Election News

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.  

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson to Resign at Year-End

August 28, 2019

Citing health issues, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia is resigning at the end of 2019.  The Republican was elected to a 3rd term in 2016. 

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp will appoint a replacement who will serve until a special election is held concurrent with the general election in November, 2020. The winner of that race will complete the final two years of Isakson's term. 

Sabato's Crystal Ball is starting this race with a Leans Republican rating, the same it has assigned to Georgia's other U.S. Senate seat - held by Republican David Purdue - which will also be contested in 2020. Of note - while these double-barrel elections are relatively infrequent, the same party usually wins both. The last split result was in South Carolina back in 1966.

Mississippi GOP Gubernatorial Runoff: Overview and Results

August 27, 2019

There's a Republican gubernatorial primary runoff Tuesday in Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr. are on the ballot. The winner will face the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jim Hood in November. 

Polls close at 7:00 PM Central Time (8:00 PM Eastern).  Results will appear below after that time.

Reeves was the most well-known and financed candidate heading into the August 6 three-way primary. He received the endorsement of the current governor, Phil Bryant, who is ineligible to run due to the state's two-term limit.

While he won the night, Reeves fell just short of a majority of the vote, necessitating Tuesday's top-two runoff.  The third place finisher, state Rep. Robert Foster has endorsed Waller.

Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin to Resign from Congress Next Month

August 26, 2019

Rep. Sean Duffy will resign from Congress effective September 23. He made the announcement in a Facebook posting Monday morning, citing family issues. The five-term Republican represents Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. It is the state's largest district by area, covering much of the northern half of the state.

Duffy was preceded in Congress by Democrat Dave Obey, who served over 40 years before retiring in 2010. Duffy won that year by 8 points over Democrat Julie Lassa. The district was made more Republican in 2011 post-Census redistricting, leading to fairly easy reelection races for the incumbent. He won his final term by about 22% in 2018, about the same winning margin as President Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.  

Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will call a special election to fill the upcoming vacancy.