Entries in Special Election (9)


Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Resignation Could Cost Taxpayers $5.1 Million

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from the House could cost Illinois taxpayers more than $5.1 million, according to the state elections board.

Jackson, Jr. offered his resignation Wednesday to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Jackson has been absent from the Capitol for months while undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic. In addition, his use of campaign funds is being investigated by federal authorities.

Looking at two special House elections held in Illinois in recent years — those to replace GOP House speaker Denny Hastert and Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel — the Illinois State Board of Elections calculated those elections cost $2,700 to $4,000 per precinct. With 590 precincts in Jackson’s 2nd Congressional District, an election would probably cost around $2,575,000, the state board told ABC News.

Illinois will hold two special elections to replace Jackson, a primary and a general, and the state board projects that replacing Jackson could cost $5.15 million total.

That’s just a projection, and it assumes that the 2nd Congressional District will hold the special elections on their own days. State law will likely allow for the primary, but not the general, to be held alongside already-scheduled votes for state and local offices.

Jackson hasn’t officially won re-election yet, as the state won’t certify election results until Dec. 2. Officials are unsure of whether that will affect how Gov. Pat Quinn handles Jackson’s resignation, an official with the state elections board said. Jackson handily defeated Republican lawyer Brian Woodworth with 63 percent of the vote, according to the still-unofficial results.

Quinn, a Democrat, must set a special-election date within five days, under Illinois law. The election must be held in the 115 days after that.

Jackson may have cost taxpayers extra by resigning so suddenly.

To save money, the 2nd District could hold its special election on Illinois’ consolidated election schedule at the same time as lesser races throughout the state.

But that doesn’t seem possible under Illinois’s statutory special-election timeline. Illinois primaries will happen Feb. 26, but the April 9 general-election date falls outside the 115-day special-election range. Counting Thursday as day 1, March 21 is the earliest the 2nd District special election could be held.

Had Jackson waited until Dec. 15 to resign, Quinn could have scheduled the general special election for April 9, along with Illinois’ other general elections.

The cost of the special elections will be borne by the counties in Jackson’s district, as well as by the state.

Holding a statewide special election to replace governor Rod Blagojevich cost the state between $90 million and $100 million, according to estimates, the state elections board said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What to Draw from Gabby Giffords Special Election

Mike Coppola/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Voters in southeastern Arizona are at the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabby Giffords' retirement.

The Democratic nominee, Ron Barber, has a very personal connection to Giffords. Not only is he Giffords’ former district director, but he was also shot in the leg and cheek in the assassination attempt on Giffords in January 2011.

Tea Party supporter and former Marine Jesse Kelly is the Republican nominee. Kelly narrowly lost his 2010 race against Giffords by 4,000 votes.

While a new poll out Monday showed Barber ahead of Kelly by 12 points, insiders on both sides say their polling shows the race much tighter. Many of those closest to the contest give Barber a narrow advantage.

A win by Barber would be more than just a victory for the extended “Giffords family,” it would be a psychological boost for a White House that has endured a rough couple of weeks. After all, this is not a slam-dunk Democratic district. McCain won this district in 2008, Bush carried it in 2004, and Republicans have a significant registration advantage here as well.

A Kelly win would provide another example of a Republican advantage over Democrats -- i.e., Wisconsin recall. Furthermore, it would undercut one of the Democrats’ main arguments for the fall campaign: that GOP support of Social Security and Medicare reform (like the Ryan budget) is politically toxic. Outside groups supporting Barber have pummeled Kelly with his own words on these entitlement programs. As the Arizona Daily Star reported: “Barber and Democrats remind voters daily that two years ago Kelly said he wanted to privatize and phase out Social Security and eliminate Medicare. They slam his pledge this go-round to protect the programs as a disingenuous trick.”

And, groups supporting Barber have not been shy about personally attacking Kelly either. An ad released by the pro-Democratic House Majority PAC showing Jesse Kelly referring to Giffords as “a hero of nothing” during their 2010 campaign was criticized for a lack of context.

For their part, Republicans have tried to link Barber to Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi -- two very unpopular topics in this part of the state. Even so, Barber’s lack of incumbency -- and the fact that he has literally distanced himself from both the president and Pelosi -- have helped insulate him against the attacks.

At the end of the day, Barber’s personal story, and the unrelenting negative attacks on Kelly by Democratic outside groups, will be the real story out of this special election.

Moreover, regardless of what happens, the new congressman will have to run again in the general election in November, this time in a new district that has a much more significant Democratic lean to it. As such, we should expect this district to be in Democratic hands one way or another come next January.

Polls close at 10 p.m. EST. Given the large percentage of the vote that has been cast absentee (the expectation is somewhere in the 55-60 percent range), there is some hope that a winner can be declared rather quickly.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Holds Special Election to Fill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Seat

Alex Wong/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizonans in the state’s 8th Congressional District will cast their votes Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ retirement.  The race between former Giffords district director Ron Barber and retired Marine Jesse Kelly is expected to be close, and the outcome is anyone’s guess.

