Democrats improve odds in New Jersey State Senate, but worsen in California recall


When a recall election against Governor Gavin Newsom (D) was declared, it initially evoked skepticism from many with regard to the plausibility of a recall actually passing and removing Newsom from office. California Democrats didn’t offer a legitimate replacement candidate, thus meaning that an election would likely result in one of two outcomes; continuing to have a Democratic Governor, or replacing him with a Republican. We cast a “Solid D” rating as a result.

What may have seemed ludicrous earlier this year has now encroached into the realm of the possible. In the past two and a half weeks, polls have shown several different snapshots in the recall question itself, with an option of replacing Newsom up 11% in a SurveyUSA poll contrasted with the decision to keep him in office up 5% in an Emerson College poll, although a more recent poll from Emerson has shown that lead fall to just 2%.

Should the recall question pass, a Republican (likely Larry Elder) would likely become Governor of California, though 29-year-old landlord and YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D) surprisingly led the SurveyUSA poll by 4%. It reads like a page torn from the screenplay of The Candidate (1972), but this is the same state that elected the likes of Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger as their Governor. It’s not out of the question for a celebrity, even a D-lister like Paffrath, to step into the office.

As a result of tightening polls within recent weeks and the murky situation California Democrats will have to reckon with in the replacement primary, we are moving the recall election for California Governor from Solid D to Lean D.

New Jersey

After analyzing recent campaign finance reports in the New Jersey State Senate elections, we are making three rating changes in the upper chamber, two favoring Democrats and one favoring Republicans.

The biggest change in our ratings is NJ SD-3, the only Trump-won district Democrats hold in the state legislature, moving from Lean D to Likely D. Despite southern New Jersey trending away from Democrats, Republican candidate Edward Durr has constructed a lackluster campaign for himself, filing an A-1 declaration in recent reports, meaning that he will not be spending more than $5,800 in his bid to oust incumbent Democrat Steve Sweeney, who won re-election by double digits in 2017. (We extend our thanks to Ethan Chen for pointing this out)

The other two changes are in the Very Likely category: SD-36 is moving from Very Likely D to Solid D and SD-40 is moving from Very Likely R to Solid R. Neither of the campaigns for the opposing parties have a remote chance at actually ousting the entrenched incumbents who won re-election by double-digits in 2018.

These are our first rating changes in the New Jersey State Senate since April 12th. As a result of these changes, the odds of Democrats keeping their majority have slightly increased: an 0.89% increase in gaining a supermajority in the chamber and an 0.94% increase in holding a regular majority. The odds of a tie have dropped by 0.9%, and the odds of a Republican flip in the chamber have dropped by 0.92%.