Tag Archives: Gov. Tom Wolf

Fetterman Leads Oz in PA;
Beasley Takes a Lead Over Budd in NC;
Sisolak Edges Lombardo in NV

By Jim Ellis — June 17, 2022

Senate

Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Pennsylvania: Recuperating Fetterman Leads Oz — A new Suffolk University survey looks to be the first poll taken after the marathon Republican primary finally settled for Dr. Mehmet Oz by a total of 951 votes of 1.345 million ballots cast. The Suffolk poll (June 10-13; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters; live interview) produces interesting and mixed results. On the ballot test, Democratic nominee John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads Dr. Oz 46-37 percent, but a full 50 percent of the respondents said they want their vote “to change the direction President Biden is leading the nation.”

While President Biden has an upside-down job approval rating — 39:54 percent favorable to unfavorable, Dr. Oz surprisingly records an equivalently bad 28:50 percent ratio. On the other hand, Fetterman, at home recovering from a stroke suffered from a blood clot to the heart, records a positive 45:27 percent favorability index.

North Carolina: Beasley Up in New Study — Survey USA, polling for WRAL-TV in Raleigh (June 8-12; 650 likely North Carolina voters; online) found former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley taking a 44-40 percent lead over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). It is probable that we can expect to see close polls like this all the way through the general election.

Turning back to the 2020 NC Senate campaign, and just in the month of October during the Sen. Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D) campaign, 28 surveys were publicly released and the Democratic nominee led in all but four studies. Sen. Tillis would go onto win re-election with a 49-47 percent margin, suggesting that North Carolina aggregate polling contained a slight structural Republican undercount.

Governor

Nevada: Sheriff Lombardo Tips Gov. Sisolak — On Tuesday, Clark County Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo scored a 38-28-13-8 percent Republican primary win over retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, ex-US Sen. Dean Heller, and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee to set the general election card. Lombardo will oppose Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November.

Sheriff Lombardo, with a plurality of 37.8 percent of the vote within a field of 15 candidates, including former US Sen. Dean Heller who placed third in the primary vote, captured the party nomination for the state’s top post. This will be a battleground contest in November.

WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth organization just before the Nevada primary but released a day after (June 4-6; 502 likely Nevada voters; live interview) projects Lombardo taking a one-point, 48-47 percent, edge over rival Sisolak. The poll appears to undercount the non-affiliated voters, which is the largest of the party division segments.

How emphasizing both major parties changes the ballot test is unknown, but with the Lombardo-Sisolak question breaking virtually even, it is clear that this race begins as a toss-up.

Pennsylvania: Mastriano Closely Trails — The aforementioned Suffolk University poll (see Senate section above), while finding Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well outside the polling margin of error, sees state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) trailing Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) by only a 44-40 percent margin.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s job approval is a very poor 38:60 percent favorable to unfavorable. And, by a 29:54 percent ratio, the respondents believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track. Though Sen. Mastriano is viewed by many as being extreme, the sour taste voters apparently have for the current gubernatorial administration and their poor perception of how the state is performing economically is putting the new Republican nominee in competitive position despite whatever perceived negative baggage he might be carrying.

House

NV-4: Peters Projected as Primary Winner — Insurance agency owner and Army veteran Sam Peters has been projected the winner of the 4th District Republican primary, with a 48-41 percent victory spread over Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite).

Peters now advances to challenge incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in a seat that rates D+5, but is staged to be competitive in 2022. The 4th stretches from northern Clark County into the central part of the state. Horsford was unopposed for re-nomination.

In the state’s other three congressional races, 1st District incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) will face financial planner Mark Robertson who placed first in a field of eight Republican candidates that included former US Rep. Cresent Hardy.

In the northern Nevada 2nd CD, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) was re-nominated with 54.5 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (32.7 percent) and three others. In the general election, Rep. Amodei will face Democrat Elizabeth Krause. The congressman becomes a heavy favorite for re-election.

In competitive District 3, another of the Clark County seats, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) was easily re-nominated and will face Republican attorney April Becker who captured two-thirds of the Republican vote.

Considering these results and that it appears more Republicans voted in this primary than Democrats (about one-third of the vote is still unaccounted for), Nevada will be one of the key battleground states in the nation’s 2022 midterm election.

