Tag Archives: Martha Coakley

Democrat Primary Action

Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee)

Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 1, 2018 — A day after Florida former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) reported to prison to serve her sentence for public corruption, her successor, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), drew a major Democratic primary challenger.

Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown (D) announced Monday that he will enter the party primary in FL-5 against Rep. Lawson, the man who defeated Brown in the 2016 Democratic nomination contest after her legal trouble became public news but before her conviction.

The 5th District was newly configured in the state Supreme Court’s 2016 mid-decade redistricting map. Instead of stretching south from Jacksonville to Orlando to create a majority minority CD, the court map changed the draw to move west into a Jacksonville-Tallahassee split. The move forced then-Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) to retire after one term because her previous 2nd District had been divided into this new 5th District seat with Rep. Brown as the incumbent and an open Republican CD.

Lawson, a former state senate minority leader, is also a 28-year veteran of the Florida legislature. Taking advantage of Rep. Brown’s legal problems and that Tallahassee had been added to the district, Lawson racked up a 48-39 percent Democratic primary victory, and easily won the safely Democratic seat in November.

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The Challenges Begin

By Jim Ellis

July 3, 2017 — Action late last week emanating from Massachusetts could be a harbinger of what we can expect in the coming months. The Boston Globe reported that Cambridge City Councilman Nadeem Mazen is not seeking re-election to instead launch a significant Democratic primary challenge to veteran 10-term congressman, Mike Capuano (D-Somerville).

Mazen has not yet announced his congressional candidacy, though he has previously made public his decision not to seek re-election to the Cambridge Council when he seat comes before the voters later this year. He did tell the Globe, however, that he is “beginning to focus on campaign plans for 2018” but wants to talk to community leaders, elected officials, and “potential allies” before making public statements about any future political plans.

Mazen, the first Muslim elected to office in Massachusetts, was originally elected to the council in 2009 and, at the time, pledged to only serve two four-year terms. He has worked to activate Muslims to join the political process and run for office. Professionally, Mazen founded a film company that produces animated content.

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Two Sleeper Races to Watch

In a normal course of an election cycle, particularly when entering the last month of campaign activity, discussion often turns to sleeper races. Some recent polling data gives us a clue in a couple of cases.

North Dakota – House

In a contest that is on virtually no one’s political board, a new Mellman Group poll for the George Sinner campaign actually shows the Democratic challenger taking a two-point, 40-38 percent, lead over freshman incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer (R).

The survey (Sept. 20-22; 400 likely North Dakota voters) reveals a shocking turn of events that puts Sinner ahead of newcomer incumbent Cramer. The polling error factor, however, is “4.9 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence”, which is high. This means that the two candidates are running close together, from 2.5 points up to 2.5 points down. Hence, the tandem is about even, which will sound warning bells among Republican national party decision makers. Their solution will be to spend money in order to keep a seat that did not originally appear vulnerable.

It is clear that the Mellman Group, a well-known and respected Democratic Continue reading >

Tierney Out in Mass.; Tepid Victories Elsewhere

Massachusetts

In the last major primary of the 2014 election cycle, nine-term Rep. John Tierney (D-MA-6) became the fourth US House member to lose renomination this year, thus ending his congressional career. Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton denied Tierney the opportunity of continuing as the Democratic standard bearer with a substantial 49-41 percent victory spread against a sitting incumbent.

The Tierney defeat is really a term late. With his wife being convicted of federal tax fraud for filing illegal returns associated with her brothers’ illicit off-shore Internet gambling business several months prior to the 2012 election, Tierney barely escaped losing to former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R). The congressman won re-election 46-45 percent, even after he stopped campaigning and spending money with weeks remaining in the election cycle because he thought he was finished. Though a surprise comeback winner in 2012, his inherent political weakness made him highly vulnerable against a strong Democratic primary opponent this year.
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Looking Beyond Tomorrow’s Final Primaries

MA-6

Last week we wrote about the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District Democratic primary where Rep. John Tierney faces a formidable opponent in ex-Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton. According to a new poll, the challenger has the critical momentum and is pulling to within three points of the congressman, holding him below 50 percent.

