Tag Archives: Illinois

Flores Announces Rematch Bid in Texas; New Colorado Candidate; Close Polling in Illinois; New York State Senator to Enter House Race

By Jim Ellis — Friday, July 14, 2023

House

Mayra Flores

TX-34: Former Rep. Flores (R) Announces Rematch Bid — In 2020, Republican Mayra Flores won a special election to succeed resigned Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) in the pre-redistricting 34th District. The post-redistricting seat changed the 34th from a D+5 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization into a D+17. Predictably, Flores, then being forced to run against another incumbent, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), lost by a substantial 53-44 percent margin.

This week, Flores announced that she will return for a rematch with Rep. Gonzalez, though her odds of attaining victory are not appreciably better. Her presence makes the seat somewhat competitive, but Rep. Gonzalez must again be considered a strong favorite in a district drawn to elect a Democrat so a Republican, in this case Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen), could win the adjacent 15th CD.

CO-8: No Rematch; GOP has New Candidate — One of the closest 2022 congressional elections came in the northern Denver suburbs from a new seat that Colorado earned in national reapportionment. In November, then-state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton) defeated state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R), 48.3 – 47.7 percent, to become the first winner of this new congressional district. In 2024, the Republicans will have a new candidate.

Kirkmeyer announced Wednesday that she will not return for a congressional rematch next year, instead saying she will seek re-election to the state Senate. Upon that announcement, Weld County Commissioner Scott James (R) immediately filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission. The close political nature of this new district means we will again see a competitive race here in 2024, and very likely another close finish.

IL-12: Close Primary Challenge Poll — At a 4th of July celebration event, former state senator and 2022 Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey announced a congressional primary challenge to veteran Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), the chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee.

Immediately after the 4th, the Cor Strategies firm went into the field with a survey (July 5-8; 661 IL-12 registered Republican voters; multiple sampling techniques) and sees Rep. Bost posting only a 43-37 percent advantage over Bailey. The congressman leads big in the southern and western parts of the district while Bailey has a clear advantage in the northern and eastern geographic sections.

NY-22: State Senator Says he will Run for Congress — Freshman Rep. Brandon Williams (R-Syracuse) scored a 50-49 percent win in November to secure a D+2 (according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization) seat for the GOP. A pair of Democrats had already announced for the seat, including local town councilwoman Sarah Klee Hood, and now state Sen. John Mannion (D-Geddes) says he will enter next year’s congressional race. During Rep. John Katko’s (R) four-term congressional career, the district was perennially competitive, and the same pattern is likely to continue well into this decade.

Maine Sen. King, 80, to Seek Third Term; Illinois House News; Potential GOP Candidate in Washington

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 6, 2023

Senate

Sen. Angus King, Maine (I)

Maine: Independent Incumbent Will Seek Re-Election — Two-term Maine Sen. Angus King, who is elected as an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats, announced that he will seek a third term next year. It was expected that Sen. King, who will be 80 years old at the next election and a cancer survivor, would run again. Before his original election to the Senate in 2012, King served two terms as Maine’s governor. The senator is a prohibitive favorite to win re-election next year.

House

IL-12: Primary Challenge Brewing — Former state senator and 2022 Illinois gubernatorial Republican nominee Darren Bailey is hosting a major gathering where he is expected to announce that he will launch a Republican primary challenge to five-term Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro/Carbondale), the current chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

The challenge is a surprising one in that Rep. Bost is just as conservative as Bailey, so there will be little to draw contrast with him at least in terms of public policy. Because Illinois is so heavily gerrymandered, the 12th CD is one of three solidly Republican seats in the state. Therefore, the only threat to Rep. Bost comes in the GOP primary. Expect the congressman to win renomination and re-election next year. The Illinois primary is early, scheduled for March 19, 2024.

IL-17: Potential Candidacy Brewing — Former state Rep. Dan Brady (R), who represented a central Illinois seat in the state legislature for 20 years before running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State last November, is reportedly close to launching a congressional campaign against freshman Democratic US Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline).

