Tag Archives: Rep. Charlie Crist

Examining the Role of the RCV System in Alaska’s Special Election; Rep. Crist Resigns in Fla.; Indiana “Shock” Poll

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

House

Sarah Palin (R)

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — The headline here is that former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, and the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system was fully in play. Yesterday we reported the results; today we’ll delve into the RCV system that delivered those results.

At the end of the final counting, which was when the Aug. 16 deadline to accept ballots in the primary election expired, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate. However, the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case the RCV system produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists from the jungle primary election began with Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote. Palin secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R) captured 28.5 percent. Begich III is the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, Sr. (D), and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D). In finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then allocated to the remaining two candidates via the voters’ ranking.

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

As we predicted, based upon the experiences of other states and cities that have used the RCV system, a large number of votes were disqualified, or “exhausted” to use the Alaska vernacular.

Of the 192,158 individuals who participated in the special election and/or regular primary, a total of 3,401 ballots were listed as “blank,” meaning the individuals voted in the election but bypassed the special congressional contest. Another 342 ballots were categorized as “overvotes.” This terminology suggests the owners of such ballots voted incorrectly. Typically, it means the individual, presumably inadvertently, voted more than once for the same candidate, thus disqualifying the ballot.

The categories that likely cost Palin the election, despite the large majority voting for a Republican candidate, came in RCV’s Round 2. In that round, a total of 11,222 Begich voters did not properly manage the RCV system on their ballots, which was to rank the three candidates in the order of the individual voter’s preference.

Lawyers who challenged the RCV system in other places around the country warned that their experience showed a large number of disqualified, or “exhausted,” ballots would be present here, which certainly proved to be the case.

This latter number added to the initial overvotes, meant a total of 11,269 Begich first-place voters saw their ballot disqualified, more than twice the number of votes (5,219) that comprised Palin’s deficit against Peltola’s final victory total. Adding this number to those who chose to bypass the special congressional race meant that 14,965 individuals who voted in this election failed to have their ballot count in the RCV process.

The second category leading to Palin’s demise were the 15,445 individuals who voted for Begich on the first ballot, but decided to support Peltola with their second choice. This is a much higher number than our pre-election estimate projection, and are chiefly responsible for the ex-governor failing to win the general election.

A possible reason that some of these voters chose Peltola is that the Begich name identification comes from the current candidate’s family predecessors mentioned above who were, and are, affiliated with the Democrats. It is possible that the multiple confusion factors present in this race also extended to Begich’s name, with many traditional Democratic voters still thinking he is a member of their party and not noticing his Republican label on the ballot.

Also adding to the confusion factor was the RCV system being used only in this special general election that was run concurrently with the regular state primary. In all other races on Aug. 16, voters were simply choosing one candidate to advance into the general election, where four jungle primary candidates from each race would do so. Therefore, the almost 15,000 ballots being disqualified before the end of the RCV special election process suggests a large amount of confusion within the electorate.

With the same three finalists again advancing into the regular election from the regular congressional primary, which was also held on the same day (Aug. 16), thus producing one more confusion factor, we could see a rerun of the RCV results in the November election. If either Palin or Begich were to withdraw from the regular general election, however, Peltola’s fate would then likely be sealed, since the Republican vote would then presumably overwhelm the number of her Democratic preference ballots.

While the intrigue associated with this one race has now been resolved, new questions will immediately begin to unfold for the impending general election. For now, however, Mary Peltola will be sworn in as the House of Representatives’ newest member.

FL-13: Rep. Crist Resigns — Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) resigned his Pinellas County-anchored US House seat Wednesday in order to fully concentrate on his gubernatorial campaign. Crist won the statewide Democratic primary on Aug. 23 and will face Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in the general election. Another member of the Florida congressional delegation, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), who announced in February that he would leave Congress to become the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, will reportedly officially resign on Oct. 1.

