June 20, 2017 — Voters in Georgia and South Carolina complete their special election processes today, with Republicans protecting both vacant US House seats and Democrats trying to make one of them a major national gain. The GA-6 and SC-5 seats of Trump Administration appointees Tom Price of Georgia and Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina have been vacant for months, but will have new representatives as tonight draws to a close.
This is the big one. More than $40 million will be spent in the aggregate for this campaign, more money than ever expended for a single congressional contest. Democrats went “all in” on this contest at the beginning of the special election cycle, using President Trump’s 1.5 percentage point victory performance as a harbinger of a changing Republican district.
Polling shows the race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel as being a dead heat. Ossoff has maintained a slight lead for most of the post-primary period, but the polling sample selections have often over-emphasized the 2016 presidential campaign, which has led to a greater number of Democratic respondents. This, plus the Republicans tending to under-poll in the South could give Handel a better chance than the pure numbers indicate.
Democrats are using this race as proof that they can sweep the mid-term elections, but GA-6 isn’t representative of their coming campaigns. First, they won’t be able to raise and spend $25 million for every congressional race in the 2018 cycle, so the financial aspect skews the outcome. Second, the Democratic spokespeople will make this result, should Ossoff win, a statement suggesting that the voting public is rejecting President Trump. This is only a surface argument because Ossoff’s public positions don’t often mention the chief executive, nor do they espouse liberal economic principles. Therefore, it is likely their post-election victory analysis won’t reflect Ossoff’s actual reasons for winning.
June 15, 2017 — The long Georgia special election cycle is mercifully almost over, as this most expensive-ever congressional race draws to a close next Tuesday. Looking at the aggregate spending, this one House campaign will easily exceed $40 million in combined expenditures, probably topping $25 million for Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign committee alone when the financial books close at the reporting cycle’s end.
The polls have forecast a close race between Ossoff and former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) immediately upon both advancing from the April 18 jungle primary. The most recent study, from Survey USA polling for WXIA-TV in Atlanta (June 7-11, 700 registered GA-6 voters; 503 either likely June 20 participants or those who have voted early), finds the two again tied at 47 percent. This is a marked improvement for Handel in comparison to both S-USA’s previous poll and last week’s Abt Associates survey for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, both of which found Ossoff holding a 51-44 percent advantage.
All three of these polls, however, are apparently understating Republican strength. In party segmentation, the GOP/lean GOP cell has only small advantages over the Democrat/Lean Democrat grouping. This is largely due to over-emphasizing the close 2016 presidential race when constructing the respondent pool. Since Georgia does not register voters by political party affiliation, it becomes more difficult to determine an accurate party sample for polling purposes.
Nov. 3, 2016 — Entering the last week of campaigning, the Democrats are on the cusp of re-claiming the Senate majority they lost in 2014, but virtually no competitive outcome is yet secure.
The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations may cause irregular Republican turnout to increase, which should help the GOP Senate candidates. A demoralized Republican voter base, thinking that Donald Trump would have no chance to prevail against Clinton, is about the only way Democrats could have gained a wave effect, but that is no longer expected.
It appears that nine of 10 Democratic in-cycle states will remain in party control. Only Nevada is competitive on their side of the ledger. Republicans look to have 15 safe seats of their own, with another five: Arizona (Sen. John McCain), Iowa (Sen. Chuck Grassley), Georgia (Sen. Johnny Isakson), Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio) and Ohio (Sen. Rob Portman) all trending either strongly or nominally their way.
Democrats are in favorable position to convert incumbent Republican states in Illinois (Rep. Tammy Duckworth-D, unseating Sen. Mark Kirk-R) and Wisconsin (former Sen. Russ Feingold-D, re-claiming the seat he lost to Sen. Ron Johnson-R in 2010), in addition to being favored in the open Indiana seat (former Sen. Evan Bayh-D ahead of Rep. Todd Young-R).
Oct. 4, 2016 — The Wesleyan Media Project released their campaign advertising study for the 2016 election cycle and, focusing on their Senate data that Kantar Media/CMAG compiled, the information gives us strong clues as to which races are the most important to each party. The report also provides clues as to which media campaigns and strategies are working and those that are lacking.
