Tag Archives: Rep. Ted Deutch

Early Voting Open in Four States; Sen. Bennet Up Comfortably in Colorado; Utah Senate Polling Shows Close Results; Florida House Turmoil

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022

Voting

Early voting has begun in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Voting Begins: Early Voting Open in Four States — The first general election votes of the 2022 election cycle will be received soon. The early voting calendar has opened in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. Ballots have been mailed to voters in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, so we can expect to see early voting commence in those two states, as well.

Most of the states return to their pre-2020 voting status, since the court-ordered Covid related universal mailing voting rules were in effect only for the previous election year unless the state enacted new electoral procedures in their 2021-22 legislative session. Even though the universal mail balloting provisions revert to previous law, 45 states now feature some type of early voting procedure.

Senate

Colorado: Sen. Bennet Up Comfortably — Emerson College tested the Centennial State electorate (Sept. 18-19; 1,000 likely Colorado general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) and found Sen. Michael Bennet (D) leading GOP businessman Joe O’Dea by a ten-point, 46-36 percent, margin. Republicans have tagged this race as an upset possibility, but this poll shows little weakness for the Democratic incumbent who is seeking his third full term.

Utah: Another Close Result — Polling data suggests that the Utah Senate race is the closest campaign that attracts the least national attention. A new Dan Jones & Associates survey for the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics (Sept. 3-21; 815 registered Utah voters; 786 likely general election voters) finds Sen. Mike Lee (R) ahead of Independent Evan McMullin by only a 37-34 percent margin. Though this poll has a very long sampling period, which adversely affects accuracy, it is consistent with some others we’ve seen of this race.

Early in September, both Impact Research and Kurt Jetta, polling for the Center Street PAC, found the candidates languishing within a combined four-point range. Impact Research actually found McMullen claiming a one-point edge.

Back in April, the majority of Utah Democratic Party convention delegates voted not to field a candidate for the purpose of coalescing behind McMullin. Though he is more conservative than what most of the delegates would have desired in a candidate, they did want to see McMullin have a one-on-one shot to challenge Sen. Lee.

House

FL-22: Rep. Deutch Announces Resignation Plans — In February, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) announced that he would leave the House before the end of the current legislative session in order to assume the leadership of the American Jewish Committee. At the time, Deutch said he would leave sometime on or around Oct. 1. Late last week, the congressman confirmed he will officially resign his seat before the end of September.

It is unlikely that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will have the time to call a special election to replace Deutch for a probable lame duck session since Florida law dictates a relatively long voting schedule period once such an election is called. Therefore, with the party nominations having been decided in the Aug. 23 primary, the new 23rd District will remain open until the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 2023. In the open seat general election, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz (D) is favored over Republican Joe Budd in a South Florida district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates D+9.

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.

Four More Reps Departing

By Jim Ellis

March 2, 2022 — Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) impending resignation has begun an Oklahoma game of political musical chairs. One member of the Sooner State US House delegation announced that he will run in the special election, and another is soon expected to follow suit.

A third member, a committee chairman from Florida, announced that he will resign to become CEO of an advocacy organization. Finally, a freshman from Hawaii is sending signals that he won’t seek a second term.

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) is now a US Senate candidate, formally entering the special election to succeed resigning Sen. Inhofe. Inhofe will serve through the balance of this year, with his successor coming from the regular election calendar and taking office at the beginning of the next Congress.

Rep. Mullin announced his statewide intentions Monday, and his move will create a crowded Republican primary in the state’s easternmost congressional district, a newly drawn 2nd CD that would have supported former President Donald Trump with a whopping 76-22 percent margin.

Reports suggest that two-term Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Tulsa) will also soon join the Senate race and risk his safely Republican district anchored in the state’s second largest city of Tulsa. Both will oppose now-former Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, whom the senator is publicly supporting.

Additionally, state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), who was challenging Sen. James Lankford in the regular Senate election, said that he, too, will switch to the open special election. Sen. Lankford’s other primary opponent, pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, indicated that he will also likely move to the open special election contest. Former state House Speaker and 2016 US Senate candidate T.W. Shannon is another potential Republican Senate candidate.

As sitting members, both Reps. Mullin and Hern can transfer their federal money raised for their House campaigns to a Senate committee. At the end of the year, Rep. Mullin had more than $944,000 in his account, and Rep. Hern just under $560,000. State Sen. Dahm had just under $83,000 in his US Senate campaign account. It is clear the Oklahoma Senate primary will become a major nomination campaign.

The Sooner State candidate filing deadline is April 15 for the June 28 primary election. Should no candidate receive majority support, which is a likelihood, a runoff election between the top two finishers will be held on Aug. 23.

Also, Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, announced on Monday that he will be leaving Congress when the House recesses to accept a position to run the American Jewish Committee advocacy organization.

Deutch first came to the House when winning a 2010 special election after then-Rep. Robert Wexler (D) resigned the seat, and leaves what is now a safely Democratic domain in which over 80 percent of the constituency lies in Broward County and the other 20 percent in Palm Beach County. The current 22nd District supported President Biden, 57-42 percent, but with redistricting still not completed in Florida Republican map drawers may find it more appealing to significantly change the district boundaries with no incumbent on the succeeding ballot.

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Early Senate 2022 Previews:
Florida & North Carolina

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 14, 2021 — Regardless of how many in-cycle Senate seats – there are 34 in the 2022 election cycle – come into political play, we can count on seeing Florida and North Carolina once again hosting crucial battleground campaigns.

Florida is always consistent in their close vote totals, particularly when remembering the 2000 presidential campaign — and pollsters, while typically forecasting tight finishes, have often missed the outcomes. In fact, the cumulative polling community has predicted close Democratic victories in the last four key statewide elections: two presidential (2016 & 2020), one senatorial (2018), one gubernatorial (2018), and been wrong on each occasion.

Since 2016, inclusive, Florida has hosted eight statewide races with Republicans winning seven. Yet, their average cumulative vote percentage for these eight victorious campaigns was just 50.7 percent, with the high point being 52.0 percent (Sen. Marco Rubio-R, 2016). Democrats recorded the low winning total: 50.04 percent — 6,753 votes from 8,059,155 votes cast; agriculture commissioner, 2018; winner Nikki Fried (D) vs. Matt Caldwell (R). The aggregate average among the statewide contests in these three most recent election years is 50.7 – 47.9 percent in the GOP’s favor.

With this background, Sen. Rubio will presumably seek a third term next year against what will surely be a highly competitive Democratic opponent. At this point, most of the speculation surrounds two Democratic House members, neither of whom has closed the door on either running for the Senate or challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as he seeks a second term.

Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park) and Val Demings (D-Orlando) are the two most prominently mentioned prospective contenders, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one run for Senate and the other for governor. It is less likely that we would see a primary developing between the pair in one of the races.

Other names being floated are Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), who is always mentioned as a potential statewide candidate because he previously served both as attorney general and governor and lost two other statewide campaigns. Other potential contenders are Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Miami). The state’s lone Democratic office holder, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, is more often associated with running for governor as opposed to the Senate contest.

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Florida Redistricting: The Latest

Jan. 14, 2016 — The Florida court-ordered redistricting saga continues with new developments regularly changing the political atmospherics. Back in early July, the Florida state Supreme Court struck down eight of the state’s congressional districts – four Republican-held; four Democratic – for reasons of “partisan gerrymandering.”

The map has been changed, enacted, and now fully reported. Since the exact boundaries have found their way into the public domain, we can now see that virtually the entire state has been affected. Mandating boundary alterations in eight districts translated into changing 24 of the state’s 27 CDs. The only three to remain intact are a trio of Republican seats: FL-1 (Rep. Jeff Miller-Pensacola; northwest Florida Panhandle); FL-8 (Rep. Bill Posey; Cape Canaveral to Vero Beach); and FL-19 (Rep. Curt Clawson; Ft. Myers-Cape Coral to Marco Island).

One, Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-Jupiter) 18th District (Ft. Pierce to West Palm Beach), saw less than a one percent change. The two districts altered the most are Rep. Corrine Brown’s (D-Jacksonville) 5th District and GOP Rep. Dan Webster’s 10th CD (Orlando).

The Brown seat that formerly stretched from Jacksonville to Orlando, touching Gainesville and Sanford along the way, now encompasses territory from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. It is still heavily African American, but the original region has been divided over six districts. The largest portion of the 2011-drawn seat, a 40.1 percent population segment, is actually in Orlando. Her Jacksonville anchor maintains just 38.2 percent of the former FL-5 constituency.

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