With the Crist and Deutch resignations, the Democrats will be down to 220 seats in the House even after adding New York Rep. Pat Ryan (D-Poughkeepsie) after his special election victory certification and the Alaska at-large seat where Democrat Mary Peltola was declared the special election winner. It is unclear if Gov. DeSantis will call a special election to fill the Florida vacancies or just leave them vacant until the new term begins in January.

Senate

Indiana: Shock Poll — Hoosier State Democratic US Senate nominee Tom McDermott’s campaign released the results of their recently conducted Change Research poll (Aug. 20-24; 2,111 likely Indiana general election voters; online), which posted Sen. Todd Young (R) to only a 45-42 percent lead. The Indiana Senate race had been considered non-competitive. The Young campaign responded with criticism over the online methodology and weighting system that Change Research employs. Expect the Young campaign to quickly counter this data with a poll release of their own.

Governor

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Consecutive Polls — In a race that had not been polled during the general election period to-date, two new surveys were released on consecutive days. Yesterday, we reported that Gov. Henry McMaster (R) led in The Trafalgar Group survey (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) by a 51-43 percent margin over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary.

The next day’s polling release featured a survey from the Democratic firm, Blueprint Polling (Aug. 24-25; 721 likely South Carolina general election voters; live interview), that actually posted McMaster to a larger lead than the Trafalgar result, 50-39 percent.

Crist Wins Florida Gov. Primary; Nadler Easily Defeats Maloney in NY; Mullin Wins OK Senate GOP Runoff

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 24, 2022

Primary Results

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) easily wins Democrat nomination for governor to run against incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Florida: Crist Wins Gov Primary; Few Surprises — A busy night occurred around the country and particularly in the Sunshine State, as the political parties chose nominees in key statewide races and for Florida’s 28 newly drawn congressional districts. Thus, the last major primary date is now in the books.

The Florida statewide races were not in particular doubt. While Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio were unopposed in their respective Republican primaries, congressman and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), easily defeated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, 60-35 percent, to claim the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), as expected, was an easy 84 percent winner in the Democratic US Senate primary.

The competitive House primary winners were:

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R; 70-24 percent victory margin)
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R; 68-26 percent; created open seat)
  • Cory Mills (R; 34-21 percent; open Stephanie Murphy seat)
  • Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D; 35-25 percent; open Val Demings seat)
  • Rep. Dan Webster (R; 51-44 percent), Anna Paulina Luna (R; 44-34 percent; open Charlie Crist seat)
  • Laurel Lee (R; 41-28 percent; new seat from reapportionment), Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D; 66-29 percent)
  • Jared Moskowitz (D; 61-21 percent; open Ted Deutch seat)
  • state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D; 68-26 percent; versus Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar)
  • ex-state Rep. Robert Asencio (D; 69-31 percent; versus Rep. Carlos Gimenez)

New York: Parties Hold Specials; Reps. Maloney & Jones Lose — The very active New York congressional primary begins with a special general election win for the Democrats. In a race many believed the Republican nominee, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro would covert, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan successfully held the 19th CD in the Democratic column with a close 52-48 percent win. Ryan will now serve the unexpired portion of former Rep. Antonio Delgado’s term. Delgado resigned the seat to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

Curiously, Ryan will seek his re-election in the 18th District as he ran for both seats simultaneously. There, he will face state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-New Windsor) who was unopposed in the open seat Republican primary. Former congressional aide John Riley won the 19th Democratic primary and now advances into the regular general election against Molinaro.

Another incumbent pairing was also decided last night. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) easily defeated Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), 55-24 percent, thus ending the congresswoman’s 30-year congressional career. Nadler had led in all polling, hence the final result is not surprising, though the size of his victory is greater than expected.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) resigned his seat to accept a position in the private sector earlier this year. The Republican caretaker candidate, Steuben County Republican Party chairman Joe Sempolinski, won the special election to serve the balance of the term. He scored a 53-47 percent win over Democrat Max Della Pia. The latter man, however, won the regular election Democratic primary and he moves into the general election.

