Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Campaign Dollars – Quarter 1

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2022 — The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has released the campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending March 31, and the Daily Kos Elections site analysts have published their regular comprehensive summaries for all Senate and House incumbents and candidates.

In the Senate, the top fundraisers for the campaign-to-date are familiar names, and they are repeating their overwhelming performance from the 2020 election cycle. For the 2022 race, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) reports $44.2 million in receipts with a cash-on-hand total of $25.6 million. Both are higher than any individual running for the Senate in the 2022 cycle. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is close behind, raising $39.0 million for the campaign cycle with $23.3 million in his treasury.

Based upon state population segments, Sen. Kelly is actually the stronger of the two because he comes from a smaller state. Dividing the funding evenly by congressional district, Sen. Kelly averages $4.3 million per his state’s nine congressional districts, while Sen. Warnock posts $3.2 million per Georgia’s 14 CDs.

The next most prolific fundraisers come from the same race. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Orlando) is the top money producing challenger in the country, posting $30.5 million in receipts for the campaign cycle. Her opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), is virtually even with her, attracting $29.3 million. Cash-on-hand is about dead even, too. Rep. Demings reports $13.2 million in her account; Sen. Rubio, $13.1 million.

For the Republicans, the top challenger fundraiser, though he is leagues behind general election opponent Sen. Warnock, is Georgia’s Herschel Walker with $14.2 million raised.

The aggregate group of Senate candidates raising the most in one challenger contest is found in Wisconsin, as Democrats Alex Lasry, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have cumulatively brought in $18.2 million. Lasry, an executive with the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball club, has gross receipts of over $9 million, but $5.8 million is self-sourced. Godlewski reports $5.1 million in total dollars raised, but $3.3 million comes from herself. Lt. Gov. Barnes has raised $4 million without any self-funding. For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has obtained $10.8 million for his 2022 re-election campaign.

The most prolific open seat fundraisers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The combined candidate dollar total in the Keystone State exceeds $45 million, but almost $18 million of that total is self-funded from Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick (R). The group from Ohio is close behind with $44.8 million obtained. In this case, we see a combined self-funding total that exceeds $21 million.

On the House side, a total of 32 incumbents and challengers raised over $1 million just during the first quarter. Naturally, the party leaders, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($4.3 million), Minority Whip Steve Scalise ($3.4 million) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi ($3.3 million) are the most prolific.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer ($510,000) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn ($284,000) are clearly not in the top echelon, but are likely spending their time raising funds for their leadership PACs or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Additionally, with Democratic incumbents and candidates raising considerably more than their Republican counterparts, the individual campaigns need less from Washington.

The top non-incumbents breaking the $1 million mark for the quarter are Jessica Cisneros, now in a Texas Democratic runoff with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Marcus Flowers, who is challenging Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome), both at $2.4 million.

Continue reading

Self-Funding Candidates Saving GOP

By Jim Ellis

April 21, 2022 — The first-quarter financial reports are now public and we see a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans in funding for the key May primary Senate races, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. If it wasn’t for self-funding candidates in these two states, the GOP would be in trouble.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds strong polling leads over his primary opponents as well as a major fundraising advantage over all contenders. According to the Federal Election Commission’s March 31 campaign finance reporting, Fetterman has raised just over $15 million for his US Senate effort.

His receipts total is well over $9 million more than his chief Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh), and his $5.7 million aggregate figure. The third competitive Democrat, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), has obtained $1.8 million. None of the three Democrats have self-funded their races to any degree.

The Pennsylvania Republicans, on the other hand, offer a stark contrast. While the top two GOP resource candidates, television doctor Mehmet Oz and ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick, report aggregate receipts in the same realm as Fetterman, the sources are very different.

Dr. Oz posts total receipts through March 31 of $13.4 million and McCormick has $11.3 million. The difference, however, is that 82 percent of Dr. Oz’s money comes from him, and 61 percent of McCormick’s money is self-donated, mostly in the form of campaign loans.

The same pattern also appears for the third-highest funded Republican candidate, former US Ambassador Carla Sands. She reports $4.62 million in receipts, but 85 percent of that total comes from her personal funds. The fourth-place candidate, former lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, is the only one with a majority percentage of his dollars coming from contributors. He has raised $3.4 million, with 62 percent coming from individuals other than himself.

