Election News

New York Times, CNN to Co-Host October Democratic Debate

September 13, 2019

The New York Times and CNN will co-host the 4th Democratic debate, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Friday. It will take place October 15 - possibly continuing on the 16th - at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will moderate; they will be joined by the national editor of the Times, Marc Lacey.

Eleven candidates have so far met the required criteria of 2% support in four polls and 130,000 unique donors. This includes the ten candidates on the stage for this week's debate as well as investor Tom Steyer, who recently qualified.  Other candidates have until October 1 to qualify. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and author Marianne Williamson are closest. Both have met the donor threshold but are short on qualifying polls: Gabbard needs two more, Williamson three.

The first two debates, with 20 candidates, took place across two nights. The more restrictive qualifying criteria used for this week's event reduced the field to ten. The same criteria are in place for the October 15 debate. With a field likely to be just slightly larger than 10, the DNC will need to determine whether to have a crowded one-night event, or split it over two nights. The latter would afford each candidate significantly more air time, but those leading in the polls may not be on stage at the same time.



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North Carolina Congressional Special Elections: Overview and Live Results

September 10, 2019

There are currently two vacancies in the U.S. House. Both are in North Carolina and both are to be filled via special elections Tuesday.  Polls close at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. Live results will appear below after that time.

9th Congressional District: This district stretches from suburban Charlotte eastward into more rural areas. The seat has been vacant since the beginning of the current Congress in January. An apparent narrow GOP win in the November, 2018 midterms was tossed out because of ballot fraud.  The 2018 Democratic nominee, businessman Dan McCready is again on the ballot. His opponent, state Sen. Dan Bishop won the Republican nomination in a large primary field. Mark Harris, the party's 2018 nominee, chose not to run in the special election.

Although Donald Trump won this GOP-leaning district by 12 points in 2016, only 905 votes separated the candidates in the discarded election.  Tuesday's election is seen as a toss-up.  For more information on how we got here and what to expect, see this analysis from FiveThirtyEight.

3rd Congressional District:  This district covers the far eastern part of the state, including the Outer Banks. Long-time GOP Rep. Walter Jones died in February; he ran unopposed to win his final term in 2018. Donald Trump won here by nearly 24% over Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Republican nominee, state Rep. Greg Murphy, is likely to prevail over Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville.

Although both parties will spin the results however they turn out, Democrats will have had a very good day with a win in the 9th district and a single-digit loss in the 3rd.  Republicans need a win in the 9th - preferably by several points - and a decisive margin of victory in the 3rd.

The U.S. House currently has 235 Democrats, 197 Republicans and one independent.   


Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall to Run for Senate

September 9, 2019

Republican Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas has launched a bid for U.S. Senate. The incumbent, GOP Rep. Pat Roberts is retiring. Marshall, in his third term, joins a field that includes the former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. It may also eventually include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has deflected questions about whether he will run.

The decision adds Marshall to the list of 2020 House Retirements, which now number 19.  The Kansas 1st District is larger, by area, than the state's other three districts combined.  It is also the most conservative. Despite the lack of an incumbent running in 2020, it is expected to remain in GOP hands.


Tom Steyer Qualifies for October Debate

September 9, 2019

Tom Steyer has become the 11th candidate to qualify for the October Democratic debate.  He has now received the required 2% support in four qualifying polls, after a Nevada poll released this past weekend. 

Steyer will join the 10 Democrats that qualified for both of the fall debates, including one this Thursday in Houston.  With the total qualifiers now exceeding 10, the October debate will likely return to a two-night format, although this has not yet been announced by the DNC.  It is scheduled on October 15 and/or 16 from an Ohio location yet to be announced.

Other candidates have until October 1 to make the debate stage. In addition to four qualifying polls, participants must have at least 130,000 unique donors. Both Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson have met the fundraising requirement, but both are short of the required polls.  Gabbard has two, Williamson one.  


Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner to Retire; Currently 2nd in House Seniority

September 4, 2019

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin announced he will not seek reelection in 2020.  Now in his 21st term, he has the 2nd longest tenure among current House members, after Don Young of Alaska.  His retirement is the 2nd of the day, after Texas Rep. Bill Flores.  The decision comes about a week after his fellow Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy announced he would resign from Congress in late September.

Wisconsin's 5th district covers much of the northern and western suburbs of Milwaukee. It is a conservative district; Donald Trump won here by 20% over Hillary Clinton in 2016.


