Monthly Archives: December 2013

Reverberations in Three House Seats

Please accept our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Our regular updates will return on Jan. 3. Thank you for another year of loyal support.

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Last week, three surprise retirement announcements from veteran Representatives rocked the House campaign world. At least two of the three seats will feature hot, toss-up-style campaigns. Representatives Tom Latham (R-IA-3), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10), and Jim Matheson (D-UT-4) all came forward Tuesday to reveal their individual decisions not to seek re-election.

IA-3

Iowa’s 3rd District stretches throughout the state’s southwestern sector, all the way to the Nebraska border. Rep. Tom Latham was first elected in 1994, but found himself paired last year with veteran Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) in a new Des Moines-anchored  Continue reading >

Schizophrenic Mississippi Polling

Simultaneous polls from two Republican polling firms arrived at very different conclusions in the budding primary challenge to veteran Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Gravis Marketing and the Human Events conservative news website teamed up to survey the Mississippi Republican electorate and found the senator to be in a virtual tie with his GOP challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. According to the data (released Dec. 18; 691 Mississippi Republican voters), both men scored 40 percent on the ballot test.

But a rival GOP survey research firm, Harper Polling (Dec. 17-18; 710 Mississippi Republican and Independent voters), finds a contrasting result. According to HP, the incumbent has a substantial 54-31 percent lead in the one-on-one pairing.

Interestingly, the members of the Human Events/Gravis polling sample that would favor Cochran over a generic Tea Party candidate (45-38 percent) actually give less  Continue reading >

Strategic Changes Ahead in Montana Senatorial Bid

Reports are rampant that President Obama will soon select retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to serve as the country’s next ambassador to China. Doing so will bring major change to the impending senatorial political battle to replace him.

Republicans have maintained the early prime position to convert the seat ever since the veteran senator announced that he would not seek election to a seventh term next year. Polling shows freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) with the inside track toward capturing the open seat over both Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. Since the seat will become vacant upon Baucus’ confirmation as ambassador should he be nominated, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement on an interim basis, and Walsh already appears to be the pick.

While on the surface Walsh’s appointment to the seat would clearly bring certain benefits to his election campaign, it also would tie him down in Washington, like  Continue reading >

Major House Retirements Announced

Three House members surprisingly announced retirements yesterday, potentially altering the outlook for 2014. Veteran congressmen Jim Matheson (D-UT-4), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) and Tom Latham (R-IA-3) each will not seek re-election, representing an aggregate total of 68 years of exiting congressional seniority.

At first glance, it appears the eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to convert the solidly conservative 4th Congressional District of Utah, while both the Virginia and Iowa marginal seats will begin in the “toss-up” category. See our analysis below. Along with the vacant FL-13 seat, three more Republican seats will now become competitive and susceptible to Democrat conversion. The party needs 17 seats to claim the House majority and converting these three winnable districts would reduce their net minimum number to just 15.
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Better News for Pryor in Arkansas

Last week, The Polling Company/Women Trend released the results of their study conducted for the Citizens United Political Action Committee (Dec. 6-7; 400 registered Arkansas voters) as reported here. The results gave Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) a rather surprising 48-41 percent lead over two-term incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D).

Yesterday, Public Policy Polling implementing a robo-call survey for the Americans United for Change liberal political organization (Dec. 13-15; 1,004 registered percent voters) finds that the race is tied at 44 percent. This latter data, though better for the senator but by no means a positive finding for any incumbent seeking re-election, is closer to the results produced in earlier polls.

The PPP data also provided some interesting cross-tabs. There is a huge gender gap developing in this race as the surveyors detected women breaking for Pryor 49-37 percent, while male voters prefer the Republican challenger by an even larger 53-39 percent spread.
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The Politics Behind the Budget Vote; First Cornyn Poll Shows Big Advantage

The House passed the Murray-Ryan budget bill 332-94, but there are some interesting political strategies at play relating to the individual votes.

Of the 94 “No” votes, 62 came from Republicans and 32 from Democrats. The member complexion is an interesting mix and was comprised predominantly from those on the far right and far left. The opposition Republicans are mostly ardent Tea Party supported members such as retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6), sophomore Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID-1), and freshman Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY-4).

Eleven members, almost half of the Texas Republican delegation, were among those in opposition, including veteran representatives Ralph Hall (R-TX-4), Joe Barton (R-TX-6), and Michael Burgess (R-TX-26). The Texans supporting the budget bill are generally aligned with the  Continue reading >

Frank Wolf Faces Opposition; A New House Vacancy

Veteran Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf (R), who is preparing to run for his 18th term in the House, has now drawn a potentially strong re-election opponent. Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D) announced earlier this week that he will challenge the veteran congressman. Though the 10th District is drawn as a discernible Republican seat, Democrats pin their hopes on the facts that Virginia is politically transitioning their way, and that President Obama only lost CD-10 to GOP nominee Mitt Romney by just one point, 49-50 percent. The president carried the state 51-47 percent.

Foust represents the County’s Dranesville District, which begins in the McLean area, runs through Great Falls, and then wraps around to annex the community of Herndon. Supervisor Foust was first elected to the local Board in 2007 and was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote in 2011. He is one of 10 members on the local panel, nine from districts in addition to one Board chairman who is elected county-wide. Foust’s district houses over 77,000 voters, but not all fall into the 10th Congressional  Continue reading >

The Wacky 36th CD in Texas

Texas' 36th Congressional District

Texas’ 36th Congressional District

When Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36) signed his official candidate documents to run against Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, only hours remained in the candidate filing period. After the figurative dust cleared, Republican Party officials decided that there needed to be an extended opportunity for more individuals to enter the now incumbent-less 36th District congressional race. So after citing some legal technicalities in the way Rep. Stockman withdrew his previous filing from the House race, they extended the qualification period for this race alone through Monday, Dec. 16. But, the extra period is not open to all.
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Incumbents in Trouble in Ark., Mich.; Clark Wins in Mass.

