Tag Archives: South Dakota

A Not So Open Seat

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 22, 2017 — Currently, we see a low number of open US House seats during this 2018 election cycle, and the number is about to get even smaller. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) is expected to announce that he has changed political course once again and now will seek re-election.

In April, the six-term congressman announced his candidacy for governor, only to withdraw two months later. At the time when ending his statewide bid, Perlmutter confirmed that he would not be seeking re-election to a seventh term in the House. Believing the 7th District, a likely Democratic seat, would be open in 2018, three state legislators and a former US Ambassador jumped into the party primary.

At the very least, each of the three legislators has previously indicated that they would end their congressional campaigns and defer to the returning incumbent should he decide to return. Therefore, it is likely Perlmutter’s re-entry into the congressional race will not spur a competitive primary campaign.

Assuming this predicted new course of action proves true, the number of open regular cycle House seats will temporarily drop to 20. At this point in time, the total open seat universe is half of what it was in the last two election cycles, and less than one-third the high water number of 64 we saw in 2012.

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Open Seat News – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 13, 2017 — Continuing our review of the eight known open House districts, today’s update concludes with the final four seats either headed to a special election or whose electorate will choose a new incumbent in the regular 2018 cycle.

NM-1: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-Albuquerque) has already announced that she will enter the open 2018 governor’s campaign. Incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez (R) is ineligible to seek a third term in office. The 1st District houses the city of Albuquerque and 95 percent of the state’s dominant county, Bernalillo. So far, no one has yet come forward to declare an official congressional candidacy, but many Democratic state and local officials would be well positioned to run. For Republicans, should they choose not to run for governor, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and outgoing Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry would become prospective congressional contenders.

SC-5: President-Elect Donald Trump’s choice of South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster/Rock Hill) as Director of the Office of Management & Budget yields a special election in the north-central section of the state soon after the confirmation process concludes. The Palmetto State is very clear in terms of the special election schedule, thus leaving Gov. Nikki Haley (R) with no wiggle room pertaining to the campaign calendar. The primary contests will occur on the 11th Tuesday following an official declaration of the vacant seat. The run-offs, if necessary, will come on the 13th Tuesday after an official vacancy, with the general election transpiring on the 18th succeeding Tuesday. This means the special election cycle will consume just over four months. Therefore, if Mulvaney is confirmed sometime in February, we can expect a new 5th District Representative at a point in June.

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Already, an Open Seat

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 17, 2016 — This week also brings us the 2018 election cycle’s first open seat. South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem (R-AL) announced that she will run for governor in the next election. Incumbent Dennis Daugaard (R) is ineligible to run for a third term under South Dakota election law, so the open seat is guaranteed.

The timing of her announcement, extremely early in the brand new election cycle, directly related to a new South Dakota election law. Beginning today, a new campaign finance initiative, passed by voters last week, takes effect. This will limit to $4,000 the amount an individual or entity can contribute to a South Dakota statewide candidate. By officially declaring herself a candidate Tuesday, Noem can still transfer all $1.9 million remaining in her congressional campaign account to her new gubernatorial campaign committee. Obviously, this will give her a major advantage in preparing for a different statewide run.

The congresswoman can count on drawing tough primary and general election opponents, however. Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) has also indicated his intention to run, and many others are soon likely to follow suit.

We can now expect a spirited battle for the open at-large congressional race, particularly in the Republican primary. Even though this race has almost one and one-half years remaining before any votes are cast, the new 2018 election cycle is apparently already underway.

Senate Trends

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 24, 2016 — While national pollsters are detecting a tightening presidential race, the US Senate campaigns are also beginning to reveal some potentially defining trends.

Safe Republicans & Democrats

Of the 34 in-cycle US Senate campaigns currently underway in 2016, half of them are in the safe category and won’t change. Nine Republican senators and eight Democrats are assured of re-election:

Republican senators: Shelby (AL), Murkowski (AK), Crapo (ID), Moran (KS), Hoeven (ND), Lankford (OK), Scott (SC), Thune (SD), Lee (UT)

Democrat sentors: California (Open Boxer), Maryland (Open Mikulski); Blumenthal (CT), Schatz (HI), Schumer (NY), Wyden (OR), Leahy (VT), Murray (WA)
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Senate Re-Set

By Jim Ellis

July 8, 2016 — Returning from this week’s 4th of July break and preparing for the late season primaries, now is a good time to review the 2016 Senate picture:

Nominees

Alabama: Safe R
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) vs. Ron Crumpton (D) – non-competitive

Arkansas: Likely R
Sen. John Boozman (R) vs. Connor Eldridge (D) – moderately competitive

California: Open Seat (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D; retiring) Safe D
AG Kamala Harris (D) vs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) – competitive

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The Races

By Jim Ellis

June 8, 2016 — In addition to being the final major presidential primary yesterday, five states were deciding congressional primaries. The North Carolina campaigns were covered in our report yesterday.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both clinched their respective political party nominations as expected last night through major primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota (Democratic Caucus only), and South Dakota.

