By Jim Ellis
Aug. 30, 2016 — Today, we cover the second half of the competitive Florida campaigns, with just a word about Arizona. The Washington Post ran an article yesterday chronicling Sen. John McCain as being “in the fight of his life.” It does not appear that McCain is in any danger of losing the primary today, and his general election polling puts him in his strongest position of this election cycle. Therefore, the Post story seems ill timed.
Also in Arizona, and not covered yesterday, despite a moderate independent expenditure leveled against Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott), the congressman is also expected to easily survive his primary challenge. Gosar’s opponent, former local official Ray Strauss (R), has attracted just over $100,000 in support of his own campaign, far less than the independent expenditure. The general election will not be competitive.
• FL-9: The new 9th District, which stretches from east Orlando south through Kissimmee, west to Winter Park and then east to the Yeehaw Junction, is a few points less Democratic than the seat Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) currently represents. His departure to the Senate race makes this one of seven open Florida congressional districts. While Alan Grayson will not represent this district in the next Congress, another Grayson may. A poll released last week found the congressman’s new wife, physician Dena Grayson, leads the Democratic primary field, thus making her at least a slight favorite. Former congressional aide Susannah Randolph and state Sen. Darren Soto are the other viable candidates in the Democratic field. Today’s Dem primary victor will win the seat in November. Safe Democratic
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 >
Voters will be casting ballots in six states, and the Mississippi Republican run-off contest between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel gains top national billing. Most polling suggests that McDaniel, who placed first in the primary with 49.4 percent of the vote, is favored to capture the party nod. His victory would unseat a veteran Republican senator who was first elected to Congress in 1972.
Another US House special election will be decided today as GOP businessman Curt Clawson is poised to win Florida’s 19th Congressional District, left vacant by freshman Rep. Trey Radel’s (R) resignation. Clawson, armed with $2 million of personal money and strong backing from various Tea Party groups, easily won the Republican nomination on April 22. The former Purdue University basketball player will cruise to victory against Democrat April Freeman in the safely Republican seat anchored in the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area. He will be sworn into office later this week, and then immediately begin running for a full term. Continue reading >
Voters in southwest Florida went to polling places yesterday to nominate major party candidates in the preliminary process to replace resigned Rep. Trey Radel (R). The Ft. Myers anchored seat is safely Republican so last night’s GOP primary is likely definitive in determining who will succeed the deposed congressman.
Businessman Curt Clawson, campaigning as “The Outsider,” outpaced the Republican field of candidates with 38 percent of the vote, just as polling predicted. Above is a Clawson ad that emphasizes his background Continue reading >
Last evening, freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R) officially resigned from the House, succumbing to Republican Party leaders both in and out of government who were urging him to leave. Controversy arose around the congressman after he accepted a plea bargain arrangement for the misdemeanor cocaine possession charges brought against him in the District of Columbia.
Radel just finished 30 days in a rehab facility as part of the agreement with DC prosecutors. His action vacating the congressional seat now requires Gov. Rick Scott (R) to schedule a special election to fill the unexpired portion of the current term. As is the case with all 435 House seats, the new incumbent will stand for a full term in the 2014 regular election.
The resignation brings the House vacancy total to three. The other two incumbent-less seats are the late Rep. Bill Young’s (R-FL-13) district to the north of Radel’s, and former Rep. Mell Watt’s (D) 12th Continue reading >