Tag Archives: Rep. Ruben Gallego

Another Close Arizona Race Beckons

By Jim Ellis

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D)

Jan. 31, 2022 — The state of Arizona has become a volatile political domain, and a new poll suggests we will see another razor-thin US Senate race evolve later this year.

Over the course of history, the Arizona voting universe boasts a pattern of electing similar numbers of candidates from both parties. Admitted to the Union in 1912 as the 48th state, Arizonans have elected just 14 individuals to their two Senate seats, seven of whom have been Democrats with an equal number of Republicans. Since 2010, however, the electorate has strayed from its conservative political roots and moved toward the ideological center.

With this backdrop, the Data for Progress research organization just released their major statewide survey of the Grand Canyon State electorate (Jan. 21-24; 1,469 likely Arizona general election voters, online & text). The DfP finds Sen. Mark Kelly (D) already falling into a tight battle with Attorney General Mark Brnovich, should the latter man win the GOP nomination.

In the campaign from two years ago, you will remember that Sen. Kelly won a special election in 2020 and now serves the remaining two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) final term. In this election year, he stands for a full six-year term.

The ballot test found Kelly holding a slight 49-47 percent edge over AG Brnovich, but with the senator’s personal approval rating lapsing into the negative realm, 46:49 percent favorable to unfavorable. He still rates higher, however, than President Biden (45:54 percent), fellow Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (42:52 percent), and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey (39:57 percent).

Brnovich also records a negative personal approval rating at 26:32 percent, while venture capitalist Blake Masters, another top Republican in the US Senate field, posts a 16:17 percent ratio, with 68 percent replying that they “haven’t heard enough (about him) to say.”

In a ballot test against Gov. Ducey, who is not a Senate candidate, Sen. Kelly’s advantage is 50-47 percent. Masters was not included in the head-to-head pairing questions with Sen. Kelly.

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Analyzing Arizona

Click on map to go to Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s interactive map.

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 10, 2022 — Now that the new redistricting maps have been finalized in as many as 27 states, analysts can produce more detailed data about how the new seats will perform politically.

Such is the case in Arizona, as the Phoenix-based Data Orbital firm has published a new report about the Grand Canyon State’s congressional and state legislative maps. The DO research paints a more detailed picture of what we might expect in the 2022 elections.

At first glance, it appeared that the Arizona map might be one of the nation’s most competitive. The new Data Orbital information certainly supports such a conclusion, and tells us that two incumbents actually have more difficult situations than suggested at first glance, one a possibly easier road to re-election, and a third district that will likely produce razor-thin margins for either party in at least the decade’s early elections.

It was clear that Reps. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills) and Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) were placed in more competitive situations than their current CDs yield, but the more detailed historical data finds that their respective roads to re-election are even rockier.

The Data Orbital firm measured each district through five statewide elections from 2020 and 2018, overlaid the partisan registration figures, added the new registration trends, and took into account district electorate performance in high and lower turnout situations.

Using all of this data, we see that Rep. O’Halleran clearly has the worst draw and his chances for re-election this year appear dim. His new 2nd District (previously numbered 1) went Republican in all five of the tested elections; Republicans have the edge in current and new voter registration, and the Republican candidates performed better in both high and low turnout elections.

In all, the Republican nominees averaged vote margins of more than 10 percent over their Democratic counterparts. There is no statistical measure where Democrats outperformed Republicans in the new 2nd District, which places Rep. O’Halleran in the most difficult position of all the incumbents seeking re-election.

Rep. Schweikert, who won his last re-election in the current 6th District with only 52 percent, sees a much tougher road ahead of him in 2022 within the confines of the new 1st District.

In the five tested races — 2020 presidential, 2020 Senate, 2020 congressional, 2018 gubernatorial, and 2018 attorney general — Republicans only won two. The winning percentage for the Republican victories, however, is much higher than the three Democratic victories – the Dems only scored a cumulative winning average of 1.2 percent — so Schweikert certainly has a chance of winning another term. The GOP does score an overall performance margin advantage of 4.1 percent and leads the Democrats in party registration, among new registrants, and in both low and high turnout elections.

