Tag Archives: Rep. Henry Cuellar

Alaska Candidates Settle to Three; Conflicting Polls in IL-15; Economy Polls as Highest Concern in MN

By Jim Ellis — June 24, 2022

House

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

AK-AL: Now Top Three — Officials from the Alaska Division of Elections, grappling with the new top-four qualifying system, have changed their initial ruling after finalist Al Gross (I/D), announced earlier this week that he was ending his campaign. Division officials initially were leaning toward placing the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, into the group of four finalists, but they have since reversed themselves.

The final ruling does not add a replacement for Dr. Gross, meaning that only former Gov. Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich III (R), and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will advance into the special general election scheduled for Aug. 16. Sweeney followed up with an announcement that she will not challenge the Elections Division’s ruling.

IL-15: Conflicting Polls — The next in a series of paired incumbent elections is scheduled in Illinois when two sets of paired incumbents will square off in the June 28 primary election. In the downstate Republican primary, Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) and Mary Miller (R-Oakland) are battling for the new gerrymandered 15th District, one of only three Land of Lincoln seats that will likely send a Republican to the House. This week, we see two polls released with conflicting conclusions.

The Victory Geek firm, polling for the Illinoize political blog (June 15-19; 515 IL-15 respondents; interactive voice response system), finds Rep. Davis leading Rep. Miller, 38-35 percent. When forcing the undecideds to make a choice, the full universe breaks for Davis, 51-49 percent. The bad news for him is when voters are informed that former President Trump has endorsed Miller, the preference factor switches to 47-39 percent in Miller’s favor.

The Miller campaign also released their internal Cygnal firm survey conducted during the same time period (June 18-19; 420 likely IL-15 Republican primary voters; peer-to-peer text) that gave the congresswoman a 45-40 percent edge over Davis. The other paired incumbent election features a Chicago suburban Democratic pairing between Reps. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) and Marie Newman (D-La Grange).

MN-1 Special: Virtual Tie — An Expedition Strategies survey of the MN-1 special election (June 6-9; 400 likely MN-1 special election voters; live interview) scheduled for Aug. 9 finds the two party nominees, former Republican state Rep. Brad Finstad and ex-Hormel corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) falling into a virtual tie. The ballot test gives Finstad a 48-47 percent edge in a district that is no stranger to close elections. The winning percentage in the past three congressional elections was 48.6 percent, 50.1 percent, and 50.3 percent in 2020, 2018, and 2016. The seat is in special election because incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) passed away in February.

In terms of what the survey respondents perceive as the most important issue, the “economy and cost of living” registered 27 percent, “guns” was second with a 12 percent mention, and “election integrity” was third with 10 percent. Interestingly, the healthcare issue, which now includes COVID, registered as the most important issue from only six percent of the respondents. Ettinger scored a 53-40 percent advantage on preferring a candidate with experience running a business as compared to Finstad’s career in government and rural policy making.

NY-19 Special: Republican Molinaro Launched to Big Led — A Triton Polling & Research survey conducted for the Freedom Council USA (June 16-20; 505 current NY-19 registered voters; interactive voice response system) finds Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) leading Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) by a large 52-38 percent clip in the special election race to replace resigned US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D). The congressman left the House to accept his appointment as lieutenant governor.

A Molinaro victory would mean another special election GOP conversion of a Democratic seat as we saw in Texas on June 14 when Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez and two minor candidates to win the seat from which Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) resigned. If the GOP is successful in NY-19, and holds their other 2022 special elections in AK-AL, MN-1, NE-1, and NY-23, the conference will increase to 215 members, just three away from majority status.

TX-28: Rep. Cuellar Officially Wins — The tight Democratic primary and runoff campaign featuring veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and attorney and 2020 congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros has finally come to an official end. The Texas Secretary of State has reported the final results of the runoff recount. Counting the ballots again actually increased Cuellar’s lead by eight votes. The final counts shows a 22,901 to 22,612 margin in favor of Rep. Cuellar, a spread of 289 votes, or 50.3 percent of the runoff electorate.

Rep. Cuellar now advances into a general election against former Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) staff member Cassy Garcia. This could become a competitive general election in a district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+7. Though Garcia will have the ability to run a credible campaign, Rep. Cuellar is now viewed as the favorite to win a 10th term.

Governor

Florida: Crist Rebounds With Substantial Lead — A surprising poll released earlier in June (Global Strategy Group; June 8-13; 600 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; live interview) found state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pulling to within a 38-34 percent margin against US representative and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). Now, a new St. Pete Polls survey (June 16-17; 1,007 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; interactive voice response system) posts Crist back to a more substantial lead, 49-24 percent. The Florida primary is scheduled for Aug. 23. The Democratic winner will then challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Seven States Host Primaries;
More House News

By Jim Ellis — June 7, 2022

Primaries

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) will be 89 at the time of the general election.

