By Jim Ellis
May 20, 2022
HouseTN-5: Starbuck’s Legal Challenge Rejected — Before the early April filing deadline, the Tennessee Republican Party adopted new candidate qualification rules that included past voting history requirements. The new standard requires that all potential GOP office seekers must have voted in the last three statewide elections. Thus, a trio of filed candidates in the new 5th Congressional District were disqualified because they recently moved into the state. The three are former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, who former President Donald Trump was supporting, business owner Baxter Lee, and video producer Robby Starbuck.
Starbuck sued in federal court asking that the judge strike down the Tennessee party’s requirement, arguing that the party leaders established a requirement that is “inconsistent with federal and state law.” Late last week, Judge Waverly Crenshaw rejected the claim saying that “Starbuck’s efforts were thwarted not because of any clear violation of federal law, but because (for whatever reason) the (Tennessee Republican Party) decided not to follow its own rules.” Ortagus and Lee did not challenge the new rule. Starbuck says he may take the matter to state court. The Tennessee primary is Aug. 4.
FL-27: Rep. Salazar Close in Opponent’s Poll — Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell (D) released the results of his internal poll that was conducted last month (April 18-21; 350 likely FL-27 general election voters). The results show him within two points of freshman Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami), 43-41 percent. If the bounced Florida redistricting map is restored in the upper-level courts, as many believe will happen, the new 27th plays three points better for Rep. Salazar, though it would still be rated as tipping toward the Democrats by one percentage point.
In the current Democratic version of FL-27, Salazar defeated then-Democratic incumbent Donna Shalala (D-Miami), 51-49 percent, in the 2020 election.
Missouri: Map Sent to Governor — Missouri is one of just two states that has not yet completed the congressional redistricting process, though it appears the legislature and governor may finally have an agreement. Had the legislature not acted this weekend before the session ended Sine Die, the federal courts would have assumed the re-mapping process.
The plan now before Gov. Mike Parson (R) would likely preserve the state’s current 6R-2D ratio. The argument among Republicans was over increasing the draw to 7R-1D, thus collapsing the Kansas City Democratic district of Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver. Under the map now likely to be adopted, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin), who has fought to win consecutive close finishes against strong Democratic opponents, sees her new 2nd CD become more Republican because politically favorable rural territory was added west of St. Louis County.