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What do you want to accomplish in Washington?

The answer to this question will guide all stages of our work for you. Our bipartisan lobbying team connects public and private institutions with policymakers at the highest levels of government, including the U.S. Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. We build comprehensive lobbying strategies aligned with your organization’s objectives and values and have decades of experience in consistently delivering successful outcomes.

 

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We know the paths to success and can help you navigate pitfalls along the way. We pride ourselves on being deliberate yet nimble. The rapid pace of change in today's regulatory and political environment demands continuous situational awareness and the capacity to adjust at a moment's notice.

Advocacy

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Whether you want to influence legislation, modify regulations, or retain what’s working well, we can help you navigate the volatile D.C. landscape and lead you to success.

Our firm is bipartisan, and we can connect your organization with key policymakers so you can develop meaningful relationships inside and outside government. Our team has deep experience in understanding the complex public policy that governs our given industries. We coordinate Congressional lobbying days, industry events, seminars, and briefings that position your organization in front of your target audience. Should your organization encounter heightened scrutiny from an agency of the Executive Branch or find yourself in the glare of a Congressional investigation, we can help you successfully traverse the process. 

Analysis

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Stay up-to-speed on the political issues and activities that may affect your priorities and your strategy with our customized systems for research, due diligence, and legislative tracking.

Knowledge is power. This maxim is particularly true in Washington, where policy and political changes can instantly upend an organization's long-term goals. It is critical that you have up-to-the-minute knowledge on policy trends in Washington and the capacity to distinguish between activity and action. Our customized research systems not only help you respond more effectively to pending Congressional or regulatory actions but also flag possible risks, analyze challenges, and uncover new opportunities. From ongoing, client-specific bill tracking to legislative and regulatory due diligence on an investment or transaction, our analysis can play a critical role in informing your decision-making and navigating the pathway to success.

Coalitions

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Amplify your message by linking your priorities to those of other entities. Our blended coalitions incorporate thought leaders and potential supporters from both obvious and unexpected places.

To be truly heard, your message does not need to be louder — it must be stronger. We serve as your connector to partners, pinpointing the most effective allies, securing their support, and following through with a plan for a unified front that can take your initiative to the next level. These partners could include associations, individuals, philanthropies, researchers, think tanks, government agencies, investors, NGOs, and other coalitions and can often come from unexpected places. We think creatively about building coalitions, and by linking your priorities to those of other entities, your message can be strengthened and your reach extended.

Messaging

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In the noisy political din of Washington, a clear, compelling message speaks volumes. We craft your message so it resonates with policymakers and speaks their language.

Consistency is key. Through whatever channels we push your message, it will stay consistent, track closely with your ultimate goal, and most importantly, ring true for the players you are targeting. Depending on the exact need and utilizing the full legal and policy resources across our firm, we can develop draft legislation and amendments, highly effective position papers, report language, testimony, congressional correspondence, and regulatory comments. We work with a talented team of in-house graphic designers, copy editors, and printers to produce sophisticated, eye-catching publications, leave-behinds, digital documents, and videos.

Strategy

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Our comprehensive government relations and public policy plans are client-specific and highly-focused.

We serve not just as your guide to Washington but as your strategic partner. We build our strategic plans around the values of our clients, and those values are reflected in every step of our political initiatives. Our bipartisan team can custom-tailor an approach that refines your message, targets key decisionmakers, identifies potential allies, and proactively plans for opposition. Your strategic plan could include the identification and management of PAC proposals, the development of a targeted public relations campaign, or recommendations about which boards, associations, or philanthropic causes can best support your goals.

Related Services

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BallotBoard: BallotBoard for period ending December 2, 2022

This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight

President


Michigan:  The Michigan Senate approved a bill to move the Wolverine State presidential primary from the day designated as Super Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February.  The move underscores the state leadership’s desire to move Michigan into one of the four primary slots allowed before Super Tuesday.

With the Democrats clearly preparing to change the nominating rules, voting schedule, and primary order of the states, Michigan is attempting to get a head start toward becoming a more prominent force in the presidential nominating system.  If the state formally takes the action of legally moving their election date, it is likely that the Republicans would have to follow suit and also schedule the Michigan primary early in the process.

