Tag Archives: Indiana

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.

Warnock Attracts Big Bucks in GA; Nevada Turning Red? Dem Leads in Open-Seat PA-17 Race

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Continues to Attract Big Bucks — Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D) campaign leadership is reporting that they raised an incredible $26.3 million just in the third quarter. Prior to this impending Federal Election Commission disclosure report due on Oct. 15, Sen. Warnock had outraised every Senate incumbent and challenger by at least $30 million. His new aggregate total of approximately $111 million raised for the entire campaign will certainly keep him in the financial driver’s seat. The campaign spokesperson said the Warnock committee has more than $13 million cash-on-hand available for the final five weeks.

Indiana: Another Close Survey — Back in August, Change Research released a survey that found Sen. Todd Young (R) ahead of Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) by only a slim 45-42 percent margin. Most believed this survey to be an anomaly. Now, the ARW Strategies polling entity, surveying for the Indy Politics blog (Sept. 25-26; 600 likely Indiana general election voters), has arrived at a similar conclusion more than a month later. The ARW results find Sen. Young’s advantage to be only 39-37 percent opposite Mayor McDermott. Libertarian candidate James Sceniak accounts for six percent of the preference total with the remainder saying they are undecided.

These again are puzzling numbers since Sen. Young is not exhibiting any signs of political trouble in a state where his party consistently wins elections and is favored across the board in 2022. Chances are good we will see more attention from both sides being paid to this race as we move toward the campaign’s closing weeks.

Nevada: Laxalt Ahead in Sixth Consecutive Poll — OH Predictive Insights, a frequent pollster in the southwest, released their new Nevada numbers. The survey (Sept. 20-29; 741 likely Nevada general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) leading Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by a 45-43 percent margin. This is the sixth consecutive poll, from six individual research firms during a long Sept. 8-29 time frame, that forecasts Laxalt with a small lead — an average of just over two percentage points.

The most troubling aspect from the Democratic perspective is that Sen. Cortez Masto only averages 43.3 percent preference with a high-water mark of just 46 percent within this group of studies. Her performance is far below the 50 percent plateau and very low for any incumbent. It now appears that Nevada is the Republicans’ best national US Senate conversion opportunity.

House

PA-17: Dem Leading in Open Seat Race — A just released brilliant corners firm survey (polling for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Sept. 18-20; 400 likely PA-17 general election voters) containing a high disclosed error rate of 4.9 percent, posts Democratic election law attorney and college professor Chris Deluzio to a six-point, 49-43 percent, lead over GOP engineer and former local elected official Jeremy Shaffer.

The open 17th District, located in the western Pittsburgh suburbs and encompasses the territory all the way to the Ohio border, is a swing district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+1. Detecting a Republican resurgence around the country after Sept. 20, it will be interesting to see what more recent data might show for this campaign. This region’s voting history suggests the 17th District remains a toss-up race.

Governor

Nevada: Republican Lombardo Pulls Ahead — OH Predictive Insights also released their new Nevada gubernatorial results. The survey (see Nevada Senate above) projects Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) to be running ahead of Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) by three percentage points, 45-42 percent. This is the third consecutive poll that finds the GOP challenger topping the Democratic incumbent. It is clear that the closing campaign weeks will be hot ones in the Silver State.

Examining the Role of the RCV System in Alaska’s Special Election; Rep. Crist Resigns in Fla.; Indiana “Shock” Poll

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

House

Sarah Palin (R)

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — The headline here is that former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, and the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system was fully in play. Yesterday we reported the results; today we’ll delve into the RCV system that delivered those results.

At the end of the final counting, which was when the Aug. 16 deadline to accept ballots in the primary election expired, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate. However, the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case the RCV system produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists from the jungle primary election began with Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote. Palin secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R) captured 28.5 percent. Begich III is the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, Sr. (D), and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D). In finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then allocated to the remaining two candidates via the voters’ ranking.

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) winner of the Alaska special election race.

As we predicted, based upon the experiences of other states and cities that have used the RCV system, a large number of votes were disqualified, or “exhausted” to use the Alaska vernacular.

Of the 192,158 individuals who participated in the special election and/or regular primary, a total of 3,401 ballots were listed as “blank,” meaning the individuals voted in the election but bypassed the special congressional contest. Another 342 ballots were categorized as “overvotes.” This terminology suggests the owners of such ballots voted incorrectly. Typically, it means the individual, presumably inadvertently, voted more than once for the same candidate, thus disqualifying the ballot.

