDs would have supported the current state chief executive. Today’s Florida congressional delegation splits 16R-11D.

The major point of contention during the regular legislative session pertains to the elimination of the current northern Florida majority minority 5th District of Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) that stretches from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Gov. DeSantis wants a race neutral map. Should his map be enacted, there is no question that lawsuits would be filed immediately, and this fight could lead to a fundamental examination of the national Voting Rights Act.

Assuming the map clears the legal hurdles, the Republicans could add as many as four seats to the Sunshine State delegation, which would negate Democratic gains in New York, for example. Many of the new districts could lead to increased competition for GOP members, however, as several would drop into lean Republican seats instead of ones that are currently safe.

The only displaced incumbent is Rep. Lawson, as he would have no reasonable place from which to seek re-election. His situation would then create another seat in the Jacksonville area and give current 4th District Rep. John Rutherford (R-Jacksonville) likely the choice of running in new District 4 or 5.

As a result of this northern state map strategy, Rep. Neal Dunn’s (R-Panama City) 2nd CD would become significantly less Republican, largely because the entire city of Tallahassee would be placed in his new CD. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the current 2nd as R+40. Ex-President Trump would have carried the new 2nd with 54.86 percent, with Gov. DeSantis approximately a percentage point lower.

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Ohio Numbers Crunched

Ohio 2022 Congressional Redistricting map. Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight’s fully interactive map.

By Jim Ellis

April 11, 2022 — When Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) announced the suspension of his re-election campaign on Wednesday, it brought some national attention to what has become a Buckeye State redistricting debacle.

Gibbs called out the Ohio State Supreme Court for allowing the replacement congressional district map to languish in political limbo after they rejected the first iteration for excessive political gerrymandering. Though congressional candidate filing was delayed until March 4 from the original Feb. 2 deadline in association with the state’s May 3 primary, the court still took no action toward finalizing a new map. Therefore, candidates were forced to file for districts that may or may not change before election day.

When the Ohio state high court finally informed the Democrat plaintiffs who were challenging the map that the decision regarding the first map constituted the final ruling, the complaint process had to rewind, beginning with a new lawsuit. Now filed, it is apparent that first judicial action on the new challenge is still months away. Therefore, the replacement map appears set for the 2022 elections, at least through the nomination process.

That finally being the case, we can now look at what is becoming a relatively competitive map for the upcoming general election.

Ohio loses a seat, therefore a new congressional map must be in place for the 2022 elections, otherwise all 15 US House contests would be decided on a statewide basis.

The state will now feature two open seats, Gibbs’ 7th CD and the newly configured open 13th District that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is vacating to run for US Senate. Two new House members, Reps. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) and Mike Carey (R-Columbus), who were both elected in November 2021 special elections, will stand for full terms this year.

Of the 13 incumbents seeking re-election, two, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) — the latter being the fourth longest-serving member of the House who was first elected in 1982 — find themselves in toss-up general election situations.

In Rep. Chabot’s 1st District, which covers much of greater Cincinnati, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as a D+3. Dave’s Redistricting App largely agrees, finding the average Democratic vote over a historical set of races registering 49.91 percent as opposed to 47.93 percent for Republicans. Already, the general election is largely set with Rep. Chabot seeking re-election and the Democrats having a consensus candidate is Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman.

Rep. Kaptur sees the Cleveland portion of her district redacted, meaning her Toledo-anchored seat now features an even mix between Democrats and Republicans. The FiveThirtyEight group rates Kaptur’s new 9th CD at R+6, but Dave’s Redistricting App sees this seat differently. According to the party averages over the course of past political contests, the Democratic vote is 48.77 percent, as compared to a virtually even percentage for Republicans, 48.63.

Rep. Kaptur has no Democratic primary opposition, but four Republicans have filed, two of whom would be significant general election contenders. They are state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance). It is likely that one of these two will advance into the general election and make the OH-9 general election campaign one of the most hotly contested in the nation.

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Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs Suspends Campaign for Re-election

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) to retire.

April 8, 2022 — Expressing frustration with the Ohio courts and constituent complexion of his new district, six-term Buckeye State Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) on Wednesday surprisingly became the 22nd Republican US House member who has decided not to seek re-election.