California

The state’s jungle primary format qualified the top two finishers in every race for the November general election, irrespective of political party preference. The most competitive situations follow:

The open Senate race (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D retiring) will likely advance a pair of Democrats to the general election for the first time in state history. Both Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46) are expected to respectively place first and second. The fact that California allows voters to postmark their mail ballots on Election Day means a count that will take days to finalize. Ms. Harris would be favored in such a general election contest.

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Sanders’ Final Strategy

By Jim Ellis

June 3, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) has repeatedly said he plans to take his campaign to the Democratic National Convention, but what he really expects to attain from doing so has been a relative mystery. Now, however, according to the Wall Street Journal and other sources, his plan is beginning to come into focus.

As we head into the final major primary day on next Tuesday, Hillary Clinton stands with 2,291 to 2,312 pledged and Super Delegate votes to Sanders’ 1,544 or 1,545 total, depending upon what count you view. Many media outlets have differing delegate tabulations because their Super Delegate information is inconsistent. Most of the Super Delegates can change their votes, so there is an inherent variance in the true vote count.

On Tuesday, Democratic voters in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and California will vote. It is likely that Clinton will score enough delegates from the first three voting entities of that day, the USVI, Puerto Rico, and New Jersey in the Atlantic and Eastern time zones, respectively, to officially claim the nomination.

But, Sanders won’t necessarily be through, if his convention plan gains legs. His strategy is to force a rules fight and move to bind the Super Delegates to their respective statewide vote totals instead of allowing the vast majority of them to remain as free agents.

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Where We’re Headed

By Jim Ellis

April 29, 2016 — The 2016 presidential campaign has taken a dramatic turn in a very short amount of time. Is the race reaching its end, or will we see yet another twist?

Before last week’s New York primary, Donald Trump was reeling, clearly experiencing the most significant momentum downturn since his campaign began. Then came the primary, and he exceeded his pre-determined delegate goal, thus righting the ship. In this week’s eastern regional primary, the real estate mogul performed in similar fashion and even topped his New York finish. Now, it is Sen. Ted Cruz who is suddenly facing elimination as the Indiana primary quickly approaches next Tuesday. For Trump to remain on his first-ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the 57 Indiana Republican delegates.

According to The Green Papers.com website that compiles political statistics, Trump has a first-ballot delegate count of 956, which tells us he is 281 away from winning the nomination. This means that the GOP front-runner must obtain 56 percent of the remaining 502 delegates from the 10 states yet to vote. Trump is the only candidate who can qualify for a first-ballot victory and do so without the aid of unbound delegates. Sen. Cruz and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) can now only band together in hopes of denying Trump the outright majority in order to force a contested convention.

Now it is Sen. Cruz who desperately needs a win. Since his new goal is to deny Trump as many delegates as possible, any sizeable Indiana victory will blunt his opponent’s momentum and stop the march toward a first ballot nomination. Gov. Kasich’s decision to not campaign there will help, but there will have to be a sizable push from the Ohio governor to encourage his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz. With a series of recent polls finding Cruz trailing Trump from five to eight points, the Kasich push is a critical component for the Texas senator to move into first place. Failure to win Indiana may prove fatal to Sen. Cruz’s 2016 presidential aspirations.

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The Stretch Drive Begins Now

By Jim Ellis

April 22, 2016 — Donald Trump’s major New York Republican primary win on Tuesday (he captured 90 of the state’s 95 delegates, exceeding expectations by at least 10 convention votes) revives talk of a first ballot victory, but is such speculation realistic?

The evening propelled Trump to 847 bound delegates, or 390 away from clinching the GOP presidential nomination. In the remaining 15 states that will complete the primary/caucus process, the Republican front-runner must secure 57 percent of the outstanding convention votes in order to score a first-ballot victory without the aid of unbound delegates.

On April 26, voters in five eastern states will visit the polls. The aggregate bound delegate contingent hailing from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island through their various apportionment systems is 112. The minimum combined number Trump must secure is 92 from these states.

His 83 percent available delegate quota from the eastern pool is high for two reasons. First, he is heavily favored in all five states headed into Election Day. Second, he must run up the score in the east to neutralize at least three states where he likely won’t do well: Indiana (May 3), Nebraska (May 10) and South Dakota (June 7). Since Nebraska and South Dakota are Winner-Take-All states, it is probable that Trump will be shut out in both places.

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New York Landslide a Precursor?