The story is the same in neighboring Ohio. There, the two top fundraising Republicans report self-funding as their major source.

Businessman Mike Gibbons leads all candidates in total receipts with $17.4 million raised. In his case, all but $1 million, or 94 percent of his aggregate total, comes from his own funds. The second-highest Republican in terms of dollars raised is state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who is a minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians MLB baseball club, with $11.1 million in receipts. He also has self-donated, mostly in terms of personal loans, 94 percent of his campaign treasury.

We also see the same pattern appear for the Ohio Democrats that exists in Pennsylvania. US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is the consensus party candidate, way ahead of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official and 2020 congressional candidate Morgan Harper in terms of polling and money.

Continue reading

Senate Snippets

By Jim Ellis

April 19, 2022 — We have seen recent changes in many key 2022 in-cycle Senate races. Below is a competitive state-by-state recap:

Alabama: Polling now consistently shows that the GOP nomination battle, which will determine who will replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), is turning into a two-way race. Early leader Mo Brooks, the northern Alabama congressman who former President Trump originally endorsed only to see him recently rescind his support, has now dropped well back. It appears clear that “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant and former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt will advance to a runoff election. The Alabama primary is May 24 with the succeeding runoff scheduled for June 21.

Alaska: State Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) withdrew from the race to seek re-election to the legislature, and 2020 Senate nominee Al Gross filed to run for the at-large US House special election; thus the Democrats have no announced candidate. Candidate filing is June 1 for the Aug. 16 primary. The new election system will send four candidates to the general election, so whoever comes forth as a Democratic contender will likely advance to November. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is seeking re-election.

Arizona: Recent polling continues to show a tight GOP contest among Attorney General Tim Brnovich, and businessmen Blake Masters and Jim Lamon. Candidate filing is closed, so the field is set for the Aug. 2 primary. The eventual Republican nominee will challenge freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D).

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman continues to campaign hard in a Republican primary battle against former University of Arkansas football player and Iraq War veteran Jake Bequette. The senator is still a heavy favorite for re-nomination and re-election.

California: Appointed Sen. Alex Padilla (D) is a cinch for election to a full term in the autumn.

Colorado: Only state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Fremont) and construction company owner Joe O’Dea qualified for the Republican primary either through the state nominating assembly or petitioning onto the ballot. Early leaders Deborah Flora, a talk show host, and former Olympian Eli Bremer failed to qualify. Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is favored for re-election.

Connecticut: Seven Republicans have announced their candidacies against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D). The two most credible candidates appear to be former Republican National Committeewoman Leora Levy, who has almost $1 million cash-on-hand, and state Senate Minority Leader Themis Klarides. This race may draw a bit of attention, but it’s still a very long shot for any Republican to beat Sen. Blumenthal.

Florida: Both Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando) have now each raised more than $30 million for the 2022 race, and both have over $13 million cash-on-hand. Sen. Rubio remains favored in a state that is moving closer to the GOP, but Rep. Demings has now actually raised a bit more money than the incumbent. A close finish here is virtually guaranteed.

Georgia: Polling suggests that former University of Georgia and NFL football star Herschel Walker will win the Republican nomination outright on May 24, thus setting the stage for the general election between he and freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D).

Continue reading

Pennsylvania Candidate Filings Close

Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight.com’s interactive redistricting map.


By Jim Ellis

March 18, 2022 — Pennsylvania’s candidate filing period closed late Tuesday, yielding official May 17 primary candidates for the Keystone State’s federal and state offices. A total of 11 contenders are competing in the Republican gubernatorial primary, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro is unopposed on the Democratic side. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

The Senate race is also a crowded affair, with seven Republicans compared to five candidates in the Democrat primary. The Senate contest is also open because Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is not seeking a third term. A total of 66 Democrat, Republican, and some minor party candidates filed for the congressional races. The state’s Independent and minor party filing deadline does not conclude until Aug. 1.

Among the Republican gubernatorial candidates are two former US House members, Lou Barletta and Melissa Hart, two state senators, Doug Mastriano (R-Fayetteville) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), former US Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, and former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White. Shapiro will begin the general election campaign as the favorite, if for no other reason than seeing the eventual Republican nominee having to fight through a tough crowded primary.

