Election News

GOP Heads to Primary Runoff in NC-3 Special Election

May 1, 2019

Tuesday's Republican primary in the vacant North Carolina 3rd district will head to a July 9 runoff, as no candidate in the large field reached 30%. Moving on are the top-two vote getters,  State Rep. Greg Murphy and pediatrician Joan Perry. On the Democratic side, former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas won with 50% of the vote; he will meet the eventual GOP nominee in the September 10th special election.

This seat has been vacant since the February death of long-time Rep. Walter Jones. This is a conservative district; the eventual GOP nominee will be favored to hold the seat for the party. In 2016, Donald Trump won by 24% over Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Jones ran unopposed for his 12th term, one of the only Republicans to not have a challenger that year. 

Other Vacancies

Two other House vacancies will be filled in the months ahead. Staying in North Carolina, the state's 9th district will hold a primary on May 14. This seat has been open since the new Congress was seated in January, as the November election results were thrown out due to election fraud. The Democratic nominee from November, Dan McCready is running unopposed. The GOP field is much larger, and a runoff here may be needed. The special election will be September 10, unless a runoff is required (30% needed to avoid), in which case it will be November 5.  The now-discarded race from November had McCready and Republican Mark Harris separated by fewer than 1,000 votes; the special election is also expected to be highly competitive.

On May 21, a special election will be held in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. This is to fill the seat vacated by GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January.  No primaries were held; nominees were chosen by each party. State Rep. Fred Keller (R) will meet Democrat Marc Friedenberg, a college professor. Friedenberg was the Democratic nominee in 2018; he lost 66% to 34% to Marino. This seat is likely to remain with the Republicans.



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Biden Gets Polling Bump After Entering 2020 Race

April 30, 2019

Former vice president Joe Biden's entry to the race has given him a notable - if perhaps temporary - boost in the polls, according to two national surveys of registered voters out this week.  Already the frontrunner, Biden has opened up a double digit lead on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. 

In a Morning Consult weekly survey released late Monday, Biden had a 36-22 lead over Sanders. Last week, Biden's lead was 6 points, 30-24. A portion of this survey predated Biden's official entry to the race. A CNN/SSRS poll out Tuesday, taken after Biden joined the field, gave Biden a 24 point lead, 39-15 over the Vermont Senator. In late March, Biden's lead was 8 points, 28-20*.

Overall, Biden's lead in the 270toWin average is now 10.4%. He and Sanders remain the only candidates in double-digits. The next tier, with over 5% support, includes South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

The table below includes the polling average and debate qualification status for each declared candidate. The party will hold its first two debates in late June and July. Qualification is based on their standing in the polls and/or a minimum number of donors. Given the size of the field, these initial debates will each take place over two nights, with the candidates split randomly.

* The prior CNN/SSRS release document provided results based on all adults, not registered voters. In today's release, a comparison to registered voters from that poll was provided. The differences were not significant; Biden's lead compared to last month among registered voters was 28-19.


Trump Campaign Looks to Expand Electoral Map in 2020

April 29, 2019

The Trump reelection effort will look to expand the electoral map in 2020, campaign manager Brad Parscale said on CBS Face the Nation Sunday.

===

From the transcript, with bold and 2016 margin added:

(Moderator) MARGARET BRENNAN: Where? Where are you most focused? What battlegrounds?

PARSCALE: Well, there's some key states. Obviously we have to go back and win Michigan (0.2%) again, Pennsylvania (0.7%), Wisconsin (0.8%). We plan on also being in Minnesota (1.5%) very soon. I think New Mexico (8.2%) is in play in 2020. I think New Hampshire (0.4%), I- I think we continue to grow the map. I think Nevada (2.4%), you know even Colorado (4.9%). And so those are- those are states we did not win in- in 2016 that I think are open for 2020.

===

Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016, each by less than 1%. These are states that had not voted Republican in any presidential election in more than a generation. Clinton won by single digits in the five other states Parscale referenced.  

In the map below (click/tap for an interactive version), we show the 8 states mentioned as toss-up. The other locations Trump flipped in 2016 are shown in a lighter shade of red.  Use it as a starting point to create your own 2020 forecast. Also note the Road to 270 feature below the interactive map, which will update the winning combinations available to each party based on your map.

 

New Hampshire: Traditionally thought of as a battleground, it has not voted Republican since 2000. However, Trump won three counties here and all ten of the state's counties shifted toward the GOP from 2012 to 2016.