On the gerrymandered Illinois congressional map, the 17th appears to be the most competitive seat in the state. In November, Republican Esther Joy King held Sorensen to a 52-48 percent victory in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+4. The seat is shaped almost like a C, beginning in Rockford, and then swinging west to the Quad Cities area, before moving southeast and east through Galesburg and Peoria before ending in Bloomington. Rep. Sorensen will be favored for re-election, but this district could become highly competitive.

Governor

Washington: Ex-GOP Rep Looking at Governor’s Race — Former congressman and ex-King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R), who served in the House from 2005 to the beginning of 2019, is reportedly exploring a bid for the open governor’s office. Reichert has looked at statewide office before but has not run. His chances of qualifying for the general election in the jungle primary would be good since he would likely corral the votes of what should be a united Republican Party behind him. In the general election, however, probably opposite Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), he would be a distinct underdog.

Gallego Leads in Three-Way Polling; Montana Jungle Primary System Appears Dead; Rep. Bost Challenger in IL-12; Calif. Gubernatorial Candidate Announces; NH Candidate Jockeying;

By Jim Ellis — April 26, 2023

Senate

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D)

Arizona: Rep. Gallego (D) Leads in New Three-Way Polling — Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D-Phoenix) US Senate campaign released its internal Public Policy Polling survey that gives the congressman healthy leads over all of the potential Republican opponents as well as incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I). The PPP poll (April 18-19; 559 Arizona voters) finds that former gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake performs best of the potential Republican nominees, trailing 42-35-14 percent with Sen. Sinema in third place. The poll also finds the incumbent plagued with a poor 27:50 percent favorability index.

These results are much different than the recent OH Predictive Insights poll that perched Gallego in the low 30s and Sen. Sinema hovering around the 20 percent mark with a favorability rating much closer to even. Expect to see many polls being released throughout this unique Senate campaign.

Montana: Top Two Primary Idea Appears Dead — The state measure to use the 2024 US Senate race as a test case for a top two all-party jungle primary system appears to be dead. GOP state legislators appear not to have the stomach to move forward with the test, even though the state Senate had originally passed the legislation.

Republicans were apparently trying to eliminate the probability of the Libertarian candidate attracting in the three percent range, which is common in Montana. The belief is most of those votes would go to a Republican candidate. Therefore, eliminating minor party candidates from the general election ballot would at least theoretically make Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) road to re-election much more difficult.

House

IL-12: Ex-GOP Gubernatorial Nominee to Challenge Rep. Mike Bost (R) — Former Illinois state senator and 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey (losing 55-42 percent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, D) is reportedly testing the political waters for a primary challenge to five-term Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro/Carbondale).

The 12th District is one of just three Republican seats in the state and occupies all of southern Illinois. It appears a Bailey victory path is difficult to chart, since Rep. Bost is solidly conservative and unlikely to upset the party base. Should Bailey move forward, this will be another race to watch in Illinois’ March 19, 2024, primary.

Governor

California: Lieutenant Governor Already Announces — California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) is wasting no time in making her intention known that she will run for governor in 2026. She announced Monday the formation of her campaign committee even though the electoral contest is still three years away from occurring. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will be ineligible to seek a third term at that time. It had become common knowledge that Kounalakis would not enter the open 2024 US Senate race because she was planning a ’26 gubernatorial bid.

New Hampshire: Ex-Senate Candidate Eyes Governor Race — Former state Senate President Chuck Morse (R), who lost the 2022 Republican US Senate primary by one percentage point, confirms that he has interest in running for governor next year if incumbent Chris Sununu (R) decides not to seek a fifth term.

Though New Hampshire has just two-year gubernatorial terms, only Gov. Sununu and former Gov. John Lynch (D) have served four consecutive terms. Most believe that Gov. Sununu will not run a fifth time since he is a potential presidential candidate. It is possible, however, for him to enter the national campaign and still have time to again run for governor should he not succeed in his presidential effort. New Hampshire has one of the latest candidate filing deadlines and primary elections in the country.

