Election News

Updated Iowa Delegate Counts

February 7, 2020

Per calculations from The Associated Press, Pete Buttigieg has captured 13 pledged delegates from Iowa, with Bernie Sanders one back at 12. Elizabeth Warren has won eight, Joe Biden six, and Amy Klobuchar one.  One delegate remains to be allocated.

 

 

Joe Walsh Ends Presidential Campaign

February 7, 2020

Former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois ended his primary challenge to President Trump on Friday.  He made the announcement during an interview on CNN.  Walsh entered the race last summer, facing nearly impossible odds against an incumbent with a Republican approval rating consistently near 90%.

The recently completed Iowa caucuses illustrate what Walsh was up against. He received only about 1% of the vote, with Trump at over 97%.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who fared only slightly better than Walsh in Iowa, remains in the race.  Regional proximity and the more private nature of a primary vote (vs. caucus) may result in a modest uptick in Weld's performance in New Hampshire next Tuesday. On the other hand, there are some 17 Republicans on the primary ballot and a minimum 10% threshold of the statewide vote is required to win any delegates.

Buttigieg and Sanders Nearly Tied as Iowa Vote Count Nears Completion

February 6, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders has surged into a virtual tie with Pete Buttigieg in Iowa as of Thursday morning.  The gap narrowed overnight when results from three of four satellite caucuses were released by the Iowa Democratic Party.  Sanders dominated these caucuses, which were set up - one in each congressional district - for those couldn't make their assigned precinct.

Overall, 97% of precincts have now reported. The race remains too close too call. 

Live Results

The most important set of numbers is this first one, State Delegate Equivalents.  When all the votes are counted, these will be used to determined the allocation of the 41 delegates Iowa sends to the national convention. In addition to the two frontrunners, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden will earn some of these delegates, and Amy Klobuchar may earn one as well.

For more information on what these other numbers mean, see our Iowa Caucus Overview.

 

Update: Iowa Delegate Counts

February 5, 2020

An update on Iowa pledged delegate allocation.

Democratic Caucuses: About 71% of the vote has been counted as of Thursday morning. Based on that, 24 of the 41 available delegates can be allocated, per NYT/AP.  As of now, they are split between Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  When all the results are in, these candidates will likely add to their total, with Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar also receiving delegates. While Klobuchar is under 15% statewide, she has exceed that in a number of precincts, and is even leading in a few counties.  No overall winner for the state has yet been named.

You can monitor the total delegate count for each candidate using the Estimated Actual tab of the Interactive Delegate Calculator. 1,990 pledged delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot.

Republican Caucuses: As might be expected, President Trump received overwhelming support at the caucuses, winning over 97% of the vote.  However, with 40 delegates available and a proportional statewide allocation, Bill Weld's 1.5% appears to have earned him a lone delegate. 

Maryland 7th District Special Election Primary: Overview and Live Results

February 4, 2020

Special primary elections are being held Tuesday in Maryland's 7th Congressional District. The nominees will meet in the special general election in April, with the winner filling the vacancy left by the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings last October.

It's a very crowded field, with 24 Democrats and 8 Republicans seeking the nomination. The most well-known are Cumming's widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who held the seat before Cummings.

The Baltimore-area seat is safely Democratic; Cummings won his final term by 55% in 2018; Hillary Clinton won here by a similar margin in 2016.  As a result, whomever emerges as the Democratic nominee will be a prohibitive favorite in the April 28 special election.

April 28 is also primary day in Maryland for the November elections. As the filing date has already passed, this same large group will meet again for the nomination to run for a full term.  It is possible - although perhaps unlikely - that the winner of the special general election will simultaneously lose his or her primary, effectively becoming a lame duck before taking their seat in Congress.

Polls close at 8:00 PM ET; results will appear below after that time.

Iowa Caucus: Overview and Live Results

February 3, 2020

Months of campaigning and millions of dollars in spending preceded the Iowa Democratic caucuses.  All that for a mere 41 pledged delegates - just over 1% of the total that will be allocated during the 57 primary and caucus events over the next four months.  However, it is the first opportunity for voters to pass judgment on a historically large field.  The verdict of voters in Iowa and next week's New Hampshire Primary has proved predictive:  Every winner -except one1 1In 1992, Bill Clinton did not win a contest until March 3. The four contests preceding that date were each won by a different candidate. - of a contested major-party nomination since 1980 has won at least one of these two states. Additionally, the result in these states will almost certainly winnow the field.

If you'd like to read more on how the caucuses work, here are some explainers from The New York Times, NPR, Politico, and The Washington Post.

