House – 11/30/22
CA-13: Duarte Predicts Victory: In the lone undecided US House race, California Republican candidate John Duarte, a local farmer and agri-businessman, predicts that he will eventually win the election once officials finally count all the ballots. The state allows counties 33 days to finish their processing and tabulation procedures, with a certification deadline of December 16th.
Mr. Duarte supports his prediction by pointing out that most of the uncounted ballots are from Fresno and San Joaquin Counties in areas where the Republican performed better than his opponent, state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). Currently, the districtwide count is stalled with Mr. Duarte clinging to a 593-vote lead. If the remaining ballots from the five counties perform like the counted ballots, Mr. Duarte would win by approximately 483 votes.
It is difficult to know just how many ballots remain. Percentage estimates as to how much of the vote has been counted have not, heretofore, proven particularly accurate. Therefore, the final count remains a clouded picture.
VA-4: No Special Election Timetable Yet: The unexpected death of Rep. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) leaves a void in the Virginia congressional delegation, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said he will soon call an election to replace the late Congressman. At a news conference, the Governor said that now is the time to remember Rep. McEachin’s positive contributions meaning a replacement election schedule will be determined at a later date.
Under Virginia election law, the Governor is encumbered with no special restrictions and free to call a special federal election at his own discretion. The Governor indicated he wanted to seek advice before making a decision as to when to calendar the election. Until then, Virginia’s 4th District seat will remain vacant.
Rep. McEachin was initially elected in a similar special election, taking office in January of 2017. Prior to his tenure in Congress, Rep. McEachin served in the Virginia state Senate and House of Delegates.
Governor – 11/30/22
Louisiana: Waiting on Senator Kennedy: Statements from Sen. John Kennedy (R) uttered soon after his re-election victory on November 8th – he captured 62% of the vote to win a second term outright against a field of 12 opponents – suggest that he is moving closer to entering the 2023 open Louisiana gubernatorial contest. The Senator said he will make a decision after the first of the year. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.
Sen. Kennedy looks to be the favorite in such a race, to the point that Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) says he will wait to see what Sen. Kennedy decides before he makes his own decision about whether to seek the Governor’s position. Until Sen. Kennedy acknowledged that he is seriously considering running, Mr. Nungesser looked to be a certain candidate. Already in the race is Attorney General and former US Congressman Jeff Landry (R).
Louisiana will conduct a statewide jungle primary next October 14th. If no one receives majority support in the first election, a runoff will be held on November 18, 2023. Should Sen. Kennedy run and be elected, he would be able to choose his own successor for the Senate seat. Once an individual is chosen, he or she would serve until the next general election (2024). At that point, candidates would run to serve the remaining portion of the current term, which would mean next facing the voters in 2028 since Mr. Kennedy was just re-elected to a full term.
Mayor – 11/30/22
Chicago: Candidates Qualify for Ballot: Yesterday, it was announced that eleven candidates, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), have qualified for the 2023 Chicago mayoral election. Among Ms. Lightfoot’s opponents are US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), state Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and Chicago Aldermen Roderick Sawyer and Sophia King.
The election features a non-partisan jungle primary on February 28th. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on April 4th. Obviously, with as strong a field as we see lining up against Mayor Lightfoot, a runoff appears inevitable. Should Rep. Garcia be elected Mayor, his 4th Congressional District seat would then be vacated, thus raising the specter of seeing another special election called.
Senate – 11/29/22
Georgia: Dems Lead in Early Voting; Two Favorable Polls for Walker: With the Georgia Senate runoff fast approaching on December 6th, the early voting, or Advance Voting as the procedure is called in Georgia, is widely favoring the Democrats. After the state Supreme Court granted Advance Voting to begin when the Democratic plaintiffs requested, it was clear that the party would score a large advantage in the pre-election ballot casting process. Republicans typically catch up to early voting disparities on election day itself.
Polling, however, suggests that the race is anything but over. Two surveys were recently released, from Phillips Academy and Frederick Polls, and they arrived at similar conclusions. Phillips (11/26-27; 862 GA runoff likely voters; interactive voice response system and text) finds Republican Herschel Walker leading Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) by a single point, 48-47%. Frederick (11/23-26; 939 GA runoff likely voters) shows the two men breaking even at 50-50%. It is presumed the latter survey was pushing initial undecideds to take a position, but the actual study and crosstabs were not released.
