Tag Archives: Idaho

A Not So Open Seat

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 22, 2017 — Currently, we see a low number of open US House seats during this 2018 election cycle, and the number is about to get even smaller. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) is expected to announce that he has changed political course once again and now will seek re-election.

In April, the six-term congressman announced his candidacy for governor, only to withdraw two months later. At the time when ending his statewide bid, Perlmutter confirmed that he would not be seeking re-election to a seventh term in the House. Believing the 7th District, a likely Democratic seat, would be open in 2018, three state legislators and a former US Ambassador jumped into the party primary.

At the very least, each of the three legislators has previously indicated that they would end their congressional campaigns and defer to the returning incumbent should he decide to return. Therefore, it is likely Perlmutter’s re-entry into the congressional race will not spur a competitive primary campaign.

Assuming this predicted new course of action proves true, the number of open regular cycle House seats will temporarily drop to 20. At this point in time, the total open seat universe is half of what it was in the last two election cycles, and less than one-third the high water number of 64 we saw in 2012.

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Gaining and Losing

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 3, 2017 — At the end of 2016, the Census Bureau released its population estimates for the period beginning July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2016. The bureau reports some interesting data. Utah had the largest percentage growth (2.02 percent) of any state during that time span, while Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, and five others actually lost inhabitants. The other major gainers were also in the west: Nevada (1.95 percent) and Idaho (1.83 percent).

The states gaining the most individuals when calculating on a raw number basis for the tested 12-month period were Texas (432,957), Florida (367,525), California (256,077), and Washington (127,710).

The Illinois net total of 37,508 people leaving the state is the highest such number in the nation by more than a factor of three. Surveys suggested that high taxes, a lack of economic opportunity, and poor weather were the top reasons for the exodus.

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Follow the Money

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 4, 2016 — The Wesleyan Media Project released their campaign advertising study for the 2016 election cycle and, focusing on their Senate data that Kantar Media/CMAG compiled, the information gives us strong clues as to which races are the most important to each party. The report also provides clues as to which media campaigns and strategies are working and those that are lacking.

The study tracked ads run in 20 states featuring Senate general election campaigns, from a high of 18,265 ads aired (Pennsylvania) to a low of 18 (Kansas). The tested period spanned from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. In the 20 states, an aggregate of 104,522 ads aired in the various markets. Those backing Republican candidates or opposing Democratic contenders accounted for approximately 53 percent of the total study period buy.

Though Pennsylvanians have seen the greatest number of Senate ads, the most money spent during the period was in New Hampshire ($16.9 million). This is because the overwhelming number of ads purchased was in the expensive Boston media market.

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Senate Trends

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 24, 2016 — While national pollsters are detecting a tightening presidential race, the US Senate campaigns are also beginning to reveal some potentially defining trends.

Safe Republicans & Democrats

Of the 34 in-cycle US Senate campaigns currently underway in 2016, half of them are in the safe category and won’t change. Nine Republican senators and eight Democrats are assured of re-election:

Republican senators: Shelby (AL), Murkowski (AK), Crapo (ID), Moran (KS), Hoeven (ND), Lankford (OK), Scott (SC), Thune (SD), Lee (UT)

Democrat sentors: California (Open Boxer), Maryland (Open Mikulski); Blumenthal (CT), Schatz (HI), Schumer (NY), Wyden (OR), Leahy (VT), Murray (WA)
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Trump’s VP Selection

By Jim Ellis

July 18, 2016 — Donald Trump had scheduled an announcement Friday in New York to introduce who would be his vice presidential running mate. A plethora of media reports suggested that he would select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The reports were right. Gov. Pence withdrew from the governor’s race before the noon CDT, for that was the established deadline when the ballots became final under Hoosier State election law. Once a vacancy is registered, the Indiana Republican Party has 30 days to name a replacement for the gubernatorial ballot, and already at least three individuals have informed the party leadership that they are candidates. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and representatives Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) and Todd Rokita (R-Clermont) are withdrawing from their respective campaigns, but the ones not chosen could conceivably be reinstated in order to keep their present ballot position.

Choosing Pence makes sense for Trump, at least from the standpoint that the conservative Indiana governor will help unite the Republican base. Though Trump’s GOP support numbers in national polling appears on par with Hillary Clinton’s backing within the Democratic Party universe in most polls, the bedrock Republican states, particularly in the central and Rocky Mountain regions of the country, are a slightly different story.

