Tag Archives: Alex Sink

More Sunshine Polling

By Jim Ellis

March 24, 2017 — The Sunshine State of Florida may set an aggregate polling record if the current surveying pace continues. Already we have seen four different pollsters test what may evolve into a US Senate political battle between incumbent Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R), including two new studies released just this week.

More telling than the sheer polling volume is seeing all four surveying entities detect virtually the same result. That is, Sen. Nelson has a discernible lead, as one would expect from a three-term incumbent, but his advantage is small and he fails to top 50 percent in any of the publicized ballot tests.

Sen. Nelson was first elected to the House in 1978 after spending six years in the Florida legislature. He served until running for governor in 1990, losing the Democratic primary to former three-term Sen. Lawton Chiles, who would go onto unseat Gov. Bob Martinez (R) to win the statewide political position. Nelson returned to win the office of Florida treasurer, insurance commissioner and fire marshal in 1994, and then was elected US senator in 2000. He will be 76 years old in November of 2018, and has said on numerous public occasions that he will run for a fourth term.

Gov. Scott came to politics after a career in the hospital industry, which led to him forming his own venture capital firm. Politically, he seems to specialize in winning close, upset elections. He nipped then-Attorney General and former US Congressman Bill McCollum in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary with a three-point margin of victory, and then defeated Florida CFO Alex Sink (D), 49-48 percent, in a contest that the latter was expected to win easily. Despite poor job approval ratings, Gov. Scott was able to slip past former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) in his re-election campaign, in yet another one-point race (48-47 percent).

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Florida Musical Chairs Begin

July 22, 2015 — As predicted, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL-13) announced his intention to run for Florida’s open Senate seat next year, joining what is becoming a crowded Republican field that may expand even further.

Rep. Jolly was originally elected to his marginal Pinellas County seat in an early 2014 special election after the venerable 21-term Rep. Bill Young (R) passed away. Jolly was an upset winner in the special, defeating former state CFO Alex Sink, who had lost a one-point race for governor in the previous statewide cycle.

Jolly is jumping into the Senate campaign largely because the state Supreme Court just recently declared his district and seven others illegal in accordance with the state’s voter-adopted redistricting initiative. Since the court objects to the Tampa-anchored 14th District jumping across the bridge to annex Democratic St. Petersburg, it is a virtual certainty that the politically marginal 13th will become less Republican. Therefore, Rep. Jolly’s chances of winning re-election in such a newly configured seat all of a sudden become poor.
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Realignment of the Senior Citizen Voting Block

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In a report issued earlier this week, the Gallup organization, which has been charting partisan affiliation by age since 1992, detected clear voter behavior shifts. Among senior citizens, defined as those in the aged 65 and older group, a plurality is now aligned with the Republican Party. According to Gallup, 48 percent of this  Continue reading >

Sink Sunk in FL-13

In a stunning final special election result from Florida last night, Republican David Jolly, who opponents painted as a Washington lobbyist representing an organization that favors Social Security privatization, upset favored Democratic candidate Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The campaign’s conclusion carries national implications.

The Affordable Care Act was front and center throughout the contest, with Jolly touting his opposition to the program and Sink relying on a catch phrase of “keeping what’s right [with the healthcare program] and fixing what’s wrong”. Her argument, before a Sunshine State congressional district with the sixth largest segmentation of people (in Florida) over 65 years of age (22.8 percent), apparently fell upon largely disbelieving ears.

Jolly won the race 48.5 – 46.6 percent, with 4.8 percent going to Libertarian Party nominee Lucas Overby. The Republican victory margin was 3,456 votes from a huge total of 183,627 ballots cast.
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The FL-13 Special Election: A Proving Ground

The death of veteran Florida Congressman Bill Young (R) in October has led to a March 11 special election that may tell us a great deal about the impending regular general election.

The special election campaign, now turning into a multi-million dollar affair with both parties and all major outside organizations spending heavily, is proving to be a major testing ground for election themes. Both sides will soon see how their proposed general election messages play and, with the district’s electorate split almost evenly regarding the Obamacare law, much will be learned about how the two sides will portray the issue nationally this fall.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District appears to be a political microcosm of the state (Obama-Romney statewide 2012: 50-49 percent; FL-13 Obama-Romney: 50-49 percent), while arguably the Sunshine State itself is often viewed as a viable campaign test model for the entire country. The district  Continue reading >

Big Decision for GOP in FL-13

The special election to replace the late Florida Rep. Bill Young (R) in the 13th Congressional District is heating up, and the Republican Party chieftains must soon decide whether or not to match their opponents’ multi-million dollar campaign expenditure budget. Combined, the Democratic national party apparatus and their outside organization allies are making winning this open Tampa Bay congressional special election the highest of priorities.