The polling suggests that the electorate remains virtually split in this race, almost exactly what we saw in the November tally when Sen. Warnock placed ahead of Mr. Walker, 49.4 – 48.5%, but fell short of the majority threshold.
House – 11/29/22
NM-2: Defeated Rep. Herrell Files 2024 Committee: US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) is wasting no time in recovering from her tight 50.3 – 49.6% loss to Rep-Elect Gabe Vasquez (D-Las Cruces). Yesterday, it was reported that she filed a 2024 campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.
This action does not necessarily mean she has decided to run in 2024. Filing a new committee allows her to raise more money in preparation for a proposed race without becoming an official candidate. Ms. Herrell certainly may run again but will probably wait to make a final decision until she sees whether the two impending US Supreme Court redistricting rulings will affect the New Mexico congressional lines. The decisions on the Alabama and North Carolina redistricting cases are due before the end of next June.
A re-draw could certainly help Ms. Herrell or any other Republican who wants to run for the 2nd District seat. The Democratic legislature changed the district lines under the 2021 map. According to the FiveThirtyEight data organization the previous map rated the 2nd District as R+14. The changes converted the seat into a D+4, thus leading to the 2022 election result.
VA-4: Rep. Don McEachin (D) Passes Away: Reports from southern Virginia are carrying the news that three-term Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) passed away last evening after a long battle with cancer. Mr. McEachin was re-elected to a fourth term on November 8th with 65% of the vote in a 4th Congressional District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will schedule a special election to replace Mr. McEachin in accordance with state law. The true battle for the seat will come in the Democratic primary. Candidates will likely begin announcing for the special election after Mr. McEachin in laid to rest.
Senate – 11/28/22
Alaska: Sen. Murkowski Re-Elected: The Alaska votes are in and projected, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), with a 1,914 plurality vote advantage on the aggregate count and a 54-46% result through two elimination rounds of Ranked Choice Voting, was re-elected to a fourth full term. Originally, she succeeded by appointment her father, then-Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), who was elected Governor in 2002.
The final result was easily predictable, and one could argue Sen. Murkowski really won her re-election when people voted to change the state’s election system in 2020. Initiated with support from the Senator’s political organization, the hybrid jungle primary/Ranked Choice Voting system allowed Ms. Murkowski to skip what was her most vulnerable election, a partisan Republican primary. With four people now automatically advancing into the general election, the partisan nomination phase within the traditional election cycle was in effect eliminated. In 2010, Sen. Murkowski lost the Republican primary, but was re-elected when she won a write-in Independent campaign in that year’s general election.
House – 11/28/22
AK-AL: Rep. Peltola Wins Full Term: After winning the August special election through the Ranked Choice Voting system to replace the late Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), at-large Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has now clinched a full term when the state’s preliminary final vote count was released the day before Thanksgiving. The end result was predicted especially when Rep. Peltola easily placed first in the aggregate count, with a 49-26-23% margin spread over former Governor Sarah Palin (R) and businessman Nick Begich, III (R).
The first round of Ranked Choice Voting, which eliminated distant fourth-place finisher Chris Bye (Libertarian), almost put Ms. Peltola over the top. In this round, against both Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich, Rep. Peltola scored 49.2% of the adjusted vote. This result meant eliminating Mr. Begich, who was the third-place finisher. The third RCV round easily went to Rep. Peltola, who defeated Ms. Palin on a 55-45% tabulation. The Peltola victory increases the House Democratic Conference to 213 members as compared to the Republicans’ 221 with one California race remaining outstanding.
CA-13: The Last One Outstanding: We now have 434 US House races projected and the final partisan division count comes down to the end result from California’s new 13th Congressional District in the Fresno area. This post-election period could go on for some time.
The aggregate count, with a projected 96% of the votes recorded, although these estimates have not proven particularly reliable throughout the California counting process, gives Republican agri-businessman John Duarte a 593-vote lead over state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). The county with the largest outstanding vote at a 90% estimated recorded figure, is Stanislaus, which slightly favors Mr. Gray.
