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Political Snippets 12.04.20

Listed below are political snippets on the presidential turnout figures and congressional and state races around the country. Enjoy! 

President

Voter Turnout

Those who predicted that 2020 presidential election turnout would exceed 155 million people have now been proven correct. According to The Green Papers statistical website, the entire voting universe in the 2020 presidential election, while still growing as states finish their canvassing process, has reached 155,043,792 voters. 

This figure represents an increase of more than 18.25 million people since the previous presidential election in 2016. The totals represent at least a 13.3% uptick in voter participation between the two presidential years at a time the national population grew only 1.2% during the same time span.

Election Record

There are now only two presidential candidates in United States electoral history who have received more than 70 million votes, and they are former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, both in 2020. Mr. Biden is the only person ever to receive more than 80 million votes and, despite losing the popular vote, President Trump increased his vote total by just under 11 million when compared to his aggregate 2016 number.

U.S. Senate

North Carolina

As expected, US Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who did not seek re-election in 2020 after the state Supreme Court re-drew the congressional district boundaries and left him with a Democratic district that Kathy Manning (D) would eventually claim, announced this week that he will run for the US Senate in 2022 in what will become a highly competitive open seat race. 

Sen. Richard Burr (R) has stated publicly on numerous occasions that he will not seek a fourth term. Rep. Walker was first elected in 2014 from what was a Republican district and averaged 58.1% of the vote in his three congressional elections.

Candidate Recruitment

Staring at another difficult US Senate map in 2022 where Republicans are forced to protect 20 Senate seats as opposed to the Democrats’ 13, new National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-FL) looks to have his sights set on three GOP Governors, attempting to convince them to challenge incumbent Democratic Senators. 

The reported Republican Senate candidate wish list includes Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (term-limited in 2022; would potentially oppose Sen-Elect Mark Kelly who must run for the full six-year term). The others are Govs. Larry Hogan (against Sen. Chris Van Hollen) and Chris Sununu (versus Sen. Maggie Hassan). There is no guarantee that any of the Governors will run for the Senate, but they represent the most formidable potential challenger to the Democratic incumbent in each situation.

U.S. House of Representatives

CA-21

Several news outlets have now projected former US Rep. David Valadao* (R-Hanford) as the winner in California’s tight 21st Congressional District. Still with votes to count, but now holding a margin that looks beyond freshman Rep. T.J. Cox’s (D-Fresno) reach, Mr. Valadao has not yet declared victory nor has Rep. Cox admitted defeat. 

With approximately 5,000 ballots to count, Mr. Vadadao’s lead has expanded to 1,820 votes. Analyst estimates suggest that Rep. Cox is forced to garner a likely unreachable percentage to overturn the Valadao lead. A Republican victory here moves the internal House GOP conference number to 210 with three races outstanding.

CA-25

After a long political overtime period that featured a very close count from beginning to end, California Rep. Mike Garcia* (R-Santa Clarita) has officially been re-elected. The final count came down to just a 333 vote spread between he and state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall). 

Ms. Smith issued a statement of concession, but she has already filed a 2022 congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Therefore, it is likely that we will see Round 3 between these two political contenders within two years. Rep. Garcia’s first win came in the May 2020 special election. His initial victory brandished a healthier 55-45% margin. The Garcia win means the Republicans now have 212 seats. 

CA-49

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott* (R), who failed to reach the general election in the 2018 congressional race and fell to Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) 53-47% earlier this month, announced that he will run again in 2022. Redistricting will change this seat, and all others, so it is difficult to judge future political prospects at this point in time.

FL-20

Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief (D), who is ineligible to seek re-election to her local post in 2022 because of term limits, this week filed a congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission for the 20th District. 

With reapportionment likely to award Florida two new seats and redistricting to significantly change the state’s congressional district boundaries, it is likely that she will have other options for a South Florida Democratic seat rather than challenging veteran Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach). For now, however, it appears that we have a budding Democratic primary battle.

GA-5

Though his tenure in the US House will literally be only one month long, former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall (D) defeated fellow Democrat Robert Franklin to win the special election runoff to fill the unexpired portion of the late Rep. John Lewis’ (D-Atlanta) final term in office. Mr. Hall did not enter the race for the full term. The winner of the regular election, state Sen. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta) who is also the Georgia Democratic Party chair, will take the seat in January. 

Mr. Hall’s victory margin was 54-46%. Just over 22,000 people voted in the special election. Georgia law required a separate special election because the statute does not allow a congressional seat to be vacant for any longer than a certain specified period. Therefore, the state had no option but to run the special election even though the term in office would only be one month. Ms. Williams, declined to run in the special election, instead concentrating on winning the full term.

IA-2

The Iowa State Canvassing Board, as expected this week, certified the election of Republican state Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks* (R-Ottumwa) as a six-vote winner in her open seat congressional battle against former state Senator and 2018 Lt. Governor nominee Rita Hart (D-Clinton County), which is not surprisingly the closest race in the nation. The final total is 196,964 to 196,958, within a record turnout from a state that saw over 1.7 million voters cast their ballots. 

Ms. Hart, who has lost her congressional race to Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks by just six votes from more than 393,000 ballots cast, is now taking her case to overturn the result directly to the House of Representatives. She had the option of forcing a state judicial panel to be formed in order to review the entire counting process, but Ms. Hart will bypass the Iowa structure and ask the House Administration Committee to conduct an investigation. Eventually, this could mean a seating battle at the beginning of the next term involving the entire House.

