Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tiahrt Returns for a Kansas Republican Primary Challenge

The incumbent primary challenges are far from over. Yesterday afternoon, in a move that had been discussed for some time but had not crystallized until the last few days, former Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) announced his intent to challenge two-term Congressman Mike Pompeo (R), the man who succeeded him in 2011. Tiahrt left his Wichita-anchored US House seat to run unsuccessfully for the Senate in the 2010 election (lost to then-Rep. Jerry Moran in the GOP primary, 45-50 percent).

In his announcement address before a room full of supporters in Wichita, Tiahrt laid out his differences with the incumbent, and even the House Republican leadership. He expressed disappointment with what he termed as the way Pompeo and the leadership are giving away too much in the national ideological fight. He criticized Pompeo for not fighting hard enough over losing local jobs to other states and countries and cited specific examples, particularly in the local aviation industry.

Tiahrt said Pompeo’s position pushing American military involvement in Syria, his “funding” of Obamacare, and approval of the NSA listening to Americans’ private conversations and reading emails delineate  Continue reading >

Attitudes Toward National Political Candidates Change Dramatically

Though we are approaching an important primary next Tuesday and charges and counter-charges from candidates and outside groups are penetrating the electronic airwaves across the country, we take a break from that action to review the new Pew Research Center for the People and Press survey. Their data shows an extraordinary change in public attitude toward national political candidates.

As late as 2007, a vast majority of the electorate believed that being a member of the Senate or House proved a better preparatory ground for the presidency than did serving as governor. Just seven years later, today’s respondents now look at Washington experience far more negatively.

According to the results of this late April survey of 1,501 adults that was released in mid-May, the respondents now rate being a governor equal to serving in Washington. Responding to the question, “which better prepares someone to be president, serving as a state’s governor or as a senator or member of Congress”, 44 percent responded governor, the same number who answered congressional service. In 2007, this question drew a 55-24 percent response in favor of Washington service.
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Texas Results: Hall Falls, Dewhurst Crushed

Venerable Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-4-R), who at 91 years of age is the oldest member in the history of the House of Representatives, lost his bid for a 19th term last night in the Texas Republican run-off. Hall becomes the first federal incumbent to lose a bid for renomination during this election cycle. Fifty-two other senators and representatives of both parties have been renominated in the early primaries against competition of varying strength.

Former US Attorney John Ratcliffe (R) scored a 53-47 percent victory last night after holding Hall to 46 percent in the primary election. True to form, when an incumbent is forced to a run-off, he or she invariably loses. In this case, because Hall had received endorsements from the losing candidates in the March 4 Texas primary and was drawing renewed respect for his longevity of service, and that he is the last remaining World War II veteran in Congress, many believed he had the opportunity and ability to reverse the normal post-primary electoral trend. But, such was not to be.

As is typical in Texas nominating elections, turnout was extremely low, only 42,139  Continue reading >

Texas Run-Off Finalizes Ballots Today

Resuming our reporting after the long three-day Memorial Day weekend, today marks the Texas run-off vote – nominating day for the races that did not return majorities on March 3.

The most notable run-off features venerable Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX-4) who, at 91 is the oldest House member, is fighting to save his political career. Hall has already pledged that the next term, if he’s re-elected for an 18th time, will be his last. In March, the congressman placed first with 45 percent of the vote but failed to achieve majority status. Against him in the run-off election is former US Attorney John Ratcliffe, who recorded 29 percent back in March.

Normally when an incumbent is forced to a run-off, the challenger prevails because already a majority of voters have chosen another candidate. Such may not be the case here, however. The remaining two primary candidates have both endorsed the congressman, and the fact that Hall is the last remaining World War II veteran serving in Washington is weighing upon many voters. The latest poll gave the incumbent a  Continue reading >

A Democratic House Sleeper in the AR-4 Race

A race that has attracted little attention so far has the makings of a Democratic sleeper campaign. Certainly, former President Bill Clinton’s intense involvement in the congressional contest raises its level of importance and likely places it as the Democrats’ top southern conversion opportunity.

Arkansas’ 4th Congressional District covers most of the state’s southwestern quadrant, stretching from the Louisiana and Texas borders north to the area beyond the community of Huntsville, which lies  Continue reading >

New Outlook in Georgia Senate Race

Tuesday’s Georgia primary produced a Republican Senate run-off election that will take us well into summer, and the county vote delineation is providing an early clue as to who will prevail on July 22.