Former US Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) is also frequently mentioned as a potential open-seat gubernatorial contender. Outgoing Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig attracts the most attention as a possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

RFK Jr. Formally Announces Run for President; Trump Leads in NH, SC Polls; New Entry in Ohio Senate Race;
House Candidate Activity

By Jim Ellis — Friday, April 21, 2023

President

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Formally Announces — The son of former US Attorney General and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy officially entered the Democratic presidential primary yesterday. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gained national attention for his anti-vaccination stance but is unlikely to be a serious threat to President Biden. He could, however, do some damage in New Hampshire and Georgia if the two states don’t adhere to the Democratic National Committee primary schedule, thus likely forcing the president to skip those primaries.

The adjusted DNC schedule bounces New Hampshire from the first primary position and adds Georgia to the pre-Super Tuesday calendar, among other changes. New Hampshire will not easily relinquish its traditional position — and doesn’t have to, because the individual states, and not the political parties, control their own primary election schedule. The Georgia legislature and governor may not approve the schedule because doing so would force the state to finance two primaries, since the Republicans are not adding the Peach State to the pre-Super Tuesday schedule.

New Hampshire: Trump Leading in New Poll — A new University of New Hampshire Granite State poll (April 13-17; 818 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) sees former President Donald Trump continuing to lead the proposed Republican presidential primary field, while home state Gov. Chris Sununu breaks into double-digits ascending to third place. Trump would lead Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Sununu, 42-22-12 percent. No other potential candidate reaches five percent support. On the Republican side, New Hampshire will remain as the first-in-the-nation primary.

South Carolina: Trump Leads Home State Opponents — The recently released National Public Affairs survey (April 11-14; 538 registered South Carolina voters likely to vote in the Republican primary; online & text) finds former President Trump again topping the Palmetto State field with 40 percent of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of DeSantis.

South Carolina candidates Nikki Haley (the state’s former governor), and Sen. Tim Scott, who has filed a presidential exploratory committee, would command 18 and 16 percent, respectively. Though the two still trail badly in their home state, the NPA ballot test posts the South Carolina pair to their strongest showing to date.

Senate

Ohio: Businessman Moreno Joins GOP Race — Buckeye State businessman Bernie Moreno (R), who for a short time was in the 2022 Senate race but dropped out before the first ballots were cast, announced that he will join the 2024 Republican primary with the hope of challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election. While a candidate in the previous campaign, Moreno spent $4 million of his personal fortune on his political effort.

Currently in the race is state senator and 2022 US Senate candidate Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) who has already invested $3 million of his own money into the ’24 Senate race. Thus, it appears we have two major self-funders set to battle each other for what should be a valuable GOP nomination in what portends to be one of the hottest general election Senate races in the country.

House

IL-7: Exploratory Committee Filed: — Veteran Illinois Congressman Danny Davis (D-Chicago) was first elected to the US House in 1996 after serving both as a Cook County Commissioner and on the Chicago City Council. Though his district is heavily Democratic and safe from a Republican opponent, Rep. Davis did have a relatively close call in the 2022 Democratic primary when he defeated community organizer Kina Collins by a 52-45 percent count. In 2020, he defeated the same opponent with a 60-13 percent victory margin.

At the age of 81, he is considered a retirement prospect for the 2024 election. That being the case, Chicago City treasurer and former state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D) formed a congressional exploratory committee for the 7th District. This is a March 2024 Democratic primary campaign to watch.

IN-3: Former Rep. Stutzman Launches Comeback — Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman, who served three terms in the US House before losing the 2016 US Senate Republican primary to then-Congressman Todd Young, announced yesterday that he will attempt to reclaim the seat he vacated eight years ago. The race, however, will be no “gimme” for the former congressman and ex-state legislator. Already announced as candidates are state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) and former Circuit Judge Wendy Davis, among others.

In a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates R+34, the successor to Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), who is now running for Senate, will be decided in the May 2024 Republican primary.

MI-10: Another Democrat Surfaces to Challenge Rep. James — A third Democratic candidate came forward to compete for the party nomination to challenge Michigan freshman US Rep. John James (R-Farmington Hills). Emily Busch, a gun control activist and defeated state representative candidate, said she will run for Congress next year. Already in the Democratic primary are attorney Brian Jaye and financial consultant and ex-state representative candidate Diane Young.

