Tag Archives: Rep. John Katko

It’s Down to a Dozen in SC-7

By Jim Ellis

South Carolina state Rep. William Bailey (R-Myrtle Beach)

June 17, 2021 — South Carolina state Rep. William Bailey (R-Myrtle Beach), who became the first individual to announce a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) has become the first candidate to withdraw, with his announcement this past Tuesday. Bailey initially entered the race immediately after the congressman voted to impeach former President Trump in relation to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

Rep. Bailey indicated that there are ‘enough conservatives in the race to give Mr. Rice a strong challenge,’ and says he is leaving the congressional race to seek re-election to his state House position.

After Bailey’s departure, and including Rep. Rice, there are a dozen announced candidates for the Republican congressional primary in a 7th District that currently occupies South Carolina’s northeastern sector and includes the cities of Myrtle Beach and Conway. In the two Trump presidential elections, the district’s voters strongly supported the former president and with very consistent margins: 58-39 percent in 2016 and 59-40 percent last November.

Normally, a large field of opponents would help an incumbent, but maybe not under the South Carolina election system. The state, like many others in the south, adopts a secondary runoff election process, meaning the winning candidate must secure an absolute majority. If no one can achieve the mark in the primary election, the top two vote-getters advance to a secondary election.

What makes the Palmetto State’s system different is that the runoff cycle lasts only two weeks. Typically, South Carolina holds its primaries in mid-June with the associated runoffs following in the latter part of the month.

Therefore, an incumbent under attack doesn’t have much time to recover before the next election commences. This calendar likely enhances the most common pattern of incumbents generally losing a runoff election if they are forced into a secondary vote.

The large number of contenders notwithstanding, and without Rep. Bailey in the field, the two most prominent challengers appear to be Horry County School Board chairman Ken Richardson and former Myrtle Beach mayor, Mark McBride, though the latter man was defeated in a runoff election for a third term. McBride was also beaten badly in a 2020 special election for the state House of Representatives.

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The Very Real Challenges Of 10 Reps Who Voted to Impeach Trump

By Jim Ellis

Former President Trump

April 20, 2021 — The 10 House Republicans who voted for ex-President Trump’s second impeachment have drawn national media attention, and the newly disclosed first quarter campaign finance numbers give us a sense of which incumbents have a significant challenge ahead of them while others look ahead to clear sailing.

To refresh memories, the 10 GOP impeachment supporters are: Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Tom Rice (R-SC), Fred Upton (R-MI), and David Valadao (R-CA). Of these, all have declared opposition with the exception of Rep. Katko.

Based upon fundraising, which is an excellent indication of a candidate’s early support and whether the contender is making the right moves to position him or herself properly against an incumbent, we see two members, and possibly a third, who appear to have capable opponents.

Ohio’s Max Miller, the former Trump White House aide, is the top fundraiser among the nine challenger contests. He reports more than $500,000 in receipts with just over $438,000 remaining in his campaign account for a battle with two-term incumbent Rep. Gonzalez. For his part, the congressman raised well over $600,000 in the first quarter and his cash-on-hand exceeds $1 million.

The other seemingly significant contender is technology executive and Army veteran Joe Kent who is challenging six-term Washington Rep. Beutler. He raised over $269,000 as compared to the congresswoman’s $744,755. On hand, Kent has almost all his money remaining having spent only about a net $20,000 at this early point in time. Washington has a jungle primary, so the chances of qualifying two Republicans for the general election or Rep. Beutler not advancing are scenarios currently difficult to fathom.

The leading incumbent fundraiser of the group is House Republican Conference chair Cheney, who posted campaign receipts of more than $1.5 million, and holding well over $1.4 million in her campaign account. Combined, her top two Republican opponents raised a total of more than $500,000 and would have over $320,000 cash-on-hand if they would coalesce behind just one candidate. A crowded field, especially in light of her strong 1st quarter fundraising performance, puts Rep. Cheney in a favorable position for renomination even though support to replace her is clearly significant.

The Illinois crowded field against Rep. Kinzinger also plays to his advantage. Of his six announced opponents, only community affairs consultant and previous congressional candidate Cynthia Lauf has attracted more than $150,000. With Rep. Kinzinger holding over $2.5 million in his campaign account and no single strong opponent emerging means the congressman remains in advantageous position for renomination.

The only one of the group who may not benefit from having multiple challengers is South Carolina’s Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach). Horry County School Board chairman Ken Richardson appears to be the most formidable of the possible opponents, raising over $154,000 with just under $90,000 remaining in the bank.

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The Impeachment Ten

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY)

March 4, 2021 — Another credible opponent for Wyoming at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) came forward earlier this week, which continues the onslaught of political activity against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump for his perceived role in the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising.

Already, Rep. Cheney has four credible opponents. The latest to announce is state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper). He joins state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie), former Pavillion mayor Marissa Joy Selvig, and energy consultant Bryan Miller.

Of the four, Sen. Bouchard and Rep. Gray are the most credible, but the large field assembling against her actually helps Rep. Cheney. Considering that Wyoming is a plurality primary state, a person is nominated by simply obtaining the highest number of votes regardless of percentage attained. Therefore, with Cheney’s opposition split among multiple candidates, the chances of her winning re-nomination with less than a majority becomes a plausible outcome.

