Tag Archives: Tom Kean Jr.

House Updates – Including Gerrymandering: AL, CO, NM, NJ & NY

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

House

Alabama redistricting map

Redistricting: Supreme Court Hears Alabama Case — In one of the first cases on the US Supreme Court’s new term docket, oral arguments were heard for the Alabama racial gerrymandering redistricting case, which could result in a landmark ruling relating to future interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.

The state of Alabama is arguing its reasons for keeping the state’s congressional map, which features one strong majority minority district. The US government is arguing that a second minority seat can be drawn. The presentations consumed more time than usual for Supreme Court oral arguments, and now it is up to the nine justices to craft a definitive ruling, which will be released sometime before June next year.

In November, the high court will hear oral arguments on the North Carolina redistricting case, which will lead to a definitive ruling pertaining to judicial power over the constitutional authority of state legislatures.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert’s Slight Lead — Despite representing a relatively safely Republican western slope 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) looks to have a competitive race on her hands as we begin the campaign cycle’s final weeks. Colorado-based Keating Research conducted a poll for the Adam Frisch (D) campaign (Sept. 28-Oct. 2; 500 likely CO-3 voters; live interview & text). The ballot test results found Rep. Boebert’s lead shrinking to 47-45 percent, down from Keating’s 49-42 percent spread detected in its July survey.

Expect to see countering numbers from either the Boebert campaign or the National Republican Congressional Committee to soon be released.

NM-2: Gerrymandered District Yields Dem a Slight Edge — The Global Strategy Group, polling for the Gabe Vasquez (D) campaign, tested the NM-2 electorate to determine the state of the race featuring freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) and Vasquez, a Las Cruces City councilman. The GSG survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NM-2 voters; live interview) sees Vasquez pulling ahead of Rep. Herrell, 45-43 percent.

The result is not particularly surprising in that the Democratic legislature and governor crafted the new 2nd CD to flip. Before redistricting, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rated the seat, R+14. Post-redistricting, we see a D+4 categorization. This district will still yield a close finish, and voter turnout will tell the ultimate tale.

NJ-7: Rep. Malinowski Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat — The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research organization conducted a congressional poll for two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), who is again in a tight battle with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R). In 2020, Kean held Rep. Malinowski to a 51-49 percent re-election win in a district that was more Democratic than the new 7th. The GQR survey (Sept. 20-26; 500 likely NJ-7 general election voters) sees both candidates now attracting 48 percent of the vote. The Democratic pollster, however, also detects a partisan generic party label split of 50-45 percent favoring the Republicans. NJ-7 is a key Republican conversion opportunity seat.

NY-22: Republican Breaks Ahead — The Syracuse-anchored 22nd District is open in the 2022 election cycle because Rep. John Katko (R-Syracuse), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump, is not seeking a fifth term. Ironically, the court-drawn map actually makes this district two points more Republican than the seat the Rep. Katko consistently won.

Siena College conducted an independent poll for the Spectrum News Service (Sept. 25-28; 453 likely NY-22 general election voters) and sees Republican technology company executive Brandon Williams jumping out to a five point, 45-40 percent, advantage over former intelligence agency analyst Francis Conole (D).

With the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a 25:63 percent margin, it is not particularly surprising to also see Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) falling behind Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) in this Upstate District. NY-22 is a must-win for the GOP in November.

Our Primary Preview Shows Liz Cheney Down Big in Latest Wyoming Poll; Key California Race Polls; Incumbents in Trouble in Four States

By Jim Ellis — Aug. 15, 2022

Primary Preview

Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY)

WY-AL: Cheney Down 29 Points in Poll — The University of Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center conducted a poll of Tuesday’s Republican congressional primary (July 25-Aug. 6; 562 likely WY-AL Republican primary voters; live interview) and sees GOP attorney Harriet Hageman leading US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) by a whopping 57-28 percent count as the candidates wrapped up their final campaign activities during the weekend.

