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Political Roundup: May 2, 2024

Updated: May 17


President


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  Qualifies in CA  

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has qualified for the 2024 general election ballot in California as the nominee of the American Independent Party. In addition to the Golden State, he has an official ballot position in Michigan and Utah. He has filed the requisite number of signatures in Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, and awaits certification in each of those states.


While Kennedy may affect the outcome in some of the aforementioned swing states, solidly blue California will not be in play. President Biden will easily carry the nation's largest state, regardless of Kennedy's ballot presence.


House


CA-16:  The Tie is Broken  

As expected, recounting all ballots in California's 16th District jungle primary election did break the tied vote for the second qualifying general election ballot position. Earlier, state Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) and San Mateo County Supervisor Joe Simitian had each finished the initial count with 30,249 votes. Allies of the first-place finisher, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), then paid for a recount. Neither Low nor Simitian moved for a recount because California election procedure allows all tied candidates to advance into the general election. Otherwise, it is only the two top vote-getters who compete in November.


With the recount now final, Low finished with an adjusted five-vote margin, meaning he will solely advance to the general election to face Liccardo. It will be interesting to see if Simitian now requests and finances a second recount. With such small vote margins, another recount could produce a different result.


NY-26:  Democrat Disqualified

A day after state Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) easily won the special election to succeed resigned Rep. Brian Higgins (D) in New York's 26th Congressional District, his regular election Democratic challenger, former two-time congressional candidate Nate McMurray, has been disqualified. Election officials ruled he did not file enough valid petition signatures to be awarded a ballot position. Therefore, it appears Rep-Elect Kennedy will now be unopposed for re-nomination. Winning the Democratic primary in this Buffalo-anchored district is tantamount to claiming the November election. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates NY-26 as D+18.


McMurray lashed out at the party leaders after his rejection was made public, claiming in a long letter on X that, "it feels like even if we collected 100,000 signatures it would not have made a difference. They would have found something to throw me off. I'm a threat to their closed shop business. And don't kid yourself; it's a business."


OR-5:  New Dem Leader 

In 2022, one of the bigger upsets on election night was Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer defeating Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner to convert Oregon's 5th District to the GOP. Earlier that year, in May, McLeod-Skinner upset seven-term Rep. Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary.


Now, a brilliant corners Research & Strategies poll taken April 26-28 finds McLeod-Skinner now trailing state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) by a 37-34% count. Due to McLeod-Skinner losing the seat in the previous election and generally rated as a weaker candidate, most of the Democratic leadership and establishment are backing Bynum. Therefore, this polling result is not particularly surprising.


Whoever wins the Democratic primary will find themselves already in a toss-up general election battle against Rep. Chavez-DeRemer. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates OR-5 as D+3. President Biden carried the district in 2020 with a 53-44% margin. The Daily Kos Election site statisticians rank the seat as the ninth most vulnerable seat in the Republican Conference.


Jim Ellis is a 35-year veteran of politics at the state and national levels. He has served ss executive director for two national political action committees, as well as a consultant to the three national Republican Party organizations in DC, the National Federation of Independent Business, and various national conservative groups.


Born and raised in Sacramento, California, he earned a B. A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Jim raised his daughter, Jacqueline, alone after his wife died following a tragic car accident. He helped establish the Joan Ellis Victims Assistance Network in Rochester, NH. Jim also is a member of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association, which officiates high school games throughout the region.


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Thank you for adding the audio feature! It was nice to be able to listen while making my breakfast this morning!

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