Tag Archives: Rep. Tom Latham

Key House Races; Key Polls

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 30, 2016 — Now that all political contests are in full campaign mode, we can report new numbers on five of the most hotly contested House race conversion opportunities for both parties.

AZ-1

One of the few truly swing congressional districts in the country, the expansive eastern Arizona 1st District is again the site of what should be a toss-up political contest. With Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) vacating the seat to run for Senate, the resulting general election matchup between former state Sen. Tom O’Halleran, who served a portion of his time in the legislature as a Republican, and controversial Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) will be interesting to watch.

While Mitt Romney carried the 1st by a margin of 50-48 percent, a new Global Strategy Group survey (Sept. 22-25; 400 likely AZ-1 voters) finds Hillary Clinton topping Donald Trump, 46-43 percent. The same sample then yields a 45-38 percent O’Halleran lead.

The seven-point Democratic congressional margin equals what the GSG found in August, but the electorate has shifted. While more Republicans now support Babeu, Independent voters are trending toward O’Halleran.

A Democratic victory here, however, merely holds one of the party’s 188 seats and does not cut into the Republican majority.

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Anything Could Happen at Saturday’s Iowa Convention

Before Tuesday’s important June 24 primary that will decide Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) fate among many other candidates in six states, a different nominating event will take place. Tomorrow, Republican convention delegates in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District (Des Moines/Council Bluffs) will meet to choose a US House nominee to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Latham as the party standard bearer. Under state election law, if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the primary vote a post-election convention is called to choose a nominee. The delegates have no limitations over who they can choose.

In the June 3 primary, a very tight contest was held among six candidates, five of whom placed in double-digits. In first position with 25 percent of the vote, but a full 10 percentage points away from winning the nomination, was former state senator and 2010 congressional nominee Brad Zaun. Businessman Robert Cramer was second at 21 percent, followed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz registering 20 percent, association executive Monte Shaw notching 17 percent, and David Young, the former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who was originally in the US Senate race,  Continue reading >

June 3 Primary Results Rundown

Mississippi

It was clear that Sen. Thad Cochran was in trouble against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in their Republican primary battle. Last night, McDaniel outpaced the senator by just under 2,500 votes, but the race may not be over. With McDaniel hovering under the 50 percent cut line (49.4 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting), it appears a secondary election between the two men will occur on June 24. A third candidate, realtor Tom Carey, received two percent, which might be enough to deny McDaniel winning outright, although it is unclear just how many outstanding votes remain to be counted. The post-election period here should be of great interest. The bottom line: this pivotal Senate primary challenge race may not yet be over.

Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS-4) got a scare last night, in what proved to be the biggest surprise of the evening. Former veteran Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS-4) came close to forcing the two-term incumbent into a run-off, but it appears the congressman will barely win re-nomination with a 50.5-43 percent margin over Taylor  Continue reading >

June 3 is Largest Single Day of Primaries

Voters in eight states go to the polls tomorrow, making June 3rd the largest single voting day on the primary election calendar.

Mississippi

We begin our analysis in the south, with the premier race of the day. Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran fights to win renomination against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in order to continue his long political career. Cochran was originally elected to the Senate in 1978 and became the first modern-day Republican to represent a Deep South state. He won his House seat six years earlier, in fact on the same day that Richard Nixon was re-elected president.

The latest public opinion polls actually showed McDaniel leading the senator, perhaps as a result of a unified front of national conservative organizations falling in line behind the challenger and spending  Continue reading >

Former Office Holders Reverse Retirement to Run Again

Candidate filing closed in three more states: Idaho, Iowa, and Nevada and, along with announcements in two other states, we find some former office holders reversing the retirement trend and re-entering the political arena.

Starting with an incumbent re-election statement, veteran Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), who was first elected in 1990 and has been coy about his 2014 political plans, officially declared that he will seek a 13th term later this year. The congressman will likely receive general election opposition from Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom.

In Idaho’s 2nd District, a surprise candidate entry was recorded as former Rep. Richard Stallings (D), who served four terms beginning in 1985, announced that he will again attempt to re-claim his former position. In 1992, Rep. Stallings left the House for a Senate run but fell to then-Boise  Continue reading >

House: The New Outlook

Since Dec. 17, seven US House members in rapid-fire succession – three Republicans and four Democrats – announced their retirements or resigned from Congress in order to accept an Obama administration appointment. The cumulative effect of the moves changes the projections for Election 2014.

