Monthly Archives: April 2014

Clarity in Georgia, North Carolina Senate Races?

Two of the more important Senate races in this 2014 election cycle are occurring in Georgia and North Carolina. Both states are in play for the general election; each party holds one of the two seats, both are major targets, and crowded Republican primaries in the pair of places will soon be clarified.

If several new polls are accurate, certain candidates may be breaking away from their respective packs as we approach the May 6 North Carolina primary and the May 20 vote in Georgia. If a candidate exceeds 40 percent of the NC vote, that person is nominated. In the Peach State, it takes the traditional 50 percent plus one vote to claim the nomination outright.

Georgia Primary: May 20 – Run-off, July 22

This is one of two Republican seats, Kentucky (Mitch McConnell) being the other, where Democrats are competitive. The Republican primary features five accomplished candidates, all of whom can construct a reasonable path to victory. A run-off is a virtual certainty here, but many scenarios exist about which two Republicans  Continue reading >

McAllister Out in Louisiana; A Roundup of Senate Poll Shockers

Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who was elected in a November special election in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District to replace resigned Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) but then quickly became embroiled in an extra-marital scandal, announced yesterday that he will not seek a full term this November. He will serve the balance of the current term, however.

Due to his short stint in Congress and his upset of the party establishment candidate, McAllister did not have the internal district support to withstand a scandal. His announcement means that 45 seats will now be open in the 2014 election cycle, though one – the 19th District of Florida – will be filled in a June special election. In addition to the 45 members leaving the House, seven more vacancies, including this Louisiana seat, have been filled in special elections since the beginning of this Congress.

In the special election, McAllister defeated 11 other Republican candidates. Some, such as former Rep. Clyde Holloway (R-LA-8) and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, already  Continue reading >

Comstock Takes “Firehouse” Election; A Grimm Situation

The “Firehouse” Republican primary vote in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District occurred Saturday and, as expected, Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock claimed a majority of the 13,609 voters who participated in the unusual election.

Comstock received 7,337 votes, or 53.9 percent. State Delegate Bob Marshall was a distant second, attracting 3,829 votes (28.1 percent). In high single-digits were businessmen Howie Lind and Stephen Hollingshead. Former Kansas congressional candidate Rob Wasinger and businessman Mark Savitt finished at the bottom, each garnering less than 2.5 percent of the vote.

The firehouse primary concept was a compromise between some local party forces who pushed for a regular primary and those who were supporting a nominating convention. The firehouse primary designated just 10 polling places throughout VA-10, a seat that begins in north and west Fairfax County, annexes Loudoun County, and then travels all the way to West Virginia.

Comstock won seven of the 10 voting locations, including scoring a whopping 91 percent in the Langley polling station, which  Continue reading >

Virginia’s “Firehouse” Primary Tomorrow; Other Primary Developments

A congressional nomination will be decided tomorrow in the Washington, DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. Expectations suggest a limited number of Republican voters will participate in what is termed a “firehouse” primary.

The characteristics of such a voting event are unique. First, only 11 polling places will be open throughout the entire district: just one apiece in Clarke, Frederick, and Prince William Counties, and in the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester. Fairfax County will feature two polling locations, and Loudoun County, a locality housing more than 350,000 residents, will have only three. Instead of voting in one’s own neighborhood as is normally the case, individuals will have to travel, in some instances more than 20 miles, and stand in what could be a long line because there are so few polling places. Thus, participating in this election will take a much greater commitment from every voter than in normal primaries.
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Oklahoma in Flux

A new poll commissioned for a 527 organization supporting former Oklahoma House Speaker T. W. Shannon (R) shows him overtaking Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) in the state’s open Republican Senate campaign. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) is resigning at the end of this year, thus adding another senatorial election to the 2014 political calendar. The winner will be eligible to stand for a full six-year term in 2016.

The Oklahomans for a Conservative Future organization’s poll (Public Opinion Strategies, April 21-22; 500 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters) gives Shannon a 10-point, 42-32 percent lead over Rep. Lankford, representing an incredible swing of 45 points since the first POS poll was taken in February (Lankford then leading Shannon, 51-16 percent).

