It has been a few months since our last update on upcoming House special elections. With July coming to a close and fall on the horizon, we now have a much clearer picture of how these races are shaping up. This writeup will provide specific updates to embolden our coverage of the TX-06 runoff along with the August primaries in OH-11 and OH-15.
Texas-6 (Safe Republican, Likely Wright) – July 27th
Back in June, we witnessed overwhelming Republican success in this marginal Trump+3 district. The combined Republican share of the vote exceeded 60%, with the party’s top two candidates locking their Democratic foes out of the runoff. Those two candidates are Susan Wright, the widow of ex-Congressman Ron Wright, and Jake Ellzey, a State Representative who ran for the seat in 2018.
Going into the runoff, we consider Wright a slight favorite based on publicly-available information. Her presumed strength in the Tarrant County segment of the district, its most electorally-significant portion, is suitable evidence to support our classification. However, we would not recommend counting out the possibility of an Ellzey victory depending on the fluctuations with regards to the voter turnout rate.
For Ellzey to win, he would need to at least come close in the Tarrant portion, a region in which he only drew 31.8% of the vote in 2018. If Wright is pulling 35-40% of the vote in Ellis and winning by double digits in Tarrant, the night will be short and the outcome will be assured. Set your reminders for our live coverage on YouTube when polls close at 7PM CST tomorrow.
Ohio-11 (Safe Democratic) – August 3rd, November 2nd
The 11th is a safe Democratic seat based in the Cleveland area; it is the only majority black seat in the Buckeye State. The seat became open after incumbent Democrat Marcia Fudge resigned from Congress to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Biden Administration. The Democratic primary is tantamount to election in this district, and it has become quite divisive.
There are two main contenders in the contest: former State Senator Nina Turner and Cuyahoga County Councilmember Shontel Brown. Primary fervor thus far has put the contention between the center-left and progressive factions of the party on full display. There have been four internal polls conducted up to this point, with three showing Turner in the lead and the most recent survey placing Brown ahead. But accuracy should be questioned, as all four of the polls taken as of this month reported high percentages of undecided voters and had questionable error margins.
Endorsements have also shown the breakdown within the Democratic party. Turner has drawn support from many prominent progressives within the party, including Bernie Sanders, AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Cori Bush. Brown, on the other hand, has gotten support from Hillary Clinton and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, widely regarded as exemplifications of the more traditional Democratic ideology. We currently consider the primary a Tossup, with the outcome uncertain. The general election will be Safe Democratic.
Ohio-15 (Safe Republican) – August 3rd, November 2nd
Earlier this year, Republican congressman and former NRCC chair Steve Stivers announced that he would be vacating his seat in the House to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Stivers was elected to the chamber back in 2010, defeating freshman Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in a GOP wave.
The current 15th district is fairly Republican on paper, taking in wealthier Franklin County communities around Columbus before winding south through ruby red territory until reaching the eastern Democratic bastion of Athens; former President Trump carried the seat by 14 percentage points last year.
Two credible Democrats are expected to contest the race: State Representative Allison Russo and Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano. Though the district is not impossible for a Democratic win, there is currently no sign that the inherent Republican advantage will cease. As such, the Republican primary is the more important contest to watch. The primary will also be an early litmus test regarding former President Trump’s endorsement influence in Republican primaries ahead of the 2022 midterms.
There are 11 total Republicans seeking the nomination, but only a handful are worth discussing. Trump’s candidate is Mike Carey, the vice president of government affairs at American Consolidated Natural Resources. Running with the endorsement of Stivers himself is Jeff LaRe, a State Representative. The final meaningful hopeful in the race is State Senator Bob Peterson, who has attracted more establishment support from Ohio Republicans than all of his opponents combined.
One poll has been conducted in the race so far, with its results showing Carey with 20%, far above LaRe’s 9 and Peterson’s 7%. If Carey does manage to win the primary against his more politically-experienced opposition, it is a sign that the significance of an endorsement from the former President in a Republican primary is alive and well leading into 2022. We currently rate this contest as Safe Republican.