Minnesota: No state has a longer streak of voting Democratic. The only state won by Mondale in 1984, it last voted for a Republican nominee - Richard Nixon - in 1972. Clinton's narrow win was by the smallest margin since that 1984 election.  It has generally not been considered a battleground state, although the majority of elections since 1972 have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Trump won all but 9 of the state's 87 counties, although not by enough to overcome Clinton's performance in the more populous parts of the state.

Nevada: 2016 was only the 2nd time since 1908 (1976 being the other) that the state did not vote for the winner of the presidential election, although the 2.4% Clinton margin was very close to her 2.1% popular vote margin nationwide. Clinton won Clark County (Las Vegas area) by about 6%, while Trump won the remainder of the state by over 15%. Rapidly growing and increasingly diverse, Las Vegas is where most of the population is. It is an open question if 2016 was a historical outlier or if these trends have put the state out of reach for the GOP in a close election.

Colorado: Predominantly Republican prior to 2008, Clinton's 5 point margin here in 2016 was within one point of Obama's in 2012. Trump was the first Republican to win the presidency without winning Colorado since Taft in 1908. Some of the same population factors impacting Nevada are at work here as well. 

New Mexico: Having voted Democratic in six of the past seven elections, and with the country's largest Hispanic population, this seems like the biggest reach of the states listed. That said, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, the state's former governor, received over 9% of the vote here, his best showing in any state. That was greater than Clinton's winning margin, so perhaps the thinking is that many of those voters are reachable for the president in 2020.

Parscale did not mention Maine, where Trump's double-digit margin in the 2nd congressional district (earning him an electoral vote) helped him hold Clinton's statewide margin to under 3%. This was the most narrow victory by any Democrat in the seven consecutive presidential elections they have won here. 

Finally, while noting the need to win again in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, no mention was made of holding other competitive states Trump won in 2016. For example, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia were all closer than New Mexico and demographic trends in these states will likely make them 2020 battlegrounds. Looking back, some of the (admittedly after-the-fact) criticism of the Clinton campaign was its focus on growing the map vs. shoring up the states that would have put them over the required 270 electoral votes.  


Joe Biden Announces Presidential Campaign; Democratic 2020 Field Nearly Complete

April 25, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his long-expected entry into the 2020 presidential race Thursday. Biden announced his campaign via a launch video that sought to draw a sharp contrast with President Trump.

Biden brings to 20 the number of notable Democrats in the 2020 field.  Prior to his announcement, he was the easily the most well-known name reported to be considering a run. While a few others have yet to make their plans known, the field is likely nearing completion, with the first debate* scheduled in just two months. 

Biden, who represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 until he was sworn in as Barack Obama's Vice President in 2009, was quickly endorsed by Senators Chris Coons and Bob Casey.  Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill put out a statement on behalf of the former president praising Biden, but offering no endorsement.

With almost universal name recognition, Biden has led most early polling. Now in the race, he will become the focus of attacks from the large field. He has recently had to address several accusations unwanted touching of women.  Some may try and link this to his treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. Going back a bit further, his first run at president in 1988 was quickly abandoned after charges of plagiarism.  While his long track record exposes him, he can counter with the argument that he would be among the most experienced new presidents in American history.

* According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, 15 of the 20 Democrats have thus far qualified for the first two debates, each of which will be spread over two nights to accommodate the large field. Qualification is based on polling support and/or number of donors. The first debate will take place in Miami on June 26 and 27, broadcast by NBC and affiliated networks. The second debate will be on July 30 and 31 in Detroit, televised by CNN.  The party will split candidates randomly across the two nights. This is a different approach - although not necessarily better - than that taken by the GOP with its large field in 2016. For the first debates that cycle, the field was split by polling performance, leading some to derisively refer to the second portion as the "kids' table". 


Updated Democratic Primary Map with Pledged Delegate Counts

April 23, 2019

A pledged delegate view has been added to the 2020 Democratic Primary map.  This shows the number of pledged delegates each location will allocate in its 2020 primary or caucus.  The total delegate view remains available, and includes 764 superdelegates. The distinction is important, as only pledged delegates will cast votes* in the first ballot at the nominating convention in Milwaukee next July. 

It will take a majority of pledged delegates - at least 1,885 of 3,768 - to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot. If subsequent ballots are needed, 2,267 of 4,532 total delegates puts a candidate over 50%. All delegates become unpledged after the first ballot. Note that these 'magic numbers' will increase later this year as the party awards bonus pledged delegates to locations meeting certain criteria. We'll have a better idea on these once each location sets its contest date, but a rough estimate is that there will be 150-200 bonus delegates.

