Tag Archives: Vice President Joe Biden

The Next Special

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 23, 2017 — Former South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney’s (R-Lancaster/Rock Hill) resignation officially launches the fourth US House special election, as individuals are now formally becoming candidates. Though Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has not yet set the special election calendar, state election law mandates when voting must occur.

Under South Carolina law, a partisan primary special election for a commensurate vacant position is held on the 11th Tuesday following an incumbent leaving a particular office. Since Mulvaney resigned just after being confirmed as director of the Office of Management & Budget on Feb. 16, the special election clock for filling the now open 5th Congressional District began ticking.

Last week’s resignation means May 2, the 11th Tuesday after the date of vacancy, will host the respective partisan primaries. If no candidate obtains majority support in the party primary, the run-off will occur on the 13th Tuesday following the vacancy date, meaning May 16 in this case. The special general then follows on the 18th Tuesday post-vacancy, thus translating into June 20.

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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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A Democratic Dark Horse?

Jan. 25, 2016 — With her poll numbers dropping, a majority of people saying they don’t trust her in every survey, and national polling giving Donald Trump a 244-213 Electoral Vote lead with states holding 81 votes in undecided territory (according to the Statespoll.com organization), Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign machine is floundering.

Alternative Bernie Sanders is even weaker. Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich (R), when asked about a potential Sanders’ nomination, quipped that “we (Republicans) would win all 50 states if that were the case.” He is exaggerating of course, but clearly Sen. Sanders would be a severe underdog to the Republican nominee and could possibly finish as poorly as George McGovern did in 1972 when he lost to President Richard Nixon with only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia credited to his column.

Should the Democratic situation turn even worse in the coming few weeks, we could see increased speculation that a dark horse candidate, say Vice President Joe Biden, who is making public comments about regretting his decision not to run this year, might yet attempt to snatch the presidential nomination away from both Clinton and Sanders.

But, is such a scenario where Biden or some other candidate could yet enter the race and be successful actually realistic? Clearly, the answer is no.

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Hillary Storms Back; Kentucky Close

Oct. 29, 2015 — The first Democratic debate is proving to be an early turning point for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Prior to that event, Clinton was reeling and facing looming challenges ahead. Her strong performance may have at least partially contributed to Vice President Joe Biden’s decision to not enter the race. Her performance before the Benghazi Committee also helped her, and its momentum is a contributing factor to now launching her to a commanding lead in the latest Iowa polls.

Loras College, which released their Republican Iowa results earlier in the week, now reports a huge Clinton advantage over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. According to this data (Oct. 19-22; 500 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus attenders) the former First Lady is now taking a massive 62-24 percent lead over Sanders among those questioned in the Iowa poll. This is quite a reversal of fortunes considering that the Vermont self-proclaimed socialist had been leading in Iowa polling before the debate.

Monmouth University, in the field just after Loras (Oct. 22-25; 400 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus attenders), confirms the latter’s result, finding even a slightly better 65-24 percent split in Clinton’s favor.

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Webb Out; Jolly Crashes

Oct. 23, 2015 — Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb, the former US senator (Virginia) who spent most of last week’s debate time complaining that he wasn’t getting enough attention, has dropped his bid for the party nomination. He leaves the door open to enter the general election campaign as an Independent.

The move does little to affect the race. The three most irrelevant presidential participants in this 2016 contest are the trio of Democratic minor candidates: Webb, former governor and senator, Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), and ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. None of them have moved the political needle one iota since joining the race months ago.

Webb running as an Independent is also likely to have little impact. Qualifying for the ballot in all 50 states as an Independent presidential candidate is not an easy task. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the former Democratic presidential candidate will be able to raise the money and develop a national organization strong enough even to obtain ballot position.

Should he qualify, he is unlikely to become a major factor, and not the type of Independent candidate that will take a large share of the vote away from a particular candidate. Because he has straddled the ideological spectrum, first as a Republican US Navy Secretary in the Reagan Administration, and then all the way to becoming a Democratic senator, it is plausible that Webb’s few general election votes could potentially be evenly split between the two major party nominees.

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Biden Out; Hillary Wins

Oct. 22, 2015 — Despite media reports predicting that Vice President Joe Biden would enter the presidential race early in the week, yesterday he officially announced that he will not, saying his “window of opportunity had closed.”

As we had stated here earlier, Biden had three obstacles to overcome, none of which appeared easy to traverse. First, to which he referred in his Rose Garden announcement, the time was fast elapsing when he could reasonably develop a campaign from the ground up, in terms of building both a fundraising and grassroots political organization.

Because of his longstanding career in national politics, Biden wouldn’t have been starting a national campaign at political ground zero, but would have been uncomfortably close. The vice president already realized that he was likely past the point of no return to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire, thus leaving South Carolina as the state where he could make his first stand against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT). This would have made generating any serious momentum very difficult when already two highly publicized voting events would be completed before a Biden campaign even realistically began.

