Category Archives: Senate

Sessions in Trouble

By Jim Ellis

Former US attorney general and Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions (R)

Feb. 13, 2020 — Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted a new poll (Feb. 4-6; 400 likely Alabama Republican primary voters) of the Alabama Senate race and though former US attorney general and ex-Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions, still leads in what is a tightening Republican primary, peeling away the underlying data suggests that he could find rough going in an inevitable run-off election.

The M-D results find Sessions leading only 31-29 percent over former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) trails with 17 percent, but well ahead of former Alabama Supreme Court chief judge and 2017 special election Senate nominee Roy Moore who posts just five percent support.

Sessions’ numbers have declined significantly since he entered the race, obviously suggesting a downward trend pointing to a more serious situation when further seeing that his name identification is universal.

With a significant double-digit margin between the top two poll finishers and Rep. Byrne, it becomes highly likely that both Sessions and Tuberville would advance to a run-off election. Neither is positioned to win the nomination outright, however. With Sessions nowhere close to a majority and, after considering his long political history in the state and 100% name identification among Republican primary voters and his current tepid ballot test numbers, it would not be surprising to see Tuberville overtake him in a one-on-one battle.

Another clue that Sessions has political problems is his favorability index as detected in the Mason-Dixon poll. According to their cell responses, Sessions carries a 49:18 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio among Republican primary voters, which looks positive on the surface, but after overlaying the pervasive name ID percentage it becomes clear that half of the respondents fail to have a positive impression.

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Biden’s Survival Path

By Jim Ellis

2020 Presidential Candidate and former vice president, Joe Biden (D)

Feb. 11, 2020 — Former Vice President Joe Biden said his campaign took a “gut punch” with his fourth-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses and, in the nationally televised debate on Friday night from New Hampshire, lowered future expectations when indicating that finishing close to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary would be an acceptable showing.

Recent polls suggest Sen. Warren will do no better than third place, meaning Biden, who can no longer be considered the national front runner, again looks to be lagging behind in fourth place among the Democrat candidates. Does another fourth-place finish doom his national campaign? Would Biden have a path to the nomination even if failing to win yet again in Nevada on Feb. 22?

The answers to the two queries are no and yes, and South Carolina is the key. After a win in the Palmetto State, he would then need to strongly springboard into Super Tuesday just three days hence on March 3. On that day, citizens in 14 states and one territory are scheduled to cast votes, and half of those states are in the South, a region where the former vice president has been dominant in polling.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the likely national leader headed to Super Tuesday, should find some relative strength in the southern states, and billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg will likely also break the 15 percent threshold in some of these places and others to score a limited number of bound delegate votes. If Biden wins most or all of the southern states with approximately 30 percent of the aggregate vote, it would likely give him approximately 200 delegates, a number that certainly could boost his viability within a national context.

From a delegate count perspective, even if he fails to break 15 percent to qualify for convention votes in New Hampshire tonight and doesn’t win Nevada, he is still not going to be unreasonably behind. In Iowa, the projected delegate count suggests that former mayor, Pete Buttigieg, will record 14 first-ballot national convention votes, Sanders’ 12, Warren 8, Biden 6, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), 1.

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Top Senate Fundraisers

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the party nomination for the Arizona Senate. He tops the 4th Quarter fundraisers list.

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 10, 2020
— Continuing to look at the just released 4th Quarter fundraising figures, below is a chart of the top Senate candidates (30) who raised more than $1 million in the previous quarter.

Of the top 30 Senate fundraisers, 17 are Democrats and 13 are Republicans. The incumbent to non-incumbent ratio is the same as the partisan division, 17 incumbents versus 13 non-incumbents pertaining to the $1 million-plus 4th Quarter 2019 fundraisers. The top two 4th Quarter fundraisers — Arizona retired astronaut Mark Kelly and retired Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath — are both Democratic challengers.

Among the top 10 Senate fundraisers, both parties place five candidates in the category. In 10 states, opponents both exceeded the $1 million receipt mark for the quarter just ended.