Pennsylvania Candidate Filings Close

Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com’s interactive redistricting map.


By Jim Ellis

March 18, 2022 — Pennsylvania’s candidate filing period closed late Tuesday, yielding official May 17 primary candidates for the Keystone State’s federal and state offices. A total of 11 contenders are competing in the Republican gubernatorial primary, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed on the Democratic side. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

The Senate race is also a crowded affair, with seven Republicans compared to five candidates in the Democrat primary. The Senate contest is also open because Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking a third term. A total of 66 Democrat, Republican, and some minor party candidates filed for the congressional races. The state’s Independent and minor party filing deadline does not conclude until Aug. 1.

Among the Republican gubernatorial candidates are two former US House members, Lou Barletta and Melissa Hart, two state senators, Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), former US Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, and former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White. Shapiro will begin the general election campaign as the favorite, if for no other reason than seeing the eventual Republican nominee having to fight through a tough crowded primary.

The Senate race features primaries on both sides. The Democrats are in basically a two-way affair between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who leads in all polls and fundraising, and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). Both Democrats are from western Pennsylvania, but Fetterman should have the advantage in the vote-rich southeastern PA region considering his statewide ties, thus making him the favorite for the party nomination.

Two candidates on the Republican side have been spending heavily to attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the field, and they look to have succeeded. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is leading in the latest two statewide surveys over television doctor Mehmet Oz. Former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are the trailing candidates.

The Pennsylvania Senate general election will be one of the most important in the nation, and the results will go a long way toward determining which party will control the majority in the next Congress.

In the congressional races, Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Swarthmore), Dan Meuser (R-Dallas), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg/Altoona), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters Township), Glenn Thompson (R-Howard/State College), and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) all should have easy rides to re-election. Rep. Reschenthaler has no Republican or Democratic opposition post-filing. Rep. Joyce faces only one minor Republican opponent.

Rep. Fred Keller’s (R-Middleburg) safe Republican 12th District was eliminated because Pennsylvania lost a seat in national reapportionment. He originally was going to challenge Rep. Meuser in the 9th District Republican primary, but later decided to retire.

Pennsylvania hosts four major congressional races: two open seats and two top challenger efforts against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Rep. Lamb’s open 17th District, which sits west of Pittsburgh and stretches to the Ohio border, has a rating of D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization; this is the type of seat that Republicans must convert if they are to win the majority in November.

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Lamb Decision Affects Redistricting

Pennsylvania Congressional Districts


By Jim Ellis

Aug. 2, 2021 — Last week’s news reports indicating that western Pennsylvania US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon/Pittsburgh) will enter the open Senate race on Aug. 6, could mean the congressional district he leaves behind becomes a redistricting victim.

Assuming the reports are accurate, and the congressman does launch a Senate campaign, he will be the only Pennsylvania US House delegation member to create an open seat. All others appear poised to run for re-election. This means the Lamb district will likely become the top option for elimination since reapportionment reduces by one the 18-member Keystone State delegation.

The Census Bureau is now telling the states they will finally begin receiving their redistricting data the during the week of Aug. 16. It appears the total data transmission will come in two waves, so all states should have what they need to begin holding public input hearings in early September, and then drawing districts. This is more than six months behind a typical redistricting calendar.

Based upon the latest available information, the state will have 17 congressional districts with a population number of what appears to be just under 765,000 individuals. Looking at the current 18 districts, all must gain population, hence the reason the state is losing another CD. Since 1930, Pennsylvania has lost more congressional districts than any other state.

The region requiring the least new population is Pennsylvania’s southeastern sector, in and around the city of Philadelphia. The western segment is the area that needs the most population with the exception of Rep. Scott Perry’s (R-Dillsburg/Harrisburg/York) south-central 10th District that will require the lowest human increase, most likely fewer than 20,000 persons.

The three seats needing the greatest influx are all in west Pennsylvania, surrounding the city of Pittsburgh. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson’s (R-Howard) predominantly rural 15th CD looks to be the district most in need of additional residents, likely over 85,000 individuals. Next is Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-Butler) 16th District that begins north of Pittsburgh and moves all the way to Lake Erie. This seat would need approximately 80,000 more people. Third is the district south of Pittsburgh to the West Virginia border, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s (R-Peters Township) 14th CD, that must also gain another 80,000 bodies.

