Tag Archives: Chris McDaniel

Could Bannon Cost the GOP?

Steve Bannon (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Steve Bannon (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 13 2017 — Several articles have surfaced this week speculating that former presidential advisor Steve Bannon wanting to find and support challengers to Republican Senate incumbents could cost the GOP its majority. It appears individuals making such a claim have forgotten how to count.

Keeping in mind that the Democrats must protect 25 of 33 in-cycle Senate seats, there are simply not enough legitimate targets available for the minority to change their status within the chamber, even though they need a net gain of only three seats. Yes, the Dems are forcing Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) into toss-up situations, but the remaining six GOP incumbents are some of the safest in the Senate. So, even if Bannon or other conservative insurgents recruit opposition to incumbents, the chances of the eventual Republican nominee losing the general election in these particular states are extremely low.

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The Primary Fallout

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 29, 2017 — Former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s victory in Tuesday’s special Senate run-off election has created a media narrative suggesting that statewide GOP primary challenges will soon be sweeping the political scene, but such simply won’t happen.

While Judge Moore’s win may give legs to one adjacent budding Senate primary challenge, the number isn’t going expand due to the 2018 electoral set-up. That is, few Republicans, eight to be exact, are in-cycle for the coming election and the two most vulnerable situations already feature incumbents engaged with primary opponents.

Additionally, the Moore-Sen. Luther Strange contest had unique characteristics that made a primary victory over this particular incumbent more likely, if not probable. Strange, then Alabama’s attorney general, receiving the vacancy appointment in “swamp-like” fashion from a governor trying to avoid impeachment, and using the Senate appointment process to game the system so that he could later choose the person who would continue the legal investigation of himself, cast Strange in a negative light from his very first day in Washington.

Furthermore, the new senator attracted only 32 percent in his first election, meaning that two-thirds of his own party’s Aug. 15 primary voters turned away from him at their first opportunity, was a clear signal that Strange’s appointment was met with widespread dissatisfaction and that the former AG wouldn’t last long in his new job.

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Senate: Utah & Mississippi

By Jim Ellis

March 13, 2017 — Originally elected in 1976, no Republican senator has served longer than Utah’s Orrin Hatch, and he is the eighth longest-serving member in American history. At the end of last week, he informed the media that he’s “planning on” running for an eighth term in 2018.

In 2012, Sen. Hatch indicated that he would be serving his final term upon election that year, but now his intention has apparently changed. The press office statement proved less definitive than Sen. Hatch’s words, however, suggesting that there is still a possibility for retirement.

“Senator Hatch appreciates the encouragement he’s receiving to run for reelection. While he has not made a final decision about his plans for 2018, he has made plans thus far to ensure all options remain on the table,” came the official statement clarifying the Senator’s earlier comments.

Earlier in the year, former governor and US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman (R), indicated an interest in running for the Senate. He said at the time that he did not intend to challenge Sen. Hatch, should the latter decide to seek re-election. With Huntsman now appearing to be President Trump’s choice for Ambassador to Russia, it is unlikely that he will be in the Senate campaign picture irrespective of what Sen. Hatch decides.

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Early Primary Races

Dec. 2, 2015 — The early presidential calendar brings March congressional primaries to seven states. Instead of doubling the election cost with a stand-alone presidential primary followed by a commensurate state nomination event later in the year, several legislatures decided to move their entire cycle to an unusually early calendar slot.

The March primary states, aside from Texas and Illinois, which normally hold their nomination voting then, are: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio.

March 1

Alabama: Sen. Richard Shelby faces Republican primary opposition from four opponents, one of whom, businessman Jonathan McConnell, could self-fund a campaign should he choose to do so. This is a good example of where the short time frame hurts potential challengers. Sen. Shelby should have little problem disposing of his competition to win re-nomination for a sixth term. Should Shelby fall below 50 percent, a run-off election would be held on April 12.

All seven House members are seeking re-election. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL-2), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL-3) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-4) all face Republican opposition. All are favored to win without a run-off.

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A Budding Primary Challenge in MS-4

MARCH 2, 2015 — It’s rare that we cover state legislative candidates in these columns, but a new Mississippi political development may serve as a precursor to a major 2016 congressional challenge.

Chris McDaniel is the state senator who came so very close to denying Sen. Thad Cochran (R) re-nomination last year. Yesterday, McDaniel announced that he is seeking re-election to the legislature in Mississippi’s odd-numbered off-year state elections.

Since the Magnolia State does not host a US Senate race in 2016, McDaniel was asked in an interview if he is planning to challenge 4th District three-term Rep. Steven Palazzo in next year’s Republican primary. While not flatly answering “yes”, McDaniel admitted that he would “prefer a federal position.”
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McDaniel’s Mississippi Senate Challenge

Media coverage is increasing in what may be an impending legal challenge to the Mississippi US Senate Republican run-off election result from defeated candidate Chris McDaniel. Yesterday, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the vice-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that legal authorities should investigate irregularities surrounding the voting in the June 24 electoral contest, and McDaniel’s own attorney indicated an official challenge is imminent.

Now certified as a 7,667-vote loser to Sen. Thad Cochran, McDaniel has a daunting task before him if he is to achieve his eventual goal of reversing the result.

At the heart of the issue is that many of the new voters who cast ballots in the run-off election did not participate in the Republican primary. Under Mississippi election law, there is no requirement to vote in a primary election prior to being part of the associated run-off. It is illegal, however, for a voter to cast a ballot in a primary of one party and then participate in the run-off of the opposite party. According to the McDaniel campaign, thousands of Democrats voted in their own primary and then appeared at Republican run-off polling  Continue reading >

Cochran Victory Reverses History

Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) amazing comeback victory in Tuesday’s run-off election in Mississippi changed political voting history in three ways.

