Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Delaware Today; MA-3 Still Undecided

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesSept. 6, 2018 — The nation’s second Thursday primary is underway today, as Delaware voters will choose their federal and state candidate slates. Also, yesterday morning in northern Massachusetts, former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan held a news conference to declare herself the new 3rd District Democratic congressional nominee, but her victory dance may have been premature.


DELAWARE

The race of note today features state Human Relations Commissioner Kerri Harris challenging Sen. Tom Carper (D). Harris has raised only $120,540 through the Aug. 18 pre-primary financial disclosure period in comparison to Sen. Carper’s $3.6 million, and her effort is not expected to amount to a highly competitive Democratic primary battle. The Harris Campaign did draw support from New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose political operation is actively supporting this long-shot challenge.

Sen. Carper was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and is completing his third term. He toyed with the idea of retiring this year but obviously rejected that course of action. Before his election to the Senate, Carper served two terms as Delaware’s governor and was the at-large representative in the US House for five terms after serving a six-year stint as Delaware state treasurer. Since his original election as treasurer in 1976, Sen. Carper has spent 42 consecutive years in elective office.

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Capuano Thrashed; MA-3 Undecided

Boston-City-Councilwoman-Ayanna-PressleyBy Jim Ellis

Sept. 5, 2018
— Ten-term Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) was unseated last night as at-large Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley scored a major 59-41 percent victory in the 7th District Democratic primary.

The challenger victory means that a total of four US House incumbents to date, two Democrats and two Republicans, have been denied re-nomination. The other three are Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Bob Pittenger (R-NC), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

The 7th District is Massachusetts’ only majority minority district and Pressley, who is African American, successfully coalesced the minority communities behind her campaign. She was quoted last night as saying that while the situation is different than in New York where Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Crowley, the energy and momentum behind her own campaign greatly increased after the New York result became a national story.

Pressley demonstrated her ability in uniting minority voters, particularly in Boston where she is a known entity, despite the community leadership largely backing Rep. Capuano. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Gov. Deval Patrick, the Congressional Black Caucus, and most labor unions all supported Rep. Capuano. Polling never projected Rep. Capuano gaining majority support, but it also failed to foretell him losing and by such a decisive margin.

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Today’s Massachusetts Primary

Massachusetts congressional districts

Massachusetts congressional districts

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 4, 2018 — Bay State voters head to the polls today to choose nominees for federal and state office.

In the Senate race, Republicans will select an opponent for first-term Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But the question looming is whether she will quickly jump into 2020 presidential campaign immediately upon concluding her re-election in November.

Republicans have three candidates vying for the party nomination: state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), former Department of consumer affairs director, Beth Lindstrom, and businessman John Kingston who has loaned almost $5 million to his campaign. All three have generated well into seven figures in campaign resources. But, whomever wins the nomination tonight will begin the general election in an obvious underdog position to Sen. Warren.

There are several US House primaries to be settled today. The most competitive incumbent challenge comes against ten-term veteran Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville). He is working to repel a challenge from Boston at-large City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley.

Presley is a strong candidate, having been twice elected citywide to the Boston Council. Most of the Democratic political establishment has fallen in behind Congressman Capuano, i.e., Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, ex-Gov. Deval Patrick, and major labor union leadership. This, in addition to his 20-year service record in Congress and as mayor of Somerville before coming to Washington, largely gives him the support base necessary to win another re-nomination tonight.

The latest publicly released MassInc poll (July 27-29; 403 likely MA-7 Democratic primary voters) gave the congressman a 48-35 percent advantage and showed Presley performing well in Boston, but not outside the city. Capuano’s margin in the non-city portion of the district, in places like Somerville and Cambridge, should be enough to carry him to victory tonight. Winning the Democratic primary here is tantamount to victory in November.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is also facing a Democratic primary challenge in his western Massachusetts district. His opponent, Muslim activist Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, gains more media attention than campaign support, however. His finances show just over $112,000 in total receipts. Therefore, Rep. Neal should win easily tonight.

Retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas’ (D-Lowell) open 3rd District concludes a long Democratic primary featuring a myriad of candidates. The field is now down to ten candidates after three withdrew, and several are competitive.

Daniel Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Walsh, has raised more than $3.3 million and is one of the top candidates. But, the 3rd District doesn’t touch any of Boston, and coming from the state’s dominant city might not be viewed as a major positive within a field of so many more locally based candidates.

Other strong contenders include state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who wants to launch impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; former US Ambassador Rufus Gifford has raised more than $2 million for his congressional effort, while state Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) possesses strength within the district’s Hispanic community. Ex-congressional aide Lori Trahan is also running an active campaign and could become factor tonight.

The Republican nomination is decided. Business owner Rick Green is unopposed for the party nomination and poised to run a competitive general election campaign against tonight’s winner. The 3rd District is one seat where Gov. Charlie Baker (R) must run well to secure re-election, and he is on track to score a landslide victory. Therefore, Green taking advantage of the opportunity to work in conjunction with the Baker turnout operation here is a decided positive.

The 9th District will also yield a potentially competitive general election, which is another place where Gov. Baker must run up the score. Here, former chain convenience store owner Peter Tedeschi (R) is quietly putting together a viable challenger campaign opposite three-term Rep. Bill Keating (D-Bourne/Cape Cod) who has only averaged 53.5 percent in his trio of campaign victories.

The congressman posting his strongest showing, 55.1 percent, in his initial campaign yet failing to expand upon that number in subsequent re-election efforts suggests potential political weakness. Keating won re-election in 2016 with just 52.5 percent against an opponent who spent less than $1,000. The congressman faces anemic Democratic primary opposition tonight, while Tedeschi is unopposed in the Republican primary.

MA-3: A Sleeper?

Massachusetts congressional districts

Massachusetts congressional districts


By Jim Ellis

Aug. 27, 2018 — One of the few interesting remaining primaries in this 2018 election cycle is the open northern Massachusetts congressional race a week from tomorrow featuring 10 Democratic candidates all attempting to succeed retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell).

A new University of Massachusetts at Lowell and Boston Globe survey of the impending MA-3 Democratic primary (Aug. 14-21; 849 MA-3 registered voters, 553 MA-3 likely Democratic primary voters) finds ex-Boston mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh forging into the lead, but with only a 19-13-13 percent edge over former ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, and state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) as the state’s Sept. 4 partisan primary draws near.

But other candidates could possibly make a run, too. Business consultant Lori Trahan posts eight percent in the poll, and while state Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) has just six percent, she is dominant within the district’s Hispanic community. In such a crowded campaign with a low voter turnout, any candidate with a major support base must be taken seriously. The other five candidates each register four percent and below.

But there could be more to this campaign than the winner of a crowded primary going on to easily take the general election in what should be a safe seat for the dominant party in the district, in this case the Democrats.

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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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Senate Candidates 2018 – Part I

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 17, 2018 — As we continue setting the stage for the 2018 midterms now that we are in the actual election year, in a two-part series, we review the announced candidate status in each state, since much has changed in the past few weeks.

Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake (R) – Retiring – Open Seat
Candidate Filing Deadline: May 30, 2018
State Primary: Aug. 28, 2018
• Joe Arpaio (R) – former Sheriff, Maricopa County
• Martha McSally (R) – US Representative; 2nd District
• Kelli Ward (R) – former state Senator; 2016 US Senate candidate
• Kyrsten Sinema (D) – US Representative; 9th District
3 Minor Republican candidates
5 Minor Democratic candidates
1 Libertarian candidate
1 Green candidate

California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) – seeking re-election
Candidate Filing Deadline: March 9, 2018
State Primary: June 5, 2018
Jungle Primary: Top two candidates advance to general election
• Kevin de Leon (D) – State Senate President
• Erin Cruz (R) – Radio Talk Show host
5 Minor Democratic candidates
6 Minor Republican candidates
6 Independent candidates