Senate


Alaska:  The Alaska votes are in and projected, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), with a 1,914 plurality vote advantage on the aggregate count and a 54-46% result through two elimination rounds of Ranked Choice Voting, was re-elected to a fourth full term.  Originally, she succeeded by appointment her father, then-Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), who was elected Governor in 2002.  

The final result was easily predictable, and one could argue Sen. Murkowski really won her re-election when people voted to change the state’s election system in 2020.  Initiated with support from the Senator’s political organization, the hybrid jungle primary/Ranked Choice Voting system allowed Ms. Murkowski to skip what was her most vulnerable election, a partisan Republican primary.  With four people now automatically advancing into the general election, the partisan nomination phase within the traditional election cycle was in effect eliminated.  In 2010, Sen. Murkowski lost the Republican primary, but was re-elected when she won a write-in Independent campaign in that year’s general election.

Georgia:  With the Georgia Senate runoff fast approaching on December 6th, the early voting, or Advance Voting as the procedure is called in Georgia, is widely favoring the Democrats.  After the state Supreme Court granted Advance Voting to begin when the Democratic plaintiffs requested, it was clear that the party would score a large advantage in the pre-election ballot casting process.  Republicans typically catch up to early voting disparities on election day itself.

Polling, however, suggests that the race is anything but over.  Two surveys were recently released, from Phillips Academy and Frederick Polls, and they arrived at similar conclusions.  Phillips (11/26-27; 862 GA runoff likely voters; interactive voice response system and text) finds Republican Herschel Walker leading Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) by a single point, 48-47%.  Frederick (11/23-26; 939 GA runoff likely voters) shows the two men breaking even at 50-50%.  It is presumed the latter survey was pushing initial undecideds to take a position, but the actual study and crosstabs were not released.  

The polling suggests that the electorate remains virtually split in this race, almost exactly what we saw in the November tally when Sen. Warnock placed ahead of Mr. Walker, 49.4 – 48.5%, but fell short of the majority threshold. 

Indiana:  As expected, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R) filed papers this week with the Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis, which is his first step toward foregoing re-election to a second term in the US Senate in order to become an open seat gubernatorial candidate.  Incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is ineligible to seek a third term under Indiana’s term limit law.   

Should he soon become a candidate, Sen. Braun will very likely face credible opposition in the Republican gubernatorial primary.  Already venture capitalist Eric Doden (R) has announced his Senate candidacy.  Other potential names being bandied about include former two-term Gov. Mitch Daniels, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, retiring Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville), and former state Senator and ex-Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jim Merritt.  For the Democrats, the only announced candidate is Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick.  

Assuming he shortly makes a formal announcement of candidacy, the Indiana Senate seat will be the first to open in the 2024 election cycle.

House


AK-AL:  After winning the August special election through the Ranked Choice Voting system to replace the late Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), at-large Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has now clinched a full term when the state’s preliminary final vote count was released the day before Thanksgiving.  The end result was predicted especially when Rep. Peltola easily placed first in the aggregate count, with a 49-26-23% margin spread over former Governor Sarah Palin (R) and businessman Nick Begich, III (R).  

The first round of Ranked Choice Voting, which eliminated distant fourth-place finisher Chris Bye (Libertarian), almost put Ms. Peltola over the top.  In this round, against both Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich, Rep. Peltola scored 49.2% of the adjusted vote.  This result meant eliminating Mr. Begich, who was the third-place finisher.  The third RCV round easily went to Rep. Peltola, who defeated Ms. Palin on a 55-45% tabulation.  The Peltola victory increases the House Democratic Conference to 213 members as compared to the Republicans’ 221 with one California race remaining outstanding.

CA-13:  In the lone undecided US House race, California Republican candidate John Duarte, a local farmer and agri-businessman, predicts that he will eventually win the election once officials finally count all the ballots.  The state allows counties 33 days to finish their processing and tabulation procedures, with a certification deadline of December 16th.  

Mr. Duarte supports his prediction by pointing out that most of the uncounted ballots are from Fresno and San Joaquin Counties in areas where the Republican performed better than his opponent, state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced).  Currently, the districtwide count is stalled with Mr. Duarte clinging to a 593-vote lead.  If the remaining ballots from the five counties perform like the counted ballots, Mr. Duarte would win by approximately 483 votes.  