Rep. Bill Flores Not Running in 2020; 5th Texas Republican to Retire

September 4, 2019

Rep. Bill Flores of Texas announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2020. He becomes the 5th member of the Texas GOP delegation to retire this cycle. Overall, 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats have made similar decisions.

Flores first won election to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010. He handily won reelection four times, although his margin of victory has declined significantly since an 80-20 win in 2012.  After a 32 point win in 2014, Flores won by about 25 points in 2016 and 15 points this past November.  Despite the narrowing spreads, the 17th district, which includes Waco, College Station and northern portions of the Austin area, is still considered safely Republican for 2020.


Updated Interactive Senate Map with Georgia Special Election

September 1, 2019

The Senate Interactive Map has been updated with the Georgia special election.  The initial consensus rating is Leans Republican.

The added Georgia election will be for the final two years of Sen. Johnny Isakson's term. Isakson recently announced his resignation, effective at the end of this year.  Gov. Brian Kemp will select a replacement who will serve until the winner of the special election takes office in January, 2021.

There are now 35 Senate seats to be contested^ in 2020, 23 held by Republicans, 12 by Democrats. The GOP holds a 53-47 edge. Democrats must have a net gain 3 or 4 seats to take control, depending on the outcome of the presidential election*.

Sabato's Crystal Ball and Inside Elections have started the special election with a Leans Republican rating, while The Cook Political Report has gone with Likely Republican. These ratings all mirror those that each forecaster has in place for Georgia's other U.S. Senate seat, which will be up for a regular six-year term in 2020. This makes sense, at least until we have a better handle on who is running, as these 'double-barrel' Senate races usually break the same way.  The last time the parties split in this kind of situation was 1966.

A couple other things to keep in mind...

The Georgia special election will be a 'jungle primary' where all candidates will appear on a single ballot. There will be no party primaries prior to this.

Georgia requires a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote. If either or both of these races need a runoff, it won't take place until January 5, 2021. That is after the expected start of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2021. The November elections could play out in such a way that we won't know who will ultimately control the Senate until January.

^ The Arizona race is also a special election. The winner will complete the final two years of the term of the late John McCain.  Gov. Doug Ducey initially appointed Jon Kyl to the role. Kyl later resigned, and Sen. Martha McSally was appointed to replace him. 

* A 3 seat net Democratic gain would tie the Senate at 50-50. The vice president breaks ties, so if this were to the result of the 2020 election, control would go to the party that wins the presidency.  There is a VP box on the Senate Interactive Map where you can make this selection.


GOP Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois to Retire in 2020

August 30, 2019

Long-time GOP Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois announced Friday that he would not seek reelection in 2020.

The state's 15th congressional district is the largest by land area. It is also the most conservative; Shimkus won a 12th term in 2018 by 44%; President Trump's margin was slightly better than that in 2016. 

Shimkus is the 15th current House member to announce a 2020 retirement.  12 are Republicans, 3 Democrats.  The retirement map excludes Rep. Sean Duffy (R, WI-7) who said earlier this week that he will resign his seat on September 23.  


Podium Positions Set for September 12 Debate

August 29, 2019

We found out yesterday that 10 Democrats qualified for the next debate. Now we know where they'll stand on stage.

 

 

ABC News, in partnership with Univision is hosting the debate. While the DNC certified the eligible candidates, it is the network that determined the podium order. It said that position "was determined by polling averages, based on the last 10 polls certified for qualification by the DNC with the highest polling candidates near the center."  Based on this, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren take center stage, flanked by Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

Since only 10 candidates qualified, the debate will take place on a single night, September 12, from Houston. It will be a full 3 hours, beginning at 8:00 PM ET.

The 4th debate will take place in October, date and place TBA.  Qualifiers for this debate are automatically included in the October debate, while others still have time to make it.  Three candidates have met the 130,000 donor threshold, but are short one or more qualifying polls of 2% or more.   Those candidates are Tom Steyer (1 poll short of the 4 needed), Tulsi Gabbard (2) and Marianne Williamson (3).  If one or more of these make the October stage, that event will stretch out over two nights.


Kirsten Gillibrand Drops Bid for Democratic Nomination

August 28, 2019

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she was dropping out of the presidential race after failing to qualify for the 3rd Democratic debate in September.  Her campaign had focused on women's equality and abortion rights but those issues were not enough to get her traction in the large Democratic field.  



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