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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. 



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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.



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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.



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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.

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BallotBoard: BallotBoard for period ending March 17, 2023

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


Sen. Tim Scott:  The Hill newspaper reported that South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is taking definitive steps to formally enter the Republican presidential campaign.  This is not surprising since Sen. Scott has been considered a potential national candidate for months.  It’s difficult, however, to see a victory path for the Palmetto State Senator, especially with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley already in the field.  

A Scott entry would presumably be helpful to Donald Trump, since the former President would be the beneficiary of a larger field, similar to the configuration that helped him win the 2016 nomination.  Such is likely the case because Trump has a large, loyal base within the Republican Party, enough to carry him to a plurality win.

New York:  The New York Republican Party last week reinstalled their former state chairman, Richard Nixon son-in-law Ed Cox, to again lead the organization.  The previous chairman, Nick Langworthy, was elected to Congress in November from the state’s 23rd District thus creating a vacancy in the chairman’s position.  

In a statement this week, Mr. Cox said that the state party would not issue an official endorsement in the presidential race in order to encourage all of the eventual GOP candidates to come to New York and compete for the state’s delegate base.  He said this policy is consistent with their 2016 practice, the last time the Republicans had an open race for the presidential nomination.  Mr. Cox previously chaired the state party organization from 2009 to 2019.

National Polls:  While national polls don’t mean much in terms of projecting who will win a presidential nomination because the ultimate winner is decided through accumulating delegate votes through the states, we now see a released pair of interesting Republican nomination surveys conducted during the same period.  

The CNN national survey (conducted by SSRS; 3/8-12; 1,040 US registered voters; live interview & online) found the ballot test favoring Gov. Ron DeSantis, as he led former President Donald Trump, 39-37%.  Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and ex-Vice President Mike Pence were a distant third and fourth with 7 and 6 percent.

Conversely, Quinnipiac University, in the field with their national poll (3/9-13; 677 Republican and Republican leaning voters; live interview) projects a completely different ballot test result.  The Q-Poll sees Mr. Trump holding a strong 46-32% lead over Gov. DeSantis, with Haley and Pence following at 5 and 3%, respectively.  

Florida:  Quelling recent speculation that Florida US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) might launch a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Rick Scott (R), the Congressman issued a statement regarding the matter.  Saying he would not oppose Sen. Scott for renomination, Rep. Gaetz quipped, "if I wanted to spend my time in a retirement community, I'd definitely choose The Villages over the Senate."

Pennsylvania:  A new Public Policy Polling survey (3/9-10; 616 PA likely Republican primary voters) finds state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Chambersburg), the 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee who proved non-competitive in the general election, again leading in a statewide Republican primary.  

In a hypothetical US Senate nomination contest, PPP finds Sen. Mastriano topping 2022 candidate and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and 2022 Senate candidate Kathy Barnette, 39-21-11%.  If the race was a two-way between Messrs. Mastriano and McCormick, the former would lead 42-28%.  Should these numbers hold, such a primary result would again nullify any realistic chance Republicans have of upsetting Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) in November.

Ms. Barnette announced after this poll was released that she would not enter the 2024 Senate campaign.  

Wisconsin:  Business owner Scott Mayer (R) confirms he is considering competing for the Wisconsin US Senate nomination in a race that has not yet seen much activity.  Mr. Mayer is capable of self-funding his race, though he says it’s “not something he is comfortable with.”  Mr. Mayer has been told he might have to fund as much as $20 million to run a competitive race.  

Speculation that former Lt. Governor and defeated gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch (R) is considering entering the race is also gaining steam.  A spokesperson for Ms. Kleefisch, now running the state’s 1848 Project conservative organization, indicated that the former Lt. Governor has not closed the door on running for the Senate.  Incumbent Tammy Baldwin (D), first elected in 2012, is expected to seek re-election.


CA-13:  Phil Arballo (D) has twice run unsuccessfully for Congress and has announced his 2024 candidacy for the California’s 13th District, the seat that delivered the second-closest election in 2022.  In that race, Rep. John Duarte (R-Modesto) defeated now-former state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D) by just 564 votes.  Mr. Gray is also returning for a re-match.  

Mr. Arballo’s candidacy, however, may be short lived.  It has just been uncovered that he is running a premium amateur adult porn video business on the side under the name of Felipe Jones.  Regardless of what happens in the March 5th all-party jungle primary, expect both Rep. Duarte and Mr. Gray to advance into the general election.

FL-25:  Weston City Commissioner Chris Eddy (R), a retired Air Force General and former FBI analyst, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination with the hope of facing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) in the general election.  He first must get past 2022 nominee Carla Spalding, however.

The 25th District is reliably Democratic – FiveThirtyEight rates the seat D+18; Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 62.0D – 36.8R – which means the chances of scoring an upset here are slim.  Still, Rep. Wasserman Schultz showed some weakness in the 2022 election against Ms. Spalding, however, winning only a 55-45% victory, which proved the closest of her ten career congressional elections.  

