Tag Archives: NC-13

North Carolina Redistricting Again Front and Center: A Deeper Dive

North Carolina Congressional District Plan Court-Ordered in 2022, used for the 2022 election (click on map to go to the state’s interactive map)


By Jim Ellis — Friday, Dec. 9, 2022

Redistricting

North Carolina: Redistricting Under Scrutiny — During the past decade, no state has been forced to draw more redistricting maps than the Tar Heel State of North Carolina. Since the 2010 census, the Republican legislature and the Democratic state Supreme Court have gone back and forth over what is a partisan gerrymander or a legal district.

The North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case was heard before the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, and it is a potential landmark case — but some North Carolina state political sources suggest the arguments may go by the proverbial wayside. The high court will rule before the end of June, but before such a decision is rendered the new North Carolina legislature may draft updated redistricting plans for the US House, state Senate, and state House of Representatives. Since the current set of court maps are only interim plans, the legislature can replace them with permanent draws at any time. 

One of the Republicans’ more important victories in the November election was winning a majority on the North Carolina state Supreme Court. Now, with five Republican justices and two Democrats, many in the legislature believe the time will be right to craft new redistricting maps, plans they believe will this time pass legal muster through a different and more favorable state Supreme Court. 

If this occurs as described, and new maps are enacted – remember, in North Carolina, the governor has no veto power over redistricting legislation – it is possible that the action could render as moot the case before SCOTUS. If so, the issue of whether the Constitution views state legislatures as solely independent when handling redistricting could well go unanswered.

The North Carolina state Supreme Court rejected the Republican legislature’s plan again last year. Under that draw, which the court deemed a partisan gerrymander, the Republicans could have won 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts. North Carolina was one of the states that earned a new seat in national reapportionment. Therefore, a 10-4 split would have meant a net gain of three Republican seats when compared to the previous court map upon which the 13-member NC congressional delegation had last run.

Instead, under the state Supreme Court’s draw, the new Tar Heel State delegation features seven Democrats and seven Republicans. The map awarded the new 14th District to the Charlotte area as a safe D+11 seat according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization calculation. State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), who was originally a 2022 candidate for the US Senate, won the new district with an easy 58-42 percent victory.

The other seat to go Democratic was the created open 13th CD, located in the south Raleigh suburbs that stretched to include the Democratic city of Fayetteville. The court balanced the district by adding Republican Johnston County. FiveThirtyEight rated this seat R+3, but Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) defeated Republican Bo Hines by a 51.6 – 48.4 percent margin.

The other major affected area that changed between the original Republican map and the state Supreme Court’s draw was the Greensboro-anchored seat of Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro). Under the Republican plan, this district would have favored a Republican candidate, and Rep. Manning would have had a difficult run for re-election. The Court altered this seat, too, thus giving Rep. Manning an even better district than the one to which she was originally elected — a 6th District seat now rated as D+9.

If the congressional map is in fact re-drawn early in the new state legislative session, we can expect these geographic areas again to be the most affected. If the Republican legislative leaders make a move to finalize permanent redistricting maps, then it might be some time before the issue of independent state legislatures relating to redistricting again comes before the high court. 

Or, if SCOTUS still issues a ruling on the North Carolina case irrespective as to what the legislature does, it could force even further changes in what may again be a new Tar Heel State congressional map.

Schiff Explores Senate Race; Valadao Re-Elected; House Candidate Filings

By Jim Ellis — Nov. 23, 2022

Senate

California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

California: Rep. Schiff Exploring Senate Race — With most people believing that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will not seek re-election in 2024 when she will be 91 years of age, Southern California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said that he is considering launching a US Senate exploratory committee. Schiff is already in a battle to keep his seat on the Intelligence Committee after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — should he be elected Speaker — said that Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) would be removed from the panel.

Should Sen. Feinstein retire, we will see a strong Democratic battle to replace her. In California’s jungle primary system, it is likely that two Democrats would advance into the general election. One thing is certain: Rep. Schiff would be able to raise the money to compete. In his bid for re-election to the House in the current cycle, he raised more than $22 million.