By Jim Ellis

April 20, 2016
— Donald Trump exceeded expectations last night in New York by capturing what appears to be 90 of the Empire State’s 95 delegates. Needing to score approximately 80 delegates to get back on track for a long-shot first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump did significantly better in his home state than pre-election projections foretold.

Trump garnered 60.5 percent of the statewide vote, making this the first time he has scored a majority in a primary. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) was second with 25.1 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz could manage only a 14.5 percent vote total.

Ironically, the only one of the 62 counties Trump failed to carry was New York County, or Manhattan Borough, which is his home. Gov. Kasich took Manhattan, and won the remaining five NY delegates.

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Cruz Edging Trump in California

Jan. 8, 2016 — The California Field Poll was released early this week and the results show a surge for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race, but their conclusions are largely irrelevant. California polling can’t accurately project the state’s all-important delegate count, hence the statewide ballot test total is less important here than in other places.

Despite Republicans performing poorly in California since the turn of the century, the Golden State still sends the largest delegation to the Republican National Convention (172). The California apportionment system yields a more open contest than most states because finishing first statewide is worth only 10 at-large delegates.

As in six other states (Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina and Wisconsin), California apportions upon congressional district vote in addition to the aggregate statewide total. Since the Golden State possesses 53 CDs, California primary day actually yields 54 separate elections: one in each congressional district in addition to the statewide tally. The candidate placing first in each individual district, regardless of vote percentage or raw total, is awarded three delegates in winner-take-all fashion.

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More Than Polls and Campaigns

Aug. 4, 2015 — Just after the first two 2016 presidential debates, the media coverage will undoubtedly center on the candidates and the plethora of public polls that will test public response.  But, there is another important process facet that won’t receive any attention: the voting schedule and delegate allocation.

As the campaign now begins to unfold in earnest, it is clear that the Democratic nomination is headed Hillary Clinton’s way.  Though she has serious flaws as a national candidate, her weaknesses are not a particular factor before her own party’s electorate.

National polls consistently show her barely ahead of several Republican candidates, and having major problems convincing the general electorate of her honesty, trustworthiness, and whether she cares about the average voter.  Yet, these negatives do not appear to be dissuading the Democratic primary voters.

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The Polling Report Card

As we all know, a plethora of polls were conducted throughout the country but some proved much more accurate than others. By and large, virtually every pollster correctly forecasted the races in Colorado and South Dakota, but fared very poorly in Kansas and Virginia.

Of the late polls taken, usually the last five immediately prior to the election, we look at which pollsters did the best and worst in the most competitive Senate campaigns.

Alaska
• Actual result: Dan Sullivan (R) 48%; Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46% – +2 points
• Closest Pollster: Public Policy Polling (Nov. 1-2): Sullivan, 46-45% – +1 point
• Worst Poll: Ivan Moore & Assoc (Oct. 24-26): Begich 48-42%; missed by 9 points

Arkansas
• Actual result: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 57%; Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 40% (+17)
• Closest Pollster: University of Arkansas (Oct. 21-27); Cotton 49-36% – +13 points
• Worst Poll: Opinion Research Assoc (Oct. 25-26); Pryor 45-44%; missed by 18 points

Colorado
• Actual result: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) 49%; Sen. Mark Udall (D) 46% (+3)
• Closest Pollster: The final Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University, and YouGov surveys were all between one and three points
• Worst Poll: None; all of the Colorado participating pollsters correctly predicted the final trend.
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A Snapshot of the 36 Senate Races

The international polling firm YouGov, in their ongoing project with the New York Times and CBS News, released another complete polling wave over the weekend. The data included results from all 36 Senate races.

According to the comprehensive totals, Republicans would gain the majority with 51 seats, winning in 21 states including a Louisiana run-off, while Democrats would claim fourteen. The 36th state, Iowa, is in a flat 44-44 percent tie between Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic US Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).

For Republicans, the safe list contains a pair of both Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe and James Lankford) and South Carolina seats (Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott) that are up for election this year in addition to Susan Collins in Maine, Jim Risch from Idaho, and Jeff Sessions (Alabama), among others.

The GOP nominee leads in 10 contested or open races from anywhere between three and 29 points. Only three of the contenders, however, exceed 50 percent in support. Below are the results in competitive campaigns:
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A Quick Update on Key Senate Races

Here’s a look at the latest from the final drive for the Senate in key states:

Kentucky


Kentuckians for Strong Leadership: “Look”

Survey USA released a new poll (Oct. 15-19; 655 likely Kentucky voters) again showing a virtual dead heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). This data finds the senator only holding a one-point lead, 44-43 percent, as the campaign again tightens. Also, the in-state Super PAC supporting McConnell, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, released a new attack ad, calling her “Obama’s Senator” (above).
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