Voting Today: Seven States Host Primaries — One of the busiest nomination days occurs today and voters will be choosing November candidates in states stretching from California to New Jersey. Those state primaries on the calendar for today include California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. One special general election will also be determined, that being the race in California’s 22nd District from which former Congressman Devin Nunes (R) resigned at the end of last year. Republican former state Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway is the clear favorite to win the special, but will have no place on a congressional ballot during the regular election.

Some of the more interesting races include Iowa Democrats choosing an opponent for veteran Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), who will be 89 years old at the time of the general election, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, attempting to return to the House of Representatives from Montana; Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Biloxi), fighting for re-nomination amid an ethics investigation; and a host of US House incumbents attempting to win post-redistricting CDs that in some cases are very different than the ones they currently represent.

House

NY-23: Dems Decide on Nominee; Filing Ends Friday — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has scheduled the replacement special election for resigned Rep. Tom Reed’s (R) vacant seat to run concurrently with the regular Aug. 23 congressional primary. Under New York electoral procedure, the party leaders nominate candidates for special elections, and the local Democratic leadership has already made their selection. Retired Air Force Colonel Max Della Pia was selected as the special election nominee, and he will face whomever the Republican leadership decides to nominate. Della Pia also said he will file for the regular term, but the voters will choose the nominee for that race, also on Aug. 23.

Several Republicans are in the mix, the most noteworthy name being mentioned of late is New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy. Candidate filing for the regular election ends this Friday, June 10.

The southwestern Upstate district favors the Republicans. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rating is R+23. Dave’s Redistricting App scores it 55.37 percent R and 41.98 percent D. Former President Trump carried the new 23rd District in 2020 by a 55-43 percent count.

SC-7: Rep. Rice Trailing in Primary Poll — With the South Carolina primary fast approaching on June 14, the Trafalgar Group released a new survey of the Palmetto State’s 7th District that features Republican incumbent Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) who is fighting for re-nomination after being one of the 10 House Republicans to support the second attempt to impeach former President Trump.

According to the Trafalgar data (May 26-29; 572 likely SC-7 Republican primary voters; mixed data collection elements), Rep. Rice trails state Rep. Russell Fry (R-Murrell’s Inlet), Trump’s endorsed candidate, by a substantial 42-25 percent clip within the field of seven Republican candidates. If no one receives majority support, which appears likely according to this poll, the top two will advance into a two-week runoff campaign that will be decided June 28.

Texas: Canvasses for Two Dem Runoffs Finally End — Though recounts are likely to be called, the canvassing process for the state’s two unresolved May 24 runoff elections has concluded. At the end of the counting, both leaders heading into the canvass gained strength.

In Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) 28th CD, the Congressman increased his lead from a small spread of 177 votes in the unofficial count to 281 votes. In the open McAllen-anchored 15th CD, businesswoman Michelle Vallejo (D) increased her tiny lead from 23 votes to 30. In the latter race, attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez is indicating that he will ask for the ballots to be counted again citing the razor-thin difference between the two competitors. Contenders have until tomorrow to officially request recounts.

Assuming that Cuellar and Vallejo are both certified the winners of their runoffs, which is the likely outcome in both cases, they will face Republican former congressional aide Cassy Garcia (R) and insurance agent and 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz (R), respectively.

Budd Leads Beasley in NC; Oz Declares; Schrader Concedes in OR-5

By Jim Ellis — June 1, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Budd Lead Diminished — As we know, the May 17 North Carolina primary featured Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) scoring a major 59-25 percent win over former Gov. Pat McCrory in the 2022 Republican US Senate primary. Immediately after, East Carolina University released the first post primary poll (May 19-20; 635 registered North Carolina voters) that projected the congressman leading Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice, by a 47-39 percent margin. This is well beyond the polling margin of error.

The Cygnal research group then conducted a subsequent study for the Civitas Institute (May 21-22; 600 likely North Carolina voters; live interview, text, and email). They also find Budd holding the advantage, but in only a small 44-42 percent spread. This result is a bit surprising when seeing that the same Cygnal poll posts President Biden with a heavily upside-down 33:61 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating, the Republicans ahead on the congressional generic question, 50-43 percent, and the right track/wrong track question breaking 22:73 percent.

Pennsylvania: Oz Declares Presumptive Victory — The Pennsylvania Republican Senate contest continues to drag on, and we probably won’t see a final determination until June 8, the day the Secretary of State must certify the election. According to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s unofficial preliminary count, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who on Friday declared himself the “presumptive” nominee, leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, by 922 votes from 1,344,104 ballots cast, an astoundingly high number for a Keystone State Republican primary.

The mandatory recount is already underway. Once the totals are reported and the election certified, the challenges to individual votes may begin. Therefore, this political drama could go on for quite awhile longer. The Pennsylvania primary was May 17.

House

OR-5: Rep. Schrader Concedes — Another political overtime race officially ended over the Memorial Day break. With the Clackamas County vote counting bar code problem finally being corrected, it became clear that seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) would not overcome his Democratic primary opponent’s early lead, and conceded the nomination to former local city manager Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The Oregon Secretary of State reports the McLeod-Skinner lead at 55.1 – 44.3 percent with 80,423 votes counted.