IL-13:  Educator and West Point graduate Joshua Lloyd (R) announced his congressional candidacy this week, hoping to challenge Illinois freshman Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-Springfield) next year.  The 13th District became a created open seat under the gerrymandered Illinois congressional map, and it stretches all the way from the Champaign-Urbana area through Decatur and Springfield until ending in the Illinois side of the St. Louis suburbs.  

The seat was drawn to elect a Democrat and force then-Rep. Rodney Davis (R) into another district.  The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates IL-13 as D+7, while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean at 53.3D – 41.8R.  In November, Ms. Budzinski won a 57-43% victory over conservative activist Regan Deering (R).

IN-5:  Hoosier State Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-Noblesville) surprise retirement decision in only her second US House term had left an open Republican seat with no early declared candidates until late last week.  First to announce is state Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), who is also the president & CEO of an electric company.  We expect to see a crowded Republican field in the R+22 district, but the unexpected open seat status has featured a slow candidate development.  The Indiana primary is scheduled for May 7, 2024.

NJ-9:  This week, veteran New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) announced that he will run for a 15th term next year thus ending speculation that he might retire from Congress.  Mr. Pascrell will be 87 years of age at the time of the next election.  Before winning his House seat in 1996, he served simultaneously in the New Jersey state Assembly and as Mayor of Paterson.  

The Congressman is expected to have little trouble winning re-election in a 9th District that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as D+17.  Dave’ Redistricting App calculates the partisan lean as 60.7– 37.1R.   The New York City suburban CD includes the cities of Passaic, Paterson, and Clifton, the town of Kearny, and the borough of Oakland.

SC-1:  Museum founder Michael Moore (D), a relative of Civil War figure Robert Smalls, announced that he will enter the Democratic primary to challenge two-term Rep. Nancy Mace (R-Charleston).   

There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding this race because earlier this year a South Carolina three judge federal panel declared the 1st District an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.  This means, that unless the SC ruling becomes moot when the US Supreme Court decides the related Alabama racial gerrymandering case, the district will be re-drawn.  

A new version under the South Carolina judicial directive should make this seat more Democratic, but a considerable amount of time will likely elapse if and before the seat is reconfigured.  Therefore, it is difficult to draw any current conclusions about the 2024 SC-1 campaign.

TX-34:  Republican Mayra Flores made national news in 2022 when she scored an upset special election win in the Texas Rio Grande Valley 34th District that is anchored in the city of Brownsville.  In the regular election, however, she fell 51-43% to fellow Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) who decided to run in the 34th instead of his previous 15th CD.  

The principal reason for Ms. Flores losing was redistricting.  The 34th went from a D+5 to a D+17 under the FiveThirtyEight data organization statistical calculation making the seat difficult for any Republican to attain.  

Seeing political reality, Ms. Flores is indicating that she is unlikely to run again in 2024.  In order to make the adjacent 15th CD more winnable for a Republican, which happened with the election of Rep. Monica de la Cruz (R-McAllen) in November, the 34th became more Democratic.  The redistricting map was drawn long before Ms. Flores won the special election, hence the lopsided partisan lean for a district the GOP was able to convert.


Mississippi:  Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted a new Mississippi Governor’s poll for the Magnolia Tribune (3/6-9; 625 MS registered voters; live interview) and sees Gov. Tate Reeves (R) rebounding from a January Tulchin Research survey.  The Mason-Dixon ballot test posts Gov. Reeves to a seven-point lead over Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Pressley (D), 46-39%.  The Tulchin poll staked Mr. Pressley to an early 47-43% advantage.  

In the M-D poll, the Governor has leads throughout the state with the exception of the state’s 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Bennie Thompson-D), that occupies most of the Mississippi Delta area.  In that region, Mr. Pressley pulls a 15-percentage point lead.  Gov. Reeves is strongest, a pair of 15-point spreads, in the Tennessee border region and on the Gulf Coast.  With party nominations secure for both Gov. Reeves and Mr. Pressley, the two are already waging a general election battle that will be settled on November 7th.

West Virginia:  Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), who lost to Sen. Joe Manchin in a close 49-46% result in 2018, claims to be deciding among seeking a re-match in the Senate race, or running for the open Governor or 2nd Congressional District positions, or simply seeking re-election.  

A newly released National Research poll that was conducted in late February for the Black Bear PAC (2/23-28; 600 WV likely Republican primary voters) projects Mr. Morrisey to be holding a 28-15-11-6% advantage in an open Governor’s primary against state Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), the son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), Secretary of State Mac Warner (R), and businessman Chris Miller, son of Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington). 

Discretionary Spending

Federal government spending can be broken down into two broad categories: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory spending does not require an annual vote by Congress and is dictated by prior law. Discretionary spending, however, is subject to the annual appropriations process and includes funding for essential federal programs like national defense, social services, highways, and foreign aid, to name just a few.