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Elections Briefing, March 22, 2021: Louisiana, Senate Races, Israel

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Elections Briefing 3-22-21 Louisiana Tom Reed Israel

Louisiana has a new member going to Congress, Senate seats are opening, and another House seat is in the Monday Briefing.

US Election News

Letlow Wins Louisiana 5th District, 2nd District to Runoff

Julia Letlow (R), like her late husband Luke before her, is now representative-elect for the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana. She beat a crowded field on a wave of endorsements to capture an outright victory in the “jungle primary.” Letlow took 65 percent of the vote in her win, with the sole Democratic candidate, Candy Christophe, far behind on 27 percent.

Meanwhile, the 2nd District race in Greater New Orleans was not decided in Saturday’s election. The expected top two candidates, Troy Carter (D) and Karen Carter Peterson (D), advanced to the April runoff. However, a stronger than anticipated challenge from progressive contender Gary Chambers (D) made it an interesting election night. Troy Carter finished first with 36 percent, while Karen Carter Peterson edged out Chambers with 23 percent. Chambers took 21 percent. One of just a few Republicans running, Claston Bernard, placed fourth with ten percent.

2022 Senate Races Seeing Republican Seats Open

As of now, five Republican incumbent senators have announced their intention not to seek re-election in 2022. Of those, just one or two is in what one might consider a “safe” Republican state. The other races, in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, could be very competitive. At this point, there is concern on the GOP side that they could be defending more open seats, namely in Iowa and Wisconsin.1 The Iowa one would not be a huge shock: Chuck Grassley is well into his 80s and is the second-most senior member of the Senate. Wisconsin, if it happens, would be more surprising, with Johnson taking a higer profile amongst Republicans in recent years.

So far, no Democrats have announced their intentions to retire in 2022.

New York Congressman to Retire

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) announced over the weekend that he will not run for re-election in 2022. Reed’s district is the 23rd, a Southern Tier seat that stretches from the Lake Erie coast in the west to Elmira and Ithaca in the east. He was first elected to the US House in 2010, the year the GOP’s “Tea Party” wave helped them gain over 60 seats. His impending departure from Congress is directly related to published allegations that he had made inappropriate sexual advances on a woman several years ago.2

The 23rd is generally Republican in nature, despite having deep-blue Ithaca within its boundaries. Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points in 2020 and Reed was re-elected by 17 points last year.

International Election News

Israeli President Will Not Force National Unity Government

Israel has been through a lot politically since 2019. Throw in the difficulties of a pandemic and the last two years there have been chaotic on a good day. Their fourth election since 2019 takes place tomorrow. It is up to the head of state, President Reuven Rivlin, to dispense a mandate to run the government. This time, with Israel having had three failed attempts at government in succession, Rivlin intends to be patient for the final results and will not press the main rivals to form a unity government.3 This happened in each of the last two elections to try to end the deadlock, but each time the government failed. Rivlin will take a more deliberate approach in 2021 and expects that waiting to hand out a mandate to govern in the Knesset will let post-election political tensions ease.

Canadian Federal Polling Roundup

With more smoke surrounding the idea of a 2021 Canadian federal election, we decided to take a look at the current opinion polls. These are aggregated by both Wikipedia and the CBC Poll Tracker. The current averages give the Liberals about a 5.5-point lead over the Conservatives, who are sitting just below 30 percent nationally. For comparison, the CPC won the popular vote in 2019 with 34.3 percent, while the Liberals claimed 33.1 percent and a minority government. This would represent a bounceback for the Liberals, who need to gain a dozen or so seats in order to reclaim a majority.

The NDP would improve upon their 2019 result if the election were held today, going from 16 percent to about 19. That could help in a handful of ridings where the NDP lost by less than two points in 2019. Meanwhile, the Green vote looks static and how the Bloc Quebecois does may be integral to whether or not the Liberals get a majority. The BQ got 7.6 percent nationally in 2019, which is to say 32.4 percent in Quebec. They are now polling at 6.7 percent nationally, which works out to something like 29 percent in Quebec. Any more of a dip and the Liberals could start grabbing Bloc seats back into their column.

Election Calendar

Tomorrow is the Israeli election.
Thursday is the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election.
21 days until the Yukon territorial election.
33 days until the Louisiana-02 special runoff.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Max Greenwood, “Johnson, Grassley indecision freezes key Senate races,” The Hill, 21 March 2021.
  2. Kristina Peterson, “Rep. Tom Reed Says He Won’t Run for Re-election in 2022,” The Wall Street Journal, 21 March 2021.
  3. Itamar Eichner, “Rivlin says won’t act to form unity government after this election,”, 21 March 2021.

Now For Your Commentary

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Weekend Elections Briefing, March 20-21, 2021: LA Specials, Voting Reform, Scotland

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