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Recently Posted News & Analysis

SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Potentially Landmark Election Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a North Carolina case questioning whether state courts have the power to nullify legislative actions to regulate federal elections or draw congressional districts. Put another way, the case ponders whether a legislature can ignore its own state constitution when establishing election procedures for federal elections and drawing congressional districts.

Because Moore v. Harper involves federal elections only, a plausible outcome of the Court’s ruling could be voters facing two different standards for voter registration and election administration for federal and state elections, even if they are conducted on the same day and on the same ballot.

The case arose over redistricting in North Carolina. The Republican-led legislature adopted a map giving Republican candidates the advantage in 10 of 14 congressional districts after former President Trump carried the state by 1 point over Joe Biden in 2020. The state supreme court ruled the map violated the state constitution and adopted a new map. The U.S. Supreme Court let the court-drawn map stand, but Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented, arguing that the Court “will have to resolve this question sooner or later, and the sooner we do, the better.”

At play is a legal theory envisioning an “independent state legislature” (ISL) that has the sole power, standing on its own and not part of a broader construction of state government (e.g., the governor, the state’s chief election officer and the state judiciary), granted by the U.S. Constitution to prescribe “the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives.”

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Abbott Lays Down $20M in Ad Reservations

GOV (Likely R): Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) campaign has reserved nearly $20M in television, digital and Hispanic-media advertising. The buy, dubbed the first phase of reservations, includes nearly $9M in broadcast, cable, connected TV and radio advertising slots; $8M in digital ad spend; and $2.75M in Hispanic media. The early buy ensures the campaign has access to “prime ad slots in live sports programming and local news before they sell out.” Abbott had nearly $50M on hand as of late February, while Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke had $7M on hand.

Independent Candidates: The Secretary of State has certified eight independent candidates for Congressional and legislative offices for the general election:

  • Linda Curtis in HD17 open (Safe R)
  • Alejandro Arrieta in HD103 (Safe D)
  • Vince Duncan in CD18 (Safe D)
  • Nathan Lewis in CD19 (Safe R)
  • Frank Lopez Jr. in CD23 (Lean R)
  • Zachariah Manning in CD30 (Safe D)
  • Chris Royal in CD34 (Likely D); and
  • Joel DeJean in CD38 (Safe R).

Arrieta and Lewis are the only challengers running against Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) and U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock), respectively. Our Crib Sheets have been updated to remove uncertified candidates.

No statewide candidates were certified. A total of 64 candidates filed declarations to run as independents as of the December filing deadline. As it is in most years, few follow through on the signature gathering and certification processes.

This does not complete the general election picture. Candidates may still file as declared write-in candidates. The filing period runs from July 23 through August 22. Only votes cast for declared write-in candidates are counted – votes for Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader are counted as under-votes for that office, the equivalent of leaving it blank.

Harris County: Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (D) has withdrawn his name from consideration as the next director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. President Biden nominated him for the post more than a year ago.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Frazier Indicted on Two Felony Charges

Frederick Frazier, the Republican nominee for HD61 open (Likely R), has been indicted by a Collin Co. grand jury on two felony counts of impersonating a public servant. He was placed on administrative leave by the Dallas police department.

The charges arose from a Texas Dept. of Public Safety investigation into the removal of campaign signs belonging to Frazier’s runoff opponent Paul Chabot at the request of a city “code inspector.” Frazier defeated Chabot, 64%-36%, in the May runoff election.

“This accusation that a public servant impersonated another public servant with less power and responsibilities defies logic and will not hold up in court,” said Robert Rogers, an attorney representing Frazier.

He faces Democrat Sheena King in the general election.

Redistricting: The Texas Supreme Court issued a mostly procedural ruling in the combined suits challenging aspects of last year’s redrawing of legislative districts

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Non-primary Voters Heavily Backed Flores Over Sanchez

U.S. Rep.-elect Mayra Flores (R-Los Indios) received more than 70% of the vote from non-primary voters, while Democrat Dan Sanchez received less than 25%, according to our analysis of CD34 special election voting rosters. We estimate Flores’s margin among non-primary voters to be north of 3,600 votes, well more than the 2,200-vote margin she had over Sanchez.

Flores won Tuesday’s four-way special election outright over Sanchez, 51%-43%. Democrat Rene Coronado received 4%, followed by Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera with 2%.

