Tag Archives: Sen. Max Baucus

Razor-Thin Tennessee Results; Walsh; Hawaii, Tomorrow

Tennessee – Statewide

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 >

Sen. Walsh Drops Election Bid

PRIsm Flash!

Appointed Montana Sen. John Walsh (D), reeling from published reports that he plagiarized his War College thesis, said the effects upon his campaign from the revelation is causing him to end his effort to win election to the seat. Walsh had been appointed in February to succeed Sen. Max Baucus (D), who resigned early to become US Ambassador to China. Walsh had been the state’s sitting lieutenant governor.

Republican nominee Steve Daines, the state’s at-large congressman, now has the opportunity to expand his general election advantage while the Democrats scramble to find a replacement nominee. The party now must hold a statewide nominating convention and do so before Aug. 20 in order to qualify a general election candidate.

Daines Up in Montana; Hayworth Rebounding in NY; Oklahoma Tightens

Montana Senate

Two new Montana polls were just released into the public domain, and both portend similar results.

According to Public Policy Polling (July 17-18; 574 registered Montana voters), Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) holds a 46-39 percent advantage over appointed Sen. John Walsh (D). Both men record similar job approval ratings. Sen. Walsh, who was appointed in early February to replace veteran Sen. Max Baucus (D) after the latter had accepted President Obama’s offer to become US Ambassador to China, tallies a 38:37 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating. Freshman Rep. Daines is in virtually the same position, though finding himself one point upside down, 39:40 percent.

An internal Harstad Strategic Research poll for the Walsh campaign (released July 17; number of respondents not provided), gives the freshman congressman a 43-38 percent edge over the appointed senator. Though  Continue reading >

Five Key States, Five Key Senate Races

Karl Rove’s right-of-center American Crossroads 527 political organization commissioned Harper Polling surveys in five US Senate campaigns, releasing the data at the end of last week. Though sample sizes and the surveying periods are not available, the ballot tests all appear to be in a range that are consistent with other published results.

In Arkansas, despite several other surveys projecting incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D) to be holding a slight lead, Harper shows the two candidates tied at 39 percent.

The Colorado numbers are consistent with virtually all other data that has come into the public domain. Harper posts a two-point race between Sen. Mark Udall (D) and newly nominated Republican Cory Gardner, the 4th District congressman. This poll gives Sen. Udall a 45-43 percent lead.

Though the Louisiana numbers have been close for some time, with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) typically leading but in the low 40s, the Harper data is the first to show  Continue reading >

Sen. Walsh’s First Polling Test in Montana; New NH Data

When Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) announced last April that he would not seek re-election in 2014, it was assumed that freshman at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R) would enter the race to replace the outgoing incumbent and become the strong favorite.

The Democrats’ plan, however, to neutralize the Republican advantage in Montana is a good one. Instead of finishing his final senatorial term, President Obama appointed Baucus as US Ambassador to China, thus allowing Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to install his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, who was already running for the Senate, as the interim replacement. The move gives now-Sen. Walsh, at the very least, abbreviated incumbent stature and is clearly the best political play the Montana Democrats could make.

In federal office since Feb. 7, the new senator has had some time to begin to decrease Daines’ double-digit polling leads. Rasmussen Reports (March 17-18; 750  Continue reading >

Polls Confirm Key Senate Races are Toss-ups; Walsh’s Appointment Both Helps and Hurts

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads entered into the Senate polling arena in January, contracting with Harper Polling to provide surveys in seven key states. The HP results appear to be in line with other findings, except for one place.

Harper’s Alaska poll (Jan. 20-22; 677 registered Alaska voters) projects Sen. Mark Begich (D) to be trailing two Republican challengers, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Attorney General Dan Sullivan, by identical 41-47 percent margins. This is a much different result than found in the Public Policy Polling survey from a little more than a week ago (Jan. 30-Feb. 1; 850 registered Alaska voters), which posted the senator to a 43-37 percent advantage over Treadwell and 41-37 percent against Sullivan. Begich’s troubling factor, detected in both firms’ data, however, is his low 40s standing even when leading.
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Will Senate Cliffhangers Yield a Republican Majority in 2014?

With the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee now distributing fundraising materials quoting MSNBC as saying that the Republicans “now have the advantage” in capturing the Senate majority this year, it’s a good time to examine the total national picture.

Recent polling does suggest that the Republicans have greatly improved their chances of converting the six Democratic seats they need to claim majority status. In fact, GOP candidates are now either leading or within the margin of error in nine states, while maintaining a slight advantage in their own two competitive seats (Kentucky and Georgia).