Connecticut: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D) – seeking re-election
Candidate Filing Deadline: June 8, 2018
State Primary: Aug. 14, 2018
• Ann-Marie Adams (D) – Journalist
• Tony Hwang (R) – State Senator – possible candidate
2 Minor Republican candidates

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The Senate Picture – Re-cap

34-in-cycle-us-senate-seats

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 28, 2017 — During the Thanksgiving holiday week, we previewed all 34 current Senate races. Today, we wrap-up with the often-described 30,000-foot national overview perspective.

The Alabama special Senate election scheduled for Dec. 12 will tell us a great deal about the coming regular cycle. While the Roy Moore-Doug Jones race is not likely to provide a voting trend preview since the contest has been tainted with scandal, it will signal whether or not the Democrats own a path to the Senate majority.

If Democrat Jones wins the Alabama special, it would give his party 49 seats, thus making their two primary Republican conversion targets in Arizona and Nevada enough to claim majority status, assuming all 25 of their defense seats are held, which, of course, is no easy task. If Republican Moore can hold Alabama, despite being jettisoned by the national GOP leadership, that would secure the Republican majority because such an outcome relegates Democrats’ chances of netting the three GOP seats they need within the regular cycle as highly unlikely.

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The Senate Picture – Part I (of III)

34-in-cycle-us-senate-seats-1-of-3

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 22, 2017 — Since little in politics happens around a holiday period, it is a good time to quickly review all 34 in-cycle US Senate campaigns. Today, alphabetically in the first of a three-part series, we look at Alabama through Massachusetts.

• Alabama: The special election to permanently replace current Attorney General and former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) is scheduled for Dec. 12. All are aware of the controversy surrounding Republican nominee Roy Moore, and the latest polls show him falling behind Democratic nominee Doug Jones, the former Birmingham area US Attorney. The latest poll is from Change Research (Nov. 15-16; 2,090 Alabama voters) and finds Jones leading 46-43 percent. With sexual harassment now becoming the issue of the day in politics, Hollywood, and the media, how this race will be finally affected remains unclear. If the Republicans lose this seat, it would put what should be their unassailable Senate majority in jeopardy during the regular election year.
Rating: Toss-Up

• Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake (R) has previously announced his retirement. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) is moving to become a consensus Democratic candidate. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) is poised to enter the race to challenge former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) in the Republican primary. A recent OH Predictive Insights survey (Nov. 9; 600 likely Arizona voters) finds Rep. Sinema clinging to just a one point, 46-45 percent, edge over Rep. McSally despite having greater statewide name identification. She leads Ward, 46-43 percent.
Rating: Toss-Up

• California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announced that she is seeking re-election amid speculation that the 83-year-old, five-term incumbent would retire. With state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) challenging her in the state’s jungle primary, it appears highly probable that we will see a competitive double-Democratic general election.
Rating: Safe D

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Senate Candidate Review

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 25, 2017 — After Friday’s review of the open House races, today we update the first half of the 33 in-cycle Senate races in terms of serious candidate personnel. Tomorrow, we will complete the remaining 17 states.

In contrast to the House where 26 regular cycle seats are open, no current Senate incumbent has announced his or her retirement.

(Regular type means the individual is an announced contender; italics denote possible candidate.)

ARIZONA — TOSS UP
Sen. Jeff Flake (R)
Kelli Ward (R) – former State Senator
Jeff DeWit (R) – State Treasurer
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) – US Representative
State Rep. Randy Friese (D) – Physician; Tucson area state legislator
• Sen. Flake is in trouble in the Republican primary largely due to his personal feud with President Trump. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) waits in the wings. Should she enter the race, there is a strong chance the Democrats coalesce behind her.

