Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Rogers Seat: Will the GOP Hang On?

House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers’ surprise retirement announcement is igniting a political scramble in south-central Michigan. The open 8th District in Michigan should remain in Republican hands, but if Democrats can create a political wave in either the governor or Senate race that translates into a turnout driver, then witnessing a competitive open seat campaign here becomes probable.

Rogers who, at the beginning of the election cycle, was widely discussed as the Republicans’ best potential open seat senatorial candidate but instead decided to remain in the House, is moving into broadcast media. At the beginning of next year, he will host his own radio program on the Atlanta-based Cumulus Media network.

The 2011 redistricting plan crafted the 8th as a marginal Republican district but it is much more secure for the party in Rogers’ hands, who for years has proven himself to  Continue reading >

Realignment of the Senior Citizen Voting Block

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In a report issued earlier this week, the Gallup organization, which has been charting partisan affiliation by age since 1992, detected clear voter behavior shifts. Among senior citizens, defined as those in the aged 65 and older group, a plurality is now aligned with the Republican Party. According to Gallup, 48 percent of this  Continue reading >

Does Libertarian Bob Barr Have a Chance in Georgia?

The race to replace US Senate candidate Phil Gingrey (R) in Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, which includes the city of Marietta, half of Cobb County, and all of Cherokee and Bartow counties, has been quiet so far, but a new poll suggests things will heat up substantially before the May 20 primary.

State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R) just released an internal Conquest Communications survey (March 20-24; 600 likely GA-11 Republican primary voters) that projects the poll sponsor and former Rep. Bob Barr (R) to be in a tight contest at the top of a crowded field of candidates. According to the Loudermilk data, the two are tied with 12 percent support. Businesswoman Tricia Pridemore, a former Gov. Nathan Deal (R) appointee, trails with four percent, and state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsay records three percent. Two minor candidates follow.

With less than eight weeks remaining in this primary campaign, the candidates will begin to make their moves. In a multi-candidate  Continue reading >

New Mexico Numbers Show Udall, Martinez Strong,

While most of the recent western political attention has focused on Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D) – the air wars with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-4) and their respective allies have already begun in earnest – little attention is being paid to his cousin, Sen. Tom Udall (D), from the square state directly to the south.

As an incumbent senator in 2014, not receiving any political attention is a good thing. The just-released Public Policy Polling survey (March 20-23; 674 registered New Mexico voters; 327 Democratic primary voters), the first such published New Mexico poll for this election cycle, proves that point for Sen. Udall, but not necessarily for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

According to this new data, the senator maintains a very comfortable lead over both of his Republican challengers, former New Mexico GOP chairman Allen Weh, and local Dona Ana Republican Party ex-chair David Clements. With a very strong 52:33 percent  Continue reading >

Alaska: The First Frontier

Alaska’s actual nickname may be “The Last Frontier” but, in terms of recent political activity, the state is streaking to first place. As you have read in recent previous columns, the early ads coming from outside groups and the major candidates are attempting to cement candidate impressions for the long term. Sen. Mark Begich (D) has been unusually active on the airwaves for an incumbent with an election still eight months away, and now we may have uncovered why.

Yesterday, Rasmussen Reports released a new survey (March 19-20; 750 registered Alaska voters) that shows the incumbent leading only one of the three Republican candidates vying for a shot at opposing him in the general election. Sen. Begich is tied with the contender who seems to be gathering the most inside and outside momentum for the GOP, and surprisingly trails another whose campaign is in the middle of a major shake-up. The only candidate trailing the incumbent is the 2010 Republican nominee who ended up losing the general election to a write-in effort.
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Edwin Edwards Up in LA-6; Utah House Candidates Battle; Begich Ad Marks a Turn

LA-6

Last week, we made mention that 86-year-old former governor and ex-convict Edwin Edwards (D) is making another political comeback by running for the House this year. Edwards’ last year of congressional service was in 1972, when he resigned to begin the first of his four terms as Louisiana governor.

Now, a new automated poll from the local Louisiana Glascock Group consulting firm (released March 20; 718 registered LA-6 voters) finds the former governor leading the jungle primary that will occur concurrently with the Nov. 4 general election. If no candidate receives an outright majority, the top two will advance to a Dec. 6 post-election run-off.

According to the Glascock data, Edwards, possessing 100 percent name identification, draws 43 percent of the respondents’ votes. In second place is Republican state Sen. Dan Claitor with 20 percent, followed by  Continue reading >

The Senate’s Tenuous Balance of Power

Today, most political pundits and election handicappers are suggesting that Republicans will successfully wrest the Senate majority away from the Democrats in the November election, but is the GOP victory path really so clear?

To recap the situation for both sides, Democrats are risking 21 of the 36 in-cycle Senate seats, and the Republicans 15. The GOP needs a net conversion of six Democratic seats to claim the majority. Therefore, Democrats can lose five of their own seats and not gain a single Republican state, yet still retain control. Because Vice President Joe Biden (D) breaks any Senate tie vote, the Dems will retain the majority if the partisan division is 50-50.

Building the Republican and Democratic victory models from scratch, the Democrats begin with 34 hold-over seats of the 55 they currently possess. The Republican ratio is 30 (hold-over) to 45 (total seats).