The National Republican Congressional Committee did just purchase $230,000 in television air time in order to run a negative ad campaign against Democratic nominee Alex Sink. This, in addition to their previous $495,000 outlay, brings their total expenditure for the March 11 special election already to $725,000. This is a major sum for one House seat, but the Democrats are doing far more.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already spent or allocated $820,000 for the 13th District special election, in addition to the House Majority PAC organization dropping $650,000.  Continue reading >

Jolly’s Advantage in Florida

It’s been the stated conventional wisdom that former Florida Chief Financial Officer and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink would sail to a comfortable win in the March 11 special general election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13). Since the Jan. 14 primary, however, two polls have been released projecting that Republican David Jolly holds a discernible lead.

The first survey, from St. Pete Polls as we reported last week, staked Jolly to a 47-43 percent advantage, but we illustrated that the respondent universe contained an over-sampling of Republicans. In the latest poll, from McLaughlin & Associates (Jan. 16-19; 400 registered FL-13 voters) for the Jolly campaign, the same flaw exists. Largely as a result, the McLaughlin data yields a 43-38% Jolly lead.

The district voter registration is: 37 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 24 percent Independent. The McLaughlin sample pull was comprised of 42 percent Republican voters, 35 percent Democrats, and 16 percent Independents. Therefore, increasing the Republican share by five full  Continue reading >

FL-13 Special Election Defined; Owens, Moran to Retire

The first phase of the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R) was held last night in Pinellas County, Florida on the western Tampa Bay peninsula. Though the Democratic race was a non-event because former state Chief Financial Officer and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink was unopposed, the Republican side featured a three-way race.

Lobbyist David Jolly, a former staff member to Congressman Young, won the nomination securing 45 percent of the vote. Jolly raised the most money (more than $400,000) on the Republican side and enjoyed support from the Young political organization, including the late congressman’s wife, Beverly Young, who voiced her support through a television ad.

Placing second was state Rep. Kathleen Peters who never seemed to get her campaign untracked. She garnered votes from 31 percent of the Republican electorate.
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House: The New Outlook

Since Dec. 17, seven US House members in rapid-fire succession – three Republicans and four Democrats – announced their retirements or resigned from Congress in order to accept an Obama administration appointment. The cumulative effect of the moves changes the projections for Election 2014.

Right now, the House stands at 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats with two vacancies – one from each party. The newest mid-term resignation, from Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12) who is leaving his safely Democratic congressional seat for purposes of accepting an appointment to join President Obama’s administration as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will remain unoccupied until the November general election. The previous vacancy, that of the late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13), will be filled in a March 11 special election. The Florida seat appears headed toward consensus Democratic candidate Alex Sink, the former state chief financial officer and defeated 2010 gubernatorial  Continue reading >

Sink Raking in Donations in Fla.; Rehberg’s Return in Montana?

FL-13

With the Jan. 14 special primary election fast approaching in the race to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R), former Florida chief financial officer and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink reported crushing financial numbers on the pre-primary financial disclosure report as released by the Federal Election Commission.

According to the statement, Sink had raised $1.143 million for her special election campaign and has $1.054 million cash-on-hand. More than $823,000 of her current political income came from individual donors, versus $300,700 from political action committees. The candidate invested $7,700 of her own money and reports no debt.

On the Republican side, lobbyist David Jolly obtained $388,450 in contributions and has  Continue reading >

Crist Announces, Scott Pounces

Just a day before the odd-numbered year election, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced his political comeback attempt. Crist, who previously was elected as a state senator, attorney general, and governor when a member of the Republican Party before losing a race for US Senate as an Independent, now as a Democrat, is attempting to re-claim the office he left in 2010.

The toughest thing for any party-switcher is winning the first nominating election before the candidate’s new partisan electorate. Crist is off to a fast start in locking down the key Democratic leaders and, so far, faces only state Sen. Nan Rich as an active Democratic opponent though four others have also announced their candidacies for the nomination.

Crist made his official announcement yesterday in his home county of Pinellas, and several Democratic officials including former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, an ex-US congressman, several mayors, and party county chairmen were on hand to support his entry into the race. But the party support is not universal, as Sen. Rich vowed to continue her campaign.

Crist struck the theme that he will be “the people’s governor,” and referred to GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who he said came to the office as an outsider but has since strayed from his original intent. “He went from taking over Tallahassee to becoming the example of what’s wrong with the place,” Crist said about Gov. Scott in comments from his announcement address as reported in the Miami Herald newspaper.
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Dems Eye House Takeover

Considering the events of the past few weeks, Democrats are now buoyed over their improved chances of wresting the House majority away from the Republicans next year. Most of the early election cycle analysis has been about the Republicans’ chances in the Senate, but the Democrat’s offensive in district elections certainly deserves further attention.

First, a series of MoveOn.org government shutdown polls in Republican-held congressional districts, 61 to be exact, showed most of those particular GOP incumbents to be already trailing a generic Democrat candidate.

Second, the death of Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13) opens one of 16 seats that in 2012 voted both for President Obama and a Republican congressman. The special election format could further aid the Democrats in their quest to win this seat.

Third, the surprise retirement announcement from sophomore Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2) puts a “Lean Republican” seat into play that had previously elected a Democrat in every term since 1982, consecutively, until the current incumbent won in 2010.