First-place finisher David Perdue, the former Dollar General CEO, is in the far superior position as the run-off begins based upon his performance in the state’s most populous areas. Though the second-place qualifier, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), recorded impressive vote totals in Georgia’s southern sector, the counties and regions he carried have far fewer GOP voters than those in the northern section of the state, particularly in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area. Kingston came within one county of sweeping southern Georgia. Only Grady County, on the Georgia-Florida border with just 1,885 total votes cast, eschewed Kingston in favor of Perdue.

In the key Atlanta area counties themselves, neither Purdue nor Kingston won. In Fulton, Gwinnett, and Forsyth Counties, it was former Secretary of State Karen Handel who placed first. Perdue was second in each of the three entities, with Rep. Kingston a distant third.
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Results and Reverberations from the Biggest Night of the Primary Season

The biggest night of the primary election season to date unfolded last night, and the marquee race featured the quintet of Republican candidates vying for the open Georgia Senate nomination. In the end, with all five individuals at least maintaining a slight chance to advance to the July 22 run-off as the voting day began, is now coming down to a two-way contest between businessman David Perdue (who registered 30 percent) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), who nipped former Secretary of State Karen Handel, 26-22 percent. Representatives Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) and Paul Broun (R-GA-10) registered only 10 percent apiece. The secondary election winner will face the now-official Democratic nominee, Michelle Nunn, who captured her primary with 75 percent of the vote.

The plethora of pre-election political polls accurately forecast the final order, with the Kingston and Handel pulling away and Perdue finishing first. Rep. Kingston took  Continue reading >

McDaniel Overtakes Cochran In Miss. Senate Primary Polls

Entering the final two weeks of the Mississippi primary, a pair of new polls show that challenger Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party supported state senator, has already moved ahead of veteran Sen. Thad Cochran in their Republican primary battle.

The Polling Company, in the field for the Citizens United Political Victory Fund (May 14-15; 505 likely Mississippi Republican primary voters) finds McDaniel ahead on a combined response of 43-39-3 percent over Sen. Cochran and realtor Tom Carey.

The McDaniel vote breaks down with 30 percent saying they will “definitely” vote for him, an additional 10 percent reporting they will “probably” back the challenger, and another three percent replying that they are “leaning” toward voting for him.

The senator’s numbers are similar. His “definite” percentage is 29; with seven percent “probably” voting for him; and another three percent recorded as “leaning” Cochran’s way. Therefore, the hard vote for both candidates is 30-29 percent in favor of McDaniel. Obviously, a veteran incumbent such as Sen. Cochran – originally elected to the Senate in 1978 after six years in the House – scoring only 29 percent on the  Continue reading >

Big Primary Day Tomorrow

May 20 features six primaries, the largest number of individual nominating elections to be held on a single day so far this year: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Arkansas and Georgia are run-off states. The others will choose all nominees.

Arkansas

Not too much drama coming from the Arkansas primary. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R) are unopposed for their respective party nominations, and their predicted hard fought general election campaign officially begins Wednesday morning. Same is true for the governor’s race, where ex-representatives Asa Hutchinson (R) and Mike Ross (D) are sure to win their respective primaries.

In the House races, two seats are open. The 2nd District (Rep. Tim Griffin (R) running for lieutenant governor) will likely produce businessman French Hill (R) and former North Little Rock mayor, Patrick Henry Hays (D), advancing to the general election. In the open 4th District (Rep. Cotton running for Senate), former Clinton Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, James Lee Witt, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman, despite  Continue reading >

Fallout from Perdue’s “Get Revenue Growing” Comments in the Georgia Senate Race?

With the Georgia Republican Senate primary almost upon us, businessman David Perdue (R) has committed an unforced error. With all polls projecting him advancing to the second round of voting from this Tuesday’s primary, Perdue told a Macon Telegraph editorial board that he would consider increasing revenue as part of the solution to America’s budget problems.

With the five major Republican candidates streaming as far to the right as possible, his statements will be much discussed in the final days of the primary but might not be fully vetted – or absorbed – until the run-off campaign begins.

