With almost all of the votes now counted, a change has occurred among the Alaska ballot propositions and this will drastically affect future elections. By a margin of 50.5 – 49.5%, voters have adopted a measure to become the first state in the Union to hold a “top four primary,” after it appeared the proposition was headed for defeat. The new process will create a jungle primary with all participants on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. Instead of just two finalists advancing to the general election, four will. In the general, Ranked Choice Voting will then be in effect, meaning a winner will be declared with majority support.
Analysts believe the change will be a short-term boon to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) when remembering she lost the 2010 partisan Republican primary. She then won re-election that year via the write-in process. Sen. Murkowski is expected to seek re-election, and the primary could have presented her with another competitive challenge. This system, however, will guarantee that she will easily advance into the general election.
As more Alaska votes are counted, projections are being made. Both CNN and Fox News have declared at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) as the victor over challenger Alyse Galvin (I/D). With 70% of the votes recorded, Rep. Young exceeds 58% of the vote.
Mr. Young is the Dean of the House, originally elected in a 1973 special election, and now has won a 25th term. He is the 8th longest serving House member of all-time. Completing his 25th term will move him to 6th place. The longest-serving member in US history is the late Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), with just over 59 years of service.
With Sen. Thom Tillis (R) being declared the winner in North Carolina, Alaska remains the only undecided race before the Georgia runoffs are held on January 5th. Currently, with 69% reporting and the ballot reception period ending on Friday, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) holds a 58.5 – 36.4% lead, or a vote margin of 52,995 votes.
A total of 239,986 votes have been recorded. This compares to 318,608 people participating in the 2016 election, so it appears we could see maybe as many as 100,000 votes still to be presented. If true, to overcome Sen. Sullivan’s lead, physician Al Gross (I/D) would have to score over 76% of the outstanding total to overcome the Republican lead. It appears only a matter of time before Sen. Sullivan is projected the winner.
Since seven House races were called yesterday, we now see 16 congressional contests called, eight of which are in New York and three in California.
Below is the list of the outstanding races and their current status:
AK-AL: Rep. Don Young (R)
Status: 59.2%; Reporting 69%
R+ 43,761 votes
CA-21: David Valadao (R)
Status: 51.4% ; Reporting 71%
R+ 4,041 votes
CA-25: Rep. Mike Garcia (R)
Status: 50.0%; Reporting 86%
R+ 159 votes
CA-39: Young Kim (R)
Status: 50.6%; Reporting 97%
R+ 4,168 votes
IA-2: Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R)
Status: 50.0%; Reporting 100%
R+ 40 votes
IL-14: Rep. Lauren Underwood (D)
Status: 50.4%; Reporting 100%
D+ 3,524 votes
LA-5: Luke Letlow (R)
Status: 33.1%; Reporting 100%
Runoff - Dec 5
NY-1: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R)
Status: 61.3%; Reporting 100%
R+ 65,120 votes
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino (R)
Status: 57.8%; Reporting 100%
R+ 44,898 votes
NY-3: George Santos (R)
Status: 50.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 4,171 votes
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis (R)
Status: 57.9%; Reporting 95%
R+ 37,158 votes
NY-18: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D)
Status: 51.0%; Reporting 100%
D+ 7,896 votes
NY-19: Rep. Antonio Delgado (D)
Status: 50.4%; Reporting 100%
D+ 7,893 votes
NY-22: Claudia Tenney (R)
Status: 54.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 28,394 votes
NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R)
Status: 58.5%; Reporting 100%
R+ 55,102 votes
UT-4: Burgess Owens (R)
Status: 47.6%; Reporting 95%
R+ 1,780 votes
13 of 16 R Leads
Most states also decided ballot propositions on many subjects, and several considered changes in their electoral systems.
Alaska voters were asked to consider a new primary system that would feature four candidates advancing into the general election. Though almost half the votes are still not counted, it appears the measure will be defeated. At this point, more than 56% have voted No.
Florida has a 60% rule for adopting ballot measures. Therefore, even though 57% of voters approved changing their primary system to a top-two jungle primary, the measure failed to reach the required passage percentage and thus dies.
For years, Mississippi has had a law that required statewide candidates to carry a majority of state House districts in addition to winning the aggregate popular vote. In an overwhelming result, with a 78% majority, the voters scrapped the system and future elections will be decided only from the statewide popular vote count.