Remembering that Wyoming has an open primary where Democrats and Independents can vote in a Republican primary (and vice-versa), Cheney’s numbers among self-identified Republican voters are even worse, 68-15 percent, in favor of Hageman. The congresswoman gets 98 percent of the crossover Democratic vote, however, while the Independents are split about evenly with the incumbent leading 43-40 percent within this voter segment.

Former Wyoming Republican National Committeewoman Harriet Hageman (R)

The pollsters wanted to see how many people are actually voting for a Cheney opponent, namely Hageman, or to make a statement of opposition against the congresswoman. Therefore, after the individual had stated a candidate preference, the interviewer asked the respondents if their vote is to “mainly support” (the named candidate) or oppose Liz Cheney? The reverse was asked of those people saying they are voting for the congresswoman.

Among Republicans voting for Hageman or one of the other Cheney opponents, 39.5 percent said they were making a statement of opposition toward the Congresswoman, while 31.5 percent said they were stating support for their chosen candidate. The remaining 29.0 percent volunteered that they were doing both. Among the Democrats voting for one of the Republicans other than Cheney, 100 percent of them said they were doing so to oppose the congresswoman. Within the Independent non-Cheney voter segment, 47.1 percent said their vote opposes Cheney versus 21.6 percent to support their chosen contender.

For those supporting Rep. Cheney, 77.8 percent of Republicans, 60.0 percent of Democrats, and 58.8 percent of Independents said their vote is a sign of support for the congresswoman. It appears clear that Hageman will defeat Rep. Cheney on Tuesday night.

A Cheney defeat would mean that of the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Trump, only one, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) who survived his jungle primary with less than 30 percent of the vote, is on a track to win re-election. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) could also win, but he fared poorly in his jungle primary, barely capturing second place, and currently trails in polling opposite Democratic state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield). Therefore, his re-election path is more difficult.

Should Cheney lose on Tuesday as expected, four of the impeachment Republicans would have lost re-nomination (Tom Rice (R-SC); Peter Meijer (R-MI); Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA); and Ms. Cheney), and four did not seek re-election (Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), and Fred Upton (R-MI)).

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California: Series of Key Race Golden State Polls — RGM Research conducted polls in House districts throughout the country including three in northern California contested districts. All are in close competition at this point. Each of the polls consisted of 400 respondents for the individual tested districts. The CA-9 poll was conducted during the July 19-26 period.

In the Stockton anchored district, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock) and San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti (R) are tied at 38 percent. In the new open 13th CD that stretches from the southern Sacramento County border to Fresno, the survey was conducted during the July 26 – Aug. 2 period. On this ballot test, rancher John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) are tied at 37 percent.

In Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Hanford) 22nd CD (July 30-Aug. 5), the ballot test finds state Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) leading the congressman, 39-34 percent.

IN-2: Special Election Scheduled — Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), as expected, announced that the special election to replace the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Elkhart) will be held concurrently with the Nov. 8 general election. Republicans will gather in a precinct committee convention on Aug. 20 to choose a nominee for the special election, and a replacement for Walorski, who won the May Republican primary, in the regular election. Democrats are expected to nominate the party’s regular election nominee, educator Paul Steury.

Incumbents: Polls Find Four Incumbents Trailing — The RMG Research firm is polling around the country and found an additional four races where the incumbent House member is trailing. This, in addition to Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) falling behind in his Fresno/Bakersfield seat as covered in the California report above.

  1. In Iowa, state Sen. Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant) holds a substantial 49-41 percent advantage over Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Des Moines) according to 400 respondents on the RMG survey conducted over the July 29 – Aug. 5 period.
  2. Former New Jersey state senator and 2020 Republican congressional nominee Tom Kean Jr. leads Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) 46-38 percent on the 400-person sample RMG Research survey conducted in the Garden State’s 7th CD (July 23-28).
  3. Moving to the Kansas City, KS area, challenger Amanda Adkins, the 2020 Republican congressional nominee, holds a 46-45 percent edge over Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Roeland Park). This RMG poll also surveyed 400 likely voters, and in KS-3 over the period of July 21-28.
  4. Finally, in the Las Vegas area, the RMG poll for Nevada’s 3rd District (July 23-29; 400 likely NV-3 general election voters) finds challenger April Becker (R) holding a 44-41 percent lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas).

