3/9/21 Special Election Previews

Maine State Senate District 14 (Democratic Defense)

Candidates: Craig Hickman (D), William Guerrette (R)

Overview: We start with the most competitive legislative special election yet this year, with two former State Representatives, Democrat Craig Hickman and Republican William Guerrette, facing off in the outskirts of Maine’s capital city. Donald Trump won this district, which was vacated when incumbent Democrat Shenna Bellows was selected as Secretary of State, by 2 points in 2016. However, although I do not know the exact figures, I am confident saying that Joe Biden won this district in 2020 based on town-by-town swings within the district. My best guess would be that he carried it by 2–4 points while Bellows won re-election by a larger 12 point margin. Looking to defend the seat for the Maine Democrats is Craig Hickman, who represented District 81, which is located entirely in Senate District 14, for 8 years in the State House. Hickman was one of the only African American legislators in Maine, the whitest state in the country, and is also openly gay. Hickman is also an organic farmer, and has made strengthening the rural economy one of his main talking points. The economy is also a main talking point for Republican nominee William Guerrette, a small businessman who served this area in the State House during the 1990s. Guerrette has focused on ending the red tape and regulations he thinks hurt local businesses. Guerrette has been in the headlines for bad reasons lately, however, with a Maine Ethics Commission investigation into Guerrette using electronic construction signs for his campaign (further evidence to how beautifully bizarre local races can be). All things considered, this is pretty close to a dead heat, but I do give the edge to Hickman given his community ties and the more blue downballot leanings of this district.

Rating and Prediction: Tilt D. Craig Hickman wins by 4 points.

Georgia State House District 90 (Democratic Defense)

Candidates: Angela Moore (D), Stan Watson (D)

Overview: The other legislative race on the docket for today is a special election runoff between two Democrats just southeast of Atlanta. In the first round, former State Representative Stan Watson took the top spot with 28%, followed by former Secretary of State candidate Angela Moore at 17%. Watson originally had to leave office due to an embezzlement conviction, so there has been an effort to consolidate support to Moore for the runoff among other figures in the party. However, Watson’s past elected offices give him a real shot at developing a strong base in what will be a low turnout race, and could push him over the top. I think this is an unpredictable pure tossup race, but my hunch is that Watson pulls it off.

Prediction: Stan Watson wins by 5 points

Other Races

Phoenix City Council: In Phoenix, two November City Council races head to runoffs today. In District 3 (Likely D), Democrat Debra Stark is favored to defend her seat against a Republican challenger, while in District 7 (Uncontested D), two Democrats will face off in a moderate vs. progressive battle.

Orange County, CA Supervisor District 2: 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats will face off in a seat which mostly overlaps with California’s 48th Congressional District. As far as I can tell, there will not be a runoff, which should cause a highly competitive race today, with the possibility that Republican vote-splitting will allow a narrow Democratic win. Learning about the runoff issue caused me to move this seat from Lean R to Tossup.

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