It is likely that 2022 nominee and former judge and prosecutor Carl Marlinga will return for a re-match. He will be heavily favored in the Democratic primary, having lost to James by just a half-percentage point. The 10th District 2024 campaign again promises to be highly competitive and is a national Democratic congressional target.

DeSantis on Track to Launch Presidential Campaign in May, June; Calif. Candidate Runs Porn Biz; West Point Grad a Candidate in Illinois; Pollsters Get Rated

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, March 14, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Moves Being Made — Several occurrences suggest that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on track to launch his presidential campaign in late May or early June. The timing corresponds to the Florida legislature adjourning.

First, it is being reported that the governor is telling close advisors and donors that he will run. Second, he visited Davenport, Iowa on Friday and delivered a policy speech, which drew a large audience. Iowa is still first on the Republican nomination schedule even though Democrats have dropped the state from their early voting tier. Third, and most surprisingly, former Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R), who was a senior official in the Trump Administration and is a conservative leader, has formed a political action committee whose purpose is to encourage the Florida governor to run for president.

House

CA-13: Rep. Duarte Opponent’s Alias — Phil Arballo (D) has twice run unsuccessfully for Congress and has announced his 2024 candidacy for the state’s 13th District, the seat that delivered the second-closest election in 2022. In that race, Rep. John Duarte (R-Modesto) defeated now-former state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D) by just 564 votes. Gray is also returning for a re-match.

Arballo’s candidacy, however, may be short-lived. It has just been uncovered that he is running a premium amateur adult porn video business on the side under the name of Felipe Jones. Regardless of what happens in the March 5 all-party jungle primary, expect both Rep. Duarte and Gray to advance into the general election.

IL-13: Rep. Budzinski Challenger Emerges — Educator and West Point graduate Joshua Lloyd (R) announced his congressional candidacy on Friday, hoping to challenge Illinois freshman Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-Springfield) next year. The 13th District became a created open seat under the gerrymandered Illinois congressional map, and it stretches all the way from the Champaign-Urbana area through Decatur and Springfield until ending in the Illinois side of the St. Louis suburbs.

The seat was drawn to elect a Democrat and force then-Rep. Rodney Davis (R) into another district. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates IL-13 as D+7, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 53.3D – 41.8R. In November, Budzinski won a 57-43 percent victory over conservative activist Regan Deering (R).

IN-5: First Major Candidate Announces — Hoosier State Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-Noblesville) surprise retirement decision in only her second US House term had left an open Republican seat with no early declared candidates until late last week. First to announce is state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), who is also the president & CEO of an electric company. We expect to see a crowded Republican field in the R+22 district, but the unexpected open-seat status has featured a slow candidate development. The Indiana primary is scheduled for May 7, 2024.

States

Polling: 538 Releases New Pollster Ratings — The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates polling accuracy around the country and just released their post-2022 election ratings. Only four of the 506 rated entities were awarded A+ grades. They are, Siena College for the New York Times, Selzer & Company, Research & Polling, Inc., and Survey USA.

Only five more survey research entities that conducted at least 40 polls received an A rating. They are: ABC News/Washington Post, Beacon Research & The Shaw Company for Fox News, Marist College, Monmouth University, and Landmark Communications. Two more received A grades but conducted fewer than 40 surveys. In this category are AtlasIntel and Cygnal.

Census Reapportionment:
The Hidden Votes

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 9, 2023

President

Census Reapportionment: The Hidden Votes — Already, the 2024 presidential race has actually gotten closer. The 2020 national election was decided by a 74 electoral vote margin, a 306-232 margin for Democrat Joe Biden. Without any state changing its 2020 outcome, however, his victory spread has now decreased to 68 EVs.

Census reapportionment is the reason, and it makes a net six-vote difference in the Republicans’ favor based upon Donald Trump’s aggregate EV number from the last election. This is because reapportioning the number of US House seats throughout the country affects and changes the electoral vote count (EVC). As you know, the EVC is comprised of each state’s federal representatives, meaning two senators and the number of House members each entity possesses.