LA-5

Under Louisiana election law, all candidates in each specific race are placed onto what the state leaders term a “blanket primary” (others call it a “jungle primary”) on the general election day. If no one receives an outright majority, the top two finishers advance into a runoff election scheduled for the first Saturday in December. 

This weekend, two Republicans, former congressional chief of staff Luke Letlow*, the first-place finisher on November 3rd with 33% of the vote, and state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) who slipped into second place over Democrat Candy Christophe by 428 votes will do battle. 

With only two Republicans on the ballot, the GOP is assured of holding the seat from which three-term Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) is retiring. The runoff winner would represent a safe Republican district for this term with a strong chance of seeing most of the current constituency remaining intact after redistricting.

NY-22

The Upstate NY-22 race has been the slowest to reach culmination with the final outcome still undetermined. At one point in the early counting, former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) held a lead of greater than 28,000 votes over freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), yet the race was never called.

Prior to the holiday break, Ms. Tenney’s early overall advantage had dropped to just 300 votes. When counting resumed, she found herself on the outside looking in, though tabulations were still not complete. At that point, with more than 317,000 votes counted, it was Rep. Brindisi with the slightest of leads, just 13 votes with 99% reporting. 

Additional votes were located from one of the 22nd District counties that has now put former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) ahead of Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by a dozen-vote margin. Reports suggest there are 809 disputed ballots, while over 1,600 have been rejected as both campaigns have agreed. 

This is likely another race that will likely drag on through legal challenges and motions because the final result will probably result in a virtual tie. The resolution of this contest and that in IA-2 will be interesting to observe. As they reach the US House for final determination, both could take several weeks, and possibly months, to unravel as we have seen in the past when the outcomes are as close as these.

OH-1

Fresh from another tough re-election victory (52-45%) in his Cincinnati anchored congressional district and with his state facing losing a district in reapportionment, veteran Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) yesterday announced that he will run for re-election in 2022. Ten years ago, after losing the seat for a term before winning in a 2010 re-match, the 1st District was improved for him, but it has since become a highly competitive seat. It remains to be seen how southwestern Ohio will politically evolve in the next redistricting cycle.

OR-1

Dundee, OR Mayor David Russ (R) has filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Election Commission to challenge five-term Rep. Suzanne Bonamici* (D-Washington County/Beaverton). Since her original election in a 2012 special vote to replace resigned Rep. David Wu (D-OR), Ms. Bonamici has had little trouble securing additional terms, averaging 61.1% of the vote in her five re-election campaigns. 

Oregon is expected to gain a new congressional district in the coming reapportionment, so all of the state’s existing five CDs will significantly change. Dundee is a small community of just over 3,000 people located southwest of the Portland metropolitan area in Yamhill County. The presumed new 1st District will almost assuredly again be cast as safely Democratic, so this emerging race will not likely become competitive.

DCCC

In a tight intra-party conference battle against California Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Pacoima/Los Angeles) for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring/Peekskill) emerged victorious and will replace Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) who did not seek a second term in the position in the wake of significant 2020 election losses.

Rep. Maloney’s task is now to keep and expand a Democratic majority that could be as small as five seats in the face of political history that finds the party controlling the White House almost always losing House seats in a new President’s first midterm election.

Governor/States

Minnesota

Matt Birk, a former Center for the Minnesota Vikings NFL franchise, confirmed in a radio interview that he is considering entering the 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary to seek the party nomination to oppose first-term Gov. Tim Walz (D). Mr. Birk played eleven years for the Vikings before ending his football career with the Baltimore Ravens. Various state legislators and My Pillow company founder and CEO Mike Lindell are also testing the political waters for a gubernatorial run.

Ohio

Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who was one of the most aggressive Governors in the country during the original pandemic shutdown phase, is under attack from the Republican base to the point where he may draw a serious primary challenge in two years. Former US Representative and 2018 US Senate nominee Jim Renacci (R) is said to be making moves to develop a campaign to challenge Gov. DeWine in the 2022 Republican primary. If this race materializes, it will be a serious challenge and one worth watching.

Oregon

Physician Bud Pierce, who was the Republican nominee in the 2016 special gubernatorial election and lost to then-acting Gov. Kate Brown (D), 51-44%, said early this week that he will run again in 2022. The Oregon gubernatorial position will be open in two years because Gov. Brown is ineligible to seek re-election under the state’s term limit law. 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island looks to be among the losing states in reapportionment, meaning its two Democratic congressional districts will be collapsed into one. Veteran Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick), who was first elected in 2000, could be the odd man out in a race against Providence-based Rep. David Cicilline. Therefore, it looks as if Mr. Langevin is testing the waters for a gubernatorial campaign instead of going head-to-head with Rep. Cicilline. 

Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is ineligible to seek a third term, meaning that we will see an open gubernatorial race in 2022, sure to be decided in a crowded September Democratic primary that can be won with only a plurality of the vote.

Texas

Democrats are beginning to assess their chances of challenging Lone Star State Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who is preparing to seek a third term in 2022. So far, the Democratic field appears limited but does feature several big names. 

Among them are former US Representative, presidential, and Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, ex-Housing & Urban Development Secretary and presidential candidate Julian Castro, and the latter man’s twin brother, US Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio). Presumably, the two brothers will not oppose each other for the nomination. It will be interesting to see if any of these men make substantial moves toward forming a gubernatorial campaign in the early months of 2021.

People’s Party

A segment of the Bernie Sanders progressive left movement has formed a new political party, the People’s Party, and they have now qualified for the ballot in an initial state. The People’s Party has obtained ballot placement in the state of Maine for the 2022 midterm elections. They are attempting to qualify in other states, so it remains to be seen how credible this movement becomes.


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