The survey was fielded after OCF spent $400,000 in media and mail promoting Shannon and depicting Lankford as not being conservative enough for the Oklahoma Republican electorate. As House Republican Policy chairman, the congressman is part of the GOP leadership, a group held in generally low esteem by the  Continue reading >

“The Outsider” is In – In FL-19

Voters in southwest Florida went to polling places yesterday to nominate major party candidates in the preliminary process to replace resigned Rep. Trey Radel (R). The Ft. Myers anchored seat is safely Republican so last night’s GOP primary is likely definitive in determining who will succeed the deposed congressman.

Businessman Curt Clawson, campaigning as “The Outsider,” outpaced the Republican field of candidates with 38 percent of the vote, just as polling predicted. Above is a Clawson ad that emphasizes his background  Continue reading >

Special Election Today in FL-19

The eighth special US House election since the inception of the current 113th Congress begins today. Voters in southwest Florida’s 19th Congressional District will choose nominees for the June 24 special general election.

Today’s action is exclusively in the Republican primary as four candidates battle to become the GOP standard bearer, hoping to succeed resigned Rep. Trey Radel (R). The eventual Republican nominee will face public relations executive April Freeman, who is unopposed in today’s special Democratic primary.

The 19th District, anchored in the cities of Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, and Marco Island, is solidly Republican. Mitt Romney defeated President Obama here in 2012 by a solid 61-39 percent count despite losing the state 49-50 percent. Four years earlier, John McCain commanded 57 percent support against then-Sen. Obama’s 42 percent. Prior to Radel winning the newly constructed and re-numbered 19th District in the last general election, the region was consecutively represented by GOP Reps. Connie Mack IV (R-FL-14), Porter Goss (R-FL-14), and Connie Mack III (R-FL-13), since its original creation in 1982.
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Five Key States, Five Key Senate Races

Karl Rove’s right-of-center American Crossroads 527 political organization commissioned Harper Polling surveys in five US Senate campaigns, releasing the data at the end of last week. Though sample sizes and the surveying periods are not available, the ballot tests all appear to be in a range that are consistent with other published results.

In Arkansas, despite several other surveys projecting incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D) to be holding a slight lead, Harper shows the two candidates tied at 39 percent.

The Colorado numbers are consistent with virtually all other data that has come into the public domain. Harper posts a two-point race between Sen. Mark Udall (D) and newly nominated Republican Cory Gardner, the 4th District congressman. This poll gives Sen. Udall a 45-43 percent lead.

Though the Louisiana numbers have been close for some time, with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) typically leading but in the low 40s, the Harper data is the first to show  Continue reading >

Kasich Falls Into Tie in Ohio Governor’s Race

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been, possibly until now, performing well in his early re-election bid. A new poll taken for the Ohio Democratic Party, however, suggests the race has tightened to the point of being a virtual tie.

Public Policy Polling (April 14-15; 1,050 registered Ohio voters), surveying for the ODP, finds the governor falling into a tie at 44 percent with Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D), but the study may be slightly skewed.

Looking at the PPP cross-tabs allows us to glean some key information. Most notably, the poll skews female because women comprise 53 percent of the respondent pool compared to their 51 percent share of the Ohio population at large. Since the female vote tips toward FitzGerald, the overall ballot test is likely distorted by a slight margin.

The poll’s gender segmentation is significant because the divisions here are not as stark as found in most studies of this race and others. Here we find that women break only 45-43 percent in FitzGerald’s favor, far closer than a normal Democrat-Republican split. This should be good news for Gov. Kasich.
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Why You Won’t See Sebelius Running in the Kansas Senate Race

According to the New York Times, unnamed Democrats are floating the name of outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a potential opponent to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) later this year. For many reasons, such a move will not happen.

As we know, Sebelius announced earlier in April that she will be leaving her position. President Obama already has appointed a successor, subject to Senate confirmation. She leaves office bearing the brunt of what has gone wrong with the Affordable Care Act implementation, particularly relating to the disastrous registration process on the official healthcare website.