House

CA-22: Rep. David Valadao Wins Re-election — The Associated Press, late Monday afternoon Pacific time, projected that Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) had defeated state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) in their hard-fought congressional race. This, despite Rep. Valadao finishing a distant second on the jungle primary back in June when he received only 26 percent of the vote versus Salas’ 45 percent in a field of four candidates in the most Democratic congressional district in the country that elects a Republican to the House.

According to the California Secretary of State’s official count, Valadao held a 3,381 vote lead with just over 100,000 votes counted. Based upon the number of outstanding ballots and where they are from, the AP made the unofficial projection. The Valadao victory gives the Republicans 220 members in the new Congress as compared to 212 Democrats. Three races, two in California and one in Alaska, remain uncalled. Republicans lead in both Golden State races, Democrats in the Last Frontier.

NC-13: Hines Files 2024 Committee — The court-drawn North Carolina congressional map featured a new 13th District that contained the southern Raleigh suburbs, the city of Fayetteville, and Republican Johnston County, which made the CD a toss-up seat. Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel carried the district with a 52-48 percent margin, defeating Republican Bo Hines, who received the Trump endorsement in the GOP primary.

Hines, 27, was a former football player for North Carolina State University, but had no other particular ties to the region and actually planned to run in another district before this open seat was drawn. He filed a new 2024 committee on Monday, presumably sending signals that he intends to run again.

Hines did not receive particularly favorable marks as a candidate, and there is a good chance we will see a new North Carolina map drawn after the Supreme Court rules on the state’s partisan gerrymandering case before them. Even if Hines decides to run, he can expect heavy competition in the Republican primary before getting another opportunity of opposing Rep-Elect Nickel.

WV-2: State Treasurer Announces for House — Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) already announcing that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the next election year has ignited the first of what promises to be political musical chairs for what will be an open 2nd Congressional District. State Treasurer Riley Moore (R) announced his congressional candidacy Monday and is the first major candidate to enter the 2024 race. Rep. Mooney’s successor will likely be decided in the Republican primary in a seat that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+34.

No Third Party Challenge in NY-10; Back and Forth in NC-13;
Upsets Brewing in Oregon

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 9, 2022

House

State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan)

NY-10: No Third Party Challenge — State Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Nioh (D-Manhattan) placed second to winner Dan Goldman in the hotly contested open Democratic primary for the new 10th District in the June 28 election, but she did claim the ballot line for the Working Families Party. This means she could have advanced into the general election under that party banner. However, the assemblywoman announced Wednesday that she would not pursue a third party bid, thus virtually guaranteeing Goldman the November election.

In this crowded Democratic primary, both Goldman and Line-Nioh finished ahead of US Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County), who decided to seek re-election in this district instead of the upstate 17th or 18th.

NC-13: Swing District, Swing Forecast — The new North Carolina 13th Congressional District has something for everyone. The cities of Fayetteville’s and south Raleigh’s suburbs tend to vote more liberal, while Johnston County’s conservatives neutralize those votes, thus making the district a basically even from a partisan perspective. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see polling go back and forth.

Previously, we reported on two August polls, one from RMG Research and the other from Public Policy Polling, and now we see another new survey from the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group (Aug. 29-Sept. 1; 500 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview). RMG found Republican Bo Hines leading 44-39 percent; PPP saw Hines and state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) tied at 40-40 percent; and, now GSG posts Nickel to a 44-40 percent edge. Obviously, this is a toss-up campaign.

OR-5: A Brewing Upset? — When centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) lost his Democratic primary election to attorney and former California local elected official Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the race in the competitive new 5th District took a major turn. A recently released survey from Republican pollster Clout Research (Aug. 15-18; 410 likely OR-5 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) opening up a significant lead over McLeod-Skinner, with a 44-34 percent spread.

The only other poll released here, one from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in early June, also found DeRemer with an edge, but only one-point, 42-41 percent. With the available information, it appears that Republicans could well be positioned to see a future upset victory here in November.

OR-6: New District, New Leader — Another surprising Oregon Clout Research poll (Aug. 14-19; 409 likely OR-6 general election voters; live interview) finds Republican Mike Erickson posting a lead over state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego). Though this district is considerably more Democratic than the neighboring 5th CD (D+7 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), Erickson holds a 43-34 percent advantage over Salinas according to the Clout results.