When asked whether the answer to the budget deficit should be solved by cutting spending or raising revenue, he answered, “both”. According to the Daily Kos Elections blog, Perdue then said, “… here’s the reality: If you go into a business – and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it – I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing. And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You  Continue reading >

Republican Candidates Still in Play in the Most Democratic of Districts

California’s 31st Congressional District, the country’s most Democratic congressional district represented by a Republican, lies in the heart of California’s Inland Empire and it’s an open seat once more. In 2012, President Obama captured 57 percent of the vote here against Republican Mitt Romney. The party registration breaks down 41-34-21 percent, Democratic, Republican, and Declined-to-State (Independent), respectively, according to the pre-primary official totals. Hispanics comprise 42 percent of the total population.

Two years ago, a statistical oddity occurred in the state’s first regular jungle primary. Due to an abnormally low Democratic turnout and because they had the more established candidates, Republicans were able to qualify two candidates for the general election, thus taking a seat right out of the Democrats’ hands. With incumbent Rep. Gary Miller (R) retiring this year, the 31st District again appears primed, at least on paper, for a Democratic conversion. The primary is set for June 3.

A new poll, however, suggests that at least one Republican will advance to the general election, making the Democrats’ victory  Continue reading >

Nebraska, West Virginia Slates Set

The Tea Party and conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth struck gold in the Nebraska Senate primary last night as Midland University president Ben Sasse easily won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns (R). The late polling that predicted Sasse pulling away and early front-runner Shane Osborn, the military veteran and former state treasurer, falling all the way to third place proved precisely accurate. Making a charge at the end that was blunted by outside group attack ads in the closing days was wealthy banker and first-time candidate Sid Dinsdale.

Sasse impressively earned 50 percent of the votes, followed by Dinsdale’s distant second-place finish with 22 percent, and Osborn’s 21 percent. Sasse now becomes the overwhelming favorite to win the general election against attorney David Domina, who won the Democratic nomination with two-thirds of the vote.

The governor’s race came down to a one-point margin, as businessman Pete Ricketts slipped past Attorney General Jon Bruning to claim the Republican nomination and an eventual ticket to the  Continue reading >

With NC Primary Results Still Unclear, Crisco Dies; Aiken Looks to be Nominee – Late Nebraska Numbers Show a Changing Race

The North Carolina primary was held on May 6, but the 2nd District Democratic result is still not official. There, singer Clay Aiken has a slight lead over businessman Keith Crisco as the official canvas is proceeding to conclusion. Unfortunately, yesterday after an apparent fall in his home, the 71-year-old Crisco died suddenly.

Aiken’s 369-vote lead on election night is likely to hold up, but the final result may have been close enough that Crisco could have been entitled to a recount. Should the count turnaround and the late Crisco’s vote totals exceed those of Aiken, the Democratic Party would then be empowered to nominate a candidate through a caucus process.

In any event, it appears that one way or another Aiken will become the party nominee and face sophomore Rep. Renee Ellmers (R). However, the Republican nature of the district gives the congresswoman a major general election  Continue reading >

A Quick Check-in on the Nebraska, West Vriginia and Oklahoma Primaries

Voters in two more states visit their polling places tomorrow, as Republican and Democratic primaries are taking place in Nebraska and West Virginia. A total of 29 states are voting in May and June.

Nebraska

The Republican primary is key in the Cornhusker State, as the GOP nominees for governor and senator will be heavy favorites to win in November.

In the governor’s race, six Republican candidates vie for the nomination but the campaign is evolving into a contest among three. Attorney General Jon Bruning, who lost the 2012 US Senate Republican primary to now-Sen. Deb Fischer, appears to be the favorite going into Election Day. He was just recently endorsed by popular outgoing Gov. Dave Heineman (R), who is ineligible to seek a third term. Former US Senate nominee Pete Ricketts, part of the Ricketts family who founded the Ameritrade national investment house and own the Chicago Cubs baseball club, and State Auditor Mike Foley are also viable candidates. With no run-off election system, the candidate  Continue reading >

Senate Races: Nebraska Race Changes Focus, Handel Closing in Georgia

Nebraska Race Changes Focus

Often times in a multi-candidate primary field when two candidates isolate each other and begin firing and returning charges, a third contender comes unscathed from the outside to claim the nomination.

In the Nebraska Senate race, non-connected conservative organizations have been targeting the early front-runner, former  Continue reading >