CALIFORNIA — SAFE D
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)
State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D) – State Senate President
• Indications are suggesting that Sen. Feinstein, now 84 years old, will seek re-election. She should have little in the way of opposition, but state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) made public statements about challenging the senator after the latter made a favorable comment about President Trump. Unlikely such a challenge will actually happen, however.
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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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Rokita In; Tsongas to Retire

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 11, 2017 — Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) is generally considered to be the first or second national Republican conversion target, and the GOP candidates are beginning to come forward.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg/Lafayette) announced, as expected, his run for the Senate and immediately pressed the attack before his supporters to “Defeat the Elite,” a phrase that he defines as pertaining to “lobbyists, bureaucrats, politicians and the media.”

Rokita was first elected to the House in 2010 after serving two terms as Indiana’s secretary of state. He averaged 65.5 percent in his four congressional elections, and leaves his western 4th District as a safe Republican seat.

The announcement creates a major Republican primary with fellow Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg/Muncie) and state Rep. Mike Braun (R-Jasper). Messer tweeted about two weeks ago that he will soon become a Senate candidate with a formal announcement to follow.

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Senate: What the Money Says

By Jim Ellis

July 20, 2017 — Though electronic filing is still not yet required for US Senate candidates, several incumbents and challengers have made their financial numbers available via the public media. Outlets such as the Daily Kos Elections page, The Hill, Politico, National Journal, and local news organizations have allowed us to grasp where some of the key races stand financially.

There has already been a great deal of discussion in recent days about the upcoming Arizona Senate contest, and the dollars raised again reveal a familiar pattern. For the second quarter in a row, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix), who says she is not an active Senate candidate but is clearly readying herself in case an opportunity arises, i.e., incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake (R) attracting a strong Republican primary opponent, again raised $600,000 in a quarter, thus putting $3.2 million in her account, about $200,000 more than incumbent Flake.

Finances often give us clues as to impending political moves. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the body’s oldest member at 84 years of age, raised just $600,000 in the second quarter and has $3.5 million in the bank. This is a low total for a senator from the nation’s largest state. This may be an indication that Feinstein may not seek re-election. In direct comparison, 83-year-old Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who has been less committal about re-election than Sen. Feinstein and from a state a small fraction of California’s size, raised over $1 million in the quarter and has over $4 million cash-on-hand.

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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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Polarized, or Not?

By Jim Ellis

March 1, 2017 — Much is being made about President Trump’s early job approval ratings. Almost across the board, they are low, and particularly so for a new national chief executive, which has naturally attracted media attention.

In their late February report about political polarization, the Gallup polling organization, which began testing presidential job approval back in the Truman Administration and has regularly continued the practice ever since, argues that polarization among the self-identified Republicans and Democrats is a major obstacle for President Trump to overcome. They further make the point that this is not a new phenomenon, as partisan approval polling detected similar numbers for presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

The Gallup analysis, on and around the Feb. 20 time frame, found President Trump’s job approval rating to be 42 percent. When they looked at the two previous presidents, also hitting 42 percent approval rating at certain points in their own presidencies, Gallup found the level of partisan support and opposition among Democrats and Republicans for the president of their own party was virtually identical.

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America’s Ideology

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 6, 2016 — The Gallup organization conducted a month long poll (Jan. 20-30) of almost 200,000 respondents (177,788 US adults) to determine where America stands ideologically. They find that the country still leans decidedly to the right, but not as strongly as in past years.

The three most conservative states are Wyoming (35-point difference between those self-identifying as conservative as opposed to liberal: 49 percent conservative – 14 percent liberal), Mississippi (31-point difference; 46-15 percent), and North Dakota (31-point difference; 43-12 percent).

The three most liberal states are all in the New England region: Vermont (14-point difference; 40 percent liberal – 26 percent conservative), Massachusetts (8-point differential; 33 percent liberal – 25 percent conservative), and Connecticut (4-point difference; 31 percent liberal – 27 percent conservative).

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