When then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Tucson) was tragically shot in 2011, her then-district director Ron Barber was also wounded. Later, Mr. Barber would replace Ms. Giffords in the House, winning a close special election after the Congresswoman resigned for health reasons. He was then elected to a full term in 2012, defeating then-first time candidate Martha McSally by just under 2,500 votes. Ms. McSally would return in 2014 to unseat Mr. Barber by just 161 votes, which proved to be the closest House race in the country that year.
Now, Mr. Barber is returning to congressional service. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), the former 1st District Representative that won the open 2nd District last week, announced that Mr. Barber has accepted her offer to become her district director when she returns to the House in January.
Democratic businessman David Trone (D) won the open district campaign last Tuesday, but just after his victory a federal court ruled that his congressional district boundaries constitute an illegal gerrymander. Should the ruling hold through the Appellate courts, the legislature will be forced to re-draw the seat, and any adjacent districts that the new boundaries affect. Thinking that the district may become more Republican, state Delegate Neil Parrott (R-Funkstown/Hagerstown) announced that he is forming a 2020 congressional exploratory committee in order to possibly launch a federal campaign at a later date.
Now that the 2018 midterm elections are behind us, potential office seekers are now turning their attention toward 2019. The Kentucky Governor’s race will be on the ballot next year with Gov. Matt Bevin (R) presumably seeking re-election to a second term. He has already drawn opposition from Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), son of former Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who will apparently soon have company in the Democratic primary. State House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) has scheduled an announcement for Wednesday, which is telegraphed as being an official gubernatorial declaration of candidacy.
Attorney General and former US Congressman Jeff Landry (R) had been openly considering launching a challenge to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) next year. Yesterday, however, he began to hedge whether he will actually move forward. Knowing that Sen. John Kennedy (R) is making statements suggesting that he will enter and promises an announcement before December 1st, Mr. Landry indicated that he will not run for Governor if Sen. Kennedy ultimately decides to do so. Thus, it is appearing likely that Republicans will be coalescing behind Sen. Kennedy, which will enhance the party’s chances of unseating the first-term Governor.
Though thousands of votes will be added to the final total, a projection was made in what should be the safely Republican 48th Congressional District, a seat fully contained within Orange County. Businessman Harley Rouda (D) has defeated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), ostensibly ending the Congressman’s 30-year political career. Mr. Rohrabacher’s strange ties to the Russian government and his many favorable comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin were a major reason for his defeat in addition to the national political climate.
The second weekend congressional call came in the Charlotte, NC area. Here, Baptist former pastor Mark Harris (R) looks to have clinched about a 2,000-vote victory over businessman Dan McCready (D). It appeared that Mr. McCready was well positioned to score an upset, especially immediately after the May primary when Mr. Harris denied three-term Rep. Bob Pittenger (R-Charlotte) re-nomination. In electing a Republican, it appears this district defied the national trend.
Mr. McCready was one of the Democrats who ran his race actively saying he would not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, but that tactic appears to have been unsuccessful for him even in a district that is definitively conservative.
National voter turnout reports are surfacing and University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, who manages the United States Election Project, estimates that more than 115 million people will have voted in the 2018 midterm election when all of the results are final. This is an all-time record in terms of aggregate vote, and the eligible voter turnout percentage of an estimated 48.9% is the highest since the 1914 midterm.
By contrast in 2014, the national voter turnout was 83.2 million people, or just under 37% of the eligible voters. That total was the lowest in the post-World War II era. The 2016 presidential election saw almost 137 million voters cast a ballot, the highest aggregate ever.
Though it appears that the incoming freshman class of the 116th Congress will feature approximately 90 new members, the number is not even close to setting a record. The largest all-time House freshman class featured 176 members in the 54th Congress (1895-97).
After Sen. Doug Jones (D) won the controversial Alabama special election in 2017, it was clear he would become the Republicans’ number one target in the 2020 regular election. The Senator’s decision to oppose Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation heightened his top target status even more. Now, he may draw a very well-known Republican opponent. Departing Attorney General and former US Senator Jeff Sessions confirms that he would consider entering the race to attempt to regain the Senate seat he relinquished to become Attorney General.
Mr. Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and was easily re-elected in subsequent elections. In fact, during his last election in 2014, he did not even draw a Democratic opponent. This is a developing story.
Though there could be as many as 100,000 votes still to count, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) announced that he is conceding the congressional race to Democratic opponent Katie Hill. It is obvious that the Knight political team has calculated that he cannot make up his current deficit even with the large number of outstanding ballots.
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