Fourth, the Democratic Party leaders report that their House candidate recruitment has substantially improved.

Though the cumulative effect of these recent events has, at least for the short term, improved the Democrat’s prospects, substantial hurdles remain to be overcome if they are to gain the net 17 seats needed to claim a one-seat majority.

The Dems’ top impediment is the small number of open seats (20), which feature only four currently competitive Republican incumbent-less seats. Therefore, the number of realistic conversion opportunities is modest. In the last cycle, by comparison, the number of open seats was a huge 62.

Second, the Democrats must defend at least 18 of their own seats where Republicans themselves have strong, or relatively strong, conversion opportunities. Realistically, the Dems will have to sweep this category to have any real chance of regaining chamber control.
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Senior-Most Republican House Member, Rep. Young, Dies; Surprising LA-5 Primary Results

Rep. Bill Young

Rep. Bill Young

Last week, the House Republicans’ most senior member, Florida Rep. Bill Young, announced that he would retire at the end of the current term and not be on the congressional ballot for the first time since 1970. On Friday, the 82-year-old congressman passed away due to complications from a serious back operation. Young had endured chronic back problems ever since surviving a small plane crash the year he was first elected to federal office.

In the entire House, only representatives John Dingell (D-MI-12), John Conyers (D-MI-13), and Charlie Rangel (D-NY-13), had more seniority than Young. The late congressman was the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee chairman. He served as full Appropriations Committee chairman from 1999-2005.

Young’s western Tampa Bay peninsula district now becomes the House’s fourth vacant seat. Gov. Rick Scott (R) soon will call a special election to fill the position for the remainder of the term. Political musical chairs were already beginning to move due to the incumbent’s retirement announcement, but now potential candidates will be forced to quickly make decisions as we head toward a special election.

All eyes will be on former state chief financial officer and gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink (D) who last week expressed interest in running for Congress, a month  Continue reading >

Booker Wins in NJ; Sink Heading to Congress?

New Jersey

For the past three weeks virtually all the pollsters surveying the special New Jersey Senate campaign projected an 11-point victory for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), and that’s exactly what happened.

Last night, Booker defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) by a 55-44 percent margin. The electoral result allows him to fill the remaining portion of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D) final term in office. He will be eligible to run for a full six-year term in November 2014.

Booker began the special election as the heir-apparent to this seat, and commanded early polling leads that exceeded 20 points. His advantage then decreased to low double-digits, and that’s where it stood until the end of the campaign. Republicans never put up much of a fight for the seat, virtually conceding the race to Booker from the time Gov. Chris Christie (R) decided to call a special election to fill the remainder of the term. He could have made an interim appointment that would have lasted through the 113th Congress, but decided to allow the people to choose Lautenberg’s successor.

Christie did appoint then-state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (R) to serve in the Senate on an interim basis. He will depart when Booker is officially sworn into office. Last night’s election results return the Senate Democrats to a 55-45 advantage.

More than 1.3 million individuals cast ballots in the special general election, just about 24 percent of the registered voter base. Turnout was about average considering there was little suspense or competitive excitement associated with the campaign.

FL-13

The retirement of Florida’s 43-year congressional veteran Bill Young (R) opens his politically marginal 13th Congressional District for the first time in more than four decades, and a new development likely makes it the best Democratic conversion opportunity in the country.

At the beginning of the week, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Florida Chief Financial Officer  Continue reading >

AL-1 Special is Tomorrow; Gov. Announcements in Mass. and Fla.

Alabama

Voters in southwest Alabama go to the polls tomorrow for the special primary election to fill resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) Mobile-anchored district. While the Democrats probably will choose realtor and state representative candidate Burton LeFlore as their nominee, the favored Republicans are almost certainly headed to a run-off election scheduled for Nov. 5. The GOP’s second election will likely determine the identity of Bonner’s successor.

Nine Republicans are on the ballot tomorrow, and former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne appears favored to secure one of the two run-off positions. If things go according to script, the other qualifier will be one of the following: businessman and former congressional candidate Dean Young, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer, former Republican National Committee deputy chief of staff Webb Griffith, or state Rep. Chad Fincher.

Through the Sept. 4 pre-primary Federal Election Commission disclosure period, the aforementioned candidates all find themselves within the same fundraising realm. Byrne tops the list with just over $317,000 raised. The three others, with the exception of Fincher, are between $162,000 and $176,000 in receipts. Fincher has obtained just over $102,000.

If one of the Republicans does secure an outright majority, the special general will then be held on Nov. 5. If the primary results in the expected run-off, the general occurs on Dec. 17.

Massachusetts

Eight-term Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA-7) is expected to unveil a gubernatorial campaign bid this week. The congressman has run for statewide office before, losing to Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special Democratic senatorial primary election back in 2010. Coakley would then go on to lose to Republican Scott Brown in the special general. Capuano scored 28 percent of the primary vote compared to the Attorney General’s 47 percent.

The congressman flirted with the idea of running for the Senate in 2012, but backed  Continue reading >