Isolating the various states, we begin with the three open Democratic seats from places that have generally yielded a Republican voting pattern since 2000. Currently, the Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia  Continue reading >

Sink Raking in Donations in Fla.; Rehberg’s Return in Montana?

FL-13

With the Jan. 14 special primary election fast approaching in the race to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R), former Florida chief financial officer and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink reported crushing financial numbers on the pre-primary financial disclosure report as released by the Federal Election Commission.

According to the statement, Sink had raised $1.143 million for her special election campaign and has $1.054 million cash-on-hand. More than $823,000 of her current political income came from individual donors, versus $300,700 from political action committees. The candidate invested $7,700 of her own money and reports no debt.

On the Republican side, lobbyist David Jolly obtained $388,450 in contributions and has  Continue reading >

Strategic Changes Ahead in Montana Senatorial Bid

Reports are rampant that President Obama will soon select retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to serve as the country’s next ambassador to China. Doing so will bring major change to the impending senatorial political battle to replace him.

Republicans have maintained the early prime position to convert the seat ever since the veteran senator announced that he would not seek election to a seventh term next year. Polling shows freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) with the inside track toward capturing the open seat over both Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. Since the seat will become vacant upon Baucus’ confirmation as ambassador should he be nominated, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement on an interim basis, and Walsh already appears to be the pick.

While on the surface Walsh’s appointment to the seat would clearly bring certain benefits to his election campaign, it also would tie him down in Washington, like  Continue reading >

Post-Election Day Surprises

Rep. Jon Runyan

Rep. Jon Runyan

NJ-3

New Jersey Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ-3) yesterday became the second sophomore Republican to announce that he will voluntarily retire at the end of the current Congress. Like Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2), Runyun was a clear favorite to win a third term in the House but has decided to end his congressional career. The Garden State congressman indicated that he wants more time with his family and was quoted as saying, “politics shouldn’t be a career and I never intended to make it one.”

Rep. Runyan was elected to the House in 2010 after spending 14 years playing in the National Football League, most notably with  Continue reading >

Jockeying for Position in Montana

The Democratic Party leadership has successfully recruited their best contemporary Montana option, with Lt. Gov. John Walsh yesterday announcing his candidacy to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D).

Montana is one of a trio of open Democrat seats, the others being West Virginia and South Dakota, that are must-wins for Republicans; voting trends are favoring the GOP in recent elections, and particularly so in mid-term election years. Therefore, the Democrats fielding a potentially strong candidate in such places becomes an important factor in their plan to hold the Senate majority.

It has been expected since the time former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat commonly viewed as the strongest potential candidate in either party, decided not to run that freshman at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R) would jump into the Senate race. To date, such a move has not happened but most political observers still believe it will.

Daines becomes the early favorite if he does run, and his lengthy decision-making process is the main reason that other candidates have not leapt into the race. It appears that those wanting to run for statewide office are waiting to see what Daines finally does, and then they will announce for either the Senate or House, whichever of the two races becomes the open seat.

Walsh is a former adjutant general in the Montana National Guard who led some 2,000 of the state’s troops to combat duty in Iraq, culminating in him being awarded the  Continue reading >

The Montana Senate Waiting Game

In politics, timing is everything, and there’s great speculation as to just when Montana Rep. Steve Daines’ (R-AL) open Senate window might begin to close.

Over the weekend, retiring Sen. Max Baucus’ (D) former state director, John Lewis, announced the formation of a political campaign committee destined for what he believes will be an open US House seat. Lewis had been considered a potential Senate candidate, and still conceivably could become one should Rep. Daines decide to stay put.

So far, the freshman congressman has played this election cycle like a fiddle. Ignoring advice to announce immediately upon Sen. Baucus’ retirement plans becoming public this past April, Daines adroitly waited until former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) made his decision. It was presumed that Schweitzer would become the prohibitive favorite if he entered the race, so everyone held their cards in anticipation. In mid-July, when he chose not to seek the seat, all of the political focus turned to the state’s lone congressman, Daines.

Relatively soon after Schweitzer took himself out of the Senate competition, state auditor, Monica Lindeen, and superintendent of public instruction, Denise Juneau, both Democrats, also decided not to pursue the contest.

But, how much longer will prospective Senate candidates wait? Since the seat came open in April, only two people have announced their candidacies, neither of whom is expected to be a major contender. For the Democrats, only rancher Dirk Adams has declared. On the GOP side, state Sen. Matt Rosendale has taken the plunge.