Right now, the House stands at 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats with two vacancies – one from each party. The newest mid-term resignation, from Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12) who is leaving his safely Democratic congressional seat for purposes of accepting an appointment to join President Obama’s administration as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will remain unoccupied until the November general election. The previous vacancy, that of the late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL-13), will be filled in a March 11 special election. The Florida seat appears headed toward consensus Democratic candidate Alex Sink, the former state chief financial officer and defeated 2010 gubernatorial  Continue reading >

Young Flips to House in Iowa; Cheney Out in Wyoming

A major development has occurred in the Iowa Senate campaign precipitated by Des Moines Rep. Tom Latham’s (R-IA-3) prior announcement that he would not seek re-election.

David Young, former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was viewed as a serious contender for the Republican open seat Senate nomination albeit in a weak field of candidates, has adjusted his political plans. Young has now made public his intention to transfer from the Senate race into Latham’s open 3rd Congressional District.

Young said he originally planned to run for the 3rd District seat when he believed that Rep. Latham would announce for the Senate. When that didn’t happen, Young decided to run statewide.

The former congressional aide also said the potential of the Senate race being forced to a nominating convention makes the task of winning the general election against Rep.  Continue reading >

Reverberations in Three House Seats

Please accept our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Our regular updates will return on Jan. 3. Thank you for another year of loyal support.

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Last week, three surprise retirement announcements from veteran Representatives rocked the House campaign world. At least two of the three seats will feature hot, toss-up-style campaigns. Representatives Tom Latham (R-IA-3), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10), and Jim Matheson (D-UT-4) all came forward Tuesday to reveal their individual decisions not to seek re-election.

IA-3

Iowa’s 3rd District stretches throughout the state’s southwestern sector, all the way to the Nebraska border. Rep. Tom Latham was first elected in 1994, but found himself paired last year with veteran Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) in a new Des Moines-anchored  Continue reading >

Major House Retirements Announced

Three House members surprisingly announced retirements yesterday, potentially altering the outlook for 2014. Veteran congressmen Jim Matheson (D-UT-4), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) and Tom Latham (R-IA-3) each will not seek re-election, representing an aggregate total of 68 years of exiting congressional seniority.

At first glance, it appears the eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to convert the solidly conservative 4th Congressional District of Utah, while both the Virginia and Iowa marginal seats will begin in the “toss-up” category. See our analysis below. Along with the vacant FL-13 seat, three more Republican seats will now become competitive and susceptible to Democrat conversion. The party needs 17 seats to claim the House majority and converting these three winnable districts would reduce their net minimum number to just 15.
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King Won’t Run for Senate; SC-1

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4)

Via Twitter, as seems to be today’s norm for declining to run for political office, Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) announced yesterday that he will not seek Iowa’s open Senate seat next year.

“I will not run for Senate in 2014. A Senate race takes me out of urgent battles in Congress that can’t wait until 2015,” King tweeted. “Many thanks to all.” Obviously, the message is an indication that he will continue his congressional service in the House, and is at least a tacit indication that he will seek re-election.

The move is likely a politically intelligent one for the congressman, even though he was virtually assured of the Republican nomination. Polling was explicit that the conservative King was the top choice of Iowa GOP primary voters. But, it was also obvious that he was fighting major head winds in the general election, and not just from Democrats.

Prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) announcement earlier in the year that he would not seek re-election in 2014, former George W. Bush political chief Karl Rove announced the formation of his Conservative Victory Project, which is designed to unite the Republicans around a winnable general election candidate. It was made painfully clear upon Sen. Harkin’s announcement that Rove does not believe King can win statewide, leading to him making public overtures for Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) to run.
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Daschle Drafting Johnson

It’s within a different generation, but the Daschle family is again supporting a member of the Johnson clan for statewide South Dakota political office. Nathan “Nate” Daschle, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle’s (D) son, is leading an organized effort to draft Brendan Johnson for the US Senate. The prospective candidate’s father, Tim Johnson, is the incumbent senator who announced last week that he would not seek re-election in 2014. Brendan Johnson is South Dakota’s US Attorney, and has been mentioned as a possible Democratic Senatorial candidate.

