|Dear reader: This is the latest edition of Notes on State of Politics, which contains brief updates on elections and politics.
Special election imminent in Nebraska, Texas
With the congressional early season schedule already starting to heat up in May, 2 new elections will be added to the calendar soon.
Late last week, several members of Congress from both sides of the corridor announced plans to leave office early. Prior to that, the House already had 3 vacancies, all of which came in Republican-held seats: AK-AL and MN-1 became open seats with the recent deaths of their incumbents, while CA-22 opened with former delegates. Devin Nunes passed away on January 1.
In Nebraska, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R, NE-1), who was indicted in October last year, was convicted by a federal court on Thursday – he was charged with lying to federal investigators, contributing to an illegal cover-up campaign. Fortenberry was first elected to Congress in 2004 and was the longest-serving member of the current Nebraska delegation.
As a result of his conviction, Fortenberry submitted his resignation letter, which will take effect on Thursday – after which a special election must be held within 90 days. From an administrative standpoint, Fortenberry’s resignation was less than ideal: he was a candidate for the regular primary on May 10, and his name has already been printed on the ballot. However, as it was, he was not guaranteed a renewal (more on that later), so ballot design may not be very important in the end.
Nebraska’s 1st District includes Lincoln, the state capital. In fact, Lincoln’s Lancaster County District has about half the population. NE-1 also covers all or part of 16 other counties – many of them more rural, and geographically, the district forms a semicircle around the Omaha area. NE-1 is the state’s middle district: while it’s not as friendly to Democrats as the Omaha-based NE-2, a Trump-to-biden seat, Republicans don’t get the 3-to-1 margin-crushing style where they have extensive NE-3 Which covers most of the geography of the state.
In 2020, the current NE-3 will give Trump a 15-point margin. As a result of the restructuring, the NE-1 has been contracted, and Trump’s margin has dropped to 11 points, but special elections will be held under the current configuration.
Candidates nominated for the special election, which is likely to be held in June, will be selected by the executive committees of the state parties. Sen. of the leading Republican prospect state. Mike Flood, who previously served as speaker of the legislature and was briefly nominated for governor in 2014. Flood was already competing in the primary against Fortenberry in the regular election.
In Trump’s double-digit seat, Democrats will start flooding as a clear underdog or some other Republican. While we’ll see where things stand after the party election, we’re starting the NE-1 special election as a safe Republican.
The other resignation announcement last week came from the Democratic side, Lone Star State. In South Texas – a region where we’ve written a lot about this cycle – Republic Philmon Vela (D, TX-34) announced about a year ago that he would be re-elected. But now he is leaving the Congress Hurry up Take a job at a law firm.
As it turned out, a game of musical chairs was underway in South Texas: with Vela retiring, fellow Democratic Republican Vicente Gonzalez, who holds a TX-15 at the side door, pulled Vela open 34th, and is seeking re-election there.
Although both the existing TX-15 and TX-34 supported Biden by narrow margins, Republican mappers turned the TX-15 into Trump’s seat but made the TX-34 more democratic. Biden’s stake in the TX-34 has risen from 52% to 57% – so the new TX-34 is blue, but still not within the reach of the full GOP. Map 1 shows how the districts were rearranged in different directions.
Map 1: Changes to TX-15 and TX-34
While Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) has not set an exact date for the special election, the good news for Republicans is that the contest will be held under the district’s current (and more marginal) configuration. Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who is already representing TX-15, will not run in the by-elections – he has won the Democratic nomination for the regular November general election in TX-34.
From a practical standpoint, Gonzalez, as their nominee in November, may not have much reason for Democrats to run in a special election in TX-34: even if they hold on, their members will only work for a few months – it’s really a Unusual situation.
On the Republican side, Myra Flores, the first-time candidate, took 60% of the primary in the TX-34 regular election earlier this month. Since the new district is like the outgoing district, Flores would be well suited to claim the lion’s share of the Republican vote in a special election.
Texas, e.g. Crystal ball Readers have seen last year’s situation in the suburban Dallas 6th District, using Louisiana-style jungle primaries for special elections. So all candidates will run in the same primary ballot – if no one claims a majority, there will be a runoff.
The initial layout of the jungle can sometimes encourage teams to come together behind a single candidate. If the Democratic opposition is weakened, and Republicans can rally behind Flores, it will not be particularly difficult for him to win – especially in an evenly divided district like the current TX-34. Flores will then compete as an incumbent for the new TX-34, although Gonzalez, who was drawn into the district but is currently representing another, can also claim responsibility (again, this is an unusual scenario).