Governor

Minnesota: Gov. Walz Pulling Away — While early polling suggested a close race between first-term Gov. Tim Walz (D) and former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), a new survey finds the incumbent pulling away and now possesses a large lead. The Survey USA poll (Aug. 30-Sept. 4; 562 likely Minnesota general election voters) projects Gov. Walz to be currently holding a 51-33 percent advantage.

Wisconsin: New Poll Yields Dead Even Projection — While the Minnesota governor’s race is becoming definitive, the neighboring Wisconsin battle appears to be getting even closer. For the second time, a polling firm found Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) to be deadlocked in a flat tie. The Trafalgar Group (Sept. 22-25; 1,091 Wisconsin general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) projects the two candidates each pulling a 48 percent support factor in the contest’s most recently released survey. This result is identical to the previously reported OnMessage firm’s data derived during the same polling period (Aug. 22-24; 600 likely Wisconsin general election voters; live interview).

Competitive Colorado Senate Race; Cortez Masto and Laxalt in Nevada Donnybrook; NC-13: Deadlocked Poll

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

Senate

Colorado incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

Colorado: Three Competitive Polls — While the Colorado Senate race has been on the edge of competitiveness for quite awhile, three new polls suggest this is a contest that deserves some national attention. The most surprising survey comes from the Tarrance Group, which tested the Centennial State electorate for the Republican Attorneys General Association (Aug. 22-25; 600 likely Colorado general election voters; live interview). Tarrance finds the Senate race between incumbent Michael Bennet (D) and challenger Joe O’Dea (R), a construction business owner, separated only by one point, 48-47 percent.

Two others see the race somewhat differently. The Trafalgar Group (Aug. 22-25; 1,087 likely Colorado voters; multiple sampling techniques) posts the race at 47-42 percent in Sen. Bennet’s favor. Finally, the most recent survey, from Public Policy Polling (Aug. 30-31; 782 likely Colorado voters; interactive voice response system) sees Bennet holding a 46-35 percent lead.

Republican Colorado Senate challenger Joe O’Dea (R)

Even this last survey, however, contains political warnings for the senator. President Biden’s job approval is decidedly upside-down at 43:51 percent, and Bennet is well below the 50 percent support level. The latter number is always a red flag for an incumbent.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt in Donnybrook — The Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) firms again collaborated on a statewide survey for AARP, as they have done in several places this year. Their latest joint effort ventured to the key swing state of Nevada. The poll was conducted over the Aug. 16-24 period of 500 registered Nevada voters, with over-samples of 550 senior voters aged 50 and older, and another over-sample of 290 Hispanic voters.

The ballot test finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) again barely leading former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 44-40 percent. When the two candidates were isolated on an individual ballot test, Cortez Masto’s edge dropped to a virtually even 48-47 percent.

House

NC-13: Deadlocked Poll — Public Policy Polling released a new survey of the Raleigh-Fayetteville new 13th Congressional District open seat campaign in North Carolina. The survey (Aug. 23-24; 506 likely NC-13 general election voters; live interview & text), finds Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) and former North Carolina State University football player Bo Hines (R) tied at 40 percent apiece. Both have “top of the ticket” problems.

President Biden’s job approval score is a poor 37:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, where former President Trump’s favorability index is a similar 35:56 percent.

WI-3: Van Orden Leads on Dem Poll — Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-La Crosse) released the results of his internal Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 18-19; 626 registered WI-3 voters; live interview & text) and found Republican retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden leading the race by a 45-40 percent count. It is a bit unusual to see a campaign release a survey that projects their candidate trailing, but Van Orden is viewed as the race favorite.

WI-3 is one of the few districts that voted for former President Trump in 2020 (51.5 – 47.8 percent) and elected a Democratic congressman, retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). This race is a must-win for the Republican majority matrix.

Governor

Nevada: AARP Also Shows Tight Gov Race — The aforementioned Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research statewide Nevada survey for AARP (see Nevada Senate above) also finds a very close governor’s race with the incumbent far below the 50 percent threshold. The ballot test for this race finds Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) holding only a 41-38 percent advantage over Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R). Perhaps more troubling for Gov. Sisolak, the respondents believe Nevada is on the wrong track by a hefty 38:62 percent margin.