In the interest of transparency, or perhaps to confuse people, the Iowa Democratic Party will release four sets of results tonight.   We expect the first results to start arriving after 8:00 PM ET; the tables below will update with those results as they come in.

Round One - First Alignment:  This will be the initial preference of caucusgoers across the state's nearly 1,700 precincts. The percentage results here should be somewhat consistent with the statewide polling that has preceded the caucus (if that polling proves accurate).  However, the candidate leading after this round may not end up as the winner. This is because of the 15% viability threshold. 

Round 2 - Final Alignment: Candidates that don't receive 15% in Round 1 are considered nonviable. However, this threshold is determined at each individual precinct.2 2For example, a candidate receiving 18% statewide in Round 1 may not be viable in all precincts. On the other hand, a candidate at 10% may be viable in some. In Round 2, caucusgoers who have supported a nonviable candidate at their location will have the option to move to a viable candidate3 3Caucusgoers associated with a viable candidate in Round 1 are locked in. This is a change from prior cycles. or join forces with supporters of another nonviable candidate in an attempt to get one of them across the threshold.

State Delegate Equivalents and Delegates: Still with us?  We've finally arrived at the results that matter. Round 2 totals are translated into state delegate equivalents. The person with the most state delegate equivalents is considered the winner by most media organizations. The result here should largely reflect the Round 2 results. However, since all precincts are not weighted equally, it is possible that the candidate getting the most votes in Round 2 will not be the winner.

Finally, those 41 pledged delegates are awarded proportionately based on the state delegate equivalents - for the most part.  As is the case in other states, a predetermined number of Iowa's delegates to the national convention are awarded based on the statewide vote, with some awarded based on the vote in each congressional district.  Depending on how the results break across the individual districts, there could be a situation - especially in a close race like this - where the person winning the most state delegates does not receive the most pledged delegates.4 4This outcome happened in the 2008 Nevada caucuses, where Hillary Clinton won the statewide vote by over 5 points, but Barack Obama ended up with a 13-12 margin in delegates.

Republican Caucuses:  Only one set of results is expected here.  40 pledged delegates will be allocated proportionately based on the statewide vote.

The Road to 270: Arkansas

February 3, 2020

The Road to 270 is a weekly column leading up to the presidential election. Each installment is dedicated to understanding one state’s political landscape and how that might influence which party will win its electoral votes in 2020. We’ll do these roughly in order of expected competitiveness, moving toward the most intensely contested battlegrounds as election day nears. 

The Road to 270 will be published every Monday. The column is written by Seth Moskowitz, a 270toWin elections and politics contributor. Contact Seth at s.k.moskowitz@gmail.com or on Twitter @skmoskowitz.

Arkansas

From statehood through 1964, Arkansas was one of the most reliably Democratic states in presidential elections. Since then, however, it has only voted Democratic three times. Two of these three were for native son Bill Clinton, in 1992 and 1996. The other Democrat to carry the state was fellow southerner Jimmy carter in 1976. The state’s flip from Democratic to Republican stems from a political legacy of slavery and regional factionalism.

Pre-Statehood

Arkansas was first explored by the Spanish in 1551. French explorers arrived 130 years later, which led to missionaries and traders settling in the region in the 18th Century. France claimed the territory from the mid 1600s through 1772 as a part of Louisiana, or New France. Spain then controlled the territory for 29 years until they returned it to France in 1800. In 1803, territory including what is modern-day Arkansas would be acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Before Arkansas would become a state, it would go through several territorial iterations. First the Louisiana Territory from 1805-1812, then the Missouri Territory from 1812-1819, then the Arkansas Territory in 1819. The Arkansas Territory comprised most of today’s Arkansas and Oklahoma, but the Oklahoma portion was cut off in 1824, defining the boundaries of modern-day Arkansas. Finally, in 1836, Arkansas was added to the United States as the 25th state.

Statehood and Slavery

Arkansas entered the Union as a slave state. Like most of the south, Arkansas was dependent on agriculture and the associated economics of forced labor, bringing it tightly into the pro-slavery Democratic Party. The state cast its electoral votes accordingly from its first election in 1836 through 1860. In 1860, however, the Democratic Party split between pro-slavery Southern Democrats and the northern Democrats. Arkansas, along with most of the South, voted for the pro-slavery Southern Democratic nominee while northern Democrats supported Stephen Douglas. The division allowed the abolitionist Republican Abraham Lincoln to win the Electoral College with just 40% of the popular vote.

