Tag Archives: Ranked Choice Voting

Biden Suggests Primary Schedule; Maine’s King Prepping for Re-Election Campaign; A Budding GOP Primary Challenge in VA-9; Louisiana’s Gov Race Hinges on Kennedy

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

President

President Joe Biden

Primaries: President Biden Suggests Schedule — Considering that the White House will have a major say as to how the new Democratic presidential nomination rules are changed, President Biden shared his idea for a new primary schedule. He suggests South Carolina, the state that launched his own victory through the previous nomination process, be the first state to vote. He then says that New Hampshire and Nevada, voting on the same day, should be scheduled a week after the Palmetto State with Georgia and Michigan following on successive Tuesdays. This idea would increase the number of places voting before Super Tuesday from four to five.

Senate

Maine: Sen. Angus King (I) Preparing for Re-Election Campaign — Sen. Angus King (I), who has previously overcome both skin and prostate cancer, is reportedly planning to seek re-election in 2024 when he will be 80 years old. The senator, who previously served two terms as Maine’s governor, was first elected to his federal office in 2012. At the time, it appeared the 2018 campaign would be his last, but retiring at the end of the succeeding Congress does not now look to be the senator’s ultimate career path.

Sen. King runs as an Independent on the Maine ballot but caucuses with the Democrats, as does New England neighboring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Should he indeed run in 2024, it will be the first time Sen. King will experience Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system. Considering this situation, the veteran office holder may draw stronger opposition than in his past election campaigns.

House

VA-9: A Budding GOP Primary Challenge — Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), who was just re-elected to a seventh term with 73.5 percent of the vote, may be drawing a 2024 Republican primary challenge. Freshman state Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) made a statement late last week saying that Rep. Griffith has “been in Congress too long,” and hinted that she might challenge him in the next GOP primary.

Rep. Griffith was first elected in 2010, defeating long-time incumbent Rick Boucher (D) and has had little in the way of competition ever since. He’s averaged 72.4 percent in his six re-election victories and has not yet faced a Republican primary challenge.

Governor

Louisiana: Yielding to Sen. Kennedy — Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder (R) announced late last week that he will run for governor next year unless, he said, Sen. John Kennedy (R) enters the jungle primary field. If Kennedy does run, Schroder will opt to seek re-election. Sen. Kennedy, fresh from a 62 percent jungle ballot election victory in November that saw him winning a second US Senate term outright, is expected to enter the governor’s race and be considered the clear front runner. The senator says he will make a decision after the first of the year. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Warnock Leads in New Runoff Poll; WVa. Gov. Considers Senate Race;
Kiley Wins CA-3 – Republican Majority Now at 221; Questions Over McCarthy’s Leadership

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 28, 2022

Senate

Georgia freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock (D)

Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leads in New Poll — The Fabrizio Lee (R) and Impact Research (D) polling team conducted another survey for the AARP organization, this time of the Georgia Senate runoff election scheduled for Dec. 6.

According to the joint poll (Nov. 11-17; 500 likely Georgia runoff voters; live interview), the first published study of this race since the general election yielded a 49.4 – 48.5 percent result for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) over retired professional football player Herschel Walker (R), the incumbent again posts a small advantage. The AARP ballot test finds Sen. Warnock’s lead a reaching 51-47 percent. As is the case with all runoff elections, voter turnout will likely be the determining factor.

West Virginia: Gov. Justice Considering Senate Race — While Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has already announced his bid to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, indicated last week that he, too, is considering launching a Senate campaign.

Gov. Justice’s approval numbers are high – rated as the sixth most popular governor nationally at 65:29 percent favorable to unfavorable according to the Morning Consult quarterly ratings for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022 – so he would certainly be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination and against Sen. Manchin. A Triton Polling & Research organization August poll found Gov. Justice leading Sen. Manchin 47-32 percent in an early hypothetical race survey, for example.