In a published open letter to Brendan Johnson, Daschle writes, “it’s time for a new generation of leadership in South Dakota, and Brendan Johnson has the smarts, vision, and compassion to move this state forward. You won’t find anyone more committed to South Dakota’s future than Brendan. His candidacy would re-ignite our state’s great potential, and I think we would be lucky to have him serve in the U.S. Senate.”

The fact that a member of the Daschle family would publicly come forth so quickly to promote Johnson likely tells us something about the Democrats’ other top potential candidate, former representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. It is unlikely that Daschle would commit this early to Brendan Johnson if he, and the Democratic establishment, actually believed the ex-congresswoman was planning to run. Furthermore, of the two, Herseth Sandlin is obviously the stronger campaigner, making Daschle’s action even more indicative.

The Republican nominee is likely to be former Gov. Mike Rounds, who has been running since the 2012 election concluded and figures to be the favorite for the general election.

IA-3: The First Drop-out

Several weeks ago, wealthy investor Michael Sherzan (D) announced a challenge to Iowa Rep. Tom Latham (R) in the Des Moines-  Continue reading >

Union Sequestration Ads Target Seven Republicans

With sequestration taking effect at the end of last week, which triggered an automatic $85 billion reduction in FY 2013 spending increases, a quartet of America’s largest labor unions responded by forming a coordinated effort to fire the 2014 election campaign’s first salvo.

The unions, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the National Education Association (NEA), financed television ads in a “six-figure buy” against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and six Republican House members who will likely face competitive re-election campaigns next year.

Obviously, a small “six-figure” buy divided among seven individuals in targeted cable markets in March of the off-year means very little in the scope of cementing a negative image against their targets, but it does provide us a glimpse into where the unions and Democratic Party organizations will  Continue reading >

Iowa’s Latham a No-Go for Senate Race

Rep. Tom Latham

Rep. Tom Latham

Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) announced yesterday that he will not seek the open Iowa Senate seat next year. His decision is not particularly surprising. Iowa insiders had been indicating for more than a week that the 10-term congressman was leaning against launching a statewide bid.

In publicizing his decision, Latham indicated that he had just been re-elected to the House in a much different post-redistricting CD — in fact, 83 percent of the constituents are new to him — and a two-year statewide campaign would take him away from properly fulfilling his current responsibilities.

Politically, though he was commonly seen as the best general election candidate the Republicans could field, he faced a major obstacle in the GOP primary. Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4), fresh from his own convincing re-election victory over a strong and well-known Democratic opponent, commands the inside track to the Senate nomination. King is backed with vigorous Tea Party support and enjoys strong grassroots presence for his Republican nomination campaign, which are major factors.

Late January and early February polling provided us a quick glimpse into how the  Continue reading >

Jumping the Gun in Massachusetts?

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5)

The special US Senate election to replace newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to occur, but already we have one candidate announcement pertaining to a secondary campaign and another conditional candidacy. Should Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) win the special statewide election on June 25, then an election to fill his vacant 5th District congressional position subsequently will be called.

State Rep. Carl Sciortino on Friday announced that he will run in the special election to replace Markey. Sciortino, who bills himself as a “leading progressive,” was elected to the state House in 2004 at the age of 25.
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New Iowa Data

Public Policy Polling went to Iowa to test the potential Senate candidates and confirmed what Harper Polling had previously concluded: the Democrats are generally in better position statewide; Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) is the stronger Republican primary candidate; and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) fares better than King against all Democratic potential contenders.

PPP’s poll (Feb. 1-3; 846 registered Iowa voters; 326 self-identified “usual” Republican primary voters) shows similar levels of strength when comparing Democrats Tom Vilsack, the former governor and current US Agriculture Secretary, with Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).

Vilsack would defeat King 49-39 percent, and Braley outpaces his Republican congressional colleague by a similar 49-38 percent. But against Rep. Latham, the margins tighten. Vilsack tops the Des Moines area Congressman 46-42 percent, and Braley only has a 44-41 percent lead.

A third Democrat, defeated one-term Gov. Chet Culver, who is publicly considering seeking a re-match with five-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R), is weaker in the statewide Senate contest. He leads King 48-41 percent, but trails Latham 41-45 percent.

In the Republican primary, King would place first in a four-way race at 41 percent, followed by Latham with 22 percent. If Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and ex-gubernatorial  Continue reading >