Sept. 6, 2017 — US House action occurred during the three-day holiday weekend both on the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. A new open Democratic House seat was announced because the incumbent has decided to run for governor of her state, and President Trump chose a GOP House member to become the new NASA administrator meaning seeing yet another special election is distinctly possible.
Last month, stories surfaced that Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) was seriously considering challenging Gov. David Ige in next year’s Democratic primary. Over the weekend, she made public her intentions to again run statewide.
Rep. Hanabusa was originally elected to the House in 2010. She served two terms and then ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, attempting to deny appointed Sen. Brian Schatz the Democratic nomination. Then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) appointed then-Lt. Gov. Schatz to the Senate seat left vacant when long-serving incumbent Daniel Inouye (D) passed away in 2012. Hanabusa claimed the late senator wanted her as his successor, prompting her to run. In the succeeding primary, Sen. Schatz secured his victory by slightly more than one percentage point, a margin of 1,782 votes from just under 234,000 ballots cast.
In Hawaii, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) announced yesterday that she will concede the contested Senate Democratic primary. The final unofficial count gives appointed Sen. Brian Schatz a 1,769-vote advantage, which is likely too large for any challenge to overturn.
Though Hanabusa may have grounds for contesting the results – ballots not counted together, extending the election for only certain people, etc. – she has decided not to pursue what are probably long-shot legal options. But, challenging Schatz again may not be out of the question. Because 2014 voters will only choose a senator to fill the last two years of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) final term in office, Schatz, now the prohibitive favorite to win in November, will again be on the ballot in 2016.
Monthly, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling surveys the tight US Senate race featuring incumbent Kay Hagan (D) as she attempts to win a second six-year term. The August PPP poll (Aug. 14-17; 856 likely North Carolina voters) gives the senator a 42-38 percent lead over Republican nominee Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Libertarian Party candidate Sean Haugh receives eight percent support. Continue reading >
Puna, Hawaii voters not able to cast their ballots in the Aug. 9 primary went to the polls on Friday to complete the statewide electoral process, but before secondary voting even began a surprising new discovery was made. Some 800 votes from Maui were “found” by election officials during the last week, somehow left uncounted during the original tabulation process. These votes, too, were added to the weekend count.
The voters eligible to participate Friday could only possible change one outcome, that of the tight Democratic US Senate nomination campaign between appointed Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1). Going into the secondary voting, Schatz held a 1,635-vote lead. At this point, the preliminary final count, including the newly added ballots, actually shows Schatz expanding his lead 134 votes to a spread of 1,769.
Does this mean the contest is finally decided? Possibly, but it depends on how far Rep. Hanabusa wants to go in legally challenging the results. The fact that election officials allowed the original counting to commence, knowing that not all eligible voters had the opportunity to participate, and then extended the voting period after the original results were made public may be cause for a Hanabusa complaint. Her argument could be that voting behavior may Continue reading >
During the past week’s primaries, several races ventured into political overtime, which we update today.
Last night in central Wisconsin’s open 6th District race – Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6) retiring – the Associated Press prematurely declared state Sen. Glenn Grothman the winner of the Republican primary. Now the projection has been rescinded as fellow GOP Sen. Joe Leibham rebounded in the remaining Sheboygan County votes to pull into a virtual tie.
When the projection was made, Grothman had a comfortable eight percentage point lead over Leibham, with Assemblyman Duey Stroebel dropping well behind in third place. As more of Sheboygan County continued to be counted, Leibham’s strength exponentially increased to the point of him finishing just 214 votes behind. All precincts are reporting, but provisional counting is underway. It is unlikely there are enough votes outstanding to change the outcome, but an even closer finish will lead to a recount. Therefore, we are probably weeks from arriving at a final total.
Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the Democratic nominee and, on paper, he appears to be a credible candidate. If he is to seriously compete, however, he, his Continue reading >
Though polling in this race suggested that either appointed Sen. Brian Schatz or Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) held substantial leads heading into Saturday’s Democratic primary, the campaign finished much different than predicted.
Most of the polling posted Schatz to advantages approaching double-digits, though the race’s final public survey, from Honolulu-based Ward Research, found that Hanabusa held a similar edge. No late-term poll had suggested the race was virtually tied, which is now occurring … present tense, because the campaign is not over.
Since the hurricanes that hit on and around the islands struck ground literally hours before the primary, it may be a couple of weeks before the final outcome is reported and certified. Though Sen. Schatz has a 1,659-vote lead, two precincts on the Big Island of Hawaii remain to be counted. Since roads were closed due to the storms, preventing thousands of voters from having access to the polls, election officials are saying they will expand the voting period.