The House Opens – Part II

By Jim Ellis

May 10, 2021 — In our second of the two-part series on the House open seats, today we analyze the eight Republican open seats from six states.

Two of the House’s five vacancies are currently Republican held and will be filled in special elections conducted from late June through Nov. 2. The six regular cycle Republican openings result from retirement decisions (2), and members seeking a different office (4).


AL-5 – Rep. Mo Brooks – running for Senate

Rep. Brooks (R-Huntsville), with former President Trump’s endorsement (which has proven extremely strong in other Republican primaries), is running for the Senate. Now that we know Alabama is not losing a seat in reapportionment, the open 5th District will elect a new member, and the 2022 Republican primary becomes the key focus.

Ex-President Trump carried this district in November with a 63-36 percent victory margin. Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong (R) looks like the strongest candidate making an early announcement. Madison County encompasses half of the 5th District.


GA-10 – Rep. Jody Hice – running for secretary of state

In late March, Rep. Hice (R-Greensboro) announced that he will challenge Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the 2022 Republican primary. Raffensperger has come under heavy attack for his handling of the 2020 election, which makes him very vulnerable in a Republican primary.

As with all 14 of Georgia’s congressional districts, the 10th will be re-drawn as part of redistricting, but the GOP is in control of the process so we can count on this seat remaining safely Republican. We can expect a crowded GOP primary followed by a two-person runoff. The eventual Republican nominee then becomes a prohibitive favorite to the hold the seat in the 2022 general election.


NY-1 – Rep. Lee Zeldin – running for governor

With Rep. Zeldin (R-Shirley) in the governor’s race, the open eastern Long Island 1st District will likely host a competitive general election campaign. Already, one of the 2020 Democratic candidates, Suffolk County legislator Bridget Fleming, has announced her candidacy for the open seat. Nancy Goroff, the 2020 Democratic nominee who lost a 56-44 percent race to Rep. Zeldin, confirms that she is considering returning for a second campaign. We can expect NY-1 to be a hotly contested open seat next year and will be at least a moderate Democratic conversion opportunity race.


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General Election Preview:
Iowa, Montana, North Carolina

By Jim Ellis

June 14, 2015 — In addition to the California races we described in the last Update, key general election campaigns are now underway in Iowa, Montana and North Carolina since their nominees were also chosen on June 7. New Mexico and South Dakota likewise held June 7 primary contests, but all of their incumbents appear safe for re-election.

Iowa

Senate: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R), who has come under heavy fire for his handling of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, may face a more competitive 2016 political contest than first believed. Originally elected the same night that Ronald Reagan first won the presidency in 1980, Sen. Grassley has never faced a difficult re-election. This year, however, Democrats believe they have an opportunity to make the race competitive.

Their new nominee is former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, who served one-term under Gov. Chet Culver (D) but was swept from office with him in 2010. Previously, Judge had been appointed as state Agriculture Secretary by then-Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), who, himself, currently serves as President Obama’s top agriculture cabinet member.

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North Carolina Chaos

Feb. 9, 2016 — Late Friday afternoon a federal three-judge panel sitting in Raleigh invalidated two North Carolina congressional districts even after absentee ballots had been issued throughout the state and votes are being cast. The North Carolina state primary is being held concurrently with the presidential vote on March 15. The court has ordered the state legislature to redraw the map by Feb. 19 so that the primary can move forward as scheduled.

The court, in ruling on a case filed more than a year ago, has thrown the primary campaigns into chaos. Republicans will immediately file a motion to stay the ruling with the US Supreme Court, but the identical move in Virginia was rejected on Feb. 1 in a similar case. The Virginia primary, however, is not until June 14, and that state has the option of choosing nominees in a convention format.

The North Carolina panel ruled that Districts 1 (Rep. G.K. Butterworth, D-Wilson) and 12 (Rep. Alma Adams, D-Greensboro) are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering. The judges stated that the legislative map drawers did not “narrowly tailor” the districts as they sought to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

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