The Senate race features primaries on both sides. The Democrats are in basically a two-way affair between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who leads in all polls and fundraising, and US Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh). Both Democrats are from western Pennsylvania, but Fetterman should have the advantage in the vote-rich southeastern PA region considering his statewide ties, thus making him the favorite for the party nomination.

Two candidates on the Republican side have been spending heavily to attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the field, and they look to have succeeded. Former hedge fund CEO David McCormick is leading in the latest two statewide surveys over television doctor Mehmet Oz. Former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos are the trailing candidates.

The Pennsylvania Senate general election will be one of the most important in the nation, and the results will go a long way toward determining which party will control the majority in the next Congress.

In the congressional races, Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Swarthmore), Dan Meuser (R-Dallas), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg/Altoona), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters Township), Glenn Thompson (R-Howard/State College), and Mike Kelly (R-Butler) all should have easy rides to re-election. Rep. Reschenthaler has no Republican or Democratic opposition post-filing. Rep. Joyce faces only one minor Republican opponent.

Rep. Fred Keller’s (R-Middleburg) safe Republican 12th District was eliminated because Pennsylvania lost a seat in national reapportionment. He originally was going to challenge Rep. Meuser in the 9th District Republican primary, but later decided to retire.

Pennsylvania hosts four major congressional races: two open seats and two top challenger efforts against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Rep. Lamb’s open 17th District, which sits west of Pittsburgh and stretches to the Ohio border, has a rating of D+1 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization; this is the type of seat that Republicans must convert if they are to win the majority in November.

Continue reading

Democrats Score in Pennsylvania and North Carolina Redistricting

Click on above map or this link to see an interactive Pennsylvania redistricting map on: FiveThirtyEight

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 25, 2022 — Democrats notched major gains as courts in Pennsylvania and North Carolina Wednesday chose maps that will largely favor their party as we move toward the midterm elections in November.

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, to no one’s surprise, since they have consistently ruled as a partisan Democratic panel, adopted on a 4-3 vote a new congressional map that will cost sophomore Rep. Fred Keller (R-Middleburg) his current seat, but does give the Republicans a rather surprising chance to convert two seats in the eastern part of the state.

Though Reps. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) and Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) must still be regarded as clear favorites for re-election, they will again find themselves embroiled in highly competitive battles come November.

All other PA incumbents appear in strong shape for re-election. Additionally, the two open Democratic seats in the Pittsburgh area have been restored, both the downtown district from which Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) is retiring, now numbered 12, and the western Allegheny County 17th CD that Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) is vacating to run for the Senate.

The current Keller seat, labeled District 12, is a safe Republican district that stretches from just west of Harrisburg in Perry County all the way to the New York border. The population anchor is Lycoming County and the city of Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series. Keller won a 2019 special election after then-Rep. Tom Marino (R) resigned the seat to accept an offer in the private sector.

The new map splits the current 12th District into three seats, and places Rep. Keller’s home in veteran Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson’s (R-Howard) 15th CD. Overlaying the current map over the new plan, Keller sees that 40 percent of his district lies within the confines of Rep. Thompson’s seat; but the congressman announced late Wednesday night that he will instead challenge Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Dallas) in the new 9th District. Approximately 34 percent of Keller’s current district moved to the new 9th with the new map, as compared to Meuser having more than 60 percent carryover territory.

Assuming Keller follows through, this will become the seventh intra-party pairing, and the fourth involving Republicans.

In eastern Pennsylvania, the adopted map attempts to make Rep. Cartwright’s 8th District a bit more Democratic, but it comes at the potential expense of District 7’s Rep. Wild, who won re-election in the last cycle with only a 52-48 percent spread over businesswoman and former Lehigh County Commissioner Lisa Scheller (R). According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization, the new 7th rates as a R+4, which is down from the EVEN rating the seat held under the current map.