The Democrats

Today, it appears that 10 of the 21 Dem in-cycle seats are well beyond any margin of  Continue reading >

Sen. Walsh’s First Polling Test in Montana; New NH Data

When Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) announced last April that he would not seek re-election in 2014, it was assumed that freshman at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R) would enter the race to replace the outgoing incumbent and become the strong favorite.

The Democrats’ plan, however, to neutralize the Republican advantage in Montana is a good one. Instead of finishing his final senatorial term, President Obama appointed Baucus as US Ambassador to China, thus allowing Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to install his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, who was already running for the Senate, as the interim replacement. The move gives now-Sen. Walsh, at the very least, abbreviated incumbent stature and is clearly the best political play the Montana Democrats could make.

In federal office since Feb. 7, the new senator has had some time to begin to decrease Daines’ double-digit polling leads. Rasmussen Reports (March 17-18; 750  Continue reading >

Illinois Results: Tighter Than Forecast

Primary voters went to the polls in the Land of Lincoln yesterday and the predicted winners performed as expected, but several victory margins were a bit of a surprise.

In the governor’s race, businessman Bruce Rauner, who personally spent lavishly on his own campaign, managed to clinch the Republican nomination but the race proved much closer than polling had indicated. Rauner defeated state Sen. Kirk Dillard, 2010 gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford by a 40-37-15-7 percent split, respectively, far below what late polling was projecting even though the order of finish was correctly predicted.

Dillard, just as he did four years ago, came on strong at the end and came up just short of placing first. In 2010, he finished only 193 votes statewide behind Brady. Last night, Dillard’s deficit was considerably larger, but he still managed to come within three percentage points of winning the election.
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Former Office Holders Reverse Retirement to Run Again

Candidate filing closed in three more states: Idaho, Iowa, and Nevada and, along with announcements in two other states, we find some former office holders reversing the retirement trend and re-entering the political arena.

Starting with an incumbent re-election statement, veteran Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), who was first elected in 1990 and has been coy about his 2014 political plans, officially declared that he will seek a 13th term later this year. The congressman will likely receive general election opposition from Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom.

In Idaho’s 2nd District, a surprise candidate entry was recorded as former Rep. Richard Stallings (D), who served four terms beginning in 1985, announced that he will again attempt to re-claim his former position. In 1992, Rep. Stallings left the House for a Senate run but fell to then-Boise  Continue reading >

Primary Time Continues in Illinois Tomorrow

Voters in the nation’s second earliest primary state, Illinois, go to the polls tomorrow to choose their party nominees for the fall elections. Though Texas already held its primaries on March 4, its nomination process is not yet complete because the run-off contests are scheduled for May 27. Since Illinois has no secondary election procedure, all nominations will be finalized tomorrow.

Governor

The most intense race on the ballot is the governor’s campaign, as four Republicans vie for the opportunity to face vulnerable Gov. Pat Quinn, who continues to poll as the nation’s weakest Democratic incumbent.

Businessman Bruce Rauner, spending copious amounts of his own money on television advertising, is leading his three GOP opponents in all polls and poised to claim victory tomorrow night. Three surveys  Continue reading >

Lines Drawn in Key Battleground State for Senate Majority

This week, events in Alaska’s nationally important Senate race have apparently begun to crystallize. Just as Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) begins an offensive campaign surge, the Republican coalition’s disparate segments are moving to coalesce behind one  Continue reading >

It’s Official for Candidates in PA, OR

Two more states now have official 2014 candidates as office seekers in Pennsylvania and Oregon made their political intentions official this week.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is facing one Republican primary challenger, while six Democrats will battle for their party’s nomination to be decided May 20. The eventual Democrat standard bearer will have a strong chance of unseating Corbett, who continues to post some of the worst job approval ratings in the country.

With businessman Tom Wolf out to an early lead after unleashing a major positive and clever media buy, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), state Treasurer Rob McCord and three others who comprise the Democratic field are forced to play catch-up.

With no US Senate contest in the Keystone  Continue reading >

Sink Sunk in FL-13

In a stunning final special election result from Florida last night, Republican David Jolly, who opponents painted as a Washington lobbyist representing an organization that favors Social Security privatization, upset favored Democratic candidate Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The campaign’s conclusion carries national implications.

The Affordable Care Act was front and center throughout the contest, with Jolly touting his opposition to the program and Sink relying on a catch phrase of “keeping what’s right [with the healthcare program] and fixing what’s wrong”. Her argument, before a Sunshine State congressional district with the sixth largest segmentation of people (in Florida) over 65 years of age (22.8 percent), apparently fell upon largely disbelieving ears.

Jolly won the race 48.5 – 46.6 percent, with 4.8 percent going to Libertarian Party nominee Lucas Overby. The Republican victory margin was 3,456 votes from a huge total of 183,627 ballots cast.
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Gary Peters’ Boonstra Blunder in the Michigan Senate Race

Things haven’t gone quite to plan for Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) in his bid to succeed retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D).

When the senator announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election early last year, Rep. Peters immediately jumped into the race and very quickly sewed up consensus party  Continue reading >