SENATE RECEIPTS (In Millions)

CANDIDATE PARTY STATE INCOME COH
KELLY, MARK D AZ $6.219 $13.609
McGRATH, AMY D KY $6.152 $9.133
McCONNELL, MITCH R KY $4.587 $11.579
McSALLY, MARTHA R AZ $3.990 $7.660
GRAHAM, LINDSEY R SC $3.837 $10.337
HARRISION, JAIME D SC $3.553 $4.700
JAMES, JOHN R MI $3.532 $6.085
GIDEON, SARA D ME $3.439 $2.778
HICKENLOOPER, JOHN D CO $2.756 $3.216
CORNYN, JOHN R TX $2.697 $12.117
PETERS, GARY D MI $2.487 $8.037
KENNEDY, JOSEPH D MA $2.405 $5.544
COLLINS, SUSAN R ME $2.228 $7.195
SHAHEEN, JEANNE D NH $2.040 $5.758
GARDNER, CORY R CO $1.969 $7.752
JONES, DOUG D AL $1.898 $5.477
TILLIS, THOM R NC $1.885 $5.307
PERDUE, DAVID R GA $1.838 $7.830
ERNST, JONI R IA $1.676 $4.856
SMITH, TINA D MN $1.670 $3.623
GREENFIELD, T. D IA $1.605 $2.158
CUNNINGHAM, CAL D NC $1.602 $1.701
HAGERTY, BILL R TN $1.504 $3.010
WARNER, MARK D VA $1.490 $7.460
MARKEY, ED D MA $1.387 $4.550
DAINES, STEVE R MT $1.386 $5.037
HEGAR, MJ D TX $1.142 $1.004
SULLIVAN, DAN R AK $1.129 $5.716
BOLLIER, BARBARA D KS $1.067 $0.810
LUJAN, BEN RAY D NM $1.016 $2.001

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Primary Money Count – Senate

By Jim Ellis

Former Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions (R)

Feb. 7, 2020 — The 4th Quarter campaign disclosure reports are published and today we look at the key early primary Senate states, those that will have an initial vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.

Five states will hold their regular primaries on that day, and four of them have Senate elections. Voters in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas will take at least the first step in choosing their statewide nominees on Super Tuesday. California, which also holds its regular primary that day does not have a Senate race in this cycle. In Arkansas, Democrats failed to produce a candidate, meaning that Sen. Tom Cotton (R) will head into the general election as a virtually unopposed candidate.

ALABAMA

Alabama hosts a major Republican primary featuring former US attorney general and senator, Jeff Sessions. He is running for the seat he vacated to accept his federal appointment. Sessions is being fiercely challenged, however. Two serious candidates are also vying for the party nomination, US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) and retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville. Ex-state Supreme Court chief judge and 2017 Senate special election nominee Roy Moore is back for another attempt, but his previous poor performance and lack of funding has relegated him to lower-tier status.

On the fundraising front, the Federal Election Commission reports find Sessions raising more than $530,000 but has spent more than $812,000. At the end of the year, he held over $2.5 million in cash, but most of those funds were raised during his time as an incumbent Senator.

Coach Tuberville has done an outstanding job of fundraising for a first-time candidate in a crowded field, raising over $1.3 million from individuals and loaning his campaign $1 million. His year-end cash-on-hand (CoH) figure was $1.52 million.

Rep. Byrne has accumulated over $3.3 million for his campaign, including transferring more than $2.2 million from his US House committee. His CoH total is just under $2.1 million.

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Rep. Collins Moves Toward Senate

By Jim Ellis

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins

Jan. 30, 2020 — Reports had become rampant over the past several days that north Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) was going to challenge appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) in the upcoming special US Senate election. Just two days ago, Rep. Collins said that he “has no comment … for now,” when asked about his statewide intentions. However, yesterday he confirmed that he would indeed run for US Senate in 2020.

It was clear that Collins had wanted the Senate appointment that Loeffler received, and reports toward the end of the selection process indicated that the final choice was largely between him and Loeffler. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) chose Loeffler, it is reported, in part to promote a woman who he believed could attract more Republican votes in the suburbs, in addition to her family’s substantial wealth giving her a major start-up advantage in campaign resources.

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R)

Rep. Collins was President Trump’s strongest defender in his position as ranking Republican Judiciary Committee member during the impeachment hearings, and Trump made no secret of his wish to see the congressman appointed.

In the meantime, Democrats have two candidates, with a third on the political horizon. Businessman Matt Lieberman is the son of 2000 Democratic vice-presidential nominee and former Connecticut senator, Joe Lieberman. Former US Attorney and Georgia state Sen. Ed Tarver is also in the Democratic race, while Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor for Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once served as co-pastor with his father, is poised to enter the race.

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