New Jersey Primary Results

By Jim Ellis

July 8, 2020 — Five weeks after the originally scheduled New Jersey primary was supposed to occur, Garden State voters went to the polls yesterday or mailed their ballots to choose party nominees for the Fall elections.

New Jersey Congressional Districts in 2020

Former vice president Joe Biden and first-term US Sen. Cory Booker scored easy wins in the Democratic primary, with each man recording almost 90 percent of the intra-party vote. The Republican Senate race is rather close, but it appears that 2018 congressional candidate and businessman Hirsch Singh will score a tight win and advance into the general election. Sen. Booker is a lock to win the general election.

Vote totals are low, suggesting that once again it will be several days before we have declared winners in all races. Unlike other states in this situation, however, few close races are on the board.

Party-switching Congressman Jeff Van Drew won his first Republican primary with a preliminary figure of 81 percent, which solidifies the Republican base for the November election. The 2nd District, which encompasses most of southern New Jersey, will now feature a competitive general election between Rep. Van Drew and preliminary Democratic primary winner, Amy Kennedy the wife of former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who scored a win that looks to fall in the 59 percent range.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) looks to be facing venture capitalist David Richter in the 3rd District race. Richter appears to have scored a big win over former Burlington County freeholder Kate Gibbs. This race could potentially become the most competitive race in the state.

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Jersey Primary Today

By Jim Ellis

July 7, 2020 — The postponed New Jersey primary is today, and though the US Senate race is not competitive, as incumbent and former presidential candidate Cory Booker (D) is a prohibitive favorite for re-election, the US House races feature several interesting campaigns.

NJ-2 Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew

In the 2nd District, which begins at the southernmost tip of the state and travels northeast through Atlantic City before encompassing most of the New Jersey southern sector, Democrat turned Republican freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township) faces trade association executive Bob Patterson in the GOP primary.

Patterson ran in the 1st District in 2016, challenging Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City) and lost in a predictable landslide, 60-37 percent. The first primary in a party-switchers new electoral home is always the toughest, but Rep. Van Drew appears well positioned to cruise to a nomination victory tonight.

On the Democratic side, Amy Kennedy, wife of former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, looks to have the inside track in today’s primary. Her top competition is college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison.

Just to the north of the Van Drew seat, freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) will have his hands full in his first re-election. Clearly, he is readying for the task as he is reporting raising over $4.1 million through the June 17 pre-primary report. He is unopposed in the Democratic primary today.

Rep. Kim will face either venture capitalist David Richter or former Burlington County freeholder Kate Gibbs. The latter was defeated for re-election in her last campaign. Richter has the financial edge and would likely be Kim’s stronger general election opponent. This race will likely move into the toss-up realm.

Three Democrats are vying for the opportunity of challenging veteran Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) in the Trenton area seat. Smith, who will likely rank third in the next Congress on the House seniority list having been first elected in 1980, was the only New Jersey Republican to survive the 2018 Democratic blue wave. He is in stronger political position heading into this election.

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Jersey House Competition

By Jim Ellis

April 27, 2020 — The Monmouth University Polling Institute conducted a statewide poll of the New Jersey electorate (April 16-19; 704 New Jersey adults, 635 registered New Jersey voters, 96 percent of whom said they are certain or likely to vote in November) and while the results returned predictable figures in the presidential and Senate races, an interesting tidbit about the House races came to light.

In the presidential race, former vice president Joe Biden led President Trump 54-38 percent according to Monmouth’s latest New Jersey poll, and Sen. Cory Booker (D) led his strongest potential Republican opponent, 55-32 percent. Both sets of numbers were predictable and consistent with recent Garden State voting history.