The other nine pro-impeachment members are in different situations. From this group, only New York Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse) has not yet drawn Republican primary opposition.

Three others are from states with primary structures that will help them advance into the general election. Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) will file under a top-two qualifying system.

Rep. Valadao represents a Bakersfield-Fresno district that voted heavily in favor of both President Biden and Hillary Clinton, the latter back in 2016. With all candidates on the same ballot, and not being from a strong Trump district, it is less likely that his vote to impeach the sitting Republican president will greatly affect him.

In the race are former Rep. T.J. Cox (D), the man who lost to Valadao by a percentage point in 2020 after defeating him by an even closer split in 2018, former state Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D), and ex-Fresno City Councilman and 2020 congressional candidate Chris Mathys (R).

Washington Rep. Beutler, under the same top-two primary system as California’s Valadao, has already drawn three Republican opponents, none of whom have held elective office. We can expect a strong Democrat to emerge here, meaning the eventual preliminary vote division should provide Rep. Beutler with a relatively easy road into the general election.

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Impeachment Targets

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY), one of 10 representatives facing primary challenges as a result of their votes to impeach Donald Trump.

Feb. 1, 2021 — Ten Republican House members voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump in January and already primary challenges are being announced against some, the most serious of which appears to be aimed at Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney (R-WY). A new poll suggests that she would badly trail a challenger in her presumed battle for re-nomination come August of 2022 in the at-large Wyoming Republican primary race.

Of the 10, seven already have announced Republican opponents, four of which appear potentially serious. The quartet facing what could become a serious challenge are Reps. Cheney, Tom Rice (R-SC), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and David Valadao (R-CA). The others with minor challengers are Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Peter Meijer (R-MI). Those seeing no announced challenger are Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), John Katko (R-NY), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

As many as 1,000 people, according to the Casper Star-Tribune reporter covering the event, gathered at the Wyoming state Capitol in Cheyenne Late last week to listen to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach/Pensacola) and Donald Trump Jr., the latter via telephone, attack Rep. Cheney for her vote to impeach former President Trump.

McLaughlin & Associates released a new poll testing Rep. Cheney against one announced opponent, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Laramie), and a presumed challenger, state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper). The results suggest Cheney has serious internal political problems.

The McLaughlin poll was conducted during the Jan. 25-27 period and surveyed 500 general election likely voters. According to their data, Cheney’s re-elect score is only 13 percent, which drops to an even lower 10 percent when only Republicans are segmented. Paired directly with state Sen. Bouchard, Rep. Cheney would trail 54-21 percent.

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Challengers With a Lead – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 30, 2020 — Continuing with the second of our two-part series depicting challengers who have placed even with or ahead of their incumbent opponent at some point since summer began, today we look at the states in the second half of the alphabet. As a reminder, already eight 2020 US House challengers have unseated their incumbent opponents, obviously all in the primaries.

Below is the list of the second group of 11 incumbents, making a total of 22 challengers who have drawn even or led their incumbent opponents:


Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2):

• POLL: Public Policy Polling (Sept. 14-17)
Challenger: Amy Kennedy (D), margin: +5 points
• POLL: ALG (Sept. 14-15)
Challenger: Amy Kennedy (D), margin: +4 points
2016 Presidential: Trump: 51-46%
—    Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/Atlantic City) was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but changed parties a year later. He now faces the general electorate for the first time as a Republican. At this point, we see two consecutive polls giving challenger Amy Kennedy, the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), leads at the outer edges of the polling margin of error. We will see a great deal of action here in the closing days.


Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-7):

• POLL: National Republican Congressional Committee (June 24-26)
Challenger: St. Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R), margin: +2 points
2016 Presidential: Clinton: 49-47%
—    The 7th Congressional District of New Jersey, which stretches from the Pennsylvania border to the outskirts of Newark, has been a Republican seat since 1980 until two years ago when freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) unseated five-term veteran Leonard Lance (R).
State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., whose father served as governor for two terms from 1982-1990, returns for another race for federal office. He first ran for the 7th District in 2000, and then the US Senate in 2006, losing both times. Kean has served in the New Jersey legislature for 19 years. Though we’ve only seen one public poll here, this appears to be a toss-up race and more data should soon become available.


Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-2):

• POLL: Research & Polling (Aug. 26-Sept. 2)
Rep. Torres Small, margin: +2 points
• POLL: Tarrance Group (July 7-9)
Margin: Even
• POLL: Public Opinion Strategies (Dec. 18-19, 2019)
Challenger: Ex-St. Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) margin: +2
2016 Presidential: Trump: 50-40%
—    This is a re-match of the 2018 open-seat campaign that saw political newcomer Xochitl Torres Small (D-Las Cruces) slip past then-state Rep. Yvette Herrell by a 51-49 percent count. Herrell returns with a strong primary victory over New Mexico Oil & Gas Association president Claire Chase, a candidate who many believed would be a stronger opponent for the congresswoman. Herrell did take the early general election lead, but the later polling has slightly favored the incumbent. The 2nd District is a must-win for Republicans if they are to be competitive for majority status.


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