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Senate Re-Set

By Jim Ellis

July 8, 2016 — Returning from this week’s 4th of July break and preparing for the late season primaries, now is a good time to review the 2016 Senate picture:

Nominees

Alabama: Safe R
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) vs. Ron Crumpton (D) – non-competitive

Arkansas: Likely R
Sen. John Boozman (R) vs. Connor Eldridge (D) – moderately competitive

California: Open Seat (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D; retiring) Safe D
AG Kamala Harris (D) vs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) – competitive

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More on Tuesday’s Primaries

By Jim Ellis

May 19, 2016
— Once again Sen. Bernie Sanders performed well against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s primaries. While even Sanders is all but conceding a Clinton ultimate Democratic presidential nomination victory, he nonetheless won the Oregon primary. In the face of the latest Fox News poll (May 6-9; 304 likely Oregon Democratic primary voters) predicting a 15-point Clinton advantage, Sanders appears to have won by six. The final tally, because of Oregon’s all-mail voting system will take time to fully record.

In Kentucky, Sanders actually gained the lead with 95 percent of the precincts reporting, but in the end Clinton pulled out what appears to be a 1,900-vote victory. The count is not final at this writing, however.

Even though Clinton again badly under-performed in what should be a victory lap for her, she still moved closer to her goal of capturing the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination. There is no doubt she will deliver, but it’s going to take her until the primary season’s last day (June 7) to officially clinch, something that was not predicted at the beginning of the campaign. Most analysts believed she would become the presumptive nominee back on Super Tuesday (March 1).

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Kentucky, Idaho & Oregon

By Jim Ellis

May 18, 2016
— Primaries were held last night in three states, and there were no surprises to speak of, except perhaps how well Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to perform against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

Kentucky

Voters headed to the polls in the Blue Grass State to choose nominees for state and federal offices. Only Democrats cast ballots in the presidential contest. Republicans met in caucus back in early March, so there was no accompanying GOP primary.

Sen. Rand Paul (R) seeks re-nomination for a second term, and facing only two minor opponents, he easily won. His general election opponent will be Lexington/Fayette County Mayor Jim Gray (D), who glided to a landslide nomination win over six minor Democratic candidates.

None of the five incumbents seeking re-election had any serious nomination threat. Minister Nancy Jo Kemper (D) was thought to potentially be a serious opponent for two-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) in the general election, but she had raised less that $150,000 for the race. All incumbents brushed back minor opposition. No Kentucky seat is expected to change hands in the general election. Continue reading

What the Primary Numbers Mean

By Jim Ellis

Arizona

March 24, 2016 — To no one’s surprise, especially with the Brussels attack sparking even more emotionalism within Donald Trump’s core political base, the Republican leader easily swept the Arizona primary Tuesday. As we know, Trump notched a 47-25-10 percent popular vote victory margin over Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich, respectively. With this performance, the New York real estate mogul claimed the last major Winner-Take-All primary and all 58 Arizona delegates.

For the Democrats, also as expected, Hillary Clinton easily defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders. The result means the former Secretary of State could conceivably secure approximately 60 Democratic delegates from the Arizona pool of 85 once the final count is apportioned and more Super Delegates announce their intentions. The Grand Canyon State will add to her gaudy national delegate total, putting her within sight of 1,700 committed and announced votes. She needs 2,383 delegate votes to clinch the party’s presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this summer.

For Trump, the Arizona victory puts him in the 750 bounded delegate vote range. The eventual Republican nominee needs 1,237 votes to claim the national party mantle.

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Voting Resumes Today

By Jim Ellis

March 22, 2016 — Republicans and Democrats in Arizona and Utah visit polling places and caucus meeting sites today, as do Idaho Democrats and Republicans in American Samoa. The big question is whether Sen. Ted Cruz can capture Utah with a majority vote, thereby making it a backdoor Winner-Take-All state. Arizona is the final large Winner-Take-All on the GOP side.

March 22 Lineup:

Arizona (Primary)

Republicans: 58 delegates; Winner-Take-All

Last Public Poll: Opinion Savvy – Fox 10 Phoenix (March 20; 588 likely Arizona Republican primary voters through interactive voice response system): Donald Trump, 46%; Sen. Ted Cruz, 33%; Gov. John Kasich, 17%

Democrats: 85 delegates; proportional – Super Delegates announced: Hillary Clinton, 5; Sen. Bernie Sanders, 1

Last Public Poll: Merrill/West Group (March 7-11; 300 likely Arizona Democratic primary voters): Clinton, 50%; Sanders, 24%
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More Questions

March 10, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset victory over former Secretary of State and race leader Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary is causing people to ask some surprising questions. Factoring in Clinton’s overwhelming 83 percent victory in the Mississippi primary, she will add to her national delegate lead so she is still in strong shape for the nomination despite the Wolverine State setback … at least for now.