Overall, 73% of CD34 special election voters also participated in the Democratic (40%) or Republican (33%) primary elections in March. Non-primary voters comprised the remaining 27% of the CD34 electorate. Nearly 2,200 more Democratic primary voters than Republican primary voters cast ballots in the CD34 special election. If we assume partisan fidelity among primary voters, then Flores and Cantu-Cabrera received 73.5% of the vote among non-primary voters.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Local Runoff News for June 19

Several municipalities and other local governments held runoff elections yesterday (Sat.).

Arlington: Long Pham won the runoff for an open council seat, 57%-43%, over Albert Parra.

Carrollton: Richard Fleming defeated Daisy Palomo, 53%-47%, for an open council seat.

Duncanville: Mayor Barry Gordon was re-elected after defeating Mark Cooks, 54%-46%, in the runoff.

Harlingen: Council member Richard Uribe lost re-election to Ford Kinsley, 56%-44%, and Daniel Lopez won an open council seat.

Palestine: Council member Justin Florence won the mayoral runoff, 56%-44%, over Mitchell Jordan.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Recount and Republican Party Convention News for June 18

Tonight (Sat.) is runoff Election Day for a number of municipalities and other local governments. We will cover significant races tomorrow (Sun.).

HD60 (Safe R): A recount of votes in Parker and Stephens Cos. confirmed Rep. Glenn Rogers’s (R-Graford) runoff victory over Mike Olcott (R) in those counties. A recount in Palo Pinto Co. has not yet concluded, as far as we can tell, but it is highly unlikely that a 300+ vote error occurred there. Palo Pinto Co. comprised 16% of votes cast in the runoff.

CD15 open (Toss Up): A recount confirmed Michelle Vallejo’s (D) narrow runoff victory over Ruben Ramirez (D). The recount added a net 5 votes to her margin of victory, which now stands at 35 votes.

El Paso: Rep. Art Fierro (D-El Paso) has filed paperwork with the city secretary’s office to challenge D6 council member Claudia Rodriguez in the November general election.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Republican Flores Captures South Texas Congressional Seat

Republican Mayra Flores won tonight’s CD34 special election (Lean R) with 51% of the vote. She will serve the remainder of former U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D-Brownsville) term and will head to the general election as an incumbent. Flores won the Republican nomination for CD34 in March with 60% of the vote and faces U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzales (D-McAllen), who currently represents CD15.

Former Cameron Co. Comm. Dan Sanchez (D) finished second with 43% of the vote. The other two candidates in the race combined for 6%. Turnout was 7.3% of registered voters.

Encouraging signs for Flores emerged as soon as Cameron Co., by far the largest in the district, reported its early vote totals. Sanchez received 47% of the early vote there, narrowly finishing ahead of Flores’s 45%. Based on our analysis, we found 5,323 Democratic primary voters on the county’s early voting rosters and a 2,000-voter advantage over the Republicans. Sanchez finished just 219 votes ahead of Flores, suggesting she was overwhelmingly winning the vote from non-primary voters (more on that later).

Districtwide, Flores won a 47% plurality of the early vote, edging out Sanchez’s 46%, a margin of 249 votes. As we expected, she was stronger among Election Day voters, taking 55% of their vote to Sanchez’s 40%. Flores won the Election Day vote in every county except for Kenedy Co., where Sanchez received 7 votes to her 4 votes. Overall, she won nine of the 11 counties in the district, obtaining a majority vote in seven of them.

Flores received 78% of the vote from the four northernmost counties in the district: Bee (75%-21%), DeWitt (82%-11%), Goliad (80%-15%) and Gonzales (82%-10%). These counties by themselves provided her path to a majority vote districtwide, as she carried the rest of the district by a 48%-46% margin, which would have meant a runoff. Her margins were even higher among Election Day voters: 82%-14% in Bee Co., 87%-8% in DeWitt Co., 82%-14% in Goliad Co., and 87%-7% in Gonzales Co.

Those four counties will not be in the district going forward. This special election was waged in the district as it has been configured for a decade. The general election will be run under the map drawn by the Legislature last year. It includes all of Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy Cos. and a portion of Hidalgo Co. Flores carried those counties by 265 votes and received 47.6% of the vote there. We have previously rated the general election as Likely Democrat, but we will revisit on the basis of this election.

Going back to our analysis of the early voting rosters, we found just over 7K people had also voted in the Democratic primary districtwide compared to just over 5K Republican primary voters. Assuming partisan fidelity among those voters, the two Democrats combined received 1K early votes from non-primary voters. The two Republicans received about 2,700 early votes from non-primary voters. In our pre-election analysis, we said, “Flores would thus need a 1,500-net vote advantage among non-primary early voters … to move ahead of Sanchez.” She got 1,700.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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