Previously in the race, intending to challenge Sen. Baucus when it was believed he would seek re-election, are ex-state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds. But, it is widely believe that all three announced Republicans will move to the House race if Daines reaches for the Senate.

The Lewis move suggests that things are beginning to happen, and that the time others are yielding to Daines could soon come to an end.

Understandably, Rep. Daines wants to be politically careful. Elected for the first time last November with a strong 53-43 percent margin when the other statewide   Continue reading >

Montana Senate Seat Has Become a GOP “Must Win”

Gov. Brian Schweitzer

Brian Schweitzer

Republicans may have just dodged a major bullet as former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) announced via telephone interview with local media on Saturday that he is not running for retiring Sen. Max Baucus’ (D) seat.

Polling was showing that the two-term ex-governor, after leaving office early this year, was the strongest candidate from either party who was reasonably considered a potential candidate. The latest Public Policy Polling survey (June 21-23; 807 registered Montana voters) did show Schweitzer trailing former Republican Gov. Marc Racicot by one percentage point, but the chances of the former statewide GOP office holder running to succeed Sen. Baucus are highly remote, so this pairing was discounted. Against all other potential or likely candidates, Schweitzer held a clear advantage.

In the interview explaining his decision not to enter the Senate campaign, the former Montana chief executive said he isn’t a good fit in a legislative body. “I’m a doer,” Schweitzer stated, “I’m used to being in charge of things, getting things done. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate is a place where things die.”

Without Schweitzer running, the Republicans now become early favorites to convert the seat. If that became a reality, considering their favorable position for the Democratic open seats in South Dakota and West Virginia, it would bring them halfway to their goal of converting the six seats they need to capture the Senate majority.

All eyes will now turn to at-large freshman  Continue reading >

Montana In Play

Montana

Montana

A new Public Policy Polling survey previews a tight race evolving in the Montana open-seat race. Those eventually becoming candidates will vie for the right to succeed Sen. Max Baucus (D), who is retiring after what will be 40 years in Congress.

The new data seems to poke holes in the prognostication that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) would run away with the open-seat race should he decide to run. Other potential candidates have been hanging back awaiting his decision, but the former governor humorously quipped last week that it might be some time before he ultimately decides his 2014 plans.

Referring to his occupation as a soil scientist, Schweitzer said to a local news reporter, “…the most important thing a soil scientist has an understanding of is time-glacial time … I look at a mountain and I’m able to visualize how that mountain was created over 6 million years. You’re a journalist. You read time as next week, tomorrow. I think of time geologically. When you see me say ‘soon’ you may be thinking days — but I think of time in millions of years sometimes.” Thus, it appears his answer won’t be coming any time soon.

According to the PPP poll, Schweitzer would actually trail former Republican Gov. Marc Racicot (46-47 percent) even though the Democrat’s favorability index is much higher. Schweitzer scores 54:40 percent favorable to unfavorable, while Racicot only posts 43:37 percent, yet Racicot clings to a small lead.

Considering that Racicot is not likely to run, how does Schweitzer do against a more probable candidate? Paired with at-large Rep. Steve Daines (R), a freshman who ran strong in his first statewide campaign,  Continue reading >

Nebraska’s Heineman Won’t Run

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) announced over the holiday weekend that he will not run for his state’s open US Senate seat next year, ending more than 13 weeks of political speculation concerning his decision. Heineman said he believed a campaign would take away from serving his final 18 months as governor but, at least at one point, claimed he was very close to becoming a federal candidate.

Heineman’s decision now opens up what should be a fierce campaign to replace one-term Sen. Mike Johanns (R), a former governor and US Agriculture Secretary, who decided not to seek re-election. All potential candidates had been awaiting Heineman’s decision, because his popularity is such that no person in either party is likely to defeat him.

The Democrats are in the more precarious position because they are now staring at two open statewide races with a depleted political bench. Former two-term senator and governor Bob Kerrey returned to the state last year and went down to an ignominious 58-42 percent defeat at the hands of then state senator Deb Fischer (R). The result left the Democrats in a politically moribund state as Kerrey was always viewed as the party’s best possible standard bearer. For him to lose as badly as he did to a state legislator in what should have been a strong Democratic year, casts major doubt over the party’s 2014 prospects.

That being said, the Democrats will likely concentrate on the open gubernatorial campaign, a position more important to party leaders. Heineman, who will be the longest-serving governor in the state’s history (10 years at the end of his term), is ineligible to seek re-election. At this point, the Democrats’ strongest candidate may be Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. He will likely run statewide, but probably as a gubernatorial candidate, thus by-passing the Senate contest. Beyond Beutler, their options are few.
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