Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-IL-18) resignation announcement Tuesday, at least for now, ends an impressive upstart political career. Winning a local school board post in a write-in campaign at age 19, Schock became the youngest public official in the state. Four years later, he ran for the state House of Representatives and defeated a long-term incumbent. At age 27, he became the youngest member of Congress in 2009.
However, after a plethora of news stories written consistently during the past two weeks detailed financial reimbursement improprieties over his federal expenses, Rep. Schock announced that he would leave Congress effective March 31. Though his unforced errors have sent him packing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a future political comeback.
Once Schock officially leaves office, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) will have five days to schedule the replacement election. The nominating and general elections must all occur within a 115-day period from the time of scheduling. This means the special general will likely be placed on or about July 28, with the closed party primary elections somewhere on or around June 23.
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Journalist Charles Dudley Warner’s famous quote that “politics makes strange bedfellows” found yet another new example during the past few days.
A new Harvard Law Review article authored by two former US solicitor generals, one who served Pres. George W. Bush and the other in an acting capacity for President Obama, provides surprising support to conservative Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) argument that he is eligible to seek the presidency.
The senator is in a unique situation. He must overcome an obstacle that no other candidate need be concerned with merely to obtain ballot access. Born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, there is an argument that Sen. Cruz does not fulfill the constitutional requirement for individuals running for president, that of being a “natural born citizen.”
Neal Katyal, who served briefly as acting US Solicitor General after Elena Kagan resigned to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Paul Clement, who President George W. Bush appointed to the position, co-authored their article entitled, “On the Meaning of Natural Born Citizen” for the Harvard Law Review. Their piece directly discusses the Cruz situation and provides ample legal argument to suggest that the Senator does fulfill the basic legal requirements to become a presidential candidate.
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Politico is reporting that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) will announce a bid for the US Senate on March 23, giving us one more clue that Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will likely not seek re-election.
Murphy was first elected to the House in 2012, a post-redistricting upset winner against first-term Rep. Allen West (R) in a seat that should routinely elect more Republicans than Democrats. Last November, Murphy scored a solid 60-40 percent win over former state Rep. Carl Domino. The congressman raised and spent over $5 million in his re-election effort, proving that he has strong appeal within the Democratic donor community.
Sen. Rubio has been saying for months that he will not simultaneously attempt to run for president and re-election. More speculation is building that he will soon announce a presidential bid, thereby retiring from the Senate after one term. An open seat in swing Florida, arguably the most important state on the presidential election map, is a major negative for national Republicans but leaving the Senate is quite probably a strong personal move for Rubio, if his ultimate desire is to be elected president.
It appears the Democratic establishment is poised to support Murphy, whose more moderate record would make him a strong general election candidate but leaves him vulnerable in the party primary. Originally, representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), the Democratic National Committee chair, and Alan Grayson (D-FL-9) were publicly contemplating running for the Senate, but now both appear to be backing away.
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A new Public Policy Polling survey posts former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D) to a 50-41 percent lead over first-term incumbent Ron Johnson (R) according to just-released data.
The poll, however, (March 6-8; 1,017 registered Wisconsin voters) may be a better indication of what happens to former politicians once they leave office for an extended period of time instead of a clear forecast of the upcoming campaign. Typically, former office holders are viewed more favorably the longer they have been out of office, as Feingold’s 46:35 percent approval ratio attests. Five years ago, the Wisconsin electorate defeated him 52-47 percent, preferring newcomer Johnson.
Irrespective of political history, the polling result certainly doesn’t bode well for Sen. Johnson. His own job approval is an upside-down 32:40 percent, which is not too surprising for a PPP survey. The firm typically finds public officials of both parties holding negative ratings, much more so than other firms.
This latest Wisconsin study is no exception. Of the eight current and former politicians tested, only two, Feingold and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), had positive ratings. The state’s other senator, first-term Democrat Tammy Baldwin, is also in negative territory. The poll respondents rated her performance as 38:42 percent favorable to unfavorable.
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FEB. 25 — The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune news publication teamed to release a poll of potential Republican 2016 primary voters (YouGov; Feb. 6-15; 1,200 Texas adults; 547 sampled-matched Republican primary voters) and found home state Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the pack by a relatively substantial margin.
Falling back into single digits were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas’ longest-serving governor, Rick Perry. Thus, we see one more political survey attesting to Gov. Walker’s strength and ex-Gov. Bush’s early weakness.
The UT/Tribune polls have previously not been particularly reliable, but in this instance they teamed up with the international survey research company, YouGov, which has generally produced credible results around the world. This poll, however, appears to have its flaws.
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Due to the Columbus Day federal holiday, no update will be published today. Enjoy the holiday. Jim Ellis Insights posts will return Wednesday morning.
The neighboring Canadian election attracted little in the way of American media attention during its short campaign cycle, — in fact much less than the 2010 British vote. But when the votes were counted Monday night, the ruling Conservative Party had scored an impressive victory. The final tally also handed the once dominant Liberal Party its worst defeat in modern history.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party attained the majority government they had sought while campaigning across Canada for the past month. Harper’s party won a total of 167 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, 12 more than the 155 needed to secure majority status. The Conservative Party has now bested the opposition in three consecutive elections since 2006, but yesterday’s vote gave Harper his first outright Parliamentary majority. The victory brought the party full circle from its disastrous 1993 defeat under then-Prime Minister Kim Campbell who nearly drove the Progressive Conservative Party, as it was then known, to extinction, as they lost all but two seats.
For the first time in Canadian history, the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP), led by career politician Jack Layton, will be the official opposition to Harper’s government. The NDP managed to capture 102 seats in yesterday’s election, an all-time high for this particular party. The new opposition owes much of its electoral success to the collapse of Liberal Party support and the effervescent performance of leader Layton in the nationally televised pre-election debates. The Layton phenomenon was similar to that of Britain’s Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg during the 2010 elections in the United Kingdom. Clegg, like Layton in Canada, captured the electorate’s attention, but the Canadian was actually able to transform his political juggernaut into seats in Parliament. Despite finishing a close third in the British national popular vote, Clegg’s Liberal Democrats won only 57 of 650 seats.
The NDP now supplants the Liberal Party, which has either been the governing entity or official opposition since Canada’s confederation in 1867. Michael Ignatieff, the former Harvard professor-turned Liberal Party leader, led the Liberals to their worst defeat ever losing 43 seats, including his own Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding in Toronto. The Liberal Party now holds just 34 seats in the House, having been decimated in the party’s stronghold, the Province of Ontario. Ignatieff struck a defiant and slightly bitter tone in the hours after his defeat and originally did not rule out remaining as the Liberal leader even though many party regulars demanded his ouster. However, later in the day he finally did resign and said he was leaving Canadian politics with his head held high.
The Bloc Quebecois was almost a non-factor in yesterday’s election, losing all but four of the 47 seats they held in the last Parliament. The 43 seat decline matches the size of the Liberal Party’s demise. Gilles Duceppe, resigned as the Bloc’s leader immediately after the result became clear including the loss of his own Laurier-Sainte Marie riding, previously a Bloc stronghold.
The Green Party won its first and only seat in the Canada’s House of Commons yesterday as Elizabeth May was victorious in the British Columbia riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Mr. Harper will now be asked by the Governor General to form a new government with a Conservative majority. He already has five years of experience as Canada’s Prime Minister, but with fairly weak center-left opposition. It will be interesting to see how the House responds to an energetic but more radically liberal opposition as his foil, and how relations change with the Obama Administration in the U.S.
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We at the PRIsm Information Network wish you the very best for the holiday season.
We will be back next week with our full complement of reports and services. Thank you for your patronage over the past year. We look forward to an even better 2011.
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Enjoy the holidays!!
Public Policy Polling was in the field again with another small-sample poll during the past few days, this time surveying potential match-ups against Massachusetts freshman Sen. Scott Brown (R). As you will remember, Brown, then a state Senator, won the January 2010 special election to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s unexpired final term in office. The seat is now in-cycle, so Brown will be running for his first full term.
The PPP poll sampled 500 Massachusetts voters over the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 period and found Brown to be beating every potential Democratic opponent, including Gov. Deval Patrick who was just re-elected to a second term last month. The new Senator’s job approval is a very respectable 53:29% positive to negative.
When paired with Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA-8), a man widely believed to soon become an official Senatorial candidate, Brown posts a strong 52-36% lead. The two Democrats who poll the best are Gov. Patrick and Vicki Kennedy, the late Senator’s widow. Brown leads both by seven points. His advantage is 49-42% against Patrick and 48-41% when opposing Mrs. Kennedy. Against lesser known potential opponents, Brown leads Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-9) 49-30% and enjoys a 49-39% advantage over veteran Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA-7).
In looking at the 10 Republican seats to be contested nationally in the 2012 election cycle, the Massachusetts campaign is commonly viewed to be at the forefront of the GOP vulnerability index. With President Obama leading the top of the ticket in 2012, the turnout model in the heavily Democratic state likely will be a problem for Brown. If these strong early polling numbers keep appearing, the new maverick Senator will be well-positioned to wage a strong fight to keep the seat he so impressively won early this year.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) officially has been declared the winner of the marathon Alaska Senate contest. With only 700+ ballots remaining to count, she is beyond the margin of error even when including all of opponent Joe Miller’s (R) challenged ballots. The Senator’s lead has grown to over 10,000 votes, exceeding the number of outstanding absentee ballots plus the 8,153 votes Miller is challenging. Thus ends the saga of one of the strangest political campaigns in recent memory. Murkowski lost the primary to Miller principally because she lacked a strong ground-force turnout mechanism but quickly rebounded to form a general election political apparatus to produce a win via write-in — an operation that requires intense organizational ability. This victory certainly ranks among the greatest comebacks in American political history.
Now, all 37 Senate races are official. The new Senate will stand at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. The GOP won 24 campaigns in 2010 versus the Democrats’ 13, four short of the minimum requirement to claim the majority. Next we move to 2012, where Democrats must defend 23 seats versus just 10 for the Republicans. Lisa Murkowski is only the second person to win a Senate seat without officially being on the ballot. South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond was the other to accomplish the feat, way back in 1954.