Arkansas did not secede from the Union immediately following the election. It wasn’t until April, 1861, when President Lincoln tried to enlist Arkansans to suppress a rebellion in South Carolina, that Arkansas seceded. Arkansas became the first state admitted back into the union on June 22, 1968 after it passed a new Constitution that temporarily disenfranchised former confederates and ratified the 13th and 14th Amendments. The new document would ostensibly lead to universal male suffrage and equality before the law, but racial and economic discrimination remained.

In 1868, largely due to the voting restrictions placed on former confederates, Arkansas voted for Republican Ulysses Grant. This was the only election out of the state’s first 31 in which it would cast valid electoral votes for the Republican. While Grant would again win the popular vote in Arkansas in 1872, the state’s votes were not counted due to voting irregularities.

From 1876 through 1964, Arkansas voted Democratic. Voter suppression helped Democrats in the post-reconstruction years.  This first took the form of the Klu Klux Klan and voter intimidation. Later, in 1891 and 1892, it was a poll tax that disenfranchised poor blacks and whites. Between the 1888 and 1892 elections, turnout fell in Arkansas from 157,000 to 148,000 with the Republican vote total dropping by 13,000 while the Democratic total grew by 2,000.   

A Turn to Republicans

Like the rest of the South, Arkansas stuck with Democrats. It often did so by enormous margins. Franklin Roosevelt carried the state by 73%, 64%, and 58%, and 40% margins in his 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944 elections. It wasn’t until 1956 that Republicans would come within single digits. Democrats still managed to carry the state through 1964, even with these smaller margins and more competition.

The Democratic streak finally broke in 1968. George Wallace, the former and future Democrat from Alabama, broke with his party and ran as the American Independent Party’s pro-segregationist candidate.  Wallace won the plurality of the vote (39%) in Arkansas, and with it, the state’s Electoral College votes.

From 1968 through 2016, Arkansas would only vote Democratic in three more presidential elections. In 1976 it would overwhelmingly support fellow southerner Jimmy Carter. In 1992 and 1996, another Democrat would again leverage his southern charm to win the presidency. This time, however, that candidate was the state's very own governor. Bill Clinton carried his home state in both 1992 and 1996, beating George H.W. bush by 18% in 1992 and Bob Dole by 17% in 1996.

Even though Arkansas voted overwhelmingly for Clinton — it was the only state to give Clinton a majority in 19921 1Independent candidate Ross Perot received about 19% of the national vote that year. Aside from Arkansas, each of the 50 states was won by a plurality. — these elections marked the end of the road for Democratic presidential candidates in the state.

Recent Republican Domination

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore by 5%. This margin would expand in every subsequent presidential election. Since 2000, Arkansas has trudged rightward in every presidential election without regard to the national environment. The biggest rightward jump was between 2004 and 2008, when John McCain doubled George Bush’s margin of victory from 10% to 20%. In those same years, the national popular vote shifted nine points in Democrats' favor. The same is true of 2012 and 2016 — even as the national environment became more Democratic, the Republican nominees expanded their margins in Arkansas. Finally, in 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton 61% to 34%, a 27% margin.

Until recently, Democrats regularly won downballot elections here. From 2003 through 2010, Democrats held both Senate seats and three of four House seats. The party also held the governorship from 2007 through 2014. Arkansans were willing to split their ballots and vote for Democrats even as they voted Republican for president.

This ticket-splitting trend stopped abruptly. In the 2010 Republican wave, two Democratic House incumbents retired and Republicans won their seats. Republicans also flipped one of the Senate seats that year. Two years later, Republicans flipped the fourth and final House seat. Finally, in 2014, Republicans took control of the entire Arkansas Congressional delegation by winning the second Senate seat.

Current Political Landscape

It’s not surprising that Arkansas has become decisively Republican. The state’s demographic makeup neatly aligns with that of the party at this point in time.  The state is whiter, more rural, and less college educated than the country as a whole. The party’s key demographic base — non-college educated whites — make up 60% of the population. Economically suffering, rural regions of the country — of which Arkansas has many — were particularly receptive to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” brand of populism.  

While Democrats were once able to compete throughout the entire state, their support is now isolated to Little Rock and some counties on the eastern border. Back in 1996, Bill Clinton won all but 9 counties in the state, including the states rural, less dense regions. Twenty years later, Hillary Clinton only won eight counties while Donald Trump carried 77. Trump improved upon Mitt Romney’s margins in nearly the entire state, but he did so by the greatest margins in the northeastern corner of the state.