The Emerson College Polling Society (Sept. 2-4; 343 likely MA-6 Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Tierney clinging to a 47-44 percent lead over Moulton, hardly a comforting margin for a nine-term incumbent. Clearly, the late trends are riding with Moulton; the only question is will they be enough to carry him over the political finish line tomorrow. The Society conducted two other polls of this race, one in April and the other in June. Tierney held leads in those studies of 64-11 percent and 59-17 percent, respectively.

The Emerson College Polling Society is comprised of a group of students at the named educational institution. They came to fame shortly after the 2013 Virginia governor’s race when all of the professional Continue reading >

Trust in Government Falls; Capuano Backs Out – Again – in Mass.

The Gallup research organization just completed a study about people’s level of trust in the various branches of government. The poll, conducted Sept. 5-8 of 1,510 adults but released just yesterday, reveals that governmental trust levels have fallen across the board since 2009, and are well under the levels found at the beginning of 2003.

According to the study, remembering that the sampling universe is simply of adults who are not necessarily registered voters, trust in the Judiciary, the highest rated governmental entity, is off 14 points from 2009. Sixty-two percent of the respondents say they trust the Judiciary as compared to 76 percent who did four years ago.

The Executive branch is also down during the same interval, in this case 10 points, from 61 percent who expressed trust to 51 percent. Finally, the Legislative branch, which has been pilloried in opinion polls for the past several years, again finishes as the least trusted governmental segment at 34 percent. This represents a decline of 11 points from our benchmark year of 2009, but the result actually ticks upward from 30 percent at a point in 2011.

The fact that all levels of government are down significantly suggests a negative trend about Americans’ confidence in their governmental entities’ ability to implement their responsibilities.

The same sample also believes that the government has too much power. A full 60 percent of the polling sample (81 percent of Republicans; 68 percent of Independents; 38 percent of Democrats) believe government’s role in society is too vast. Thirty-two percent say the level of governmental authority is “about right”, and 7 percent say the government has too little power. Interestingly, the 7 percent “too little power” response has varied only one point during the past 10 years.

Predictably, Democrats have the highest levels of trust in government almost across the board; Independents next; and Republicans the least. The only entity rated higher among Republicans than any other partisan segment is, unsurprisingly, the Legislative branch.

Interestingly, the parties switch their views when questioned about state and local government. It is the Republicans who have  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 >

Lost and Found in Massachusetts and West Virginia

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) might be remembered as the candidate who “blew” the special election to then-state Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the early 2010 battle to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D). Her campaign became famous for its futility, and she was routinely disparaged throughout state and national Democratic circles.

But the 2010 election cycle was not a total wash out for Coakley. After losing the special election, she immediately announced a run for re-election to her current post, and won another term as Attorney General in a 61-36 percent landslide.

Now, with Gov. Deval Patrick (D) not seeking re-election, Coakley is again attempting to win a more prominent political position. Yesterday, she announced her campaign for governor.

Coakley has strong Democratic opposition, however. State Treasurer Steve Grossman is already in the race, as is Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary, pharmaceutical executive Joe Avellone, and former Medicare/Medicaid administrator Don Berwick. The winner will oppose 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker, who came within five points of unseating incumbent Patrick. Therefore, no candidate has an easy path to the Massachusetts state house.

West Virginia

The Democrats finally have a West Virginia senatorial candidate. Months after Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) announced that he would not seek re-election, the party has found its potential successor. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, long believed the Democrats’ best available candidate, yesterday announced her statewide challenge.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2), who made public her own candidacy even before Rockefeller proclaimed his decision to retire, is the consensus Republican candidate and the early race leader.

West Virginia has been trending Republican since the 2000 presidential campaign when Al Gore failed to carry the state for the  Continue reading >

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

Michigan

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa
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Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Replacing Sen. Kerry?

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Since US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has withdrawn from consideration as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s replacement, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) now appears to top the list of appointment candidates. Assuming Pres. Barack Obama chooses Kerry, speculation on Capitol Hill is already percolating about who will succeed the 28-year senatorial veteran.

Liberal Massachusetts and conservative Texas have at least one thing in common. They share the same uncommon way of replacing senators when a vacancy occurs. In each state, the respective governor appoints an individual to serve only until a special election can be held; the winner of which then serves the remainder of the term. Most states empower the governor to appoint an interim-senator until the next regular election, therefore bypassing a special vote. Continue reading>