Tag Archives: Michigan

The Amash Factor

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash

July 9, 2019 — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Township) officially left the Republican Party as the 4th of July approached, but what does his decision mean for the 3rd District’s political future?

Rep. Amash has served his whole career as a Republican, being first elected in an open congressional seat back in 2010 after winning a state House district in 2008. Though he left the GOP, he did not affiliate with the Libertarian Party, which many expected. Still, he has the option of running for that party’s presidential nomination even if he does not serve in Congress as a Libertarian.

But Amash’s decision clearly changes the congressional race. If he ultimately decides to seek re-election, his decision to leave the GOP is somewhat curious, at least from an electoral perspective. At this point, already four Republicans have announced, with at least three of them clearly credible. Two are sitting state representatives and one an heir to the Meijer retail store chain that features more than 200 stores predominantly in the Midwest. With no run-off required under Michigan election law, a large competitive field would have played to Rep. Amash’s favor since the contest would have been a base vote nomination election.

Should he decide to seek re-election as an Independent, then all bets might be off. Under the same premise that a crowded field could have helped Amash win a Republican primary, at least a three-way general election candidate field could conceivably allow him to win re-election in similar plurality fashion. But, either major party candidate might have the same advantage making this a wild card race.

Additionally, the three-way set-up could put what is typically a reliable Republican seat in play for the Democrats. Should Amash and the eventual Republican split the right-of-center base, it is conceivable that the Democratic nominee could find him or herself in position to score the plurality victory.

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Intra-Party Primary Challenges On Both Sides Emerge This Week

By Jim Ellis

July 3, 2019 — If you thought the 2020 cycle might feature a smaller number of primary challenge campaigns than we’ve seen in recent election years, then Monday might have changed your opinion. No less than six combined intra-party incumbent opposition campaigns were announced, or at least publicly contemplated.

After seeing the results of some key primaries in the past couple of election cycles, such as the now famous Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 2018 victory over veteran Rep. Joe Crowley in New York, it’s hard to discount any early intra-party candidate at face value. But, it appears, at least today, that all of the potentially challenged incumbents begin their re-nomination campaigns as clear favorites.

In South Dakota, state Rep. Scyller Borglum (R-Rapid City), an engineer and theologian who was just elected to the legislature in November, announced that she will oppose first-term senator and former governor Mike Rounds in next year’s Republican primary. This challenge is particularly curious since no Democrat has yet even come forward to battle Sen. Rounds. The odds of Borglum finding a way to deny her opponent re-nomination look particularly long, but the contest should be watched for indicative early happenings.

Rep. Danny Davis (D) has represented the downtown Chicago and Oak Park areas in Congress since the beginning of 1997. Before that, he served on the Chicago City Council or Cook County Commission for another 18 years. But his long service has not made him immune from enduring a primary challenge. Attorney Kristine Schanbacher announced her opposition to Davis in the March Democratic primary. The congressman is a prohibitive favorite to again win re-nomination. Two other minor Democratic candidates had declared earlier.

Indiana’s 3rd District will feature a “family affair.” Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City/Ft. Wayne) largely won the safe Republican seat in the 2016 GOP primary against former Wisconsin state senator Pam Galloway and four others when he captured over one-third of the vote in a plurality victory scenario.

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The Early Delegate Projections

By Jim Ellis

June 25, 2019 — There have been several important state polls recently released that provide us data about where the Democratic presidential candidates stand in relation to popular preference. But that is only half the story.

In order to gauge where the candidates might stand in terms of delegate apportionment, we have taken the available published polls from 16 states and began extrapolating a reasonable delegate projection for each.

For purposes of this exercise, all of the polling data is considered accurate, even though in some instances such a conclusion is a stretch. Additionally, these projections were only based upon the at-large numbers but understand more than half of the delegates come from the state’s chosen districts (usually congressional district, though Texas uses their state Senate seats).

It is reasonable to believe, however, that the district apportionment will, in most cases, be similar to the statewide total. At this point, the at-large ratios are the only data set from which we can begin to draw statistical conclusions.

With that short background, the states and their most recent polling result are listed below along with our unofficial delegate projections listed in chronological order based upon voting schedule:

February 3

Iowa Caucus

(YouGov – May 31-June 12; 587 likely Iowa Democratic primary voters)
• First-Ballot Delegates: 41

Biden 30%
Sanders 22%
Warren 12%
Buttigieg 11%

Delegate Projection:

Biden 15
Sanders 11
Warren   8
Buttigieg   7

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Is Michigan Rep. Justin Amash
Seeking a Political Exit Strategy Should He Run for President?

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids)

June 13, 2019 — The Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) released an independent poll just a couple days ago from the Practical Political Consultants organization (June 5-9; 335 likely MI-3 Republican primary voters) that finds western Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) trailing his announced 3rd Congressional District Republican primary opponent, state Rep. James Lower (R-Greenville), by a lopsided 49-33 percent count.

After Rep. Amash became the only Republican to side with the Democrats’ informal impeachment caucus over whether to bring proceedings against President Trump, speculation became more rampant that the five-term Michigan congressman would seek the Libertarian nomination for president. The new poll and his action earlier in the week of resigning from the Freedom Caucus and its leadership fuels more speculation that he will jump into the presidential contest.

Many are arguing that Amash would have an effect upon the national election to the point of potentially costing President Trump victory, or at the very least, the state of Michigan, but such an outcome is far from determined.

The Libertarian presidential nomination has some value in that the party can qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is the only political entity aside from the Republican and Democratic parties that has such an ability. Jill Stein, the 2016 and 2012 Green Party presidential nominee, appeared on the ballot in 45 and 38 states, respectively.

However, just how much of a factor are the individuals who represent the minor parties on the presidential ballot? Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson was the Libertarian nominee in both 2016 and 2012. He has already said he will not be a candidate in 2020. In 2012, his national vote total was 1.27 million. Four years later, his aggregate vote number soared to just under 4.5 million. But, was that due to Johnson himself, or is the Libertarian ballot position, regardless of the candidate’s name associated with it, simply the best place for disaffected voters to cast a ballot?

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Republican Amash Challenged After Call For Impeaching President Trump

By Jim Ellis

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (left) & Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower

May 22, 2019 — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) has just drawn a major Republican primary challenge, the announcement timing influenced because of his call for impeaching President Trump. Rep. Amash is the first Republican to make such a statement, and national Democrats were seizing upon his comment as a signal that bipartisan support for their desired action does exist.

After reading the Mueller Report, Rep. Amash publicly released a statement saying he is joining those in favor of impeachment. Taking action against his stand, state Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) announced his congressional candidacy and released a Mitchell Research & Communications survey (April 30-May 1; 440 likely MI-3 Republican primary voters) to support his claim that the congressman would be vulnerable in a primary.

The poll finds that Amash would lead Lower, 44-23 percent in the initial ballot test. But, that is obviously not the damaging part for the congressman. When testing Trump among the Republican respondent sample, a full 92 percent say they strongly or somewhat approve of the president’s job performance. Therefore, it becomes reasonable to conclude that the overwhelming majority of these individuals, if not all of them, would oppose impeaching the president.

The questionnaire delved further into Rep. Amash’s record of largely being a thorn in the side of House GOP leadership, and generally opposing virtually every Republican policy initiative because of typically not being purely consistent with his more Libertarian Party-oriented beliefs.

Looking at the verbiage from the Mitchell poll questionnaire, the following paragraph is how they describe Rep. Amash:

“Justin Amash was elected to Congress 10 years ago. Amash has consistently voted against President Donald Trump on important issues, most recently against Trump’s declaration calling a national emergency on the Southern border.

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