Massachusetts voters were asked to approve a measure to adopt Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system where each candidate is ranked at the voting booth. If no one receives 50% of the vote, the last place candidate is dropped and the ballots that show the last place candidate as the first choice are found and their second choice is added to the count. The Bay State voters rejected the change with almost 55% of the vote.
Two states made changes in their redistricting process. Missouri changed the parameters of a previously adopted procedure that gave power to a state demographer. The measure, passing with 51%, removes the state demographer from the process. Virginia voters, with just under a 66% margin, adopted a new legislator/citizen commission process that will remove map drawing responsibilities solely from the legislative process. The legislature and Governor, however, must approve the commission-drawn maps or the state Supreme Court will assume such responsibility at the end of the process.
At this point, only three states saw incumbent Senators being defeated: Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Under Georgia law, since both of their Senate races, the regular cycle campaign and the special election, failed to produce a majority winner, a runoff election will be held for each position on January 5th.
In races of note, Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) defied pollsters projecting a Democratic victory for state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and won by nine percentage points. Despite over $100 million being spent against both Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both were re-elected with victory percentages exceeding 58 and 54%, respectively. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (MI) scored a close win over GOP challenger John James; Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recorded strong victories despite polling suggesting that both could lose.
In the four open seat campaigns, the incumbent party won each. The new Senators are Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Two races, in addition to both Georgia Senate seats going to runoffs, remain uncalled but with a clear trend. With only 50% of the votes counted in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) has a strong 62-32% lead. In North Carolina, with the post-election ballot reception period closing on November 12th, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) looks to have a small lead that won’t be surpassed, again despite polling projecting a Democratic victory for party nominee Cal Cunningham.
Assuming the uncalled races remain Republican, the GOP will have a 50-48 advantage heading into the Georgia runoffs, meaning they will retain the majority with a win in at least one of the two Senate races to be decided January 5th.
Two Senate races were called yesterday, one for Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who scored a 51-42% victory over state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport). Ms. Gideon conceded the race yesterday even though the count had not ended. In Michigan, Sen. Gary Peters (D) was projected with a very close win (49.6 – 48.5%) over GOP challenger John James.
The two calls mean that the high number for the Republican majority is 52, with the Democratic maximum being 51. The most likely outcome from the current trends and potentially projecting the runoff election under what may be a Biden victory at the presidential level is either a Republican majority of 51 or 52 seats.
In the House, 40 races remain uncalled, yet many of them are now reporting 100% of the vote being received. Of the 40, the Republicans lead in 25 and the Democrats in 15. This would translate in a Republican net gain in the House of most likely between five and nine seats.
Below is a list of the races that remain uncalled and which candidate is currently leading.
Alaska: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) - Status: 62.3%; Reporting: 50%
Georgia-A: Sen. David Perdue (R) - must reach 50%; Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 97%
Georgia-B: Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) - Status: 32.5%; Reporting: 96%
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) - Status: 26.2%; Reporting: Runoff
Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R) - Winner; Status: 51.1%
Michigan: Sen. Gary Peters (D) - Winner; Status: 49.6%
North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis (R) - Status: 48.7%; Reporting: 93%
AK-AL: Rep. Don Young (R) - Status: 63.3%; Reporting: 53%
AZ-1: Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D) - Status: 52.1%; Reporting: 92%
AZ-6: Hiral Tipirneni (D) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 76%
CA-4: Rep. Tom McClintock (R) - Status: 52.9%; Reporting: 87%
CA-8: Jay Obernolte (R) - Status: 53.3%; Reporting: 37%
CA-21: David Valadao (R) - Status: 51.4%; Reporting: 42%
CA-25: Christy Smith (D) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 77%
CA-39: Young Kim (R) - Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 89%
CA-48: Michelle Steel (R) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 93%
CA-50: Darrell Issa (R) - Status: 52.2%; Reporting: 51%
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) - Status: 51.2%; Reporting: 100%
IA-2: Marianette Miller-Meeks (R) - Status: 50.0%; Reporting: 100%