House

CA-3: Republican Kevin Kiley Declared Winner — The Associated Press, in a race that appeared to be clinched days ago, finally projected California Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento) as the winner of the newly created open 3rd Congressional District that stretches from the northern Sacramento suburbs all the way into southern California via the Nevada border. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-3 as an R+8 district, so the outcome of Kiley defeating Democratic physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones is hardly a surprise result.

The Kiley victory brings the Republican House total to 221 with two races outstanding, the CA-13 seat that is a close contest between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and the at-large Alaska seat of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

Once the Alaska contest advances into the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, which began right after Thanksgiving, the system will produce another victory for Peltola. Therefore, count her in the Democratic column. The race between Duarte and Gray is very tight: Duarte has an 852-vote lead with an estimated 93 percent of the vote counted. Therefore, this contest can still go either way when examining from where the outstanding votes lay.

Speakership: More Republicans Express Negative Views Toward McCarthy — Last week we covered a story indicating that three Republicans were headed toward a “No” vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his quest to become Speaker of the House. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) publicly announced their opposition to McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he does not believe McCarthy would be a successful Speaker.

Now joining the “No” chorus are Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Bob Good (R-VA). Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was among those expressing similar feelings of failure regarding a McCarthy Speakership. With the Republicans having a 222-member conference at best (if John Duarte holds his lead in the CA-13 outstanding race), McCarthy has little margin with which to play in order to secure his 218 votes to be elected Speaker during the Jan. 3 initial roll call of members.

Senate Majority Now Decided;
House Majority Continues
To Remain in Limbo

Click on map or here to see CNN’s interactive 2022 elections results House map: CNN

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 14, 2022

Now, just about a week beyond the 2022 election, each major party still has a chance of controlling the US House, while the Democrats, with late victories in Arizona and Nevada, have secured at least a 50-50 ostensible Senate majority when counting the vice president’s tie-breaking vote.

Senate

Senate: Majority Decided — Just one of the 35 Senate elections still remains undecided: the Georgia race that will head to a post-election runoff on Dec.6. Once the tight Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin races were called for incumbents Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) the majority was decided in favor of the Democrats.

The Georgia race unofficially finds incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) holding 49.4 percent of the vote versus Republican Herschel Walker’s 48.5 percent. Libertarian Chris Victor taking 2.1 percent, or just over 48,000 votes, denied both major party candidates the opportunity of reaching the 50 percent plateau. Therefore, the two finalists advance to a new election.

A Warnock win would put the Senate balance of power at 51-49 with the Democrats in control and not needing the vice president to make a tie-breaking vote. A Walker win would leave the Senate without a true majority at 50-50, thus requiring Vice President Kamala Harris’ deciding call on straight party line votes.

The Alaska Senate race is also undecided, but the state’s new electoral system that sends four candidates to the general election won’t be final for another two weeks.

It is obvious that contest will winnow down to a battle between two Republicans, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka. While Tshibaka leads the aggregate vote count, it has become clear that she and Sen. Murkowski will eventually advance into the Ranked Choice runoff.

Though Tshibaka is, and may remain, the vote leader, the RCV runoff system looks to favor Sen. Murkowski. Regardless of which woman is declared the victor when the lengthy process ends, the GOP will retain the Alaska Senate seat.

House

House: Majority Count Remains in Limbo — The House races are still very much undecided with 19 races uncalled. Considering that 10 of those races are in California and one in New York where it will likely take weeks to arrive at final totals, it could be quite some time until we know the ultimate outcome.

According to the CNN election site count, of the 19 uncalled races the Democrats lead in nine, Republicans eight, and two are pure toss-ups, both of which the GOP candidate has a slight count edge. Republicans, however, sitting at 212 called races in their favor versus 204 for the Democrats, need only six of the 19 to fall their way, while Democrats require 14 to claim a bare majority.

It appears the final margin may come down to just one or two seats. The GOP lead seems relatively secure in five of their eight advantage seats, which would give them 217, while the Democrats appear to have solid advantages in another seven of their nine, which puts them at 211.

