Biden 218
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Ties 10
Trump 310
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Click for Senate
Dem 51
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GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (162)
  • Likely Dem (33)
  • Barely Dem (23)
  • Exactly tied (10)
  • Barely GOP (50)
  • Likely GOP (160)
  • Strongly GOP (100)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2020 2016 2012
New polls: MA MI NY PA WI
the Dem pickups vs. 2020: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2020: AZ GA ME MI NV NH PA
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      •  Sheila Jackson Lee Has Died
      •  Today's Presidential Polls

We are working on a regular Q&A, but it's going to be a little late. Please check back around noon PT, and thanks for your patience.

Sheila Jackson Lee Has Died

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), one of the most prominent members of the House, passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer, having been diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.

Her career in politics began in 1990, as a member of the Houston City Council. She moved on to the House of Representatives in 1995, and has been there ever since. She ran for the mayoralty of Houston last year, and came up short, with just enough time to refile in the Democratic primary for her D+23 seat.

Jackson Lee was well-known for being a "work" horse, and for personally reading every piece of legislation she was asked to vote on. She was an outspoken advocate for civil rights, even though that advocacy sometimes raised a few eyebrows. For example, in the name of equality, she pushed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to start choosing some distinctly "Black" names for hurricanes. The Congresswoman was also pro-LGBTQ equality well before that became a mainstream positions.

Jackson Lee was also at the center of her fair share of criticism and controversy. Early in her career, her close ties with Enron were a subject of much discussion. Her office had the highest turnover rate in Congress, and she was nearly censured after firing a staffer who filed a sexual harassment complaint. Jackson Lee also, for better or worse (well, let's be honest, for worse), pioneered the practice of objecting to states' electoral votes. The Trumper shenanigans of 2020 are much more famous, for obvious reasons, but Jackson Lee (sometimes with support from some of her colleagues) objected to Florida's EVs in 2001, Ohio's EVs in 2005, and the EVs from the Carolinas and Wyoming in 2017.

The Representative had a shrewd political mind, as you might expect of someone who managed to stay in Congress for close to three decades. Illustrative of this, and well known to colleagues, she made a point each year of securing a prime aisle seat for the State of the Union address, so as to get a little face time with the president du jour. By the last decade of her career, her preferred seat was effectively reserved for her, despite the official policy for SOTU seating being "first come, first served."

Shrewd political mind or no, Jackson Lee also had a reputation for verbal gaffes. She once said that the Constitution is 400 years old and that North and South Vietnam are still separate countries. During a floor speech, she displayed a Confederate battle flag with 17 stars, rather than the correct 13. Earlier this year, during the eclipse, she made headlines after telling a group of students that the moon is mostly gaseous. Several years ago, she asked a NASA expert if the Pathfinder expedition to Mars had captured a picture of the flag raised by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong, of course, raised the flag on the moon, not Mars. In fairness, these kinds of gaps in one's knowledge will happen when a person can't get into a UC, and has to settle for an Ivy League school (Yale, in Jackson Lee's case).

Perhaps the gaffes helped cement the strong alliance between Jackson Lee and Joe Biden. Her passing deprives him of a firm supporter on the Hill, at a time when he's running short in that particular department. The Democrats will also be down a vote in the House until Jackson Lee is replaced. Since there are more than 74 days to the next general election, there should be a special election for the balance of her term, though you never know what Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) will do. It will be up to the state Democratic organ to choose a candidate to replace her on the general election ballot, and also for the special election. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Two respected pollsters have Joe Biden behind in two must-win states, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Three points is within the margin of error, but for both of them to be that far off in Michigan is less probable than they have the right of it. Pennsylvania, the swing state with the most EVs, is even worse. Biden is in Delaware recovering from COVID, but he has some hard choices to make, and probably this weekend. Choice 1: Do I stay in or get out? Choice 2: If I get out do I endorse anyone?

Note that Politico is reporting that Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi wants an open convention so folks like us have something exciting to write about. She is not against Harris as the nominee, but she feels if it is Harris, she has to earn it by beating the other POTUS wannabees. If Biden just crowns her, that will not sit well with many voters who are luke warm about her. If she has to compete with Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), and others and beats them, then she is clearly who the Democrats want and has earned the nomination on her own. (V)

State Joe Biden Donald Trump Start End Pollster
Massachusetts 47% 29% Jul 16 Jul 18 Suffolk U.
Michigan 43% 46% Jul 13 Jul 16 Civiqs
Michigan 46% 49% Jul 17 Jul 18 PPP
New York 52% 41% Jul 18 Jul 19 SoCal Research
Pennsylvania 42% 46% Jul 13 Jul 16 Civiqs
Pennsylvania 44% 49% Jul 17 Jul 18 PPP
Wisconsin 47% 47% Jul 13 Jul 16 Civiqs

Click on a state name for a graph of its polling history.

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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