The competitive House primary winners were:

  • Nick LaLota (R; 47-28 percent; open Lee Zeldin seat)
  • Robert Zimmerman (D; 36-26 percent; open Tom Suozzi seat; versus George Santos)
  • Lauren Gillen (D; 63-24 percent; open Kathleen Rice seat)
  • Dan Goldman (D; 26-24 percent; created open seat)
  • Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R; 78-21 percent; in general versus ex-Rep. Max Rose)
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D; 57-23 percent)
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D; 67-33 percent; in general versus state Assemblyman Michael Lawler)
  • Brandon Williams (R; 58-42 percent; in general versus Francis Conole; open John Katko seat)
  • Nick Langworthy (R; 52-48 percent; regular election successor to Rep. Tom Reed)
  • Rep. Claudia Tenney (R; 54-40 percent)

Oklahoma: Rep. Markwayne Mullin Wins Senate GOP Runoff; OK-2 Surprise — As expected, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) scored a landslide special election Republican runoff victory, 65-35 percent, over former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. Mullin advances into the special general election where he will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D). The winner will replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) in January and serve the remaining four years of the current term.

With Rep. Mullin’s 2nd Congressional District being open, the primary’s second-place finisher, former state Sen. Josh Brecheen, won the Republican runoff with a 52-48 percent win over favored state Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee). In Oklahoma’s safest Republican seat, rated R+55, Brecheen is now a prohibitive favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Naomi Andrews in the general election.

Florida, NY, OK Primaries; Term Limits Polling; Whitmer With Larger Lead

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Primaries

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida — The Sunshine State voters also will choose their nominees today, and many important intra-party races will be decided.

Gov. DeSantis Well Ahead in Pre-Primary Poll — Florida voters will choose their general election nominees today, and a new Cherry Communications survey (conducted for the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Aug. 4-15; 608 likely Florida general election voters; live interview) projects Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as well positioned for re-election. The CC poll results find the governor leading US Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) 51-43 percent, while his advantage over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is a similar 50-43 percent. This, in a state where Republicans traditionally under-poll. Crist, the former governor and multi-time statewide candidate who has run, and lost, under the Democratic, Republican, and Independent banners.

After recent polls found Florida Crist falling into an increasingly more competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign with Fried, a new St. Pete Polls survey, on election eve, finds the congressman and former governor now ahead in a landslide. The St. Pete Polls survey (Aug. 20-21; 1,617 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) projects Rep. Crist to be holding a major 59-30 percent lead, far above any advantage he has recently posted. The Democratic winner will face Gov. DeSantis in November and will face an uphill battle against DeSantis in a campaign that will become a national event.

The Senate nomination contests in both parties, while leading to a competitive general election, are set. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will be defending his seat against US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando), the former Orlando police chief. Recent polling has tightened, but voting history suggests that Sen. Rubio has at least a small lead.

A large number of US House races feature competitive nomination battles beginning in northwestern Florida’s 1st District where controversial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) is in a serious campaign with former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo. Gaetz’s highly publicized legal trouble is front and center in this race as well as Lombardo charging that the congressman’s national activities and profile have taken his attention away from serving the local district. This is certainly a race to watch, and a Lombardo upset is possible.

Florida gained a new seat in national reapportionment, and the state’s 15th District has been created. The district stretches from Lakeland into Tampa and leans Republican but we can expect some competition in the general election. Both parties feature five-person candidate fields. Polling suggests that former Secretary of State Laurel Lee has the inside track for the Republican nomination over state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). The leading Democrat appears to be former news anchorman and two-time congressional nominee Alan Cohn.

New York — When the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ordered the congressional districts and state Senate map redrawn, a second primary was scheduled just for these races. The original NY primary was held on June 28. The congressional and state Senate nominees will be finally decided today, and many US House contests are in a competitive mode.

Oklahoma: Close Result on Tap for Tonight in OK-2 — When Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) opted to run for the Senate, his open eastern Oklahoma congressional district drew a crowded 14-candidate Republican field. In the June 28 regular primary for the strongest GOP district in the state (R+55 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization), two candidates advanced into today’s runoff election even though they finished with less than 30 percent of the aggregate primary vote combined.

