Tag Archives: Sen. Barbara Mikulski

The Senate Reset

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 20, 2016 — It’s now inside of three weeks before the election, and hearing leaders of both parties claim they could control the Senate in the next Congress, it’s time to take a step back and see where the candidates actually stand.

To re-cap, Republicans are risking 24 seats as compared to the Democrats’ 10. In order to re-capture the majority they lost in 2014, the Dems must retain all 10 of their defensive seats, and then convert at least four Republican states if Hillary Clinton is elected president and five if she is not.

The Democrats appear safe in nine of their 10 seats: California (open-Barbara Boxer), Colorado (Michael Bennet), Connecticut (Richard Blumenthal), Hawaii (Brian Schatz), Maryland (open-Barbara Mikulski), New York (Chuck Schumer), Oregon (Ron Wyden), Vermont (Patrick Leahy), and Washington (Patty Murray).

The Republicans appear headed for victory in 14 of their defensive states: Alabama (Richard Shelby), Alaska (Lisa Murkowski), Arkansas (John Boozman), Georgia (Johnny Isakson), Idaho (Mike Crapo), Iowa (Chuck Grassley), Kansas (Jerry Moran), Kentucky (Rand Paul), North Dakota (John Hoeven), Ohio (Rob Portman), Oklahoma (James Lankford), South Carolina (Tim Scott), South Dakota (John Thune), and Utah (Mike Lee).

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Graham Out; Senate Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2016 — Ever since the Florida State Supreme Court decided to re-draw the congressional boundaries halfway through the decade, freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D, FL-2, Tallahassee) has been in the political wilderness. The court declared eight of the state’s districts unconstitutional last July and finished the new map earlier this year, radically changing the original plan as enacted by the legislative and executive branches.

After the preliminary map became public it was evident that Rep. Graham was becoming a political casualty. Wanting to draw a minority 5th District that stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee instead of the traditional draw that began in J’ville and then meandered through Gainesville and Sanford on its way to Orlando, the court sacrificed Graham by removing the Democratic base from the 2nd District seat and transferring it to the new District 5.

Rumors were rampant that Graham, the daughter of former governor and US Sen. Bob Graham (D), would enter the open Senate race. As time passed with no movement in that direction, it was apparent she saw her career heading in a different direction. Yesterday, Rep. Graham announced that she will not seek re-election, and broadly hinted that running in the open 2018 governor’s race is within her political future.

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New Senate Primary Polls

By Jim Ellis

April 8, 2016 — Democrats have two near-term US Senate primary battles underway and both will be decided on April 26. The Maryland Democratic primary will almost assuredly determine who succeeds retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). The Pennsylvania contest will identify first-term Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) general election opponent in what promises to be a hotly contested campaign with national implications.

Maryland

The polls have seesawed for weeks between representatives Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County). Just last Friday, Van Hollen released his own Garin Hart Yang Research survey giving the candidate a 45-40 percent advantage, but this is the only recent poll arriving at such a conclusion. Several days earlier, the Baltimore Sun published their data giving Edwards a 34-28 percent lead.

Seeing this, the Washington Post, partnering with the University of Maryland, went into the field with their own poll (March 30-April 3; 539 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) and also found Edwards ahead. The spread was 44-40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters and 44-35 percent when the entire registered Democratic universe (741) was queried. The conclusions are exactly the opposite of Van Hollen’s findings.

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Perry Done; Maryland Senate
Candidate News

Sept. 15, 2015 — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry wound up leading the Republican presidential candidates, but not in the way he planned. Last Friday, Perry became the first contender to suspend his campaign, thus effectively ending his presidential aspirations.

Money was the chief reason for the early exit, as his direct campaign had virtually no resources to keep operating. Ironically, his outside PAC did have the finances, but the non-coordinated effort could not legally keep the Perry mother ship alive.

The former governor may have actually ended his 2016 presidential campaign in July from two years past when he decided not to seek a fifth term as Texas’ chief executive.