The district is located in the southeastern portion of the state and encompasses parts of Tucson.

Barber, 66, has had the endorsement of his former boss from the beginning of the race.  He ultimately ran uncontested in the primary, and  has had relatively strong fundraising, taking in about $1.2 million, according to his Federal Election Commission filings.  Barber was also injured in the assassination attempt on Giffords in January 2011 and has recovered from being shot in the leg and cheek.

Kelly, 30, faced a contested primary against three opponents.  His fundraising has lagged behind Barber’s, raising about $700,000, according to FEC filings.  But the political demographics of the district give the advantage to Kelly.  The district leans Republican, going red in the presidential elections in 2008 and 2004 and boasting a higher number of registered Republicans than Democrats going into the special election.

Republicans, Democrats and respectively aligned super PAC’s have invested in the race.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which oversees Democratic House races, has spent a little more than $425,000 on ad buys, while their Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, has spent a little more than $840,000 on media, according to their respective financial disclosures.

The Democratically aligned super PAC House Majority PAC, and the Republican aligned American Crossroads have both waded into the race, as has the Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks, and the establishment GOP group American Action Network.

Giffords campaigned for Barber this weekend leading up to the election, appearing alongside him at a get-out-the-vote event Saturday in Tucson.

Polling indicates the race will likely be close.  Many votes, more than 132,000, have already been cast through early voting, which began on May 17.  The district boasts 414,494 registered voters, meaning that more than one-quarter have voted.  State officials expect that early voting could account for almost two-thirds of the total votes.

Whichever candidate emerges victorious from Tuesday’s election will have little time to get acclimated to his new job.  The congressman will have to run again in the general election in November, this time in a new district -- Congressional District 2 -- which is viewed as more favorable to Democrats.  

Before November rolls around though, the then-congressman must face an August primary.  Both men have already filed for the August 28 contest, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Race for Gabrielle Giffords’ Arizona Congressional Seat Begins

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The primary for the special election in Arizona’s eighth congressional district -- the district formerly represented by Gabrielle Giffords -- takes place on Tuesday, with the special election to follow on June 12.

The Democratic field is already set.  Ron Barber, the former district director for Giffords, is running unopposed.  He has Giffords’ endorsement.

On the Republican side, there are currently four candidates in the race: State Sen. Frank Antenori; Martha McSally, a retired Air Force pilot; sports broadcaster Dave Sitton; and Jesse Kelly, a former Marine who ran unsuccessfully against Giffords in 2010.

Kelly is seen as the favorite to win the nomination again this time around; polling has placed him in the lead.  The National Republican Congressional Committee has remained neutral during the primary.

Barber, who was injured during the shooting on Jan. 8, 2011, has so far been a strong fundraiser, taking in over $500,000 through March 28, according to his Federal Election Commission disclosures -- far more than any of his Republican competitors.  He has not yet begun to advertise on television.

Political spectators outside the state might be tempted to assume that because of his fundraising advantage, and because he has the endorsement of Giffords, Barber will sail to victory on June 12.  However, the eighth congressional district of Arizona tends to lean Republican.  George W. Bush carried it in 2000 and 2004, and John McCain carried it in 2008.

Kelly has raised a little over $200,000 so far, and he mounted a strong fight against Giffords in 2010, losing the election by less than 2 percent.  Giffords got 48.7 percent of the vote, Kelly took 47.2 percent.

The race will likely be hard-fought, and Democrats and Republicans have begun painting their opponents as having political views which are too far left or right for the district.

Turnout is expected to be low in the primary, and low in the general election, party officials say.

After the special election, the winner will not have very much time to acclimate to their new job in Washington, D.C.  The seat will be up for grabs in the general election in November as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin Wins West Virginia Governor’s Race

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON) -- Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin prevailed over Republican Bill Maloney in Tuesday’s special election in West Virginia to fill the last 14 months of now-Sen. Joe Manchin’s gubernatorial term.

With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Tomblin led by 6,108 votes, beating Maloney 49 percent to 47 percent.

Tomblin has served as acting governor since Manchin vacated the seat last November after winning a special election to fill the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat.

Though Democrats held on to the governor’s mansion Tuesday night, there was a silver lining for the GOP. Republicans were able to draw on the unpopularity of President Obama to make the contest much tighter than expected.

Democrats hold a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans in the state, but low turnout for a mid-October, off-year election virtually erased that Democratic edge. There has been a Democrat in the governor’s mansion since 1996, although West Virginia has voted strongly for Republicans in the past three presidential races.

Tomblin will have little time to enjoy his victory, before he will have to again ramp up the campaign machine to defend the governor’s mansion in 2012.

Throughout the contest Republicans tried to paint Tomblin as a career politician who supported Obama’s policies while Democrats tried to portray Maloney as an out-of-touch millionaire who moved jobs out of the state.