The study tracked ads run in 20 states featuring Senate general election campaigns, from a high of 18,265 ads aired (Pennsylvania) to a low of 18 (Kansas). The tested period spanned from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. In the 20 states, an aggregate of 104,522 ads aired in the various markets. Those backing Republican candidates or opposing Democratic contenders accounted for approximately 53 percent of the total study period buy.
Though Pennsylvanians have seen the greatest number of Senate ads, the most money spent during the period was in New Hampshire ($16.9 million). This is because the overwhelming number of ads purchased was in the expensive Boston media market.
May 26, 2016 — It was an incumbents’ night on Tuesday. For example, despite wide dissatisfaction with their federal elected officials, particularly among Republican voters, incumbents again scored well in the Georgia primary.
Several House members have now been effectively re-elected for another term. Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA-1), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), and David Scott (D-GA-13) faced no primary opposition and have no major party opponent for the fall campaign, thus effectively winning a new term.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA-9) prevailed in his multi-opponent re-nomination battle. He scored 61 percent of the vote against former Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10), who previously represented about half of this seat pre-redistricting and was attempting an ill-fated political comeback after losing the 2014 Senate Republican primary. Broun notched 22 percent, while the remaining three candidates split the outstanding 17 percent. With no Democratic opposition for November, Collins also won his re-election last night.
May 24, 2016 — Voters in several states go to the polls in primary elections today, but only one group will vote for president.
Washington State Republicans will visit the polling places and cast ballots in the presidential contest even though the delegates were just chosen over the weekend. Though the state convention participants overwhelmingly chose Sen. Ted Cruz supporters as national delegates, they will still be bound to the voters’ choice on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.
Turnout will likely be low because the nomination of Donald Trump is now a foregone conclusion, and the state primary, featuring the US Senate and House races, will not occur until Aug. 2. Therefore, today’s vote is a stand-alone Republican presidential contest since Democrats have previously voted in caucus.
Washington is a 20 percent threshold state, and there is a reasonable chance that Trump will be the only contender to exceed the minimum percentage. If so, he would be awarded all 11 at-large delegates.
Now that the 2014 election is finally ending, speculation begins to build around the next in-cycle group of seats.
With Gov. Sean Parnell (R) conceding defeat to Independent Bill Walker in Alaska and the two outstanding California congressional races likely soon ending in razor-thin wins for representatives Ami Bera (D-CA-7) and Jim Costa (D-CA-16), the 2014 cycle will conclude on Dec. 6 when the Louisiana run-offs are decided. Then, we can look forward to almost non-stop coverage of the impending presidential race in addition to frequent US Senate analyses.
Since Republicans will have a majority of either 53 or 54 seats depending upon whether Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) or Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) wins the Louisiana campaign, the GOP will likely be forced to defend 24 of 34 states up for election in two years. Therefore, Democrats will have ample opportunity to reclaim their lost advantage, which is the storyline we can expect to hear from the major media outlets.
With this backdrop, some senators are already drawing speculation about potential opponents. Illinois is likely at the top of the Democrats’ target list since the state votes heavily with their party, particularly in presidential years. Sen. Mark Kirk (R) started the ball rolling early this week by stating unequivocally that he intends to seek Continue reading >
Georgia Rep. Tom Price (R-6), who at one time was viewed to be a sure open seat Senate candidate and even a potential primary challenger to incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss, announced late Friday that he will not run statewide next year.
In retrospect, Price’s decision is not particularly surprising because he delayed so long in making a public pronouncement. Soon after Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) entered the race — the first person to declare for the retiring Sen. Chambliss’ open seat back in February — Rep. Price said that, because of his duties on the Budget Committee, he would postpone any political decision until May. Clearly not committed to the Senate race, he now has officially chosen to remain in the House.
Price, originally elected to Congress in 2004, maintains House leadership desires. A former chairman of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee, he lost a race for conference chairman to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) at the beginning of the current Congress. During his career in the state legislature, Price became the first Republican Senate majority leader in Georgia history.
Money certainly would not have been an issue for five-term congressman. He raised Continue reading >