After a week of counting mail and post-election ballots in Georgia and Nevada, we have two more nomination winners.
In what will be a hotly contested open Atlanta suburban GA-7 race another reversal from the original Associated Press projection has occurred. Now, 2018 Democratic nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux has been declared the outright winner, avoiding the runoff campaign to which she was originally headed. The latest returns now push her over 51%, enough to mathematically clinch victory. The slow count and thousands of ballots coming in after the June 9th primary election again led to a change in outcome.
Ms. Bourdeaux, who came within 420 votes of upsetting Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) in 2018, will face Republican physician and retired Navy veteran Rich McCormick, who garnered more than 55% of the vote in last Tuesday’s Republican primary. This will be a toss-up campaign in the Fall.
In Nevada, also from a June 9th primary contest, Republican former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant has now been declared the winner over insurance agency owner Sam Peters by a 34-29% margin in the 4th Congressional District, a an unfolding result where the totals remained close but did not fundamentally change as votes were continually counted.
Mr. Marchant will now challenge Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in a general election campaign that has the potential of becoming competitive. Rep. Horsford is favored, but the 4th CD, since its original inception in the 2011 redistricting plan, has yet to re-elect an incumbent Representative.
A full day after the Nevada primary, no progress has been reported in ballot counting. It is clear that we will not see final outcomes until well into next week when all mail ballots are received.
There was a development, however, in the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary yesterday when candidate Dan Schwartz, trailing retired professional wrestler Dan Rodimer by eleven percentage points but with only 23,000+ votes counted, all but conceded when making public comments. It is expected that Mr. Rodimer will win the GOP nomination to face freshman Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas).
In the 4th District GOP primary, the race is tight between former Assemblyman Jim Marchant and insurance agency owner Sam Peters. This is a contest that won’t be decided until next week. The eventual winner faces Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) in November.
It appears the Georgia Senate race is likely headed to a runoff, though front runner Jon Ossoff (D) came very close to securing majority support (49%). Apparently, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, after trailing most of the night, slipped past ex-Lt. Governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico who out-performed expectations. The Georgia count has been delayed due to possible irregularities in the Atlanta area, which means second position may still be undecided. A runoff could be avoided if Ms. Tomlinson chooses to not contest the nomination any further.
In the competitive House races, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) will face former Rep. Karen Handel (R) in the Atlanta suburban 6th District. This race finished 50-49% in 2018.
In the 7th, 2018 nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, who came within 420 votes of winning the seat in that election, place first but fell short of winning last night’s Democratic nomination outright. She will face state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) in the August 11th runoff. On the Republican side, retired Navy officer and physician Rich McCormick claimed his party’s nomination outright with over 55% of the vote, an impressive total in a field of seven candidates. In a distant second place was state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Gwinnett County). The general election will again be a toss-up contest in the Fall.
Runoffs are occurring in the safe Republican open 9th and 14th Districts. In Rep. Doug Collins’ (R-Gainesville) open 9th CD, state Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) and retired Navy officer Andrew Clyde advance to the August 11th runoff. Rep. Collins is not seeking re-election in order to run in the special US Senate election.
In the 14th, CD from where veteran Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger/Rome) is retiring, conservative activist Margorie Greene and surgeon John Cowan advance to the second round. Both seats will be decided in the August runoff, as the Republican nominee in each of these northern Georgia districts will win in November.
Long voting lines in Nevada and the decision to allow mail ballots to be postmarked on Election Day mean the results of these primaries, most particularly in the 3rd and 4th Congressional District Republican races to face Reps. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) and Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas), respectively, likely won’t be known for several days.
Early vote returns from most of the district give former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer a ten-point lead over ex-state Treasurer and frequent candidate Dan Schwartz in the 3rd, while former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant has opened a small early lead over insurance agency owner Sam Peters in District 4.
In South Carolina, state Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island), despite released polling that forecast a toss-up race, easily defeating Mt. Pleasant City Councilwoman Kathy Landing with over 57% of the vote. Ms. Mace will now challenge freshman Democrat Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) in a district that should elect a Republican. Expect this to be a national campaign that is a must-win contest for the GOP.
