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Election News

Bill Weld Exploring Primary Challenge to President Trump

February 15, 2019

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is exploring a primary challenge against President Trump.  Weld announced the launch of an exploratory committee at a New Hampshire breakfast on Friday morning.

Weld served two terms as Massachusetts governor during the 1990's.  More recently, he was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential nominee in 2016. On the ballot with Gary Johnson, the Party received over 3% of the nationwide vote. This was the best 3rd party performance since Ross Perot in 1996.

Challenging an Incumbent

It remains to be seen how much traction Weld will get or if he proceeds with a campaign.  However, it is worth noting that the history of serious incumbent primary challenges in the modern era is not a good one - either for the challenger or the sitting president. A strong primary challenge highlights fractures in a party, and often weakens the incumbent in the general election. We saw this most recently in 1992, where George H.W. Bush fended off Pat Buchanan, but lost the general election to Bill Clinton. Interestingly, that situation is somewhat the mirror of today. Trump represents the now-ascendant populist wing of the party, while someone like Weld would potentially appeal to the type of GOP championed by the Bushes.

In 1976 and 1980, presidents Ford and Carter faced serious primary challenges. Both prevailed but were defeated in the general election. Another type of situation occurred in 1968, where President Johnson faced a challenge from Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who ran on an anti-Vietnam War platform.  McCarthy's strong early showing caused Johnson to abandon his re-election effort. Ultimately, McCarthy didn't win the nomination and Republican Richard Nixon was elected in November of that year.

Trump Campaign Focused on Three Democratic Senators Running for President

February 14, 2019

Politico reports that President Trump's advisers are focusing their efforts on three of the declared 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.  Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Kamala Harris (CA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) are seen by the campaign as the most viable candidates at this point. 

The advisers believe the list of Democrats in the race will grow significantly before summer and expect that their target list will evolve over time. Trump himself believes former Vice-President Joe Biden would be the most formidable general election rival.

Overall, there are 9 Democrats in the 2020 field.  We've got 25 names on our list of prospective and announced candidates.

North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones Dies on his 76th Birthday

February 10, 2019

GOP Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina passed away Sunday on his 76th birthday. He had entered hospice care in late January. Jones ran unopposed for a 13th term this past November.

The 3rd district of North Carolina encompasses much of the state's Atlantic coast north of Wilmington. A special election will be held to fill the remainder of his term.

The U.S. House currently has 235 Democrats and 197 Republicans. There are three vacancies.  

 

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar Joins 2020 Presidential Field

February 10, 2019

There are 17 Democratic women in the U.S. Senate. With her announcement Sunday, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar becomes the 4th of those to join the 2020 presidential race.  She follows Kamala Harris (CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Elizabeth Warren (MA).  Warren officially joined the race on Saturday. There are now nine* Democrats seeking the party's nomination.

Interestingly, of all the Democrats that may run in 2020, none are from a state that was as closely-contested as Minnesota in 2016. Hillary Clinton prevailed here by just 1.5% over Donald Trump, as it nearly joined the blue wall states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that powered Trump's win. On the other hand, Minnesota has not voted for a GOP nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972, the longest such state single-party streak^ in the nation. The Cook Political Report has started the state as Leans Democratic in 2020.

* Including two that have formed exploratory committees; one step short of a formal announcement.

^ Washington, D.C. has had 3 electoral votes since 1964. It has never voted Republican. Curious about your state's streak?  See our Same Since Electoral Maps.

Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall Not Running in 2020

February 7, 2019

Rep. Rob Woodall will not seek a 6th term in 2020. The Georgian Republican narrowly won re-election in November; his margin of victory over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux was less than 500 votes

After Woodall's announcement; Bourdeaux indicated she would run again in in 2020. The race is again likely to be closely-contested. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, "the race to represent the 7th District, which includes portions of Gwinnett and Forsyth County, was the closest congressional race in the country last year. Once lily white and deeply conservative, it’s now at the center of the demographic shifts that have transformed Atlanta’s wealthy suburbs into political battlegrounds." 

 

No Road to 270: Try the Interactive Electoral College Tie Finder

February 1, 2019

We've updated the Interactive Electoral College Tie Finder for the 2020 race.  It shows all possible 269-269 ties for a given group of undecided locations (states and/or Maine/Nebraska districts).  

11 states, as well as Nebraska's 2nd district were decided by less than a 5% popular vote margin in 2016. There are 64 possible ties based on that group of locations. An additional seven locations were decided by approximately 5-10% that year.  

Use the tool to look at what ties are possible based on any combination* of these 19 locations.  Over time, we'll update the locations in the tie finder as needed based on how the 2020 race evolves.

In this random example, there are five possible tie combinations:

If no nominee reaches 270 electoral votes, the presidency is decided by the U.S. House of Representatives, with each state receiving a single vote, regardless of the size of its delegation. The GOP currently holds a 26-22 lead across the 50 states, with two ties. This would favor that party in a 269 tie scenario. However, that is not set in stone, as any tie in the 2020 presidential election would be broken in January, 2021, by the House members elected that November. 

* Up to 12 locations can be included in the calculation

Senator Cory Booker Joins 2020 Democratic Presidential Field

February 1, 2019

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker will run for president in 2020.  Booker made the announcement on Friday morning, timed to the first day of Black History Month.

Booker, who will be 50 in April, has been in the U.S. Senate for about six years. He won a special election in October, 2013 to complete the term of Frank Lautenberg, who had died earlier that year. In 2014, he was elected to a full six-year term. Prior to serving in the Senate, Booker was a two-term mayor of Newark.

Booker is the 6th Democrat to formally join the 2020 field, with another three having formed exploratory committees, a step just short of an official announcement.

Texas GOP Concerned Trump Could Lose State in 2020

January 30, 2019

The Washington Examiner reports "top Republicans in Texas are sounding the alarm about 2020, warning President Trump could lose the usually reliably red state unless he devotes resources and attention to it typically reserved for electoral battlegrounds."

Texas hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter won here by about 3% in 1976. Trump won the state by nine points in 2016. While not particularly close, it was the smallest GOP margin since Bob Dole's five point win here in 1996.

Could Trump win reelection if he were to lose Texas and its 38 electoral votes? Probably not, unless this was strictly a regional issue and he was able to offset it by building upon his 2016 realignment of the electoral map. That year, he flipped Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn't voted Democratic in a generation. In addition, he narrowly lost Minnesota, New Hampshire and Maine's at-large electoral votes.

In the scenario below, we assume a loss in Texas correlates with a similar outcome in Arizona, making the entire Southwestern part of the country Democratic in 2020. However, Trump is able to offset this by carrying all his other 2016 states and winning Minnesota.  This would leave the election to be decided - or perhaps end in a 269-269 tie - by the six electoral votes available in Maine and New Hampshire.

Click or tap the map to create your own 2020 forecast.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Not Running for President in 2020

January 29, 2019

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, it was reported Tuesday. Garcetti, who easily won a 2nd term as the city's mayor in 2017 was one of several mayors considering a 2020 bid.  South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg launched an exploratory committee last week. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has yet to decide if he will enter the race.  No mayor has ever moved directly from that office to the presidency.

The updated Democratic list:

Richard Ojeda Drops out of 2020 Race

January 25, 2019

Former West Virginia State. Sen. Richard Ojeda has ended his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Ojeda had concluded that the campaign wasn't winnable. The move comes less than two weeks after Ojeda resigned his seat in the West Virginia Senate so that he could pursue the presidential run.

Ojeda made his announcement via a Facebook post. He is the first announced Democrat to withdraw.