The categories that likely cost Palin the election, despite the large majority voting for a Republican candidate, came in RCV’s Round 2. In that round, a total of 11,222 Begich voters did not properly manage the RCV system on their ballots, which was to rank the three candidates in the order of the individual voter’s preference.

Lawyers who challenged the RCV system in other places around the country warned that their experience showed a large number of disqualified, or “exhausted,” ballots would be present here, which certainly proved to be the case.

This latter number added to the initial overvotes, meant a total of 11,269 Begich first-place voters saw their ballot disqualified, more than twice the number of votes (5,219) that comprised Palin’s deficit against Peltola’s final victory total. Adding this number to those who chose to bypass the special congressional race meant that 14,965 individuals who voted in this election failed to have their ballot count in the RCV process.

The second category leading to Palin’s demise were the 15,445 individuals who voted for Begich on the first ballot, but decided to support Peltola with their second choice. This is a much higher number than our pre-election estimate projection, and are chiefly responsible for the ex-governor failing to win the general election.

A possible reason that some of these voters chose Peltola is that the Begich name identification comes from the current candidate’s family predecessors mentioned above who were, and are, affiliated with the Democrats. It is possible that the multiple confusion factors present in this race also extended to Begich’s name, with many traditional Democratic voters still thinking he is a member of their party and not noticing his Republican label on the ballot.

Also adding to the confusion factor was the RCV system being used only in this special general election that was run concurrently with the regular state primary. In all other races on Aug. 16, voters were simply choosing one candidate to advance into the general election, where four jungle primary candidates from each race would do so. Therefore, the almost 15,000 ballots being disqualified before the end of the RCV special election process suggests a large amount of confusion within the electorate.

With the same three finalists again advancing into the regular election from the regular congressional primary, which was also held on the same day (Aug. 16), thus producing one more confusion factor, we could see a rerun of the RCV results in the November election. If either Palin or Begich were to withdraw from the regular general election, however, Peltola’s fate would then likely be sealed, since the Republican vote would then presumably overwhelm the number of her Democratic preference ballots.

While the intrigue associated with this one race has now been resolved, new questions will immediately begin to unfold for the impending general election. For now, however, Mary Peltola will be sworn in as the House of Representatives’ newest member.

FL-13: Rep. Crist Resigns — Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) resigned his Pinellas County-anchored US House seat Wednesday in order to fully concentrate on his gubernatorial campaign. Crist won the statewide Democratic primary on Aug. 23 and will face Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election. Another member of the Florida congressional delegation, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), who announced in February that he would leave Congress to become the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, will reportedly officially resign on Oct. 1.

With the Crist and Deutch resignations, the Democrats will be down to 220 seats in the House even after adding New York Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Poughkeepsie) after his special election victory certification and the Alaska at-large seat where Democrat Mary Peltola was declared the special election winner. It is unclear if Gov. DeSantis will call a special election to fill the Florida vacancies or just leave them vacant until the new term begins in January.

Senate

Indiana: Shock Poll — Hoosier State Democratic US Senate nominee Tom McDermott’s campaign released the results of their recently conducted Change Research poll (Aug. 20-24; 2,111 likely Indiana general election voters; online), which posted Sen. Todd Young (R) to only a 45-42 percent lead. The Indiana Senate race had been considered non-competitive. The Young campaign responded with criticism over the online methodology and weighting system that Change Research employs. Expect the Young campaign to quickly counter this data with a poll release of their own.

Governor

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Consecutive Polls — In a race that had not been polled during the general election period to-date, two new surveys were released on consecutive days. Yesterday, we reported that Gov. Henry McMaster (R) led in The Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) by a 51-43 percent margin over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary.

The next day’s polling release featured a survey from the Democratic firm, Blueprint Polling (Aug. 24-25; 721 likely South Carolina general election voters; live interview), that actually posted McMaster to a larger lead than the Trafalgar result, 50-39 percent.

Tennessee Primary Today; Tight Race Forming in Arizona Senate; Godlewski Drops From Wisconsin Senate Race; Indiana Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash

Tennessee Congressional Districts (click on image to see larger)

By Jim Ellis — August 4, 2022

Primary

Tennessee Primary Today: While still waiting for the remaining final numbers from Tuesday’s Arizona, Michigan, and Washington primaries, Volunteer State voters will go to the polls today to choose their nominees in the nation’s only Thursday primary.

There is no Senate race in the state in this election cycle, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) will next be on the ballot in 2024 with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R) presumably running for his second term in 2026. While Gov. Bill Lee (R) is in-cycle this year, he is unopposed in today’s Republican primary.

