Monthly Archives: August 2014

Tierney Faces Trouble in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Democratic primary this coming Tuesday will likely be a sleepy affair with the exception of what’s happening in the northeastern sector. It is here where the 6th Congressional District is housed and it’s nine-term incumbent, Rep. John Tierney (D-Salem), may not survive a stiff primary challenge.

Tierney was a surprise winner in 2012, an odd statement when describing an incumbent’s electoral prospects, but even the congressman himself thought his congressional career was coming to an end. Six weeks before the election, he pulled his advertising and indicated he was no longer going to spend campaign money.
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Close Race Decided in AZ-1; Post-Primary Polls in Four Key States

AZ-1

The closest race of Tuesday night’s primary now looks to be concluded. State House Speaker Andy Tobin appears to have captured the Republican congressional nomination over rancher Gary Kiehne and state Rep. Adam Kwasman. With still two precincts not fully reported, but from an area where Tobin did well, the state legislative leader has a 36-35-29 percent margin, a 480-vote spread over his closest competitor, Kiehne.

Though this is a tight contest, such a margin is probably too large for Kiehne to overcome. So, unless there are uncounted votes elsewhere – which, often seems to happen – look for Tobin to become the Republican nominee.

Assuming the supposition of an official Tobin victory is true, the state House Speaker will now face vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in what will likely be a toss-up campaign. Kirkpatrick was first elected in 2008, but lost in the midterm election of 2010 by a wide margin. She returned to win the seat again in 2012 after Continue reading >

No Surprises In Florida; Russell “Gets It” in Oklahoma; Arizona Results Roundup

Florida

The Florida primary proceeded as expected. Gov. Rick Scott won an 88 percent Republican victory; former Gov. Charlie Crist scored 74 percent on the Democratic side. With no US Senate race on the ballot this year, all of the contested federal action is in US House races. The eight challenged incumbents all broke 70 percent of the vote.

In the two congressional races of note, Miami Dade School Board member and former US Senate state director for interim Sen. George LeMieux (R), Carlos Curbelo, was an easy winner in the Miami-based 26th District. He earns the right to challenge freshman Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in what will be a highly competitive campaign.

Curbelo defeated four other Republicans, including former Rep. David Rivera who was attempting a comeback after being defeated in 2012, a result of several simultaneous scandals involving the freshman congressman and former state representative. Rivera managed to attract only eight percent of the vote last night. Curbelo topped the field with 47 percent, Continue reading >

Today’s Next-to-Last Primaries

Today marks the second-to-last major primary day of the 2014 cycle, as voters in three states visit the polls to choose nominees.

In Arizona, Republicans will select a candidate to oppose former Clinton Administration official Fred DuVal (D) in the general election. State Treasurer Doug Ducey, the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery who is running on strong border security that earned him the support of both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has been leading in all polling. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has surpassed attorney Christine Jones for second place, but the race appears to be Ducey’s to lose.

The GOP will also choose three nominees in competitive US House districts. In the 1st, a tight race culminates among state House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman, and wealthy rancher Gary Kiehne. Tobin and Kwasman are neck and neck according to late polling, but Kiehne remains within striking distance. The winner earns the right to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), who could lose as an incumbent for the second time. She was first elected in 2008, defeated in 2010, and re-elected in 2012.
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Conflicting Reports in the Georgia Senate Race

Conflict is arising once again in the Georgia Senate race. With six of seven post run-off polls showing Republican businessman David Perdue holding a lead over Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, Landmark Communications released a new survey (Aug. 20-21; 600 registered Georgia voters) that projects a different result.

According to Landmark, Nunn has a 47-40 percent advantage over Perdue, virtually the exact opposite of other pollsters. Of the six polls that posted Perdue as maintaining the superior position, the Republican candidate’s average support factor was 48.3 percent. Nunn’s commensurate score was 41.2 percent. Six different independent pollsters conducted the half-dozen surveys.

Significantly, the seventh poll – the one that placed Nunn ahead – was also a Landmark study (July 25; 750 registered Georgia voters). While the others came to the opposite conclusion, Landmark, ironically a Republican firm, found the Democrat leading 47-43 percent. Prior to that, Landmark also found Nunn on top with their July 16 poll (1,720 registered Georgia voters), 48-42 percent. But, regarding that particular poll, they had company. Public Policy Polling (July 11-13; 664 registered Georgia voters) came to virtually the same conclusion during the same period: Nunn 48 percent – Perdue 41 percent.
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Scott Brown Closing … or Not in New Hampshire

Though the New Hampshire Senate race has been flirting with becoming competitive for months, no pollster has projected the race in the toss-up realm since January … that is, until now. The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 7-17; 827 New Hampshire adults) finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) by only a 46-44 percent clip. On the other hand, if ex-Sen. Bob Smith were to become the Republican nominee, the incumbent would enjoy a 50-36 percent margin.

