Tag Archives: ME-2

The US HOUSE ReMatches

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 9, 2021 — Earlier this week, former Maine congressman, Bruce Poliquin (R), who lost his seat in 2018 through the Ranked Choice Voting system after placing first in the original count, declared his 2022 candidacy for a re-match with Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston).

As we look toward the ’22 US House cycle, we see 13 close 2020 contenders (where the winner scored 52 percent or less) who have already announced that they will return for another run. Including Poliquin, only two of the 13 are former incumbents.

Below is a synopsis of the re-match races to date:

CA-25: Rep. Mike Garcia (R)

Former state Assemblywoman Christie Smith (D) has lost twice to Rep. Garcia but has announced a return for a third run after originally saying she would attempt to regain her seat in the state legislature. She will have competition in the June 7 jungle primary, however. Six other Democrats have declared their candidacies, and even resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D) has made noises about running again.

Redistricting will be a major factor in the outcome. The last race was decided by just 333 votes, so how the 2022 race forms next year is extremely uncertain.

CA-48: Rep. Michelle Steel (R)

Steel, a former Orange County Supervisor, defeated freshman Rep. Harley Rouda (D), 51-49 percent, in a coastal seat that had traditionally been strongly Republican. Redistricting will of course affect this district, like all others in southern California with the state losing a congressional seat for the first time in apportionment history, but Rouda is not waiting to view new boundary lines. He has already announced his return as a 2022 congressional candidate.

GA-7: Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D)

Expect redistricting to change this marginal political district in a major way. With Democrats converting two Atlanta suburban seats in consecutive elections, Republican map drawers are likely to concede one of the two CDs to the Democrats while making the other much better for a GOP candidate.

It is likely that Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) will be the Democratic beneficiary of the draw, while freshman Rep. Bourdeaux will probably be looking at a much more difficult new district for her to win. Republican nominee Rich McCormick, who lost here 51-49 percent in 2020, looks to be in strong position if the redistricting strategy outlined above is adopted.

ME-2: Rep. Jared Golden (D)

As mentioned above, former Rep. Poliquin is returning for a re-match after sitting out the 2020 cycle. Redistricting probably won’t change the 2nd District much since Maine only has two CDs. Ranked Choice Voting will still be an issue for the Republicans here, but the GOP is better equipped to deal with it in 2022. This will be a highly competitive campaign in one of just seven districts that supported former President Trump and elected a Democrat to the US House.

MN-2: Rep. Angie Craig (D)

Marine Corps Reserve officer Tyler Kistner (R) held Rep. Craig to only a 48-46 percent win last November and returns for a re-match. This is another situation where redistricting will play a major role. It is more than likely the split legislature will mold the two politically marginal adjacent southern Minnesota districts into safer seats for both Craig and Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester). Such a draw would make Kistner’s 2022 task much more difficult.

NH-1: Rep. Chris Pappas (D)

State Republican leaders, who now control both houses of the New Hampshire legislature, have already indicated they plan on making the state’s 1st District, which defeated more incumbents than any other seat in the country during the previous decade, into a better Republican seat while conceding the 2nd District to Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Concord). This does not bode well for Rep. Pappas, who defeated businessman Matt Mowers (R), 51-46 percent, in 2020.

Pappas has already said he is looking to enter what could be an open governor’s race if his congressional seat becomes more Republican. Last week, Mowers confirmed that he is planning to run again.

NJ-7: Rep. Tom Malinowski (D)

Former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R), who came within two points of unseating Rep. Malinowski last November, will return. New Jersey redistricts by commission with five members of each party holding seats. A tie breaker is normally appointed to be the deciding vote. Democrats will want this seat to swing more their way, with Republican commissioners wanting likewise from their perspective. Another competitive race is forecast, but redistricting will likely determine the partisan tilt.
Continue reading

Assessing The Cross-Voting Districts

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 23, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website staff have just completed the calculations they perform after every presidential election: that is, determining how all 435 congressional district electorates voted for president, and then cross-referencing that result with their US House vote.

In the 2020 election, they find that more than 96 percent of the districts voted for the same party’s candidate for President and US House, thus leaving 16 in the “cross-district” category. Nine of the 16 voted for President Biden but then chose a Republican House member. In seven others, the electorates backed former President Trump but reverted to the Democrat’s column for their US House Representative.


The districts that went for Biden for President
and a Republican for House are:

• CA-21: President Biden: 54.4% – David Valadao (R): 50.5%

It’s not a surprise to see this Bakersfield-Fresno district on the cross-district list. When Valadao first represented the seat, the CD was either the first or second-most Democratic seat in the nation to elect a Republican congressman.

• CA-25: President Biden: 54.0% – Rep. Mike Garcia (R): 50.0%

The more extraordinary vote here was Rep. Garcia overcoming a strong Biden vote in a district that has been trending Democratic for the past several elections. Hillary Clinton also won here with a 50-44 percent margin four years earlier. Garcia survived the 2020 election by a mere 333 votes. This district is likely to change significantly in redistricting.

• CA-39: President Biden: 54.1% – Young Kim (R): 50.6%

Republican Kim returned this Orange/LA County seat to the GOP column after a term under Democratic representation. The voters here also went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 with a 51-43 percent spread even while simultaneously re-electing then-Rep. Ed Royce (R-Yorba Linda), 57-43 percent.

• CA-48: President Biden: 49.7% – Michelle Steel (R): 51.1%

The coastal Orange County district somewhat returned to its Republican roots when the electorate swung back to Republican Michelle Steel after electing Democrat Harley Rouda in 2018. Previously, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) held the district, or those with similar confines, for 30 years. President Biden carried the seat by 1.5 percentage points in November, similar to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin.

• FL-27: President Biden: 51.3% – Maria Elvira Salazar (R): 51.4%

The congressional vote was the outlier here as this seat was drawn as a Democratic district as part of the state Supreme Court’s mid-decade re-districting directive. Expect the Republican map drawers to improve this seat for freshman Rep. Salazar (R-Miami).

• NE-2: President Biden: 52.2% – Rep. Don Bacon (R): 50.8%

In a significant way, Nebraska’s 2nd District may have clinched the Presidency for Joe Biden. Nebraska is one of two states that split their electoral votes and when this CD went for Biden, opposite from the rest of the state, it made the Trump national victory path very difficult. Rep. Bacon survived another close election in the Omaha metro district, winning here for the third time with 51 percent or less.

• NY-24: President Biden: 53.4% – Rep. John Katko (R): 53.1%

Despite a nine-point win for President Biden in this Syracuse anchored district (53.4 – 44.4 percent), four-term Rep. Katko recorded a 10-point victory in his own right marking the widest swing of any cross-district.

• PA-1: President Biden: 52.4% – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R): 56.6%

In a similar result to that found in NY-24, third-term Rep. Fitzpatrick was again able to swing the electorate hard in his direction and win a comfortable re-election victory despite the opposite result at the top of the ticket.
Continue reading

Maine’s Ranked Choice Primary

By Jim Ellis

Maine Congressional Districts

July 9, 2020 — It is likely we are going to soon see another Maine congressional race decided through the controversial Ranked Choice Voting system. A new Fair Vote commissioned Survey USA poll, from this group that supports Ranked Choice Voting, finds the three 2nd District Republican congressional candidates in a relatively close battle, but with no one realistically nearing the majority support necessary to win the party nomination.

According to the S-USA poll (June 30-July 6; 604 likely ME-2 Republican primary voters), former state representative Dale Crafts would lead ex-gubernatorial aide and former journalist Adrienne Bennett and ex-state senator and 2018 Republican US Senate nominee Eric Brakey, 37-25-19 percent. While Crafts seems to have a comfortable lead even though the three are bunched relatively close together, the fact that no one is likely to reach the 50 percent threshold means that some voters’ alternative choices would next be counted.

The Ranked Choice Voting system was adopted by the Maine electorate in 2016 and first used two years later. Though former US representative Bruce Poliquin (R) had enough votes to place first in the 2018 race, which would have normally awarded him the election, he lost in the Ranked Choice rounds. Poliquin attempted to overturn the system in a federal court challenge but failed to advance it beyond the district level.

The RCV, or “instant runoff,” system, is designed to produce a majority winner after multiple rounds of voting. Maine is the only state that employs the concept. Other domains, mainly in the South, who want party nominees to win a primary with over 50 percent support, hold a secondary election on a future day. In the RCV system, the initial primary and runoffs are conducted on the same ballot.

In the 2nd District Republican primary this coming Tuesday, since there are only three candidates, voters will mark their ballots from 1 to 3, thus clarifying their preferences beyond the individual they initially choose from the field. After the first round of voting, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and election officials then comb through all of the cast ballots to find those where the last place candidate was the first choice. These ballots are then added back into the pool with their second choice added to the aggregate vote. If no candidate receives a majority after the second round, a third begins sans the new last place candidate if there are more than two contenders remaining.

Continue reading

The Maine Event

By Jim Ellis

Maine Congressional Districts

May 20, 2020 — The small state of Maine, with its two congressional districts, is going to attract a great deal of political attention between now and the election. Not only is the Pine Tree State one of the firewalls for Republican Senate majority hopes, the domain, one of two places that splits its electoral votes, will likely play a major role in determining the presidential election outcome, as well.

Maine and Nebraska divide their electoral votes such that the winning statewide candidate earns two electoral votes, while the victor in each congressional district is awarded one EV for as many districts as they carry. Maine, as mentioned, has two districts, and Nebraska three.

These districts came into play both in 2008 and 2016, when Barack Obama carried the 2nd District of Nebraska against John McCain in the former year, and Donald Trump took the 2nd District of Maine opposite Hillary Clinton in 2016. While neither CD became a factor in determining each of those elections, these CDs breaking differently than their state in a tight national election could result in the Electoral College ending in a tie.

The 48 other states and the District of Columbia use the winner-take-all system. Any state could divide their electoral votes like Maine and Nebraska, but those are the only two who choose the split vote method.

In the current presidential election scenarios, whether or not President Trump again carries ME-2 could determine if he is re-elected. Under one scenario, former vice president Joe Biden could win the national race even if he failed to carry Wisconsin so long as he takes the 2nd District of Maine and 2nd District of Nebraska. Doing so, along with winning the other swing states that touch a Great Lake, meaning Michigan and Pennsylvania, he would secure exactly 270 electoral votes, the bare minimum to claim national victory.

Continue reading

Setting the 2020 Stage – Part I

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 3, 2018 — The election of Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) as the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair at last week’s House Democratic Conference, and Rep. Tom Emmer’s (R-MN) previous selection to lead the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for the coming election cycle means the national players are coming into focus for the next campaign year.

Bustos topped Washington Reps. Denny Heck (D-Olympia) and Suzan DelBene (D-Medina/Redmond) 117-83-32 in the conference election to officially head the DCCC. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) was also a candidate, but he is hospitalized recovering from a bacterial infection and was unable to attend the meeting. He failed to convince the membership to postpone the internal election.

With a partisan division of 235D – 200R in the 116th Congress, the Republicans will need a net gain of at least 18 seats to re-take the House majority. With 43 seats that flipped from Republican to Democrat in the November election, the field would appear ripe for GOP challenge efforts.

The first category that we cover today is comprised of the most obvious seats that will be battleground districts in 2020. A total of 18 seats can currently be considered for this category and again figure to be among the most competitive districts in the next election cycle.

Continue reading