State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) topped former state Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Ada) by just 757 votes to secure the first runoff position. Brecheen then claimed the second slot over former Muskogee Police Chief Johnny Teehee by an even lesser 616-vote margin. In all, the top five candidates finished within 2,892 votes of each other.

Polling finds that the race still remains tight. The wrap-up Sooner Poll (Aug. 11-17; number of likely voter polling respondents undisclosed) projected Rep. Frix holding the lead, but with only a 43-35 percent margin. While Frix apparently enjoys a small edge, this race is still anybody’s game.

Rep. Mullin has enjoyed large leads in his bid for the Senate in post-primary polling up until the latest release. Immediately after the June 28 primary election, where he easily topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 44-18 percent within a field of 12 candidates, Rep. Mullin was seeing average leads of 18 percentage points among three polls conducted from July 25 through Aug. 15.

The latest study, however, from the Sooner Poll, which is an add-on track from their Aug. 11-15 survey that ended on Aug. 17 (322 likely Oklahoma Republican runoff voters), shows the congressman’s statewide advantage at only 53-47 percent over Shannon. Tonight’s special runoff winner will advance into the general election against former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D).

Governor

Michigan: Whitmer With Larger Lead — Countering last week’s published Fabrizio Ward (R) and Impact Research (D) teamed Michigan governor’s study (Aug. 8-14; 1,365 likely Michigan voters; live interview & text) that projected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to be leading online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 51-46 percent, Democratic pollster Blueprint Polling (Aug. 15-16; 611 likely Michigan general election voters; live interview) posts the governor to a much larger 51-39 percent advantage.

Ohio: One-Point Lead — Democratic pollster Lake Research (Aug. 4-9; 611 OH likely general election voters; live interview) released their latest survey that finds Gov. Mike DeWine (R) holding only a narrow one-point, 44-43 percent, edge over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D).

This result is not particularly surprising. First, the Ohio electorate typically polls close and then one candidate significantly pulls away in the campaign’s last two weeks. Second, Gov. DeWine won his Republican primary with only 48.1 percent of the vote opposite three opponents suggesting clear weakness within his party’s base. Additionally, over one-third of DeWine voters say their support for him is “not so strong” or that they are only “leaning” in his direction. Expect the governor to soon use his strong financial advantage to put distance between he and Mayor Whaley.

Beasley Up in North Carolina; CO-8 Shows Toss-Up Race; Dem Race Tightens in Florida

By Jim Ellis — August 12, 2022

Senate

Former North Carolina state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D)

North Carolina: Democrat Beasley Up in New Poll — Blueprint Polling released a new North Carolina US Senate poll (Aug. 4-6; 656 registered North Carolina voters; live interview) that projects former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) to be holding a 46-42 percent edge over US Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance). A Republican being down in a North Carolina poll is nothing new, however. In 2020, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis found himself outside the lead in 26 of 28 October public polls but won the race by two percentage points.

House

CO-8: Toss-Up District Shows Toss-Up Race — Colorado received a new congressional district in national reapportionment, and the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission members drew the new seat, located just north of Denver, to be an even district from a partisan perspective. A new Global Strategy Group poll (July 26-Aug. 2; 500 likely CO-8 general election voters) suggests the district is performing as designed. The ballot test finds Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer leading state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D) by a tight 44-42 percent margin. This district is highly important to both parties in determining the next congressional majority.

NY-12: Potential Three-Way Race — Slingshot Strategies, polling for the Indian American Impact Fund (Aug. 2-5; 600 likely NY-12 Democratic primary voters) sees a tight ballot test forming between Democratic paired incumbents Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, but also a third candidate coming into range. Businessman Suraj Patel returns for a third Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Maloney, and the poll, the sponsors of which favor Patel, find the race breaking 29-27-20 percent in favor of Rep. Nadler. Maloney holds a close second place, with Patel showing enough momentum to possibly make a significant closing run.

The New York congressional primary is Aug. 23. The Democratic primary in this new Lower Manhattan/Brooklyn congressional district easily wins the seat in the general election.