Depending upon this last outcome, the Republican House majority will be either 221-214 or 222-213. Another Speaker vote for California Republican Kevin McCarthy could also be critical in relation to how that internal race unfolds on January 3rd.
We can expect further days before a preliminary count is revealed, and it is likely we will see a long period of vote challenges from both sides prior to final certification of a winner. The California election certification deadline is December 16th.
Governor – 11/28/22
Alaska: Gov. Dunleavy Re-Elected Outright: One race that did not need a Ranked Choice Voting round was the Alaska Governor’s contest. Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won a second term in the aggregate count, scoring 50.3% of the vote against three other candidates.
In a distant second place was Democratic former state Representative Les Gara who posted 24.2% of the vote, while former Gov. Bill Walker, again running as an Independent, followed. The latter man recorded 20.7% of the aggregate popular vote. In the final general election qualifying position was Republican former Kenai Borough Peninsula Mayor Charlie Pierce who managed to secure only 4.5% of the vote.
Gov. Dunleavy, who faced an aborted recall effort early in his tenure, is the first re-elected Alaska chief executive since Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles won a second term in 1998.
Senate – 11/23/22
Georgia: Sen. Warnock Leads in New Poll: The Fabrizio Lee (R) and Impact Research (D) polling team conducted another survey for the AARP organization, this time of the Georgia Senate runoff election scheduled for December 6th.
According to the joint poll (11/11-17; 500 GA runoff likely voters; live interview), the first published study of this race since the general election yielded a 49.4 - 48.5% result for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) over retired professional football player Herschel Walker (R), the incumbent again posts a small advantage. The AARP ballot test finds Sen. Warnock’s lead a reaching 51-47%. As is the case with all runoff elections, voter turnout will likely be the determining factor.
West Virginia: Gov. Justice Considering Senate Race: While Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has already announced his bid to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) next year, Gov. Jim Justice (R), who is ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, indicated yesterday that he, too, is considering launching a Senate campaign.
Gov. Justice’s approval numbers are high – rated as the sixth most popular Governor nationally at 65:29% favorable to unfavorable according to the Morning Consult quarterly ratings for the period ending September 30, 2022 – so he would certainly be a formidable candidate for the Republican nomination and against Sen. Manchin. A Triton Polling & Research organization August poll found Gov. Justice leading Sen. Manchin 47-32% in an early hypothetical race survey, for example.
House – 11/23/22
CA-3: Republican Kevin Kiley Declared Winner: The Associated Press, in a race that appeared to be clinched days ago, finally projected California Republican state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Granite Bay/Sacramento) as the winner of the newly created open 3rd Congressional District that stretches from the northern Sacramento suburbs all the way into southern California via the Nevada border. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates CA-3 as a R+8 district, so the outcome of Mr. Kiley defeating Democratic physician and Iraq War veteran Kermit Jones is hardly a surprise result.
The Kiley victory brings the Republican House total to 221 with two races outstanding, the CA-13 seat that is a close contest between agri-businessman John Duarte (R) and state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), and the at-large Alaska seat of Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).
Once the Alaska contest advances into the Ranked Choice Voting rounds, which will be right after Thanksgiving, the system will produce another victory for Ms. Peltola. Therefore, count her in the Democratic column. The race between Messrs. Duarte and Gray is very tight: Mr. Duarte has an 852-vote lead with an estimated 93% of the vote counted. Therefore, this contest can still go either way when examining from where the outstanding votes lay.
Speakership: More Republicans Express Negative Views Toward McCarthy: Yesterday, we covered a story indicating that three Republicans were headed toward a “No” vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his quest to become Speaker of the House. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) publicly announced their opposition to Mr. McCarthy, while Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he does not believe Mr. McCarthy would be a successful Speaker.
Now joining the “No” chorus are Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Bob Good (R-VA). Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) was among those expressing similar feelings of failure regarding a McCarthy Speakership. With the Republicans having a 222-member conference at best (if John Duarte holds his lead in the CA-13 outstanding race), Mr. McCarthy has little margin with which to play in order to secure his 218 votes to be elected Speaker during the January 3rd initial roll call of members.
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