IL-14: Jim Oberweis (R) - Status: 50.1%; Reporting: 100%
IL-17: Cheri Bustos (D) - Status: 51.8%; Reporting: 100%
IN-5: Victoria Spartz (R) - Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 99%
MI-3: Peter Meijer (R) - Status: 53.1%; Reporting: 99%
MI-5: Dan Kildee (D) - Status: 54.3%; Reporting: 100%
MI-11: Haley Stevens (D) - Status: 50.0%; Reporting: 97%
MN-1: Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) - Status: 48.6%; Reporting: 100%
MN-2: Rep. Angie Craig (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 100%
NJ-2: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) - Status: 51.0%; Reporting: 75%
NV-3: Rep. Susie Lee (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 85%
NV-4: Rep. Steven Horsford (D) - Status: 49.7%; Reporting: 65%
NY-1: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) - Status: 61.3%; Reporting: 99%
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino (R) - Status: 58.1%; Reporting: 99%
NY-3: George Santos (R) - Status: 50.5%; Reporting: 99%
NY-4: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D) - Status: 52.0%; Reporting: 100%
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis (R) - Status: 57.9%; Reporting: 95%
NY-18: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D) - Status: 50.8%; Reporting: 100%
NY-19: Rep. Antonio Delgado (D) - Status: 51.3%; Reporting: 98%
NY-22: Claudia Tenney (R) - Status: 54.9%; Reporting: 100%
NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R) - Status: 58.5%; Reporting: 100%
PA-7: Lisa Scheller (R) - Status: 50.7%; Reporting: 86%
PA-8: Jim Bognet (R) - Status: 50.5%; Reporting: 86%
PA-10: Rep. Scott Perry (R) - Status: 54.9%; Reporting: 89%
PA-17: Sean Parnell (R) - Status: 51.0%; Reporting: 94%
TX-24: Beth Van Duyne (R) - Status: 48.8%; Reporting: 99%
UT-4: Rep. Ben McAdams (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 69%
VA-7: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) - Status: 50.6%; Reporting: 100%
WA-3: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) - Status: 54.7%; Reporting: 80%
Independent Al Gross also won the Democratic Senate nomination and is appearing on the ballot as a representative of the major party. Two new polls are out, both showing a close race, but Siena College/New York Times may have the more accurate read because they included Alaskan Independence Party nominee John Howe on the ballot test questionnaire. In the Harstad Research survey (10/10-13; 606 AK likely voters; live interview), which only tested Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) and Dr. Gross (D), the ballot test split, 47-46%, in favor of the latter man.
Considering the Siena/NYT (10/9-14; 423 AK likely voters; live interview) result that found Mr. Howe attracting 10% support, the race changes significantly. Here, Sen. Sullivan recoups the lead with a 45-37% split. With Mr. Howe as a qualified candidate, his presence on the ballot clearly makes a difference.
Polls are plentiful this time of year, and surprise races pop up near an election that look closer than expected. Sometimes such polling is a harbinger of a budding upset, and other times the more established candidate returns to a normal voting result. In the past few days, we’ve seen three examples of such contests.
Alaska at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), who defeated education activist Alyse Galvin (I/D), 53-46% in 2018, again sees a close poll heading into the election period just like in the previous campaign. Alaska Survey Research (9/25-10/4; 676 AK likely voters), that finds Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) improving his prospects against physician Al Gross (I/D) with a 48-44% count, sees Rep. Young, the Dean of the House who was originally elected in a 1973 special election, trailing Ms. Galvin, 46-48%.
In California, where political money has been flying in the Central Valley, veteran Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare/Fresno) won a 53-47% re-election in 2018 in a race where a combined $20 million was spent just from the two candidate committees. An early October poll from Strategies 360 (9/29-10/1; 400 CA-22 likely voters) finds Rep. Nunes leading Democratic financial advisor Phil Arballo by only a 51-46% margin in what, so far, has been a less intense campaign.
Before the 2014 election, Alaska enacted a procedure to allow candidates to run with multiple party designations. Earlier this month, the State Division of Elections director reversed the practice and ruled that only major party designations would appear next to a candidate’s name on the ballot.
At-large congressional candidate Alyse Galvin, who wants to run as a NP (Non-Partisan)/ Democrat was denied that full ballot designation, meaning she would appear only as the Democratic nominee. She sued in court to overturn the administrative ruling. Ms. Galvin won at the lower court level and since the state Supreme Court refused to hear the case yesterday, the lower ruling stands, so the original designation now returns for Ms. Galvin. Senate candidate Al Gross is also affected in similar manner. The lower court ruling said it would be an undue burden on the state to be forced to re-print all of the ballots at this point in time with the altered party identifications, hence the basis for their decision.
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