Governor

Florida: Dem Race Tightens — State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a new Public Policy Polling survey (Aug. 8-9; 664 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that suggests the primary race scheduled for Aug. 23 is becoming much closer.

The PPP data finds Rep. Charlie Crist’s (D-St. Petersburg) once substantial lead over Fried now falling to just 42-35 percent suggesting that the latter candidate may have enough closing momentum to cast doubt over the eventual outcome especially with 23 percent saying they are still undecided. The eventual Democratic nominee begins a shortened general election cycle in the underdog position opposite GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Grassley in Competitive Race in Iowa; Florida House Polling Series; Leaders in NY House Races

By Jim Ellis — July 20, 2022

Senate

Gaining on Grassley? Retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken, Democratic Iowa Senate candidate.

Iowa: Sen. Grassley in Competitive Race — Selzer & Company, which rates an A+ rating from the FiveThirtyEight poll ranking apparatus and is widely viewed as Iowa’s most consistent pollster, went into the field over the July 8-11 period. They interviewed 811 adults, 597 who identified themselves as likely voters. The Senate ballot test broke only 47-39 percent in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s favor over retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken, the Democratic nominee.

Though Sen. Grassley has the advantage beyond the polling margin of error, the race has signs of becoming competitive. The senator will be 89 years of age at the time of the election, which may be one reason he is trailing 40-30 percent with voters 35 years of age and younger. He continues perform strongly with men, 56-33 percent, but falls behind Admiral Franken with women, 44-38 percent.

Iowa is a Senate race to watch during the rest of the campaign. Contrasting the Grassley numbers, GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a strong 48-31 percent advantage over Democratic nominee Deirdre DeJear.

House

Florida: A House Polling Series — The Republican Party of Florida contracted with the Tyson Group research firm to conduct a series of GOP primary polls in the state’s new open congressional districts.

In the Jacksonville area’s new 4th CD, state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean leads college professor Erick Aguilar, 24-14 percent. Just to the south in the new Volusia County 7th District, businessman and Iraq War veteran Cory Mills and state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in the-Hills) are in a virtual tie with Mills leading Sabatini, 23-21 percent.

Turning to the St. Petersburg seat of Rep. Charlie Crist (D), who is running for governor, 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna leads attorney Kevin Hayslett and lobbyist and 2020 candidate Amanda Makki, 37-17-10 percent. The new Hillsborough County 15th CD features a virtual three-way tie among state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) who has 13 percent support, with Secretary of State Laurel Lee and state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) each trailing with 10 percent apiece.

NY-10: New Poll Confirms Leaders — The Justice Research Group, polling for state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Nioh (D) and the Working Families Party largely confirms last week’s Data for Progress poll that finds NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Nioh at the top of the Democratic candidate throng competing for the new open Lower Manhattan congressional seat. Each posted a preference figure of 16 percent in this poll. There is no runoff law in New York, so the eventual nominee will almost assuredly win with just plurality support.

Like the DfP poll, the Justice Research survey finds both US Rep. Mondaire Jones, coming from his Westchester County seat, and ex-NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio falling below the 10 percent plateau. In this survey, Rep. Jones posts only eight percent preference and de Blasio three percent. The pollsters, conducted the survey from July 1-11, and interviewed 636 likely NY-10 Democratic primary voters through live conversations and texts.

NY-23: Party Chairman Trailing — While the Republican Party establishment is clearly behind NY GOP state chairman Nick Langworthy to replace resigned Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) in the new 23rd CD, a new poll suggests the likely Republican primary voters feel otherwise. The WPA Intelligence survey (July 9-11; 604 likely NY-23 Republican primary voters; live interview) finds former Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Padalino posting a whopping 54-24 percent lead over Langworthy.

This poll tested voters for the regular election. Neither Padalino or Langworthy are competing in the special election to fill the balance of the term, also to be held on primary day, Aug. 23. The Republican nominee in that race is political caretaker candidate Joe Sempolinski, the Steuben County Republican Party chairman.