Three Democrats are tonight vying for their party nomination, which of course will give the winner the right to challenge the governor in November. The only elected official of the group is Memphis City Councilman J.B. Smiley. Challenging him are physician Jason Martin and African American History Museum founder Carnita Atwater. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gov. Lee will be rated as a prohibitive favorite in the general election.

In the nine congressional races, five Republican incumbents are all unopposed for re-nomination this evening. Two incumbents — Reps. Charles Fleishmann (R-Chattanooga) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the state’s lone Democratic member on the ballot this year — face only minor opponents. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) has three opponents tonight, but none look to be serious challengers. Therefore, all of the action lies in the open 5th District.

Retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) has represented the district since the beginning of 2003. However, as a result of redistricting, Tennesseans decided to restructure a new 5th District, which was formerly a Nashville center city seat and wholly contained within Davidson County. As a result, the FiveThirtyEight organization rates the new 5th as R+15, thus upending what was a D+17 domain, which is one of the widest partisan redistricting swings in the nation. The Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean calculations sees the new 5th as 54.4 – 42.6 percent in the Republicans’ favor. Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and with no runoff law in Tennessee, a plurality winner will be chosen tonight.

TN-5 attracted much attention just after redistricting because the state Republican Party decided to add qualifications for their candidates, such as voting in the most recent three statewide elections. The party requirement, which survived a court challenge, was designed to bounce former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, music producer Robby Starbuck, and businessman Baxter Lee from participating in the election. It was successful. All three had just recently moved to the area.

Once today’s Tennessee primary concludes, 36 states will have completed their nomination process. Two big states will remain, however, Florida, and the New York congressional and state Senate primary, both scheduled for Aug. 23.

Senate

Arizona: New Post-Primary Poll Shows Tight Race Forming — Venture capitalist Blake Masters won the Republican Senate primary on Tuesday night, and a new OnMessage survey already shows him within striking distance of Sen. Mark Kelly (D). The poll (Aug. 1-2; 600 likely Arizona general election voters) finds the senator leading Masters, 49-44 percent.

We can expect the Arizona race to be one of the most heavily polled general election campaigns during the remaining time before the Nov. 8 election. Arizona is a tight political state, and this race will go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

Wisconsin: Dem Race Ends — While it looked as if state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would have a last-ditch opportunity to deny Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes the Democratic US Senate nomination in a one-on-one race, that will not be the case. After both Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson dropped out of the race, some believed Godlewski could become a factor in the closing days before the Aug. 9 primary election.

Late last week, however, Godlewski followed suit and ended her Senate campaign. All three now former candidates have endorsed Lt. Gov. Barnes, meaning a united Democratic Party will head into the general election to oppose Sen. Ron Johnson (R). The Johnson-Barnes campaign will be national in scope and one of the key races to decide the next Senate majority.

House

IN-2: Rep. Walorski, Three Others Killed in Crash — Indiana five-term Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Elkart) and three others were all tragically killed in a car accident yesterday. The congresswoman and her two aides were returning from an event in the district, and died when another vehicle crossed the median line and struck them head-on. The driver of that car also died.

Walorski, who was 58, is the sixth House member to pass away in this session of Congress. Indiana state law will govern the succession procedure to replace the late representative.

Incumbent Defeats — Tuesday’s defeats of Michigan Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) and Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township) in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries are the ninth and tenth House incumbents to lose their seats in this election cycle. Five come from both parties. Five of the incumbent losses are redistricting related, two because of ethics or personal behavior problems, one for ideological reasons, and a pair on the Republican side, such as Rep. Meijer, for voting to impeach then-President Trump.

Primary Results in Ohio, Indiana;
An Odd Lt. Gov. Appointment in NY

By Jim Ellis
May 4, 2022

Primaries

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance, Ryan Move to General — Best-selling author J.D. Vance, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, won the open Ohio US Senate Republican nomination last night with a 32-24-23 percent victory over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Businessman Mike Gibbons, who spent almost $17 million of his own money on the race, finished fourth with 12 percent, ahead of ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken who posted only six percent support.

Polling proved to be accurate. The late race surveys were consistently showing Vance breaking into the lead, and the ballot tests were projecting he would win a close finish over Mandel and Sen. Dolan, which happened.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan

For the Democrats, as expected, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) was an easy winner, capturing 70 percent of the Democratic vote from a turnout that was significantly lower than the party performance in the most recent 2018 midterm election. Thus, Vance and Ryan now advance into what should be a competitive general election.