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Open Seat #3: Indiana Sen. Dan Coats

Several weeks ago, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R) promised to announce his 2016 political plans before April 5, and on Tuesday kept his word. When Coats announced such an early time frame upon making a re-election decision, it encouraged political speculation that he would retire, thus opening the seat for next year’s election. Such prognostication proved accurate because Sen. Coats announced that he will retire for the second time.

Coats first came to office when he succeeded his former congressional boss, then-Rep. Dan Quayle (R-IN-4). When Quayle defeated Sen. Birch Bayh (D) in 1980, it was Dan Coats who won the Ft. Wayne-anchored congressional seat that Quayle vacated. Coats would serve four terms, and then once again succeed Quayle when he was appointed in 1989 to fill the unexpired Senate term when the latter was elected Vice President. Coats would then win a special Senate election in 1990, filling the final two years of the term to which he was originally appointed. He then claimed a full six-year term in the next regular election. Coats decided to retire from the Senate in 1998, rather than face then-Gov. Evan Bayh (D) in what was expected to be a very tough re-election fight.

Upon his retirement, Coats served as US Ambassador to Germany, and then returned to Washington DC to join a lobbying firm. He rather surprisingly was recruited to return to elective politics in 2010, and this time ironically succeeded Sen. Bayh who himself had decided to retire expressing his disdain for continuing service in the federal legislative body on his way out. Now, it is former Sen. Bayh who is not yet completely ruling out a return to elective politics.

The Coats’ move opens a third Senate seat for the 2016 election cycle. A fourth may soon be coming if Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) decides to forgo re-election in order to concentrate on a presidential campaign, as expected. Earlier in the year, Democratic senators Barbara Boxer (CA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD) announced their respective retirements.
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Reid Endorses Van Hollen; Strickland Ties Portman

Maryland Senate

In a surprising development, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already given his personal endorsement to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), the recently announced Maryland senatorial candidate. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) announced last week that she will retire at the end of the current Congress, launching what promises to be a very crowded Democratic primary to replace her.

Van Hollen has been on the inside of the House Democratic leadership almost since his original election in 2002, and he is known as a highly ambitious politician. Therefore, through his positioning within the House conference, the Montgomery County congressman was able to develop a relationship with Sen. Reid. But, it is still unusual that a Senate leader would involve himself so quickly in a contested primary when so many Democratic delegation members appear inclined to run. Speculation continues that Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4), for example, is just days away from announcing her own candidacy.

In other Maryland news, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) announced that he will not enter the Senate race. Kamenetz had been prominently mentioned as a possible candidate in the early speculation immediately after Sen. Mikulski’s announcement.
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Two More Open House Seats in 2016

A pair of House members just announced that they will not seek re-election next year. One is running for Senate, while the other is retiring. The two political moves mean there are now nine vacant or open House seats (6R; 3D) just two months into the 114th Congress.

MI-10

House Administration Committee chair Candice Miller (R) announced last week that she will not seek re-election to an eighth term. She originally won her seat in 2002, after serving eight years as Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Long mentioned as a possible statewide candidate, rumors are circulating that Rep. Miller may run for governor or potentially launch a future challenge to US Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Michigan will host an open governor’s race in 2018 because incumbent Rick Snyder (R) will be ineligible to seek a third term. At least for now, she is planning to return to private life at the end of the current Congress.
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A Rundown of Who Could Fill the Void With Mikulski’s Retirement

MARCH 4, 2015 — Monday’s announcement from America’s longest-serving female member of Congress, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), will certainly change the Maryland political landscape.

Mikulski’s plans not to seek a sixth senatorial term, after serving 10 years in the House prior to her first statewide victory, will bring an end to what will be her 40-year congressional career when the 114th Congress adjourns. Her decision creates the second open Senate seat in the 2016 election cycle, coming after California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) made a similar announcement in January.

Since then, we have seen a great deal of movement among Golden State Democrats with much more to come. Expect a similar pattern to develop in Maryland. Democrats hold seven of the state’s eight congressional seats and, with the exception of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5), each may be assessing their chances of succeeding Mikulski. With many current and former statewide Democratic officials also looking at the race, we can expect a crowded party primary field.
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