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Political Roundup – June 17, 2024


US HOUSE

FLORIDA

State Rep Abandons Primary Challenge 

Former Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini has dropped his primary bid after Trump endorsed his opponent, Dan Webster (R-Clermont). Instead, Mr. Sabatini will run for a local county commissioner position. 


The only remaining primary opposition for Rep. Webster is geophysicist John McCloy.  Without Sabatini in the race, Rep. Webster is favored to win in the August 20 primary and the following general election.


Trump Reverses Course, Lee Endorsed 


In April, former President Donald Trump called for Republicans to run a primary candidate against freshman Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Tampa) in Florida’s 14th district, one of the most competitive congressional seats. 


Ms. Lee, who Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed as Secretary of State before her election to the US House, endorsed DeSantis for President.


However, with no strong challengers coming forward, the President has now given his “complete and total endorsement” to the Congresswoman. Rep. Lee is in a strong position for renomination and re-election. She leads the Democrat challenger, Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp by +7.


Louisiana

Racial Redistricting and the Future for Graves


Earlier in this election cycle, a court struck down the Louisiana congressional redistricting map based on “racial gerrymandering.” The reason given was that there should be more majority-black districts.

  

The map was redrawn to transform the current 6th District into a majority-black district, but activists believed the same area should be divided into two separate black-majority districts. The US Supreme Court issued a stay on that ruling, thus reviving the original redraw that created the state’s second majority-minority seat.


Though there is likely to be a future challenge to the map, it appears evident that this will be the Louisiana congressional plan that prevails, at least for the 2024 election. As a result, the odd man out is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge), who was left with the choice of running in a decidedly Democratic new 6th CD (the 2020 vote was pro-Biden by 59-39%) or challenging either Republican incumbents Julia Letlow (R-Start) or Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette). 


Mr. Graves has now decided not to challenge either member, saying he does not wish to upset the Republican political apple-cart for what could only be a short-term map. The litigation in this redistricting case is far from over, so Mr. Graves’ congressional career may not be ending, only on pause.


Final Thoughts  

Rep. Graves leaving the Louisiana House and state Senator Michael Rulli (R) winning the OH-6 special election on June 11 means there are now 50 open congressional seats (25 Democrat and 24 Republican.) The open seat number will reduce to 49 when the vacant Colorado 4th District is filled in a special election on June 25.


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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