Turning to Cleveland, which hosted the most competitive Democratic congressional primary, freshman Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) easily turned back former state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President campaign national co-chair Nina Turner by a landslide 66-34 percent margin. The two ran against each other in the 2021 special election that first elected Rep. Brown.

In the Toledo-anchored 9th District, Iraq War veteran and Trump campaign activist J.R. Majewski (R) claimed the Republican nomination, defeating both state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Majewski now advances into the general election against the Democratic US House member who has served longer than anyone in her party. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) was first elected in 1982. This will be a highly competitive general election in a new 9th CD that carries a R+6 rating.

Former Trump White House aide Max Miller (R), armed with the former president’s endorsement, easily won the Republican nomination since incumbent Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) surprisingly decided to retire after filing for re-election. Miller now becomes the heavy favorite to capture the R+14 open seat in the general election.

Staying in the northern Ohio region, the new open 13th District that looks to be playing as an even political domain, will feature a battle between state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and TV commentator and former Miss Ohio in the USA beauty pageant, Michelle Gesiotto Gilbert, who captured the party nomination against six Republican opponents as another Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate. The Sykes-Gilbert contest begins as a toss-up general election campaign.

Indiana: Ex-Sen. Houchin Wins Open Seat GOP Nod — The Hoosier State battle in the southeastern corner of the state to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) ended as many predicted. There, resigned state Sen. Erin Houchin, a former congressional aide to ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), won the Republican primary last night, defeating former Congressman Mike Sodrel and Bronze Star medal winner Stu Barnes-Israel, 37-26-21 percent.

Houchin now becomes the prohibitive favorite in the open 9th District general election. She will face educator Matthew Fyfe who won the Democratic primary but raised and spent less than $50,000 for his primary campaign.

In the northwestern 1st District, US Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Jennifer-Ruth Green easily defeated former La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, 47-22 percent, to capture the Republican nomination. She advances to face freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) who is on the ballot for a second term. The congressman was renominated in an 86 percent landslide.

Governor

Ohio: Gov. DeWine’s Unimpressive Win — Incumbent Mike DeWine successfully won re-nomination for a second term, but with only 48 percent support from within his own party. Had the anti-DeWine voters coalesced behind one candidate, it is now apparent that such an individual may have denied the governor a primary victory. Former US Congressman Jim Renacci scored 28 percent of the vote and farmer Joe Blystone posted 22 percent.

For the Democrats, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley easily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley with 65 percent of the vote. Whaley carried all but eight of the state’s 88 counties, including nipping Cranley in his home county of Hamilton. Whether or not Mayor Whaley can force Gov. DeWine into a tight November contest remains to be seen, but she did exhibit strength within her party while the governor’s performance among Republicans was clearly disappointing.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado Chosen as Lieutenant Governor — Yesterday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) chose US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) as her new lieutenant governor. Delgado replaces her first choice, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) who was indicted for bribery and forced to resign. The selection of Rep. Delgado is an interesting one in that the appointment creates another vacancy in the US House and forces an additional special election. Currently, four Republican and one Democratic House seats are vacant for various reasons.

The Upstate 19th District may undergo significant change when the new congressional maps are court drawn later this month. The move to choose a House member is curious in that it creates further uncertainty for the Democrats now that their 22D-4R map has been disqualified as a partisan gerrymander. The current 19th District is rated R+4, while the re-drawn district on the rejected map rates D+4. Under a new draw, this seat will almost assuredly become a top Republican conversion target. Delgado was first elected to the House in 2018.

Rep. Hollingsworth to Retire;
Tennessee Map Advances

By Jim Ellis

Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville)

Jan. 14, 2022 — Three-term Indiana Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the autumn, becoming the 12th Republican to retire in this election cycle. The congressman’s retirement decision means at least 46 seats will be open in the 2022 House election.

Saying, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process,” Hollingsworth will draw his congressional career to a close after six years. When he first ran in 2016, he pledged to serve no more than four terms. He expresses a desire to return to the private sector.

Indiana’s 9th District occupies most of the state’s southern sector and for years was a Blue Dog Democratic area. For 17 terms, Congressman Lee Hamilton (D), who became chairman of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, represented the district. Democrat Baron Hill succeeded him in 1998, and served until his defeat at the hands of Republican businessman Mike Sodrel in 2004. Two years later, Hill recaptured the seat and held it until his second loss in 2010, this time to attorney Todd Young (R) who is now the Hoosier State’s senior senator.

Since the Young victory in 2010, the 9th has performed as a solid Republican district. Donald Trump carried in the seat in 2016 with a 61-34 percent margin, and again in 2020 with a similar 61-37 percent vote spread.