We are holding our rating for the regular TX-34 election in the potential Democratic, we will start a special election as Lance Republican. Simply put, Republicans will face a friendly electorate in the current district, and Democrats may not be motivated to fight too much.
Maryland Democrats propose new map
In addition to handing over a major pick-up opportunity in South Texas, Republicans have also received some good news in Maryland, although it has come to the rearrangement front.
On Friday, a judge sided with the plaintiffs who challenged the state’s recently drafted congressional map. Fair Maps Maryland, a group with Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Judicial Watch, a conservative group, argued that the map was a biased democratic gerimandor.
Since 2012, Democrats have occupied 7 of Maryland’s 8 districts, with Republican Andy Harris (R, MD-1) being the only Republican in the state delegation. Although Democrats have passed a map – above Hogan’s veto – that has turned Harris’ solid red Eastern Shore-based seat into the Biden district, we still consider Harris a favorite for re-election. Although Harris ‘new district supported Biden by about half a percentage point, it went up to 8 points in favor of Trump in 2016 – we consider the latter to be a good indicator of his bias and Harris’ race as a Linz Republican for 2022.
Yet, under the just-canceled plan, Republicans could most likely be kept out of the delegation in a good democratic year. Plaintiffs have successfully argued that Maryland is blue, but probably not That Blue
Democratic State Attorney General Brian Frosh can choose to appeal the ruling to the State Court of Appeal (Maryland’s highest court), but the court is dominated by Hogan employers. So in other words, Frush will not find a very sympathetic listener.
On Monday night, Legislative Democrats unveiled a new plan. Although Democrats will still be supported in 7 districts, the map is not as unprepared as it was fragmented. Map 2, courtesy of JimNepolThe new proposal considers 2016 and 2020 presidential votes.
Map 2: 2016 and 2020 under the proposed Maryland map
Under this plan, the MD-1 will be less likely to fall into the hands of the Democrats (although we will stop providing official ratings until this or other maps take effect). Trump took 56% of the district, giving Harris plenty of room to breathe.
Perhaps the most significant change to the map, though, is at another extreme in the state. In 2012, Democrats recaptured the 6th District (then GOP-occupied) in West Maryland to make it more suitable for them. They overturned it that year and have held it ever since. Compared to the current plan, this MD-6 leaves some Montgomery County (Democratic vote fountain) and takes all parts of Frederick County, which is a blueprint county but still marginalized.
As a result of the MD-6 change, Biden’s margins have more than halved, from 60% -37% to 54% -44%. In fact, in 2016, Hillary Clinton carried the proposed MD-6 just over one percentage point. It will be a Republican pickup opportunity, although Republican David Tron (D, MD-6) has the luxury of being able to self-fund. Republicans would certainly like to go back to the pre-2010 stalemate, with Maryland featuring two distinctly Republican-leaning districts: the older versions of MD-1 and MD-6 on the East Coast covering the panhandle; In fact, this type of map was proposed by a rearrangement commission created by Hogan.
Overall, on a visual level, the Democrats are much clearer than what this latest proposed map will replace – the cleanest Maryland map we’ve seen in decades.
Democrats should be elected in the other 6 districts, although some lines were not drawn to the liking of all incumbents. Rep. John Sarbanes’ MD-3, for example, is now located in Howard and Ann Arundel counties – although he has previously represented those territories, outside his hometown, Tawson, District. During the last few rounds of redistribution, legislators seem to have taken certain responsible choices to heart. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around – in another instance, Rep. Dutch Rupersberger (D, MD-2) says he was not consulted when drafting the proposed plan.
Assuming the bill is passed in the legislature, Hogan could still veto it – and even if Democrats ignore him (again), more lawsuits could be filed.
The PS Ohio Congressional Map has reached its final stage
As a battle continues over the state’s legislature districts, the Ohio Supreme Court has set a timetable for handling the state’s congressional map challenges, moving the state’s currently scheduled May 3 primary to past action. Cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias and Jeremy Pelzer wrote Tuesday that the court’s move “has largely closed the door on Democrats ‘efforts to block Republicans’ latest congressional redistricting map since it took effect in 2022.” It is possible that a federal court could intervene, but without such intervention, the map gives Republicans 10 safe seats, Democrats 2 safe seats, and Democrats 3 seats that could go either way in the 2022 context – meaning the map could allow Republicans 13 in Ohio. -2 to achieve their goals at intervals. We plan to take a closer look at the map and issue a rating soon – again, assuming there is no further court intervention.