It is difficult to know just how many ballots remain.  Percentage estimates as to how much of the vote has been counted have not, heretofore, proven particularly accurate.  Therefore, the final count remains a clouded picture. 

VA-4:  Reports from southern Virginia are carrying the news that three-term Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) passed away this week after a long battle with cancer.  Mr. McEachin was re-elected to a fourth term on November 8th with 65% of the vote in a 4th Congressional District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+30.  

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will schedule a special election to replace Mr. McEachin in accordance with state law.  The true battle for the seat will come in the Democratic primary.  Candidates will likely begin announcing for the special election after Mr. McEachin in laid to rest.

VA-9:  Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), who was just re-elected to a seventh term with 73.5% of the vote, may be drawing a 2024 Republican primary challenge.  Freshman state Delegate Marie March (R-Floyd) made a statement saying that Rep. Griffith has “been in Congress too long,” and hinted that she might challenge him in the next GOP primary.  

Rep. Griffith was first elected in 2010, defeating long-time incumbent Rick Boucher (D) and has had little in the way of competition ever since.  He has averaged 72.4% in his six re-election victories and has not yet faced a Republican primary challenge.

Governor


Alaska:  One race that did not need a Ranked Choice Voting round was the Alaska Governor’s contest.  Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won a second term in the aggregate count, scoring 50.3% of the vote against three other candidates.  

In a distant second place was Democratic former state Representative Les Gara who posted 24.2% of the vote, while former Gov. Bill Walker, again running as an Independent, followed.  The latter man recorded 20.7% of the aggregate popular vote.  In the final general election qualifying position was Republican former Kenai Borough Peninsula Mayor Charlie Pierce who managed to secure only 4.5% of the vote.  

Gov. Dunleavy, who faced an aborted recall effort early in his tenure, is the first re-elected Alaska chief executive since Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles won a second term in 1998.  

Louisiana:  Statements from Sen. John Kennedy (R) uttered soon after his re-election victory on November 8th – he captured 62% of the vote to win a second term outright against a field of 12 opponents – suggest that he is moving closer to entering the 2023 open Louisiana gubernatorial contest.  The Senator said he will make a decision after the first of the year.  Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.   

Sen. Kennedy looks to be the favorite in such a race, to the point that Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) says he will wait to see what Sen. Kennedy decides before he makes his own decision about whether to seek the Governor’s position.  Until Sen. Kennedy acknowledged that he is seriously considering running, Mr. Nungesser looked to be a certain candidate.  Already in the race is Attorney General and former US Congressman Jeff Landry (R).  

Louisiana will conduct a statewide jungle primary next October 14th.  If no one receives majority support in the first election, a runoff will be held on November 18, 2023.  Should Sen. Kennedy run and be elected, he would be able to choose his own successor for the Senate seat.  Once an individual is chosen, he or she would serve until the next general election (2024).  At that point, candidates would run to serve the remaining portion of the current term, which would mean next facing the voters in 2028 since Mr. Kennedy was just re-elected to a full term.

West Virginia:  West Virginia state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), son of US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R) and grandson of the late former Governor Arch Moore (R), this week announced his own campaign for Governor.  He hopes to succeed term-limited Gov. Jim Justice (R) who may soon launch his own run for US Senate.  Delegate Capito was first elected to the state House in 2016 and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

State and Local


Chicago:  Yesterday, it was announced that eleven candidates, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), have qualified for the 2023 Chicago mayoral election.  Among Ms. Lightfoot’s opponents are US Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago), state Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and Chicago Aldermen Roderick Sawyer and Sophia King.  

The election features a non-partisan jungle primary on February 28th.  If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on April 4th.  Obviously, with as strong a field as we see lining up against Mayor Lightfoot, a runoff appears inevitable.  Should Rep. Garcia be elected Mayor, his 4th Congressional District seat would then be vacated, thus raising the specter of seeing another special election called.
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Referendum

Referendums (or citizen initiatives) have a long history in American politics and even pre-date the founding of the Republic. In 1775, Thomas Jefferson proposed the inclusion a mechanism for referendums in the Virginia state constitution, which was ultimately rejected. The concept then languished until the rise of the early Populist movement in the late 19th century.