This retirement announcement is different from all the others — 31 Democrats have also made public their decision to leave the House at the end of the current session — because Gibbs had filed for re-election and Ohio early voting has already begun.

Lashing out at the state Supreme Court that has delayed for weeks in providing 2022 candidates a clear direction with regard to the redistricting maps, Gibbs said in his retirement announcement statement, “It is irresponsible to effectively confirm the congressional map for this election cycle seven days before voting begins, especially in the Seventh Congressional District, where almost 90 percent of the electorate is new and nearly two-thirds is an area primarily from another district, foreign to any expectations or connection to the current Seventh District.”

Rep. Gibbs has a valid point about the state Supreme Court. After rejecting the original congressional map under partisan gerrymandering reasoning, the legislature returned a second map, and the court did not render a decision, even after again rejecting the alternative version maps for the state House and Senate. Therefore, the congressional incumbents and candidates have been languishing for weeks not knowing precisely the location of the new district lines, and long past the candidate filing deadline that occurred on March 4.

The court justices then informed the Democratic plaintiffs regarding their lawsuit challenging the congressional lines, after waiting for several weeks with no action, that the original decision on the first map constituted their final ruling, thus the plaintiffs would have to file a new lawsuit for them to consider further arguments to the second plan. The Democratic plaintiffs did file again, but even preliminary action of any kind is reportedly now months away. Hence, the second map is, at least for now, in place for the 2022 election cycle.

The court and legislature were also in a battle over whether the high court even has jurisdiction to order new maps. Under the Ohio Constitution, the courts do not have authority to draw new redistricting maps. They may only remand any rejected map back to the legislature. Thus, the continuing saga of 2022 Ohio redistricting.

Considering Gibbs’ late withdrawal, Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) immediately announced that the congressman’s name cannot be removed from the ballot, and any vote cast for him would now not be counted. The move puts former Trump White House aide and Marine Corps veteran Max Miller in the favorite’s position for the Republican primary.

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Convicted Rep. Fortenberry to Resign

By Jim Ellis

Convicted Nebraska US Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln)

March 29, 2022 — A Los Angeles, Calif. jury convicted Nebraska US Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) of three felony counts late last week, two involving campaign finance. The jury ruled he concealed illegal campaign funds received from a foreign national, and lied to federal investigators.

The congressman announced over the weekend that he will resign from the House on March 31, answering the call of both parties’ leadership to do so.

Rep. Fortenberry further says he will appeal the verdict and wrote in his official open resignation letter that “due to the difficulties of my current circumstances, I can no longer serve you (meaning his constituents) effectively.”

Since Nebraska’s candidate filing has closed and contenders certified, it is unclear at this time whether the congressman’s name can be removed from the primary ballot. The only ballot-related deadline that has not passed in relation to the May 10 primary is the period before April 4 when county clerks can make “corrections” to the ballot.

State Sen. Mike Flood (R-Norfolk) is the leading GOP candidate in Fortenberry’s absence. Retired Air Force officer John Glen Weaver, teacher Thireena Yuki, and welder Curtis Huffman round out the Republican congressional field. The consensus Democratic candidate is state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (D-Lincoln).

Now that Rep. Fortenberry is resigning, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) will call a special election to fill the balance of the term. Under Nebraska law, since the seat will open before Aug. 1 of the even-numbered year, the special election must be scheduled within 90 days of the official date of vacancy. In this case, the vote must be held on or before June 28.

There will be no primary special election under Nebraska procedure. Nominations will come from the qualified political parties, handled through the 1st Congressional District committees of the various entities. A single-party candidate must be chosen and ballot qualified no later than 65 days before the scheduled election. Qualification refers to meeting the constitutional candidate requirements, filing the proper signature petitions, and paying relevant fees.

It is presumed the Republican and Democratic committees will turn to their leading candidates in state Sens. Flood and Brooks for the two major party nominations, but they don’t necessarily have to pursue such a direction because the special election’s candidate deadline will occur before the regular primary election. It would make little sense, however, for the parties to nominate someone other than their leading contenders, because the new individual(s) would not be able to run in the general election since the regular candidate filing period has closed.

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