Therefore, the Republican projection appears to lie in the 217-221 range, while the Democrats’ best-case scenario looks to be scoring a 218-217 slight majority. These predictions, however, are based upon rudimentary projections that could easily change once the actual votes are finally tabulated in all 19 outstanding campaigns.

Governor

Aggregate Governor: Incumbents Dominate — Surprisingly little change occurred in the 36 governors’ races in terms of party change. Democrats, as predicted, easily converted the Maryland and Massachusetts open seats.

The 36 governors’ races are also almost complete, with only Alaska and Arizona uncalled.

In returns that defied polling and thus favor the Democrats, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) leads former news anchorwoman Kari Lake (R) in the governor’s race, and her advantage may be enough to clinch the office once the state works through its counting delays.

At this point, Hobbs holds a 50.5 – 49.5 percent lead with an estimated 93 percent of the vote counted. This translates into approximately 180,000 votes remaining to be tallied. To win, Lake would have to receive more than 56 percent of the outstanding vote to make up her 26,000-plus vote deficit, which is difficult.

In the only competitive election resulting in a partisan conversion, Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) unseated Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). In races that were largely decided in the states’ respective Democratic primaries, Wes Moore and Maura Healey successfully converted Republican governorships in Maryland and Massachusetts, respectively.

Oregon, the site of perhaps the most interesting governor’s race because it featured a three-way battle, saw former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) prevail over ex-House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) and former state Sen. Betsy Johnson (I). Polling correctly suggested that Johnson had dropped well off the pace but also largely projected incorrectly that Drazan was positioned for a close upset win. In the end, the election broke 47-44-9 percent in Kotek’s favor with an estimated 93 percent of the all-mail vote counted.

Alaska Republican incumbent Mike Dunleavy looks to be in position to potentially clinch re-election outright, thus exceeding the 50 percent mark within the aggregate vote and avoiding a Ranked Choice Voting instant runoff. With ballots being allowed two weeks to report from the wilderness, it will be just before Thanksgiving when all of the Last Frontier races finally conclude.

Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting System Favors Sen. Murkowski, Begich over Palin; Dr. Oz Closes On Lt. Gov. Fetterman in PA; CA-26 Race Tightens

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Ranked Choices Favors Sen. Murkowski — The new Alaska Survey Research firm tested the Alaska Senate race, and we again see Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) having trouble distancing herself from challenger and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka.

The ASR poll (Sept. 25-27; 1,282 likely Alaska general election voters; online) finds Sen. Murkowski leading Tshibaka only 41-39 percent on the ballot test question, with Democrat Pat Chesboro attracting 17 percent support, and Republican Buzz Kelley garnering a four percent preference factor. Kelley has already withdrawn as an active candidate and endorsed Tshibaka, but his name remains on the ballot as one of the four finalists from the Aug. 16 primary vote.

The Ranked Choice system then kicks in to put Sen. Murkowski well ahead in the final round. After Chesbro and Kelley are officially eliminated, Sen. Murkowski would top Tshibaka, 57-43 percent, once the second and third choice votes are added to the tabulation.

Pennsylvania: Movement Confirmation — Yesterday, as well as late last week, we reported upon a trio of surveys finding Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) coming within close range of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on the various ballot test questions. Fox News, Franklin & Marshall, and Insider Advantage found the Fetterman lead dropping to three and four percentage points.

Now, Emerson College has released their Pennsylvania statewide survey, the fourth coming to a similar conclusion within a constant time realm. The new Emerson study (Set. 23-26; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Dr. Oz coming within the polling margin of error, trailing Fetterman by only a 45-43 percent count.

House

AK-AL: Poll Finds Begich Passing Palin — The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research poll (see Alaska Senate above) also tested the state’s at-large US House District campaign and it discovered two significant data points. First, in the ballot test of the four candidates who advanced into the general election, businessman Nick Begich III now moves ahead of former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin by two and three percentage points on the initial vote and first Ranked Choice Voting round.