Due to the closeness of the vote, and that as many as 8,000 voters were unable to cast their ballots on Saturday in the region’s Puna precincts, the affected individuals will Continue reading >
Sen. Lamar Alexander won renomination last night in Tennessee, and while his margin wasn’t razor-thin, his victory percentage was unimpressive. Scoring just 50 percent in his own Republican primary, Alexander out-polled state Rep. Joe Carr’s 41 percent. The remaining five candidates split the outstanding vote.
But the closeness of the contest occurred on the Democratic side, in what will likely be a battle for the right to lose to Alexander in November. Attorney Gordon Ball has been projected the winner, leading attorney Terry Adams by just 1,911 votes statewide.
One thing is clear, however. The statewide turnout overwhelmingly favored Republicans. Approximately 645,000 individuals voted in the Republican primary as compared with just under 240,000 who participated on the Democratic side.
On the other end of the margin perspective, Gov. Bill Haslam (R) cruised to an 88 percent victory. He will face Democrat Continue reading >
As we enter the primary season’s final stretch, 19 states still have yet to choose their 2014 nominees. The first nine days of August will bring voters to the polls in a half-dozen states with much to be decided.
The most active day is the first Tuesday in August. Four states are holding primaries, featuring one key Senate nomination battle.
In Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts (R) faces a GOP challenge from physician Milton Wolf. Roberts has made several mis-steps during the campaign, including admitting that he doesn’t own property in his state, possessing a Virginia personalized license plate that identifies him as the Kansas senator, and saying that he returns home, “every time he has an opponent.” Despite the gaffes, Dr. Wolf appears to be a flawed candidate and is not likely to deny Roberts renomination. Continue reading >
The House passed the Murray-Ryan budget bill 332-94, but there are some interesting political strategies at play relating to the individual votes.
Of the 94 “No” votes, 62 came from Republicans and 32 from Democrats. The member complexion is an interesting mix and was comprised predominantly from those on the far right and far left. The opposition Republicans are mostly ardent Tea Party supported members such as retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6), sophomore Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID-1), and freshman Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY-4).
Eleven members, almost half of the Texas Republican delegation, were among those in opposition, including veteran representatives Ralph Hall (R-TX-4), Joe Barton (R-TX-6), and Michael Burgess (R-TX-26). The Texans supporting the budget bill are generally aligned with the Continue reading >
When Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) appointed Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), he ignited a budding Democratic Party firestorm. Sen. Inouye, before his death, communicated to the governor that his favored choice for a successor was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1). Hanabusa, reportedly miffed for being passed over despite the esteemed Senator’s endorsement, is already beginning to rattle her political saber.
In an interview with KHON-TV in Honolulu, the congresswoman confirmed that she is considering a race against both Schatz and Abercrombie as well as running for re-election. In response to a direct question about her future political plans, Hanabusa confirmed that “… they will all be on the Continue reading >
Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s appointment of Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye may have ignited an internal Democratic Party firestorm. As was well-reported, Sen. Inouye, soon before his death, had communicated his desire to the governor and his staff of having Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) replace him.
Under Hawaii succession law, it was up to the Democratic Party — since the vacating federal official was a member of that particular political organization – to convene and provide the governor the names of three individuals, one of which he would be compelled to choose. (The appointee serves until the next regular election – the November 2014 general, in this instance. Since Inouye was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2010, Schatz will now Continue reading>
A day after it was publicly released that the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) made clear his wish for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) to succeed him, the first-term congresswoman immediately qualified herself for the appointment. In a letter to the Hawaii Democratic Party leadership, Hanabusa officially asked to be included on the list of recommended potential senatorial replacement candidates.
Under Hawaii election law, a vacancy in a US Senate post must be filled by a member of the vacating senator’s party. In this case, the Hawaii Democratic Party under state Chairman Dante Keala Carpenter, must provide Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) the names of three Senate replacement candidates, of which he must choose one to serve until the 2014 special election, which will be held concurrently with the regular election calendar. It is widely believed that Abercrombie will now appoint Hanabusa, thus honoring the late senator’s wish, and will do so before the Senate comes to order on Jan. 3. There is some speculation that the Party will only submit Hanabusa’s name to Gov. Abercrombie, if such a move is legally allowable.
Much political news and speculation continues to unfold in places where Senate replacement appointments and congressional special elections will soon occur. With a South Carolina Senate appointment just being made that will lead to a congressional special election, another state with a new vacancy, Hawaii, may be following a similar path. Finally, a new development in the IL-2 House special could have a major impact upon that particular election.
Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-Hawaii) death on Monday is leading to conjecture about who will be named as the 50-year senatorial leader’s replacement, but the late lawmaker may already have cleared a path for one of his colleagues.