First, the Cochran campaign and their allies increased the number of voters who participated in the nomination process, something not thought practically possible. In the June 3 primary, 313,483 people voted in the Republican senatorial primary. On Tuesday, 376,323 ballots were cast, meaning a minimum of 62,840 individuals who did not vote in the primary participated in the  Continue reading >

Cochran Defies Pollsters; Lankford, Clawson, Rangel Win

Mississippi

Defying all pollsters’ projections, veteran Sen. Thad Cochran rebounded from his under-performance in the June 3 primary election to win the Mississippi run-off campaign. State Sen. Chris McDaniel came within one-half percent of claiming the Republican nomination in the primary vote, but failed to capitalize on his early momentum.

Virtually all published polling projected the 42-year congressional veteran to be falling significantly behind his Tea Party-backed Republican challenger. Yet, the actual results gave the incumbent a 51-49 percent victory, a margin of 6,373 votes out of the 372,000-plus ballots cast, some 60,000 more than were recorded in the primary. Therefore, the secondary election campaign defied not only the pollsters who almost unanimously predicted a McDaniel win going away, but also voter history that virtually always sees an incumbent lose a run-off election when forced into one. Additionally, this run-off produced more  Continue reading >

Challenges for Incumbents Continue

Yesterday, we covered several polls that showed incumbents – senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in addition to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) – trailing their challenger opponents (Incumbent Surprises Lining Up, June 16). Today, that trend continues.

Mississippi

The run-off election to decide Mississippi’s Republican senatorial nominee is just a week away, and the polling company inc./Woman Trend for the Citizens’ United organization (June 12-13; 501 likely Mississippi Republican run-off voters) commissioned a survey, which finds challenger Chris McDaniel beginning to pull away from Sen. Thad Cochran. The results yield McDaniel a 52-40 percent margin. If leaners to each candidate are removed, the total becomes 47-37 percent in favor of the challenger.

Some interesting findings are included in the survey report. First, both men brandish a 93 percent loyalty factor within their own voter base. That is, 93 percent of the respondents saying they will vote either for  Continue reading >

Post-Primary Mississippi Polling Gives McDaniel the Edge; California Counting Continues

The first two public polls were just released in the Cochran-McDaniel Republican senatorial run-off campaign (June 24 election), and both the Democratic and Republican survey research firms conducting the studies arrived at the same conclusion: challenger Chris McDaniel is leading.

As you will remember, last Tuesday’s Mississippi primary contest found incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel headed to a run-off because neither garnered an outright majority of the vote. McDaniel placed first with 49.4 percent as compared to Sen. Cochran’s 49.0 percent.

The Democratic polling firm, Chism Strategies, which may have been the most accurate bellwether in the primary (predicted a 46-44 percent McDaniel lead going into Election Day), returns for the run-off. Their new data (June 5; 835 likely Mississippi Republican run-off voters, self-identifying as primary voters and  Continue reading >

Late Primary Wrap-ups

Mississippi

Now with 100% of the precincts finally reporting, US senatorial challenger Chris McDaniel and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) are advancing to a Republican run-off election on June 24. The primary ended in a razor-thin result, as we now all know, with McDaniel finishing first and coming within 1,702 votes of clinching the nomination. Because McDaniel and Cochran virtually split the votes evenly – McDaniel 49.4 percent; Cochran 49.0 percent – realtor Tom Carey’s 1.6 percent finish forced the two major candidates into a secondary election.

Though the spread between the two leaders is only 1,386 votes, McDaniel is already establishing early momentum for the run-off. With analysts conceding that McDaniel has the more committed following, and therefore a base of support more likely to vote in a summer run-off election, the signs are pointing to an upset. While the Club for Growth is committed to spending on McDaniel’s behalf in the run-off, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads  Continue reading >

June 3 Primary Results Rundown

Mississippi

It was clear that Sen. Thad Cochran was in trouble against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in their Republican primary battle. Last night, McDaniel outpaced the senator by just under 2,500 votes, but the race may not be over. With McDaniel hovering under the 50 percent cut line (49.4 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting), it appears a secondary election between the two men will occur on June 24. A third candidate, realtor Tom Carey, received two percent, which might be enough to deny McDaniel winning outright, although it is unclear just how many outstanding votes remain to be counted. The post-election period here should be of great interest. The bottom line: this pivotal Senate primary challenge race may not yet be over.

Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS-4) got a scare last night, in what proved to be the biggest surprise of the evening. Former veteran Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS-4) came close to forcing the two-term incumbent into a run-off, but it appears the congressman will barely win re-nomination with a 50.5-43 percent margin over Taylor  Continue reading >

June 3 is Largest Single Day of Primaries

Voters in eight states go to the polls tomorrow, making June 3rd the largest single voting day on the primary election calendar.

Mississippi

We begin our analysis in the south, with the premier race of the day. Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran fights to win renomination against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in order to continue his long political career. Cochran was originally elected to the Senate in 1978 and became the first modern-day Republican to represent a Deep South state. He won his House seat six years earlier, in fact on the same day that Richard Nixon was re-elected president.

The latest public opinion polls actually showed McDaniel leading the senator, perhaps as a result of a unified front of national conservative organizations falling in line behind the challenger and spending  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 >

Can Sen. Cochrane Hang Onto His Mississippi Seat?


Cochran Positive Ad

Mississippi polling data is now being released at a fast and furious pace. Earlier in the week, we reported about a NSON Opinion Strategies (April 2; 400 Mississippi Republican primary voters) survey that projected veteran Sen. Thad Cochran to be leading his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, by a rather soft 45-37 percent margin. Yesterday, Harper Polling (April 3-5; 570 Mississippi Republican primary voters) released results that place the senator in much stronger political position.

According to Harper, Cochran’s lead is a  Continue reading >