Lamb’s 17th District that encompasses almost half of Allegheny County, all of Beaver County, and a sliver of Butler, needs over 50,000 more people, which pairs well with Rep. Mike Doyle’s (D-Pittsburgh) downtown 18th District that will likely require approximately 65,000 new residents. Therefore, eliminating District 17 with now no incumbent to protect it would allow the downtown seat to be filled and remain solidly Democratic, but also meet the population needs in the districts to the south, southeast, and north of Pittsburgh.

Politically, such a configuration would likely change the 9R-9D delegation to 9R-8D, and that will be a hard sell for the Republican legislature to make to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, especially when he knows a partisan Democratic state Supreme Court could well have the final say once the inevitable lawsuits are filed.

Such a configuration involving the elimination of current District 17 works fairly seamlessly, though, particularly if the final map improves for the Democratic incumbents in the politically marginal eastern PA seats of District 7 (Rep. Susan Wild-D; Allentown/ Bethlehem/Easton), and 8 (Rep. Matt Cartwright-D; Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre/Mt. Pocono). This might be enough to sell a map that forces the Democrats to take the one-seat loss in the west.

There are many ways to re-configure congressional maps, and we will soon see many versions coming from Pennsylvania and all other multi-district states. Rep. Lamb’s move to the Senate race, however, if in fact he ultimately makes the statewide jump, will significantly change the course of Pennsylvania congressional redistricting.

PA-12 NOMINEE KELLER IMMEDIATELY HITS OPPONENT, PELOSI, SANDERS, CORTEZ

Pennsylvania Congressional Map | Source: Pennsylvania State Supreme Court (click on image to see full size)

By Jim Ellis

Pennsylvania state Rep. Fred Keller
(R-Mifflinburg)

March 5, 2019 — On Saturday, during a seven-hour marathon special district convention marked with controversy, the central Pennsylvania Republican delegates chose state Rep. Fred Keller (R-Mifflinburg) as the party nominee for 12th District Congressman Tom Marino’s (R-Williamsport) vacated seat. Marino resigned from the House at the end of January due to professional and health reasons.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) scheduled the replacement special election for May 21. Under Pennsylvania election law, the various political parties call a district convention or meeting for purposes of choosing a special election nominee. Originally, 24 potential Republican candidates expressed interest in running, but only 14 were successful in having their names placed into nomination before the 200-plus assembled delegates.

After Rep. Marino’s unexpected announcement, Democrats responded quickly and re-nominated their 2018 candidate, local college professor Marc Friedenberg, who advances into the special general election hoping to perform better than he did against Marino. In November, Friedenberg lost 66-34 percent while spending just over $90,000 on his federal campaign.

Saturday’s convention became controversial once the Club for Growth organization began sending mailers to the delegates attacking state Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-Williamsport), over his record on tax issues as a legislator first elected in 2014. Prior to gathering in Williamsport, Wheeland appeared as the candidate most likely to become the delegates’ choice.

But, the convention was rocked when the representative’s stepson distributed a letter detailing how Wheeland abused he and his mother. The combination attack was enough to drive Wheeland from the race just before the fourth ballot, yielding the victory for Keller.

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Special Election Called in PA

By Jim Ellis

Pennsylvania Congressional Map | Source: Pennsylvania State Supreme Court (click on image to see full size)

Jan. 29, 2019 — While most of the special election banter surrounds the still undecided North Carolina situation (NC-9), the first new election of the year has just been scheduled.

With Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino’s (R-Williamsport) surprise announcement earlier this month that he was resigning from the House, a move he made official on Jan. 23 to accept a position in the private sector, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has already called the replacement special election to fill the new vacancy.

As expected, Gov. Wolf made the 12th District special election concurrent with the Pennsylvania statewide municipal primary, which is scheduled for May 21. There will be only the one election, and the candidate receiving the most votes, regardless of percentage attained, will serve the balance of the current term.

In the meantime, the 15 county chairmen from the qualified political parties will schedule a convention in the district to choose their respective nominee. Generally, the convention is weighted to accurately reflect the population spread throughout the district. Therefore, the most populous counties within the 12th CD, Lycoming and part of Centre that together possess 29 percent of the district’s population, will likely have a commensurate number of votes at the special nominating convention.

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