McLeod-Skinner will now face the new Republican nominee, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, in what will be the most competitive congressional seat in Oregon. The Democratic voting trends in the area favor McLeod-Skinner, but with a D+3 rating from the FiveThirtyEight data organization, this seat becomes a 2022 Republican target.

Schrader becomes the fourth incumbent to be denied re-nomination joining Reps. David McKinley (R-WV), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA).

Texas: Final Decision Due Thursday — Yesterday was the last day that overseas votes could be received and counted for the Texas runoff elections that were held May 24. Two South Texas congressional seats are without confirmed Democratic nominees, the open 15th CD and Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) 28th District.

Adjusted totals from two counties in the 15th give businesswoman Michelle Vallejo just a 27 vote lead over attorney and Iraq War veteran Ruben Ramirez in a low turnout election that features a universe of only 12,063 individuals. The 15th District Democratic winner will face Republican Monica de la Cruz, the 2020 GOP congressional nominee.

In the 28th, either Rep. Cuellar or Jessica Cisneros will battle Republican Cassy Garcia, a former South Texas aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Rep. Cuellar has declared victory, saying his 177-vote margin over attorney Cisneros will be sustained. Cisneros says she believes the final count will reverse his lead. The counties must report their final runoff numbers to the Secretary of State tomorrow, Thursday, June 2.

Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary Still Undecided, Moving to Recount; House News Includes NY, PA, TX

By Jim Ellis — May 27, 2022

Senate

Dr. Mehmet Oz (left) leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes.

Pennsylvania: Recount Ordered — It’s now been more than a week since the primary election here and still no declared winner in the Republican Senate primary. Pennsylvania election authorities have already ordered election officials in the state’s 67 counties to begin the inevitable recount. Officials know the final unofficial count, which could be released as early as today or tomorrow, will be within the half percent that triggers an automatic recount.

At this writing, the numbers show Dr. Mehmet Oz leading former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by 902 votes from more than 1.3 million ballots cast. The deadline for military, overseas, and provisional ballot reception was Tuesday. It is being reported that this is the closest primary in Pennsylvania’s modern political era.

House

NY-16: New Challenger for Rep. Bowman — Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker (D) announced her intention to challenge Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) in the upcoming Aug. 23 Democratic primary. Another Westchester Legislator, Vedat Gashi (D), is already in the race. Parker says the new district lines move Gashi’s political base outside the district’s confines, hence her becoming a candidate. Irrespective of this activity, Rep. Bowman is favored for re-nomination and re-election in the new 16th CD.

NY-17: Two Republicans Oppose Rep. Maloney — After state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) announced her Democratic primary challenge to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), two Republicans have jumped into the new 17th District campaign, state Assemblyman Matt Lawler (R-Pearl River) and Rockland County Legislator Charles Falciglia.

The new 17th is rated D+7 through the FiveThirtyEight data organization’s calculations. While the seat clearly leans Democratic, Rep. Maloney has attracted a great deal of attention since he announced against freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester County) instead of running just north in what is now the open 18th CD. For his part, Jones is now running in the southwestern Manhattan/Brooklyn new 10th District.

PA-17: New Poll Already Shows Toss-Up — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already out with a new poll of the open PA-17 CD taken before the May 17 primary (May 9-10; 494 likely PA-17 voters; live interview & text). They project a 44-41 percent lead for their new nominee, election law attorney Chris Deluzio (D) over former local official Jeremy Shaffer, the new GOP nominee. When the DCCC first started releasing polling several years ago, the data was heavily slanted in their candidates’ favor, thus forfeiting credibility. In the last several years, however, their results have been closer to the mark, but still slightly slanted. Therefore, a DCCC poll finding Deluzio only ahead three points is a clear indication this race already begins in the toss-up realm.

Texas: TX-24, TX-15 — Two electoral contests from Tuesday remain uncalled and are very tight. In the 28th District, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) holds only a 177 vote run-off lead over opponent Jessica Cisneros (D). The Secretary of State’s released results show all precincts reporting, meaning ancillary votes arriving in the mail and provisionals are likely the only ballots remaining. A recount will probably be requested, but based upon the trends of where the remaining ballots lie, it appears that Rep. Cuellar’s slim advantage will likely grow.

Staying in South Texas, the Democratic 15th District runoff between businesswoman Michelle Vallejo and attorney Ruben Ramirez leans toward the former by just 23 votes. The voter pool at this point, however, is just over 12,000 individuals, an extremely low participation total. The final ballots can clearly tip this race to either candidate. The eventual winner will face Republican 2020 nominee Monica de la Cruz. The general election campaign will likely begin as a toss-up. If the Democratic decision is drawn out over a long period, de la Cruz would be staked to a key advantage in the early general election period. The FiveThirtyEight rating for TX-15 is EVEN.

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.