Therefore, under the new totals, Biden’s winning count over his Republican opponent would be 303-235. Understanding that the presidential winner needs 270 electoral votes, the Republican deficit is now 35 as opposed to 38. This is important because it changes the number of states that Republicans must convert in order to win the next race.

President Biden loses electoral votes in California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, but gained two back in Colorado and Oregon. The first five lost a congressional seat apiece in reapportionment, while the latter two gained a district apiece. Conversely, the next Republican nominee would gain electoral votes in Texas (2), Florida, Montana, and North Carolina, but lose one apiece in Ohio and West Virginia. Thus, the Republicans gained an aggregate three electoral votes while the Democrats lost three, for the net swing of six.

For the next Republican nominee, he or she must again re-establish the party’s southern core. Former President Trump needed to carry the southern tier states of Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida to position himself throughout the rest of the country. He failed to do so, losing Arizona and Georgia, but the next nominee must return these two entities to the GOP column if the party is to have any chance of again winning the White House.

If the next Republican nominee fails to take these two states, for a total of 27 electoral votes (Georgia 16; Arizona 11), there is no realistic chance of cobbling together a 270-vote victory coalition. The GOP nominee will need at least one more state to convert in addition to Arizona and Georgia, with Wisconsin’s 10 votes being the simplest numerical path to an outright state coalition victory.

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McCarthy’s Win Even Closer

By Jim Ellis — Jan. 9, 2023

House

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt)

Speaker: A Dive Into the Numbers — The internal US House voting process that elected California’s Kevin McCarthy as Speaker Friday night on the 15th roll call was arguably even closer than the final 216-212-6 tally suggested. 

The two closest congressional elections, those of Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and John Duarte (R-CA), both would have affected the Speaker race outcome had the pair not won their tight November electoral contests. 

Though Boebert supported other members on the first 13 roll calls, her “present” vote on the last two helped make the difference in McCarthy’s marathon campaign for the Speakership. Rep. Boebert won her western Colorado re-election campaign with only a 546-vote margin. Duarte was victorious with a similar 564 vote spread in central California. Combined, the aggregate 1,110 vote victories ultimately provided what McCarthy needed to finally reach majority support.

In all, 25 November US House races were decided by less than 10,000 votes apiece. Of those, Republicans won 15 and Democrats 10. In 15 of these 25 elections, we saw the winning candidate flip the district from the previous party’s representation to his or her own. 

It is likely that most, if not all, of these 25 closest 2022 contests will become targeted races in the 2024 election cycle. Throughout the long election cycle, we will be paying particular attention to the 10 districts where the electorate voted opposite of the prognosticators’ pre-election calculation.

The FiveThirtyEight data organization, for example, rated all 435 House districts using past election trends, voter registration, and other statistics to formulate a point spread favoring a nominee of one party or the other.

The following 10 members over-performed their party’s projection and won a close contest in a seat that was expected to favor the opposite party’s nominee:

  • Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-3; R+11)
  • Rep. David Valadao (R-CA; D+10)
  • Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY; D+10)
  • Rep. John Duarte (R-CA-13; D+7)
  • Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY-17; D+7)
  • Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA; R+4)
  • Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8; R+3)
  • Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC; R+3)
  • Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR; D+3)
  • Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY; D+2)

Redistricting may very well be back on the table for the 2024 congressional cycle, however. Irrespective of the US Supreme Court deciding the Alabama racial gerrymandering and the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering and legal jurisdiction cases before the end of June, we can expect redraws occurring in certain states.

The legislatures will likely redraw interim court-mandated maps in New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. Based upon a recent federal three-judge court ruling, South Carolina has been ordered to produce a new congressional map by March 31. The impending SCOTUS rulings could force Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, and North Carolina (if not already done so by the time the high court rules) to change their maps.

The redraws would potentially help Republicans in Illinois and North Carolina, and Democrats in Alabama, Louisiana, New York, and South Carolina. The Ohio situation is unclear, at least for now.

With impending map changes coming in the aforementioned states, and possibly several more depending upon just how far-reaching the future SCOTUS decisions prove, we could again see a large number of seats falling into the competitive realm. This, in addition to the aforementioned 25 close likely targets from the previous election cycle. 

Those members are listed in their entirety below: