Tag Archives: Mike Lawler

NY Overreach = GOP Majority

CNN’s New York state redistricting map (more coverage on CNN)

By Jim Ellis — Nov. 22, 2022

House

New York State: Redistricting — There is an argument to be made that the New York Democratic redistricting brain trust helped create the new Republican US House majority. With their over-reach on the original map that the legislature and governor enacted, the end result became so egregious that even the Democratic lower and upper courts rejected the congressional map as a pure partisan gerrymander.

The original enacted plan would have yielded a 22D-4R partisan split in the NY congressional delegation of 26 members, thus costing the Republicans four of the eight Empire State seats they control in the current Congress.

Once the votes were cast on Nov. 8 in the districts that the judges’ special master drew to replace the legislature’s plan, the end result saw Republicans not losing four seats but rather gaining three in relation to the current map and seven when compared to the Democrats’ original draw.

Therefore, instead of the intended 22D-4R plan, the New York delegation now headed to Washington is comprised of 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans. With a small Republican majority of what ultimately may be 220-222 seats once the outstanding California and Alaska races are finally projected, the NY swing is arguably the difference in determining which party controls the House.

The Democrats’ map would have reduced the Republicans to just one seat on Long Island, taken the lone district they have in New York City, turned the GOP’s Syracuse seat strongly Democratic, and collapsed the southwestern Upstate seat of resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R) as the lost district in national reapportionment.

You will remember that New York lost a congressional seat by just 89 people when the Census Bureau announced each state’s congressional district compilation under the national reapportionment formula.

After striking down the legislature’s map and replacing it with their own special master’s plan, the court in effect restored much of New York to its historic congressional district pattern.

Under the legislature’s plan, Long Island’s 1st District (Rep. Lee Zeldin) was drawn from the far eastern part of Suffolk County all the way into Queens. This led to stashing a preponderance of the region’s Republican voters in Rep. Andrew Garbarino’s (R-Sayville) South Shore 2nd District. The concept then allowed the map architects to make Districts 3 and 4, both open in 2022 with Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) running unsuccessfully for governor and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) retiring, safely Democratic. The court undid this design.

Now, the 1st District returns to a Suffolk County anchored seat, a CD that Republican Nick LaLota, a former local official and Navy veteran, won to succeed Rep. Zeldin. Rep. Garbarino is back but with a less Republican South Shore seat, which then created a marginal North Shore District 3 seat that Republican George Santos won 54-46 percent in a domain that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+4.

The biggest surprise in New York, and perhaps the country, came in Rep. Rice’s open 4th CD, where Republican Anthony D’Esposito defeated heavily favored Democrat Laura Gillen, 52-48 percent, in a district that actually became more Democratic under the court map at D+10.

The other Republican gains came in the Hudson Valley, where state Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R-South Salem) upset Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring) in a D+7 District 17, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) rebounded from a special congressional election loss in August to claim a 51-49 percent win in a new 19th District rated as R+1.

In the 18th District, state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R) came within a percentage point of sweeping the Hudson Valley seats for the GOP, but Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Gardiner) held onto the 18th CD seat after he had won the 19th District special election three months earlier.

The Republican victory string ended with tech executive Brandon Williams (R) defeating former intelligence officer Francis Conole (D) by a percentage point to hold the open Syracuse seat, and former New York Republican Party Nick Langworthy easily won the new 23rd District from which Rep. Reed resigned and Rep. Joe Sempolinski (R-Canisteo) is serving as a caretaker.

The New York 2022 election cycle illustrates just how important map drawing and judicial decisions are in determining US House elections. The New York courts, for example, created a much more competitive political playing field, which certainly led to different results than we would have seen under the legislature’s partisan draw.

Considering that the US Supreme Court is likely to make landmark Voting Rights Act rulings on the Alabama and North Carolina cases before June ends next year, we will likely see new redistricting maps being drawn in several states, and New York could be one of those places. Any newly constructed map would take effect in the 2024 election. A major Supreme Court decision will add yet another dimension to what already promises to be another hot House campaign cycle coming in the new term.

Iowa Race Tightens; Blumenthal Lead Drops; DCCC Chairman Trails in Race; Conflicting Gov. Whitmer Results; Rep. Zeldin Closing on NY Gov. Hochul

By Jim Ellis — Oct. 18 2022

Senate

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)

Iowa: Race Tightens — The Des Moines Register Poll that Selzer & Company conducts (Oct. 9-12; 620 likely Iowa general election voters) has routinely been viewed as the most consistently accurate survey of the Iowa electorate. Therefore, the numbers just released over the weekend posting Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to only a three-point, 46-43 percent, lead over retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken (D) is being taken seriously. Perhaps the most troubling sign for Sen. Grassley is that Franken leads 46-35 percent among self-described independent respondents.

The Iowa electorate can swing wildly, but in the most recent elections it has been going the Republicans’ way. Since most of the comparable data found Sen. Grassley holding low double-digit leads, the Selzer poll is a surprise. More attention will be paid to this race if confirming data soon surfaces.

Connecticut: Blumenthal Lead Drops to Five Points — A just-released Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey (Oct. 10-13; 1,200 likely Connecticut general election voters; live interview & text) finds Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) leading his Republican opponent, former Trump appointee Leora Levy (R), by only a 49-44 percent margin. Though this race has been on the edge of competitiveness for a considerable period, it is highly unlikely that the end result will yield a Republican upset. While Sen. Blumenthal’s victory margin might be less than in years past, he will still comfortably win re-election next month.

House

NY-17: DCCC Chairman Trails in Own Race — McLaughlin & Associates released a new internal study for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (Oct. 2-14; 400 likely NY-17 general election voters; live interview & text) that again shows the Republican state assemblyman leading veteran New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring).

This survey posts Lawler to a 52-46 percent advantage. McLaughlin polls from July and September also saw Lawler holding a significant lead. No Democratic poll was released to counter the numbers, but the Maloney campaign spokeswoman responded to the New York Post story about the survey release, saying that the Lawler polling figures are “skewed.”

Governor

Michigan: Major Polling Conflict — We see a pair of polls presenting opposite looks to the Michigan Governor’s race. The Epic-MRA organization, an entity that frequently surveys the Michigan electorate (Oct. 6-12; 600 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to an 11-point, 49-38 percent edge, including leaners, over online talk show personality Tudor Dixon (R). But, Insider Advantage (Oct. 12; 550 likely Michigan general election voters) sees a completely different result, placing Dixon and the governor into a flat 44-44 percent tie. Most other polling has produced similar numbers to Epic-MRA, so this is another situation that bears watching if confirming data to the Insider Advantage results soon surface.

New York: Four Polls Showing Increased Competition — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has been running consistently ahead of US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island), but now we see four consecutive polls finding the Republican deficit falling between two and eight percentage points.

In chronological order, Schoen Cooperman Research (Oct. 8-12; 824 likely New York general election voters) sees only a 50-44 percent split between Gov. Hochul, who ascended to her position when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned, and Congressman Zeldin. Marist College (Oct. 3-6; 900 likely voters) posts a similar 52-44 percent split. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 30-Oct. 3; 1,087 likely voters) sees the closest spread, 45-43 percent. Finally, McLaughlin & Associates (Sept. 21-25; 800 likely voters) recorded a 51-45 percent result in late September.

This is another race on the edge of competitiveness that will likely soon draw more attention. Early voting in New York does not begin until Oct. 29, so more time exists for this potentially fluid electorate to gel.

Sen. Warnock Still Up, Slightly, in GA; Lasry Drops out of Wisconsin Race; Maloney Trails in NY-17

By Jim Ellis — July 29, 2022

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Still Up — The University of Georgia, polling for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper (July 14-22; 902 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), finds Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) clinging to a small lead in the US Senate race — the third consecutive published poll to project Warnock’s edge margins between three and nine points. The UGA/AJC ballot test sees Sen. Warnock holding a 46-43 percent edge over retired NFL football star Herschel Walker (R). Another poll, from Survey USA (July 21-24; 604 likely Georgia general election voters), posts the senator to a 48-39 percent advantage.

Warnock holds the lead despite the Republicans having a 46-41 percent lead on the UGA’s generic ballot question, with the right track/wrong track ratio at 10:78 percent, and President Biden reaching a 60 percent disapproval rating.

Wisconsin: Lasry Follows Suit — On Monday Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson (D), whose campaign for US Senate never caught fire, formally ended his statewide effort. Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks basketball club executive and former Obama Administration official Alex Lasry then followed suit and also departed the race on Wednesday. The latter move was the more surprising since Lasry had loaned his campaign over $12 million and all polling found him placing second in the field.

In their concession statements, both Nelson and Lasry endorsed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, which could pave the way for him clinching the party nomination and advancing to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the general election.

House

NY-17: DCCC Chair Maloney Trailing in New Poll — Veteran Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is having trouble securing the new seat according to a new publicly released research survey.

The congressman created post-redistricting controversy when he decided to challenge Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) in the 17th CD rather than staying in his own 18th District, thus forcing the freshman incumbent to seek re-election in a New York City CD.

McLaughlin & Associates, polling for the Mike Lawler for Congress campaign (July 19-21; 400 likely NY-17 general election voters; live interview), finds Rep. Maloney trailing his Republican opponent, 46-44 percent. The McLaughlin data also shows state Assemblyman Lawler claiming a lead over state Sen. Allessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) if she were to upend Rep. Maloney in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Under this scenario, Lawler would post a 47-41 percent advantage in such a subsequent general election pairing. The 17th is one of three Upstate NY congressional districts that will be hotly contested in the November campaign.

Governor

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Maintains Edge — The aforementioned University of Georgia – Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey also tested the Peach State governor’s contest. Here, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams (D) by a 48-43 percent count. The accompanying Survey USA poll shows a much closer 45-44 percent Kemp edge.

This is the 15th poll conducted of this race since the beginning of 2022, and Kemp has led in all but one. In that stand-alone survey, the two were tied. The governor’s job approval rating is 54:42 percent favorable to unfavorable. The UGA/AJC and S-USA studies are the second and third consecutive polls that place Gov. Kemp ahead in the governor’s race while fellow Republican Herschel Walker (R) trails in the Senate contest.