Tomblin has served in the state legislature for nearly four decades. Maloney is a former drilling company executive who has never held public office.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


West Virginians Head to Polls for Special Governor’s Election

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- In a race that has continually narrowed in the past few months, West Virginia acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will attempt to make his stay in the governor’s mansion official Tuesday in a special election against Republican businessman Bill Maloney.

Tomblin, the former state Senate president, began the race with a significant lead in the polls, but his edge his dwindled after the Republican Governors Association began running a series of ads linking Tomblin to President Obama’s embattled health care plan.

The RGA has poured $3.4 million into the race, according to the Washington Post. And while the RGA has not released the exact price tag on the ad buys, they ran during Sunday football games in the D.C. media market, an undoubtedly pricey slot.

According to the Post, a group allied with the Democratic Governors Association has spent about $2.4 million to support Tomblin, who has served as acting governor since former Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin won a special election in November for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat in Congress.

Tomblin campaign spokesman Chris Stadelman said “the gap has certainly narrowed” since the RGA ads started running about two weeks ago. Stadelman said the race is "certainly going to be close."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democrats Say Loss in NY Not Indicative of 2012 Election

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who once represented New York’s 9th Congressional district, dismissed a Republican victory there Tuesday as a meaningless indicator for the coming presidential election.

“If you’re looking for predictions about results in 2012, you should really be looking at the president’s standing against the Republican candidates in battleground states, not the results of two House special elections,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters on a conference call.

The other special election the DNC chairwoman was referring to was the one for Nevada's 2nd Congressional district, also held on Tuesday.

Schumer said, “I’ve never heard the ninth CD referred to as a bellwether.  It is among the most conservative districts in New York City and changing rapidly demographically as it has over the years."

“It’s become very different in terms of the Jewish population -- much more orthodox than it used to be,” he said.  “It’s also changed in terms of it’s much more of an immigrant district with a lot of eastern European immigrants who tend to be more conservative, having left the old Soviet Union.”

Both expressed unwavering optimism Obama will be competitive in the district -- which he carried with 55 percent of the vote in 2008 -- and the rest of New York next year.

“As the scene focuses from cutting [spending] to jobs, the president will do better and better in this district, in New York and in the country,” Schumer said.

Wasserman Schultz, citing the latest CNN poll that found a majority of Americans support Obama’s job-creation plan, said, “We know the president’s vision is resonating."

“We’re building an unprecedented grassroots organization,” she said.  “We’re not waiting until next year to go into the battleground states.  That’s where this campaign is going to be won.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry: GOP Win in NY Signals Obama Will Be One-Term President

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Presidential candidate Rick Perry celebrated Tuesday’s Republican victory in New York’s 9th Congressional district less than 24 hours later, saying that it is yet another sign Barack Obama will be a one term president.

Perry said Obama’s “big government,” “tax-and-spend” economic policies were “re-energizing conservatives” across the country, including those who swept Republican Robert Turner into office in a heavily Democratic district.

“The voters are getting the message.  The voters in New York sure got the message,” Perry said.  “For the first time in almost 90 years there is going to be a Republican representing that part of New York City.”

Perry added, “I just think that’s awesome.”

In a stunning upset, Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin to win the seat most recently held by former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Perry told roughly 1,000 Republicans at a Virginia GOP fundraiser in Richmond Wednesday that their party needed a presidential nominee who draws a “distinct and a clear contrast” with President Obama.  Meeting with reporters after this speech he noted that rival Mitt Romney was not that person.

“He has been a great private sector job creator -- there’s no doubt about it,” Perry said of Romney, but added that as governor of Massachusetts, he did “substantially less than quality work.”

In a 10 minute speech, Perry said his campaign was about one word -- “freedom.”

“There is nothing ailing America that can’t be cured with the rebirth of freedom,” he said.

To that end, he offered a promise to “sign an executive order to wipe out as much of Obamacare as I can” if elected.

“This administration called food stamps an economic stimulus.  I think food stamps are symptom of the problem, they’re not a solution,” Perry said.  “The problem is too many Americans can’t find work, Mr. President, that’s the problem.”

Perry was introduced by Virginia’s popular Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.  When asked after his speech whether he was considering McDonnell, who was elected in 2010, as a potential vice presidential candidate, Perry told reporters, “That is thinking too far ahead.”

Nevertheless, several activists in the crowd were wearing bright red “Perry-McDonnell” buttons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Special Election Will Determine Congressman Weiner's Successor

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an attempt to put Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal quickly behind them, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for a special election on Sept. 13 to find a replacement for Weiner, who officially resigned last Thursday.

The special election will he held on the same day that New York is holding its primary for statewide elections.  Local party chairmen will decide who the candidates will be, rather than holding separate primaries.

On the Democratic side, New York City Council members Eric Gioia and Melinda Katz are the expected candidates, while New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich is the likely GOP pick.

The candidate who wins shouldn't get too comfortable.  Weiner's Brooklyn-Queens district is in the process of being redrawn, meaning that his old congressional seat could disappear before the 2012 regular election.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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