The top observation spawning from Tuesday night pertains to whether Sanders can take advantage of the campaign schedule once it moves more toward the type of states where he has consistently been winning. Can he fully capitalize upon an election calendar that is about to become much more favorable to him?

Since Clinton’s strong delegate lead is largely based upon her overwhelming dominance among Super Delegates — those elected Democratic officials and party leaders who are largely free agents at the convention — will those individuals begin to back away if Sanders overtakes her among the regular delegates?

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Four More States Tonight

By Jim Ellis

March 8, 2016 — A quartet of states votes in Republican primaries and caucuses tonight: Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii, with the candidates fighting for an aggregate of 150 delegate commitments.

Democrats will vote only in Michigan and Mississippi. Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is expected to carry both states in her party contests, while Republican Donald Trump is favored in Michigan and Mississippi.

Observers are closely watching to see if Gov. John Kasich can finish a strong second in Michigan, which would likely help him build needed momentum in anticipation of next week’s critical Ohio Winner-Take-All challenge. Sen. Ted Cruz has the strong potential of running well in Idaho. Hawaii is small and anyone’s guess, but Sen. Marco Rubio has a chance to come away with the most delegate votes. Continue reading

Redistricting Moves Far From Over

June 15, 2015 — It’s very possible that a large number of the nation’s congressional districts will be re-drawn before the next census; the key unanswered question is, will most of it happen before the next regular vote, or will the district line adjustment process be pushed forward to the 2018 election cycle?

The US Supreme Court has been active in cases involving the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and methodology used to draw congressional districts. They first struck down a key VRA section in the Shelby County (AL) case that virtually eliminated the pre-clearance requirement associated with Voting Rights Act, Section V. This took a great deal of redistricting power away from the federal government (Department of Justice) and strengthened the states.

Awaiting a decision to be released before the end of the month is the Arizona congressional commission case. In this instance, Grand Canyon State Republicans filed suit against the voter-created special redistricting commission that has power to create state legislative and congressional districts. The Arizona Republicans are challenging the legitimacy of the commission itself, arguing that the US Constitution gives power to redistrict the House of Representatives only to the state legislatures.

Legal experts suggest the Arizona Republicans have a 50/50 chance of prevailing, and most agree the final vote will be 5-4, one way or the other.
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Election Day is Here – Final Predictions

Today is Election Day, and this long 2014 voting cycle will now finally conclude. When the votes are finally counted, it is probable that the Republicans will gain a significant majority in the Senate and expand their controlling position in the House. But, the governors’ races could yield a much different story.

Senate

As reported yesterday, all indications suggest that the Republicans will score enough conversion victories to assume majority control in the Senate. It appears the GOP will win enough victories to claim 52 seats and it’s possible their total will go higher, maybe even to 53 or even 54 states.

Three races in Kansas (Sen. Pat Roberts), North Carolina (Sen. Kay Hagan), and New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) appear to be the closest contests. The Republicans winning any two of this group would secure 54 seats for the party, assuming a run-off in Louisiana eventually goes the GOP’s way, as does Georgia, though chances of Republican David Perdue winning outright tonight have greatly improved.

House

Expect the Republicans to hit the 240 mark Continue reading >

Vacated Whip Position Draws Most Interest in GOP House Leadership Elections Today

With Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA-7) Republican primary defeat now settling in, the Republican Conference will meet later today to choose his replacement as Majority Leader. Since Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) is a lock to move into Cantor’s position, the competitive battle for the vacated Whip position is drawing the most interest.

Though Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID-1) is challenging McCarthy, the outcome of this internal race is already a foregone conclusion. The Whip’s campaign features Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL-6), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-1), and a late entry, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana.

The question to be answered is whether the Republican Conference as a whole will simply follow the normal leadership succession with McCarthy and Roskam, or will the most conservative wing stand together and choose someone whom they can claim credit for electing, thus simultaneously paying attention to the right flank and the party’s dominant southern vote base.
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