In terms of public perception, Sen. Shaheen scores a 48:36 percent positive to negative personal favorability ratio, while Brown is upside-down at 36:38 percent. Smith is down to only 15:20 percent positive to negative, with just 35 percent saying they know enough about him to form an opinion. This gives us an idea as to how fast a population can change. The polling history shows that at Smith’s high point during his dozen years in the Senate (February, 2002 in this instance), he recorded a 51:31 percent favorability index with as many as 82 percent of the voting universe knowing enough about him to form a specific opinion.

The UNH ballot test is the good news for ex-Sen. Brown. The bright side for Sen. Shaheen is that they are the polling source. UNH has one of the worst track records in Continue reading >

The Healthcare Football; AZ-1 Race Tightens

Arkansas Senate

There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, will be a front-burner issue as we progress through campaign prime time. In the toss-up Arkansas Senate race incumbent Mark Pryor (D), a supporter of the national healthcare legislation, just released a new ad that handles the topic in rather unique fashion.

Seated at a kitchen table with his father, former Arkansas US representative, governor, and Sen. David Pryor (D), the current incumbent discusses his successful fight against cancer. In the ad, the senator and his dad outline the family’s battle with their health insurance company to pay for the treatment that ultimately proved life saving.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Pryor’s Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4), has been framing the senator as the deciding vote for enacting the ACA legislation. Since the original bill passed the Senate by only one vote, and the Democrats were unanimous in support, each can be individually credited with being the difference maker. Therefore, we are seeing this theme appear in every Senate Republican challenger race.
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Hanabusa Concedes in Hawaii; Tight NC Senate Race

Hawaii

In Hawaii, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) announced yesterday that she will concede the contested Senate Democratic primary. The final unofficial count gives appointed Sen. Brian Schatz a 1,769-vote advantage, which is likely too large for any challenge to overturn.

Though Hanabusa may have grounds for contesting the results – ballots not counted together, extending the election for only certain people, etc. – she has decided not to pursue what are probably long-shot legal options. But, challenging Schatz again may not be out of the question. Because 2014 voters will only choose a senator to fill the last two years of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) final term in office, Schatz, now the prohibitive favorite to win in November, will again be on the ballot in 2016.

North Carolina

Monthly, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling surveys the tight US Senate race featuring incumbent Kay Hagan (D) as she attempts to win a second six-year term. The August PPP poll (Aug. 14-17; 856 likely North Carolina voters) gives the senator a 42-38 percent lead over Republican nominee Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Libertarian Party candidate Sean Haugh receives eight percent support.
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Sullivan Wins in Alaska ; Wyoming Results In; Kansas Candidate Emerges

Alaska Primary

Thirty percent of Alaska voters went to the polls last night in one of the nation’s last major competitive primaries. There, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan claimed the Republican senatorial nomination, winning the right to challenge vulnerable first-term incumbent Mark Begich (D). Sullivan took 40 percent of the vote, defeating surprise second-place finisher Joe Miller (32 percent) and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (25 percent).

For the second time in four years, Miller came from nowhere to vastly exceed his polling projection. In 2010, he upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski to win the GOP nomination. This time, he attracted far more votes than his single-digit polling status suggested. Treadwell, the early race leader, lost momentum months ago and never regained strength. Some late polling suggested that he was pulling closer to Sullivan, but that did not prove accurate as he finished behind Miller.

Sullivan now formally faces Sen. Begich, the latter of whom drew 83 percent in his own ADL primary against one Democrat, two Continue reading >

Primaries Today; Pressler’s Impact

Alaska, Wyoming
 
Another two primaries are on tap for today, as we continue to pass through the final quarter of nomination voting. Beginning tomorrow, only seven more states will hold primaries and one, Oklahoma next week, will decide a run-off situation.
 
The big vote of this evening comes in Alaska, in a primary that will be decided in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast. Here, Republicans will choose a nominee against first-term Sen. Mark Begich (D) in a three-way battle among the candidate projected as the favorite by most, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department Director Dan Sullivan, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, and 2010 US Senate nominee Joe Miller.
 
Originally, Treadwell began the race as the leader but his poor early fundraising – he now has collected $1.2 million in campaign receipts – quickly put him behind Sullivan both in dollars raised (Sullivan has gone over the $4 million mark), and then in polling. Though the Alaska Republican establishment began to fall in line behind Sullivan, Treadwell has been hanging strong, remaining within single digits according to several late polls. Some believe Miller could be positioned to again come from nowhere to Continue reading >

New Hawaii, Montana Senate Developments

Hawaii Senate

Puna, Hawaii voters not able to cast their ballots in the Aug. 9 primary went to the polls on Friday to complete the statewide electoral process, but before secondary voting even began a surprising new discovery was made.  Some 800 votes from Maui were “found” by election officials during the last week, somehow left uncounted during the original tabulation process.  These votes, too, were added to the weekend count.