On the other hand, Dave’s Redistricting App records the Democratic percentage at 50.1 for the new PA-7 compared to the Republican 47.4. Rep. Cartwright sees his 8th District hold a 49.7 – 47.6 percent split in favor of the Democrats, but the FiveThirtyEight rating is R+8. Even what appears to be a fairly lofty figure to overcome, however, is still a tick down from the R+9 in the current district that Cartwright carried 52-48 percent in 2020.
Continue reading

The Redistricting Scorecard

By Jim Ellis

In the trifecta of political parties controlling the House, Senate and Executive branches in a state, how many will really benefit from that power in the redistricting process?

Feb. 11, 2022 — There has been quite a bit of redistricting news surfacing during the past few weeks, with many analysts now reversing their earlier predictions about which party is the clear beneficiary from the re-draw process.

Most said early that the Republicans would benefit the most from redistricting and that map drawing alone would be enough to allow the party to reclaim the House majority. We, on the other hand, were showing that the cut would more than likely be about equal even though the GOP has a major advantage in trifecta states, that is, those where one party controls all three legs of the legislative stool, meaning the state Senate, state House, and the governor’s office.

Though the Republicans control 25 states outright from a redistricting perspective compared to the Democrats’ 15, the number of states where each can draw maps to expand their party’s congressional delegation really comes down to seven where Republicans control and a commensurate four for the Democrats.

What balances the process this year is that Republicans appear to have have only one state where they can gain multiple seats — North Carolina — while Democrats can run the table, and have, in two big states, New York and Illinois.

Where both parties suffer in their trifecta states is the number of places where they already control the maximum number of seats, or redistricting power has been transferred to a commission. Either one party already has all the seats in a state like the Democrats do in Massachusetts and the Republicans have in Arkansas, for example, or the state has only one at-large member.

In one place, West Virginia, even though the Republicans have a legislative trifecta, they will drop a seat post election. Currently, the West Virginia delegation consists of three Republicans, but the state loses a seat in national reapportionment. Therefore, the GOP majority had no choice but to collapse one of their own districts.

Articles are now appearing that suggest it is the Democrats who could end the redistricting process with a net seat advantage rather than the Republicans. This, as it has been from the beginning, is true.

In looking at the states once all 50 have adopted new congressional lines, it projects today that the Republicans would add approximately 13 seats, while the Democrats, with multiple seat additions in Illinois and New York, would gain 11 new members. Seven states remain undecided because their level of political competition is predicted to be intense.

Continue reading

Rep. Lawrence to Retire;
Open US House Seats Now Up to 44

By Jim Ellis

Four-term Michigan US Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield)

Jan. 7, 2022 — Four-term Michigan US Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) became the latest Democratic incumbent to announce her retirement. She is the 25th Dem to not seek re-election as compared to 11 Republicans.

Saying, “this is the right time to turn the page and spend more time with my family — my husband, daughter, son and granddaughter — and put them first,” Lawrence made official her decision not to seek a fifth term next year. She is 67 years old. Prior to her election to Congress, Lawrence served as Southfield’s mayor for 14 years. She is the only African American in the Michigan delegation and the lone Wolverine State Democrat to serve on the House Appropriations Committee.

It is speculated upon that the new Michigan map influenced her retirement decision, but Rep. Lawrence said she was confident of being able to be re-elected in the new 12th District. Though her home base of Southfield was included in MI-12, the cities of Dearborn, Westland, and the western part of Wayne County would have, for her, been foreign political turf.

In her closing comments to the Detroit Free Press newspaper, Rep. Lawrence said, “I’m incredibly grateful for the people of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District who have placed their trust in me — in me, a little Black girl from the east side of Detroit.”

The Lawrence decision greatly changes the Detroit area congressional campaigns. Immediately upon Rep. Lawrence announcing her retirement plans, neighboring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) declared that she will seek re-election in the 12th District, saying that she currently represents more of this CD than the downtown Detroit-anchored MI-13. This leaves the 13th open and will create a major Democratic primary battle. CD-13 is a majority African American district and heavily Democratic, meaning that winning the party primary is tantamount to election in November.

A group of current and former Detroit state legislators announced Wednesday that they are filing a lawsuit against the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, saying the new congressional, state Senate, and state House of Representatives’ boundaries discriminate against black voters, and therefore violate the Voting Rights Act. If the lawsuit successfully overturns the Detroit district draws, new mapping instructions could be forced upon the commission before the 2022 election.

Continue reading