The second finding is newly elected Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) would defeat either Begich or Palin even before getting to the second Ranked Choice round. According to the ASR poll, Rep. Peltola would achieve majority support, thus winning the election, once Libertarian Chris Bye, the fourth-place finisher, is eliminated from further competition.

CA-26: Poll Suggests New Race Bubbling to the Surface — A just-released OnMessage survey (Sept. 14-18; 400 likely CA-26 voters; live interview) surprisingly finds Rep. Julia Browley (D-Westlake Village/Ventura) leading Republican Matt Jacobs by only a 48-43 percent point spread. This poll, that even finds Jacobs leading among the self-described Independents 44-34 percent, is quite a change from the June 7 jungle primary results. In that election, Brownley topped Jacobs, 54-38 percent, with three other candidates sharing the remaining eight percent of the vote.

Whether Jacobs can become competitive to the point of unseating Rep. Brownley remains to be seen in a southern California district that President Biden carried 61-36 percent. For her part, Brownley has averaged 61 percent of the vote in her last three terms, but did have close calls in both her original 2012 election (53-47 percent) and 2014 (51-49 percent).

Palin Loses in Alaska; Walker Leads in Second Poll in Georgia, Kemp Holds Edge; Gen. Bolduc Again Leading in NH; Gov. McMaster’s SC Quest

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

House

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

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, which marked the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting system.
At the end of the final counting, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate, but the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case it produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists were Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote; Palin, who secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R), the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), who captured 28.5 percent. Finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then distributed to the other candidates via the voters’ ranking. In the end, Peltola defeated Palin by a 5,219 votes; another 14,965 ballots were disqualified in the Ranked Choice Voting process.

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker[/caption]Georgia: Walker Leading in Second Poll — Previously, an early August Phillips Academy poll projected Republican Herschel Walker to be holding a slight 45-44 percent lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) after trailing in seven of eight July surveys. Emerson College released the result of their most recent Georgia survey Tuesday (Aug. 28-29; 600 likely Georgia general election voters; interactive voice response system, text, and online), which found Walker posting an almost identical 46-44 percent edge, again providing more evidence that this race is a long way from being over.

New Hampshire: Gen. Bolduc Again Leading — In mid-August, when St. Anselm College released a survey showing retired Army general and 2020 US Senate Republican candidate Don Bolduc developing a substantial lead for the Sept. 13 GOP Senate primary, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) went public in an attempt to negate his advantage. Many believe, including Gov. Sununu, that Gen. Bolduc would lose to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in November. Previously, Gen. Bolduc had accused Gov. Sununu of being “a Chinese communist sympathizer,” among other comments that created bad blood between the two men.

The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) reported the results of their new statewide survey. According to the UNH Granite State Poll, Gen. Bolduc continues to lead state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) by over 20 points, 43-22 percent, with three other candidates languishing in low single digits.

Georgia: Kemp Again Holds Advantage — The aforementioned Emerson College survey (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the Peach State governor’s race between incumbent Brian Kemp (R) and challenger Stacey Abrams (D) who returns for a re-match from their close 2018 contest. The Emerson results give Gov. Kemp a 48-44 percent edge, which appears as a consistent margin routinely found in eleven of 12 July-August polls in which the incumbent held an edge. The lone outlier poll, a Research Affiliates study that concluded on Aug. 1, found the two candidates tied at 47 percent apiece.

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Re-election Poll — Gov. Henry McMaster (R) succeeded then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) when she resigned her office in 2017 to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster would then win a full term in 2018, and now seeks re-election. Because of the state’s former one and now two-term limit, winning re-election this year and serving most of the next term would make McMaster the longest-serving governor in state history.

The Trafalgar Group, as part of their nationwide polling series (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) tested the Palmetto State electorate and sees Gov. McMaster jumping out to a 51-43 percent lead over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary. Four years ago, Gov. McMaster was re-elected with a 54-46 percent margin.