According to the Times analysis, Roberts is viewed as potentially vulnerable. This may be true in the Republican primary, because he faces a spirited challenge from physician Milton Wolf, but it is hardly the case in rock-ribbed Republican Kansas when considering the general election.

Public Policy Polling had already tested Sebelius as a potential opponent to the senator, giving us insight into her strength on the ballot. She has a strong history as a  Continue reading >

Dems Hit Tillis in NC Senate Race

It is becoming clear who the Democrats don’t want Sen. Kay Hagan to face in November. The Senate Majority PAC, conducting an independent expenditure operation in the North Carolina Senate race, just unleashed a major attack ad against state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Cornelius). This is their second wave of commercials that individually targets Tillis.

The Tar Heel State race is one of the key contests that will likely determine which party captures the Senate majority. Sen. Hagan seeks a second term after defeating then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in the 2008 general election, but is having a difficult time breaking away from the pack in this campaign. Poll after poll shows the incumbent lagging slightly behind all of her Republican opponents, even though virtually all of them have low name identification. Clearly, a sitting senator trailing candidates such as Heather Grant, an Iraq war veteran and nurse, while only consistently scoring in the low 40 percentile range is cause for concern.


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Boehner’s “Electile” Dysfunction?

J.D. Winteregg, House Speaker John Boehner’s top Republican primary opponent, launched an amusing ad to promote his long-shot quest of denying renomination for the House leader.

The Winteregg spot is a Cialis erectile dysfunction ad parody that coins the phrase, “electile dysfunction”, and injects humor regarding Boehner’s name. The spot is attached for your entertainment.

Colorado Assembly Results

Senate

Colorado’s US Senate general election battle is already underway as Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO-4) won the Republican nomination outright at the party’s official state Assembly meeting this past weekend. By capturing 74 percent of the convention delegate votes, and with no candidates petitioning for access to the ballot, the two-term congressman officially assumes the role of Republican senatorial nominee against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D). Democrats also met in convention, and all party incumbents were nominated for another term.

House

The Republicans, however, provided more drama in addition to Gardner’s victory. Two federal GOP primaries have now formulated, in the 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts. Farmer David Cox secured 34 percent of the vote, four points more than the minimum requirement, to advance to a primary contest against sophomore Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-3).

To the south and east, former Air Force Major General Bentley Rayburn, who ran for the House in both 2006 and ’08, secured 37 percent of the delegate vote in the 5th Congressional District, and will again challenge Rep. Douglas Lamborn in the  Continue reading >

Weekend Transitions: Wisconsin’s Petri Out; New Hampshire’s Brown In

Veteran Wisconsin Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI-6) originally elected in a 1979 special election, meaning he is ninth in House seniority, joined the long line of retiring House members as the weekend began. Petri formally announced that he will not seek a 19th term in November. The development means that 44 House seats will be open in 2014, in addition to the seven districts that have been filled in special elections since the 113th Congress began.

Last week, conservative state Sen. Glenn Grothman launched a Republican primary challenge to the congressman, and it is unclear whether the intra-party challenge influenced Petri’s decision to retire. Reported to be considering entering the now open Republican primary contest are state Assemblyman Duey Stroebel, Ozaukee County Supervisor Joe Dean, and John Hiller, the former campaign treasurer for Gov. Scott Walker (R).

The 6th District sits between Milwaukee and Green Bay, borders Lake Michigan on the east, and then stretches westward to central Wisconsin. It’s major population centers are the cities of Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, and Neenah. Mitt Romney carried the 6th District with 53 percent of the vote in 2012, but in 2008, President Obama nipped John McCain here by a slight 49.4-49.3 percent margin. Petri serves on the Transportation & Infrastructure and  Continue reading >

Democrats on the Attack in Iowa and Arkansas

Iowa

In the last week of March, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) created controversy when saying in what he thought was a private meeting of sympathetic Texas trial attorneys, that the Democrats losing Iowa and the Senate majority would result in a “farmer from Iowa who hasn’t even been to law school” becoming the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Immediately, two outside organizations went on the attack with ads disparaging the mis-stepping congressman, complete with video of his comments. Now, the drivers at the Senate Majority PAC, obviously  Continue reading >