Second, constructing an organization that could raise millions of dollars quickly in $2,700 maximum increments during such a short time frame would also have been an arduous task regardless of his current political position. Yes, Super PACs would have quickly formed to support him and could have bundled large sums in short order, but he would still need a sizable amount of funding to directly control. As we know, candidates and their staffs can have no say in how Super PAC money is spent.

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Biden: Not Quite Yet

Oct. 21, 2015 — Twitter has been chirping recently with “insider” tweets that Vice President Joe Biden had decided to enter the 2016 presidential campaign. The Washington Post even ran a draft article quoting unnamed sources denoted with a notation of “XXX” that Biden had made his final decision. It wasn’t long before the editors quickly withdrew the piece, claiming it had been inadvertently placed. Hours later it was determined that the VP is not yet launching his official presidential effort.

The decision is a tough one because Biden is clearly not in a position to simply announce for president and expect everyone to flock to him. In fact, he has several major obstacles to overcome to win the nomination and it is doubtful that he can.

First, all of the early national polling suggests his entrance in the race would only earn him support in the high teens to low 20s, slightly trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), and about 20-plus points behind front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The Monmouth University poll results, for example, released only Monday and fielded after the first Democratic presidential debate (Oct. 15-18; 1,012 adults, 340 self-identified Democrats or Democratic Party leaners), is typical of the numbers we see.

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Dems Debate While Biden Postpones

Oct. 15, 2015 — While the announced Democratic candidates faced each other in their first official forum at the Wynn Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Tuesday night, Vice President Joe Biden continued to indicate that he won’t commit to making a decision about whether to enter the presidential contest until at least month’s end.

The continual postponing of the eventual candidacy decision suggests that Biden won’t enter the race. While he does have people around the country who would quickly come to his aid should he begin to construct a campaign, he is simply running out of time to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot separately in all 50 states if he were to begin from scratch in November. Though it would not be impossible for him to qualify, his task becomes immeasurably more difficult.

Waiting until next month to get in the race, when the first vote would be just three months away in Iowa followed by a string of primary and caucus participants casting ballots in non-stop fashion in 56 additional entities through mid-June, would add tremendous pressure to a Biden for President effort. The timing would force the vice president to immediately overcome major campaign logistical obstacles, such as the aforementioned ballot qualification process, hiring staff, developing a fundraising operation, crafting a campaign theme and message, etc. Additionally, he would have to spend virtually all available energy and staff time attempting to take down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), both of whom are well entrenched in Democratic primary polling.

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Hillary’s Rebounding Numbers

Oct. 14, 2015 — Several new polls were released at the beginning of this week displaying national and individual state Democratic primary results. All find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improving her position within the party nomination framework. Conversely, the cumulative data’s biggest surprise is Vice President Joe Biden’s relatively poor standing.

Biden’s deficit may be large enough to possibly preclude his entrance into the race. With him trailing even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) in more places than not, according to this recent wave of publicly released polling, it seems the late-starting Biden would have a difficult time eclipsing Clinton if he were to officially launch his candidacy.

The new national CBS/New York Times poll (Oct. 4-8; 1,251 adults; 1,038 registered voters, 343 Democratic primary voters) finds Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and the vice president 46-27-16 percent, respectively. Clinton still falling below the 50 percent mark notwithstanding, Sanders dropping under 30 percent and Biden failing to even reach 20 percent is a clear indication of her relative strength.

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Swing State Surprises for Trump

Oct. 9, 2015 — Quinnipiac University again surveyed the presidential field with their “Swing State Poll” series, and while many of the results tell a familiar story about the numbers surrounding Donald Trump’s performance, the support question responses should be giving the leading Republican presidential candidate cause for concern. The data projects Trump leading the GOP nomination battle in all three of the states in the poll, but the favorable conclusions end with this point. The remaining results find the flamboyant international businessman’s political standing beginning to unravel.

During the Sept. 25 through Oct. 5 period, the Q-Poll simultaneously surveyed the important states of Florida (1,173 registered Florida voters; 461 likely Republican primary voters, 411 likely Democratic primary voters), Ohio (1,180 registered Ohio voters; 433 likely Republican primary voters, 396 likely Democratic primary voters), and Pennsylvania (1,049 registered Pennsylvania voters; 427 likely Republican primary voters, 442 likely Democratic primary voters).

In all three places, Trump posted preference numbers between 23 and 28 percent. Dr. Ben Carson sweeps the second position, in a consistent range from 16-18 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) finishes third in Florida (14 percent) and Pennsylvania (12 percent), while Gov. John Kasich places third (13 percent) in his native Ohio.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush continues to experience major polling problems, here dropping to a campaign-low four percent in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. In his home state of Florida, he drops all the way to fourth position, registering only 12 percent within the Republican universe that twice spring boarded him to convincing victories in the Sunshine State governor’s race (1998, 2002).

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Democrat Race Getting Interesting

Oct. 5, 2015 — Now, just four months from the first presidential votes being cast in Iowa, developments are occurring in the Democratic race that suggest we are headed for an interesting ride. Though it is unlikely the Dems will go to a brokered convention -– the nomination rules are written to avoid such a conclusion — three points will play a major role in shaping the early outcome of their presidential contest.