At first glance, it appeared that Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) would have a more difficult re-election situation than what the deeper dive numbers suggest. Democrats won four of the five tested elections, the overall vote average favors the Democratic candidates by 5.6 percentage points, and while registration breaks almost evenly among the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, the vote performance figures suggest that the Independent sector clearly leans Democratic. While Independents overwhelming lead the new registration category, the Democrats also outperform the Republicans by 2.4 percentage points.

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Arizona’s Competitive Map

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 4, 2022 — The Grand Canyon State of Arizona was one of the places to complete the redistricting process toward the end of 2021 when the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission members approved a new congressional plan. The new district boundaries will create one of the most competitive US House maps in the country.

The current 5D-4R map could easily swing from 6D-3R all the way to 3D-6R depending upon the political winds in any given election year. Among the current incumbents, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona), David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills), and Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) all see more competitive new seats.

The commission members also changed the district numbers, making voter history comparisons a bit more confusing. They did provide political data that summarizes certain past elections for each new seat, however. The data chart covers 10 statewide race results from 2016 through 2020.

Rep. O’Halleran’s 1st District, which stretches throughout most of eastern Arizona, is now labeled #2 and becomes much more Republican despite adding Native American population. In fact, the historical average is majority Republican, at 53.6 percent. The FiveThirtyEight statistical projection rates the new 2nd as the fourth most Republican district in the state at R+15.

Under the previous map, FiveThirtyEight rated the O’Halleran seat at R+8. Rep. O’Halleran, though acknowledging he will have a more difficult re-election battle, has already announced that he will run in the new 2nd.

Prior to the map release, two-term GOP state Rep. Walt Blackman, a Bronze Star Medal recipient for combat in Iraq and the first African American Republican to be elected to the state House, announced for the congressional seat, and now appears to be in even stronger political position opposite Rep. O’Halleran.

Rep. Schweikert’s 6th District electorate that includes the Scottsdale area, returned him for a sixth term with only a 52-48 percent margin in a CD that FiveThirtyEight rated R+13. The new 1st District has a 51.3 percent Republican average vote. The FiveThirtyEight rating for the new confines is R+7, meaning that Schweikert can again expect a competitive general election challenge.

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The Game Within the Game:
Arizona Senate Race Heats Up

By Jim Ellis

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the party nomination for the Arizona Senate.

Feb. 15, 2019 — Intrigue is already building in the Arizona US Senate special election. On Tuesday, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the party nomination. The next day, he claimed more than $600,000 had come pouring into his campaign literally overnight after making his declaration. Kelly, you remember, is the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Tucson) who was tragically shot in 2011 but miraculously survived a bullet passing through her head.

While many might take his brandishing the financial number as signaling appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally that he is going to run a tough and well financed campaign, at this point the move is likely first directed toward his potential Democratic opponent.

US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) was first elected in 2014 to replace then-Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Phoenix) who retired. Rep. Gallego has publicly stated on several occasions that he is considering running for the Senate in 2020. In fact, on Kelly’s announcement day, the congressman tweeted a message saying that he is still interested in running and will decide shortly.

According to Arizona sources, Gallego would like to hold his announcement until the Phoenix mayoral special election concludes next month. A special election is necessitated for that office because then-Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) was elected to succeed Kyrsten Sinema in the 9th Congressional District seat.

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Senate: Early Handicapping

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 17, 2019 — The 2020 Senate election cycle features 34 races instead of 33 because of the Arizona special, and this time it is the Republicans who must defend the preponderance of seats. In 2018, Democrats held 26 of the 35 seats up for election; in this cycle, Republicans must protect 22 of the 34 Senate positions.

Republicans are first risking two open seats, those of Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. At this point, both should remain in the GOP column. They also face a slew of competitive races in as many as eight incumbent states. Democrats, on the other hand, must defend in one highly competitive campaign, that of Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, and a potentially viable contest in Minnesota.

But the most vulnerable Republican races will attract serious political attention. Appointed Sen. Martha McSally (AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (CO), and North Carolina first term incumbent Thom Tillis are facing difficult election or re-election campaigns, in addition to Sen. Jones.

Martha McSally lost the 2018 Arizona Senate race to new Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) by 55,900 votes of more than 2.384 million ballots cast, or a margin of 2.4 percentage points. This, however, in the same election where Republican Gov. Doug Ducey scored a strong 56-42 percent re-election victory.

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