Under the new Indiana congressional map, the new 9th moves to the north and east, but retains its population centers in Jeffersonville, Clarksville, and New Albany, all across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY, and in the college town of Bloomington where the Indiana University resides.

Dave’s Redistricting App rates the new seat as a 59.7 percent Republican domain, while the FiveThirtyEight statistical site projects the new IN-9 with an R+30 rating, up from R+27 on the current map. The Republican primary is expected to be crowded and competitive. The Indiana candidate filing deadline is Feb. 4 for the May 3 statewide primary.
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Bass for Mayor; Redistricting Update

By Jim Ellis

California Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)

Sept. 29, 2021 — Reports were surfacing last week that California Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who had been on candidate Joe Biden’s short list for the vice presidential nomination, was deciding whether to eschew re-election next year for a chance to run for LA mayor. Now, she has made the decision. On Monday, Rep. Bass formally entered the citywide race.

The mayor’s election likely will be semi-open. Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) has been nominated as US ambassador to India, and upon obtaining his Senate confirmation, the City Council will be empowered to appoint an interim mayor. That individual will have the opportunity of then seeking a full four-year term during the regular election cycle. Certainly, Rep. Bass could be a potential appointee. Should Mayor Garcetti not receive a timely confirmation as ambassador, he would be ineligible to seek a third term, so in any event, the mayor’s contest will be highly competitive.

From a federal perspective, Bass running for mayor means her 37th Congressional District will be open. Of the 18 congressional districts that are wholly or partially contained within Los Angeles County, 17 of them need a population influx. With California losing a seat, it appears that the Los Angeles area will absorb the reduction.

Since Rep. Bass is the first Golden State House member to announce that he or she won’t seek re-election, her 37th District that needs 38,173 people to meet the state’s CD population quota of 760,350 people for the new 52 district map – a west Los Angeles County seat centered around the Culver City community – now becomes a prime target for elimination.

In the mayor’s race, Bass will at least face Los Angeles City Council President Pro Tempore Joe Buscaino, LA City councilman and former state Senate president and ex-US Senate candidate Kevin de Leon, and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. It is likely others will enter the race once the political situation surrounding Mayor Garcetti is defined, and the congressional and legislative redistricting picture becomes clearer.

Redistricting Update

Several states are making progress in drawing new congressional maps. Colorado will send a final plan to the state Supreme Court as early as today. Indiana and Maine are close to finalizing maps that will strengthen both states’ political divisions, 7R-2D in the Hoosier State, and 2D-0R in the latter.

Oregon is also moving toward completion of a map that may prove a reach for the Democratic majority. Gaining a sixth seat in national reapportionment, the Democrats are trying to craft a 5D-1R map. Though Republicans have a significant base in the state, the Democrats maintain a tight grip on the statewide races thanks to dominant Portland, which serves as the lynchpin to their Beaver State political success.

Therefore, though the Dems have a clear edge in five of the new CDs, the early partisan analysis figures suggest that the Republicans would have at least an outside chance of prevailing in one of the districts, most likely that of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby/Salem), and possibly in the new 6th District open seat. More will be known when in depth political data is available and candidates begin to come forward.

The Texas Republican Senate’s congressional map was unveiled yesterday. As predicted, the GOP map drawers used the state’s two new seats as somewhat of a buffer, at least in the Austin area, to strengthen districts that were showing weakness. Should this map be enacted, Reps. Chip Roy (R-Austin), Michael McCaul (R-Austin), John Carter (R-Round Rock), and Roger Williams (R-Austin) all receive much stronger Republican seats. In exchange, one of the new seats goes to Travis County and will await a new Democratic inhabitant.

The other new seat appears destined for Harris County. There, sophomore Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D-Houston) moves from a political marginal district to a rock solid Harris-Ft. Bend County Democratic District. This allows the second new seat to fall to a Republican and be fully contained within Harris County. In the northern part of the region, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) receives a substantially better district, and assumes part of Republican Montgomery County.

In the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, the region doesn’t get a new district, but a reconfiguration allows all incumbents, both Republicans and Democrats, to improve upon their present internal political standing.

This Texas map is a long way from enactment. The state House Democrats are unified to vote against any Republican map, and while the GOP has the strength to pass what they want in the Senate, the state House is a different story. It is likely we will see the current 30-day special session end in deadlock, with another 30-day session to follow. The Democratic strategy is to force the redistricting process to court, while the Republicans will attempt to pass a series of maps into law. Expect this story to be with us for many weeks to come.