New Jersey congressional districts: Districts 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 are the six safe seats. Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 11 comprise the competitive sector.

Though the Monmouth pollsters didn’t test the individual House races, they did ask the partisan preference question and segmented the congressional districts into two campaign categories, the competitive group and the non-competitive group.

Statewide, 50 percent of the respondents said they would vote for the Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives as compared to 38 percent who would choose the Republican contender. But when looking at the competitive House category, Republicans look to have a glimmer of hope of potentially recapturing some of the seats they lost in the 2018 election.

In that year, Democrats converted Districts 2, 3, 7, and 11, gaining four seats and leaving the 12-member NJ federal delegation with only one Republican member at the outset, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) in the 4th CD. Since the election, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/Atlantic City) changed parties after being elected as a Democrat. All of these seats, including District 4, and 5 in northern New Jersey (Rep. Josh Gottheimer-D), comprise the competitive sector. Districts 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 are the six safe seats.

In the “safe” House category, 56 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Democratic candidate as compared to 31 percent who aligned themselves with the eventual Republican general election candidate. In the competitive districts, however, by a 46-45 percent plurality, the respondents said they would vote for the Republican candidate. Considering that Rep. Gottheimer will not be seriously challenged, the GOP numbers in the truly contested districts should even be stronger. This type of result should continue to make many of the Garden State seats prime 2020 Republican national targets.

The safe seats, with all incumbents seeking re-election, are held by Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden City), Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Albio Sires (D-West New York), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne (D-Newark), and Bonnie Coleman Watson (D-Ewing Township).

The competitive seats feature party-switching Rep. Van Drew seeking his first re-election. He looks strong in the Republican primary – a first vote as a party’s new incumbent can be difficult – and will face either college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison or Amy Kennedy, wife of former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), in what should be a competitive general election. With a solid Republican primary victory, Rep. Van Drew will be favored in November.

The 3rd District may be the Democrats’ most vulnerable seat. Freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) upset then-Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in 2018, and now faces what should be a strong GOP opponent. Venture capitalist David Richter, who was originally running in the 2nd District until Rep. Van Drew became a Republican, is considered the favorite for the GOP primary, and he appears to be a strong challenger for Rep. Kim but will have less time to develop the campaign. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has moved the state primary from June 2 to July 7.

NJ-3 looks to be the most likely of the New Jersey seats to flip. Until Kim won here two years ago, and except for a one-term lag, Republicans had held this southern New Jersey seat since 1979.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), who was first elected to the House in 1980, looks to face an easier re-election contest this year than he did two years ago. In an election when he was the Republicans’ lone survivor, Rep. Smith scored a 55-43 percent victory.

Freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) will almost assuredly face state Senate Minority Leader and former statewide candidate Tom Kean Jr. Sen. Kean’s father, Tom Kean, served as New Jersey’s governor from 1982-1990. This race promises to be a premier contest in a district that a Republican has represented since 1981 until Malinowski won in the most recent vote.

In northern New Jersey’s 11th District, freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair/Morristown) who won another traditionally strong Republican seat that the party had held since consecutively since 1985, stands for her first re-election. Her challenger is consensus Republican candidate Rosemary Becchi, an attorney and former Capitol Hill committee staff member, who was originally challenging Tom Kean Jr. for the party nod in the 7th District.

Party leaders were able to convince her to run in the 11th CD and helped clear the field. She will be a credible challenger to Rep. Sherrill, but the congresswoman is such a strong fundraiser (already has raised $3.4 million for this election) that the race will be a difficult one for Sherrill despite what should be a favorable district.

With Republicans developing a strong slate of New Jersey US House candidates in places where they have traditionally been successful, the Garden State elections will go a long way toward determining if the GOP has any chance of re-claiming the House majority. If the Democrats stem the tide here, they very likely will retain control.