Clinton meanwhile, outperformed Barack Obama in four urban and suburban counties. Pulaski and Faulkner Counties, which include Little Rock and its northern suburbs, shifted leftwards. So too did Benton and Washington Counties in the northwestern corner of the state. Donald Trump still outran Clinton in Benton, beating her by 40%. Washington County, home to Fayetteville, went to Trump by 10%, closer than Romney’s 16% margin. Overall, Arkansas has followed the national trend of rural regions shifting rightward and urban ones moving left.

Other southern states like Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas have deep blue urban centers that offset Republican-leaning rural regions. As these cities and their suburbs have grown and become more Democratic, the states have shifted towards battleground status. Arkansas has a similar landscape with its rural, white, Republican regions and the more diverse, dense, and Democratic Little Rock. Unlike these other southern states, however, Little Rock is not large enough to balance the state’s rural population. Unless Little Rock becomes a demographic and political powerhouse on the scale of Atlanta or Charlotte, or until the current party coalitions break down, Arkansas will remain with the GOP. With such a shift all but impossible before November, Arkansas is safely Republican.

Next Week:  TBA

Reports in this series:

DNC Alters Qualifying Criteria for Nevada Debate; Changes Open Door for Bloomberg

January 31, 2020

The Democratic National Committee announced significant changes to the qualifying requirements for the party's February 19 debate in Las Vegas. Gone is the fundraising requirement, which opens the door to participation by Mike Bloomberg. The former NYC mayor is self-funding his campaign, and is not accepting contributions from individual donors.

There are three different ways to qualify for the Nevada debate, which comes three days before that state's caucuses:

  • A minimum of 10% support in four national or remaining early state polls from accredited pollsters.  Early state polls include those from Nevada and South Carolina (Feb. 29 primary).
  • A minimum of 12% support from some combination of two Nevada or South Carolina polls.
  • Earn at least one pledged delegate in Iowa (Feb. 3 caucus) or New Hampshire (Feb. 11 primary).

To qualify, polls must be from DNC-accredited pollsters and released between January 15 and February 18. The only candidates that have qualified thus far are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg is not participating in contests prior to Super Tuesday (March 3). His avenue to the stage in Nevada is predicated on meeting the 10%/4 poll criteria. He has one such poll thus far.

The next debate will take place February 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Seven candidates have qualified for that. That debate will be broadcast on ABC, in partnership with its local affiliate WMUR-TV and Apple News.

 

 

John Delaney Ends Bid for Democratic Nomination

January 31, 2020

John Delaney said Friday that he is ending his presidential campaign. The former Maryland congressman was the first Democrat to join the 2020 field, announcing his candidacy back in July, 2017.  Now, 2 1/2 years later, he is exiting just three days before the first votes are cast.  

In his withdrawal announcement, Delaney expressed concern that by staying in the race, he would harm the prospect of other moderate candidates in the Iowa caucuses:

"This decision is informed by internal analyses indicating John’s support is not sufficient to meet the 15% viability in a material number of caucus precincts, but sufficient enough to cause other moderate candidates to not to make the viability threshold, especially in rural areas where John has campaigned harder than anyone. He strongly believes the Democratic Party should advance candidates with progressive values on the big issues of our time, but who are committed to governing with pragmatic, fact-based, bipartisan solutions."

11 Democrats remain in the field as the voters begin to have their say in the nominating process, leading off with the Iowa caucuses on Monday

 

Cook Political Report Moves Senate Special Election in Georgia to Leans Republican

January 31, 2020

The Cook Political Report has updated its rating for the U.S. Senate special election in Georgia.  It moves from Likely to Leans Republican following the entry of credible challengers to Sen. Kelly Loeffler from both parties, further complicated by the unusual structure of this election.

Read the full Cook analysis here.

Rep. Doug Collins (GA-9) joined the race on Wednesday, and will challenge Loeffler from the right. On Thursday, Democrats landed one of their top recruits, as Rev. Raphael Warnock announced his bid.  He joins other prominent Democrats in the race, including Matt Lieberman, son of former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Ed Tarver, a US attorney under Barack Obama. 

Under Georgia special election law, there are no party primaries. All the above candidates, and any other entrants, will appear on a single ballot on Election Day, November 3. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a top-two runoff will be held January 5, 2021.

Georgia House Bill 757, currently under consideration, would change the law to require a primary election. Generally, it has the support of Republicans aligned with Collins and many Democrats.  It is opposed by Gov. Kemp, who appointed Loeffler to the vacancy created by the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson at the end of 2019.  Regardless of whether this bill becomes law, it is unlikely to affect this year's race.

Cook Political Interactive Map

The current Cook forecast for the 2020 Senate elections is below.  Click or tap for an interactive version to create and share your own projection.