Here's the current breakdown by time period

The full 2020 Election Calendar is here. Some dates remain subject to change. 

* Unless the nominee's pledged delegate total is >50% of the total delegates available (including superdelegates). In that case, the nominee is a foregone conclusion and all delegates will vote

Wyoming caucuses will be in March. Unknown if will be Super Tuesday or another date, so included in TBA.


New Hampshire Poll: Sanders Leads; Buttigieg Makes Major Gains

April 22, 2019

Bernie Sanders continues to lead all candidates in the latest Granite State Poll of Democrats for the New Hampshire Primary. The Senator from neighboring Vermont gets 30% support.  Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are statistically tied in 2nd; The three-point margin for Biden is well within the margin of error.  No other candidate received more than 5% support.

Buttigieg, who barely registered in the prior Granite State Poll seven weeks ago, saw his support rise to 15% in the latest survey. Sanders lead grew from 4% go 12% over Biden, as the two moved in opposite directions. Sanders gained 4 points, while Biden lost the same. The big loser was Sen. Kamala Harris, who fell from 10% to 4%.

For the two most well-known names, this poll is a bit at odds with one released a couple weeks back from St. Anselm College. That survey gave Biden a 23% to 16% lead over Sanders. The chart below shows those averaging over 3% in these two polls; select the image for full results.

On the GOP side, President Trump held a commanding 76% to 10% lead over John Kasich. A declared candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, received 5%.


Rep. Seth Moulton Announces Run for President

April 22, 2019

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton said Monday that he is entering the 2020 presidential race. His announcement video highlighted his military service and the country's economic anxiety.

Moulton is the 20th notable candidate in the historically large 2020 Democratic field. The list includes fellow Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Eric Swalwell (CA-15), as well as Moulton's former House colleagues John Delaney and Beto O'Rourke.  Of these, only O'Rourke has gotten significant traction to this point. The launch comes just days ahead of the expected entry of former vice-president Joe Biden. 

Moulton has agitated for change throughout his short political career, rankling many colleagues.  He used that messaging to defeat long-time Rep. John Tierney in the 2014 Democratic primary for the 6th district seat he now holds. More recently, he was one of the more outspoken members of a coalition pushing for an alternative to Nancy Pelosi serving a 2nd tenure as Speaker.


Joe Biden Expected to Enter Presidential Race Next Week

April 19, 2019

The biggest open question related to the 2020 Democratic field is likely to be answered next week. Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce he is running for president.  

This will be Biden's third try for the presidency. His 1988 run was over by the autumn of 1987, falling victim to a scandal around plagiarism. In 2008, he placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses and immediately withdrew from the race. He would go on to be Barack Obama's running mate that year, serving two terms as vice president. He passed on a 2016 run after delaying his decision by several months following the death of his son, Beau.

With near universal name recognition, Biden has led much of the early polling of the large Democratic field. However, some of that support has eroded in the most recent surveys. Some of this may be due to other candidates becoming more well known as Biden made up his mind. For example, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has seen a spike in his support in recent weeks.  It may also be due to the accusations of inappropriate touching brought by several women.

According to this article in The Atlantic, "[Biden] sees a clear path down the middle of the party, especially with Bernie Sanders occupying a solid 20 percent of the progressive base, and most of the other candidates fighting for the rest. And the announcement comes at a moment when many in the party have become anxious about Sanders’s strength, with some beginning to wonder whether Biden might be the only sure counterweight to stop him from getting the nomination." 


Terry McAuliffe Takes a Pass on 2020; an Updated List of Those Running

April 18, 2019

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday he will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020. McAuliffe would have faced a long shot bid given his appeal overlaps with those likely to support Joe Biden. The former vice president may officially join the race as soon as next week.

19 candidates have thus far announced their intention to run for president. Decisions are pending by six more, the most notable of which is the aforementioned Biden. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is also likely to announce that he is running in the days ahead.

Here's the latest list of announced and prospective Democratic presidential candidates. it is sorted by the current national polling average.  Keep in mind that polling at this point is largely driven by name recognition. 


Former GOP Gov. Bill Weld to Challenge Trump in 2020

April 15, 2019

Former Massachusetts governor - and 2016 Libertarian vice presidential nominee - Bill Weld will seek the 2020 Republican nomination. He becomes the first official challenger to President Trump. 

Weld had previously announced he was exploring a challenge to the incumbent president. As we noted at the time, "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."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has also been considering entering the race. This article from fivethirtyeight discusses the difficult time he (or any challenger) would have against a president so popular with his own party.



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