No surprises in the North Dakota and West Virginia races. All incumbents in both states appear secure for re-election. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, in his first Republican primary since he was originally elected as a Democrat before switching parties, easily won nomination with more than 63% of the vote against two opponents.
Another five states will either nominate or begin the nomination process for their statewide ballots. Two of the five, Georgia and West Virginia, host presidential primaries that will assuredly put former Vice President Joe Biden over the top for the official first ballot delegate count when the Democratic National Convention meets in August. Additionally, two of the states will advance to runoff elections if the leading candidates fail to receive majority support in the various campaigns.
Senate nominations will get underway in Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia. All five states, the aforementioned along with Nevada and North Dakota, will nominate their US House candidates and those for state legislature along with some local offices. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) and North Dakota’s Doug Burgum (R) are the only gubernatorial incumbents on today’s ballot.
If candidates do not secure majority support in Georgia and South Carolina, the aforementioned runoff contests will occur on August 11th and June 23rd, respectively.
Gabriela Linder, a former US Senate intern who had a past love affair with current Nevada US Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas), has publicly asked the Congressman to resign his seat. Ms. Linder said that Mr. Horsford, according to the Daily Kos Elections news site, "…obtained his position under false pretenses that he was a family man and man of God. He should take a step back, atone, and if people are satisfied, then he can come back into politics."
Rep. Horsford said the affair, which he acknowledged, does not have any bearing on his ability to perform his congressional duties. Eight Republicans are vying for their party nomination to oppose Mr. Horsford in the Fall. Five Democrats are challenging him in the June 9th primary election.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
A newly released Nevada statewide presidential race survey from ALG Research (4/27-30; 763 NV likely general election voters) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump 49-45%, which is very similar to the final total we saw in the 2016 presidential race. In that year, Hillary Clinton carried Nevada with a 48-46% margin spread. This type of result suggests that Nevada could again become a targeted state.
Almost 48 hours since the Nevada Caucus meetings began and six days since early voting ended, preference sheet tabulation is still not complete. We know that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will finish first, but the delegate total among he and the other two allocation qualifiers, former Vice President Joe Biden and ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg, are not finalized. And, citing irregularities in the count because his internal tracking suggests different totals, Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign has petitioned the Nevada Democratic Party for a canvass of the results.
Right now, it appears that Sanders is leading with 40.7% of the aligned vote. Mr. Biden is second recording 19.7%, as compared to Mr. Buttigieg’s 17.1%. The Buttigieg numbers, however, show him surpassing Biden for second place. Delegate-wise, according to The Green Papers’ statistical website projections, Sanders will eventually clinch 24 bound delegate votes, Biden 9, and Buttigieg 3, once congressional district totals are added, but that could change if the latter man’s challenge is proven correct. Approximately 88% of the preference sheets are counted.
Voters were instructed to rank their choices from one to three. If their first choice did not make the 15% threshold, those ballots are found, and their latter choices are then recorded in the aligned vote. Delegate allocation is based upon the aligned total.
Early voting reports are emanating from Nevada for the caucus vote coming this Saturday. The state election authorities scheduled two days of early voting, an unusual procedure for this nomination format since the caucus system features actual precinct meetings. So far, more than 70,000 preference sheets – their ranked choice procedure does not feature a ballot – have been recorded. This number represents 83% of those attending the 2016 Nevada caucus meetings. Next door in California, where early voting began on February 3rd for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, over 1 million votes have already been cast in the Democratic presidential primary.
Former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in an interview as he was casting his early vote for the February 22nd Nevada Democratic Caucus, indicated that he was using all of his ranked choices to support an uncommitted delegate slate rather than any particular candidate. With the race tight and no clear leader emerging, it is possible that voting for uncommitted delegates could be an option that emerges as we move deeper into the nomination contest.
Like in Iowa, the Nevada Caucus participants have the opportunity of having a second or third choice count if their original candidate fails to qualify for delegate apportionment. Candidates must reach 15% to earn bound delegate votes.
As a possible precursor to Reid’s statement and strategy, the state’s politically powerful Culinary Workers labor union announced it would endorse no Democratic candidate.
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