The voters eligible to participate Friday could only possible change one outcome, that of the tight Democratic US Senate nomination campaign between appointed Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1).  Going into the secondary voting, Schatz held a 1,635-vote lead.  At this point, the preliminary final count, including the newly added ballots, actually shows Schatz expanding his lead 134 votes to a spread of 1,769.

Does this mean the contest is finally decided?  Possibly, but it depends on how far Rep. Hanabusa wants to go in legally challenging the results.  The fact that election officials allowed the original counting to commence, knowing that not all eligible voters had the opportunity to participate, and then extended the voting period after the original results were made public may be cause for a Hanabusa complaint.  Her argument could be that voting behavior may Continue reading >

Surprising Midwest, South Polls

Polls are coming fast and furiously now, and will continue to do so throughout the remaining portion of summer and onto Election Day. Four post-primary surveys were just released that project flat ties or close contests between the various Democratic and Republican nominees, and each fit at least tangentially into the surprise category.

Kansas

A poisonous political atmosphere exists between Kansas conservative and moderate Republicans, which is partially responsible for veteran Sen. Pat Roberts winning an underwhelming 48-41 percent primary victory over physician Milton Wolf. A new Rasmussen Reports poll (Aug. 6-7; 750 likely Kansas voters) gives the incumbent only a 44-40 percent lead over newly nominated Democratic candidate Chad Taylor, the Shawnee County District Attorney. Taylor, too, scored an anemic primary win (53-47 percent), but his standing right after the Aug. 5 vote is much better than Kansas voting history would suggest.

The Rasmussen numbers also reflect Republican weakness in the governor’s race. Despite a better-than-expected showing in his primary (63 percent), Gov. Sam Continue reading >

Catching Up on Races That Have Gone Into Political Overtime

During the past week’s primaries, several races ventured into political overtime, which we update today.

WI-6

Last night in central Wisconsin’s open 6th District race – Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6) retiring – the Associated Press prematurely declared state Sen. Glenn Grothman the winner of the Republican primary. Now the projection has been rescinded as fellow GOP Sen. Joe Leibham rebounded in the remaining Sheboygan County votes to pull into a virtual tie.

When the projection was made, Grothman had a comfortable eight percentage point lead over Leibham, with Assemblyman Duey Stroebel dropping well behind in third place. As more of Sheboygan County continued to be counted, Leibham’s strength exponentially increased to the point of him finishing just 214 votes behind. All precincts are reporting, but provisional counting is underway. It is unlikely there are enough votes outstanding to change the outcome, but an even closer finish will lead to a recount. Therefore, we are probably weeks from arriving at a final total.

Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the Democratic nominee and, on paper, he appears to be a credible candidate. If he is to seriously compete, however, he, his Continue reading >

Races Take Shape in Three States After No-Surprises Primaries

Connecticut

Not much competitive action in the Connecticut primary occurred last night, as none of the five House incumbents even faced a challenger. In the governor’s race former US Ambassador Tom Foley (R), who held Gov. Dan Malloy (D) to a 6,404 vote victory four years ago – which proved to be the closest governor’s election in the entire country during that year – scored a 56-44 percent Republican primary victory over state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. The latter is the son of the late former US Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-CT-4).

The Foley victory sets up a re-match between he and Gov. Malloy, in a race that could become exciting. Malloy’s job approval numbers have been down, revealing discernible weakness, and some early polling actually puts the challenger slightly ahead. The state’s strong Democratic nature is Malloy’s strongest asset as the general election officially begins.

Minnesota

In the Senate race, as expected, finance executive Mike McFadden cruised to a landslide victory in the Republican primary, Continue reading >

Another Primary Today

Connecticut

The only race of interest on the Nutmeg State board today is the Republican gubernatorial primary. With Gov. Dan Malloy (D) registering poor job approval numbers and even trailing in some polls, the Republican nomination may be worth having even in this Democratic state. In 2010, former US Ambassador Tom Foley (R) came within 6,404 votes of defeating Malloy in the closest gubernatorial contest of the 2010 election cycle.

Amb. Foley returns for a re-match and is favored over state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R), the son of the late former Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-CT-4). McKinney is running a spirited campaign but will likely fall short. Should Foley win the nomination, the general election will be competitive.

All five incumbent House members are seeking re-election, and all are favorites to win re-election. The only moderately competitive race features a 2010 re-match of a 53-47 percent contest between Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT-4) and former state legislator Dan Debicella (R).

Minnesota

Sen. Al Franken’s (D) numbers have been relatively good as he works toward his first  Continue reading >