Arkansas

A new poll was just released for the Arkansas Senate race, the results of which give challenger Rep. Tom Cotton (R) a discernible seven-point lead over incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D). According to The Polling Company, Inc./Woman Trend for the Citizens United Political Victory Fund (Dec. 6-7; 400 registered Arkansas voters) Rep. Cotton projects to a 48-41 percent advantage. In an early race that features both candidates already airing television ads, this poll is the first to give either man a significant lead beyond the margin of error.

The Arkansas Senate race so far is performing relative to the national swing. When the Democrats were soaring during the government shutdown, Pryor took the lead. Now that Republicans are rebounding nationally, Cotton has likewise come back to erase his previous deficit and move significantly past the incumbent.

The early polling and trends reflecting the  Continue reading >

Texas Shock Move

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

The Texas candidate filing period closed yesterday, and yielded a stunning political surprise.

Foregoing what would be an easy re-election to a second term in his 36th Congressional District, Rep. Steve Stockman filed papers to instead launch a Republican senatorial primary challenge against Sen. John Cornyn.

Tea Party conservatives had been trying to recruit an opponent for the senator ever since he opposed fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) informal government shutdown filibuster back in October. Stockman can now expect their backing, a similar coalition  Continue reading >

Cochran’s Decision in Mississippi; New Colorado Poll

Six years ago, quiet veteran Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran (R) didn’t commit to running for re-election until soon before the candidate filing deadline, thus leading to false speculation that he would retire. Cochran followed a similar silent pattern in this election cycle until announcing on Friday that he will run for a seventh term.

Conjecture was becoming brisk that the 76-year-old senator would end his long political career because he is already facing a Republican primary challenge from a Tea Party-backed state senator, and his fundraising has been almost non-existent among individuals. Cochran’s total receipts in 2013 are $402,284 (through Sept. 30), but his contributions from individuals totaled only $31,500, just eight percent of the amount raised. He officially begins this race with more than $800,000 cash-on-hand, however.

In the June 3 primary, Sen. Cochran faces state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville/Laurel). As mentioned, the  Continue reading >

A Minnesota Challenger Emerges; Texas House Update

Yesterday, national and Minnesota Republicans recruited an individual who has the potential of becoming a strong and interesting challenger to the state’s western district 12-term incumbent, Rep. Collin Peterson (D).

State Sen. Torrey Westrom (R) was first elected to the legislature in 1996, moving from the House to the Senate in 2012 after chairing two committees. Westrom is native to the district, growing up on a dairy farm, and tragically lost his eyesight in an agriculture-related accident when he was 14 years old. Despite his disability, Sen. Westrom became a lawyer, married, is father to three children, and has won nine state legislative elections.

The potential race against Rep. Peterson – and retirement rumors continue to swirl around the 69-year old congressman – can become competitive. One of only eight seats in the country to vote for Mitt Romney (53.9 percent) and elect a Democrat to the House, MN-7 ranks as the fourth-most Republican seat to be represented by a member of the opposite party.
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Louisiana Senate Race Takes an Interesting Turn

The Louisiana Senate race took a bit of an unexpected turn during the past few days that may lead to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) settling their pending contest in the November 2014 primary election instead of being forced into a December run-off. Under Louisiana election law, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot, which is held concurrently with the national general election. If no candidate receives an outright majority, the top two, regardless of political party affiliation, advance to a December run-off election. In 2014, the first election is Nov. 4.

Two Republican state legislators who had already announced their intentions to join the field of candidates challenging Sen. Landrieu suddenly withdrew from the contest and endorsed Rep. Cassidy. This leaves Tea Party-backed former Air Force officer Rob Maness in the Republican field alone with Cassidy.

Though both Sen. Elliott Guillory and state Rep. Paul Hollis would have been relatively minor US Senate candidates, their presence on the ballot was significant. The more individuals drawing votes in such an  Continue reading >

Illinois Brings Us the First Official 2014 Candidates

Illinois, with its partisan primary scheduled for March 18, became the first state to close its filing period, meaning the state’s 2014 political combatants are now official candidates.

The Illinois macro political picture brings us some interesting asides. First, in the congressional delegation, all 18 US House incumbents are seeking re-election, so the Land of Lincoln will feature no open seat campaigns in 2014. Second, each of the 19 federal office holders (including Sen. Dick Durbin) face general election competition. Third, six of the incumbents are drawing primary opposition, though only one appears even potentially serious at the present time.

Senate

In the Senate race, four Republicans are vying for the right to challenge Sen. Durbin, but only one is an experienced contender. State Sen. Jim Oberweis, who has previously  Continue reading >

Activity Points to Another Calif. Retirement

For the better part of a year, retirement rumors have been swirling around House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA-25), and a new political move yesterday suggests that such speculation may soon become reality.

Unusual political occurrences have been happening in and around Ventura and west Los Angeles counties during the past two weeks. Tony Strickland is a former Republican state senator, statewide candidate, and 2012 congressional nominee in Ventura County’s new District 26. Last November, Strickland lost to then-Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) 47-53 percent. He originally had been planning to seek a re-match with Rep. Brownley in the upcoming mid-term election, but suddenly reversed course and recently said he would not run in the 26th District next year. He made it plain, however, that his personal plans included running for a different office.

The local Republican leadership then recruited Assemblyman Jeff Gorell to replace Strickland as their favored 26th District candidate. Gorell’s official announcement last week included an endorsement from Tony Strickland.
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