As we consistently see in national polling, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to lead, but her margin is smaller than in earlier days. Though holding between 15- and 20-point national leads over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), she now consistently polls below majority support among likely Democratic primary or caucus participants. When the national campaign began last year, Clinton steadily placed in the 60s against the group of potential candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden. Now, she routinely registers only in the low to mid-40s.

The confirmed data also tells us that the former First Lady is finding political trouble in the first two nomination states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) has taken discernible leads in both places. The effect upon her losing both contests could be major. Her third-place showing in Iowa back in 2008 did not initially kill her campaign, but it certainly put her on the road to defeat. She was commonly viewed as the “inevitable” nominee before the Hawkeye State caucus vote, but not after, as then-Sen. Barack Obama began to steal the spotlight from her.

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New Poll Spells Trouble for Democrats

Sept. 25, 2015 — Bloomberg News released a survey yesterday delivering more bad news to the beleaguered Hillary Clinton campaign. According to their poll of 1,001 adults, 375 of who are likely Democratic primary voters (conducted by Selzer & Company of Des Moines, Iowa; Sept. 18-21), only 33 percent say the former Secretary of State is their first choice to be the party presidential nominee. Vice President Joe Biden follows closely with 25 percent preference, with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I/D-VT) 24 percent nipping at the VP’s heels.

Particularly troubling for Clinton is that a majority of surveyed Democrats, when including minor candidates Jim Webb (former Virginia senator; two percent), and Martin O’Malley (ex-Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor; one percent), are definitively choosing another candidate.

Here, as in many Republican national polls we’ve seen, the 375-person sample size is too small to draw a highly accurate conclusion. Though the results appear in a consistent range with other recent polling, it is not fair to base assumptions on this high-error factor data. But, we do know the internal party trends are now turning against the former New York senator and First Lady, meaning she must somehow launch a new offensive to reverse her momentum slide.

Florida Shock Poll;
Rep. Benishek to Retire

Sept. 17, 2015 — Tuesday, before last night’s Republican debate, Public Policy Polling released their new Florida survey (Sept. 11-14; 814 registered Florida voters; 377 likely Republican Florida primary voters; 368 likely Democratic Florida primary voters) and delivered what could be haunting news to both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. The new ballot test result finds Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson leading the pair of home state politicians.

According to the PPP numbers, Trump takes 28 percent of the Florida Republican vote, followed by Dr. Carson who secures 17 percent. Trailing in third place with only 13 percent support from his home state GOP electorate is Bush, while Sen. Rubio drops to 10 percent. Though the percentages are not as dramatic as polls witnessed in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier in the week, Trump and Carson total 45 percent of the Sunshine State GOP vote. The third outsider candidate who is part of the trio never holding an elective office, Carly Fiorina, garners seven percent from this sampling universe, which again gives the never-electeds a majority (52 percent).

Looking at the delegate count, the Florida winner takes the primary season’s biggest prize because the state’s 99 Winner-Take-All delegates would be assigned to the person finishing first, regardless of the percentage attained.

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Sanders, Trump Gaining Strength

Sept. 16, 2015 — Two new major media polls were released yesterday that show Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opening up a lead in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, while Donald Trump is expanding his Republican advantage virtually everywhere.

The ABC News/Washington Post national survey (Sept. 7-10; 1,003 adults; 821 registered voters; 356 registered or leaning Democrats; 342 registered or leaning Republicans in combined telephone and online contact) finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden 42-24-21 percent, respectively. These numbers confirm almost to the digit the figures Monmouth University reported last week in their national survey.

The most troubling finding for Clinton in this study is her declining support among women. Compared to the July ABC/Washington Post poll, her allegiance among females has fallen 29 percentage points.

For the Republicans, again similar to the Monmouth findings in the previous week, Trump leads Dr. Ben Carson 33-20 percent, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in third place with a small eight percent preference. Again, the three Republicans who have never held an elective office, Trump, Carson, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, together command 55 percent of the Republican electorate.

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Hillary Falling Not Only in Iowa and New Hampshire, But Across U.S.

Sept. 10, 2015 — A pair of newly released surveys is now providing what may be a true depiction of the current Democratic presidential field.

Though there has been a great deal of discussion and speculation about whether Vice President Joe Biden will join the presidential contest, most national studies were not including him on their national ballot test questions. The state polls that did feature him, along with Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), did not discover much in the way of Biden support, however. Yesterday, Monmouth University released a new poll that provides plausible answers as to where the VP stands in relation to Clinton and Sanders.

Though Clinton has been under the gun for weeks about her private email server and what has become her lagging campaign, the slippage in her standing when compared to the other candidates wasn’t particularly evident in national surveys, or those covering the early voting states’ electorates. Two NBC/Marist College surveys just reported their Iowa and New Hampshire findings, and they foresee a front-running candidate who is beginning to hemorrhage politically.

The Monmouth poll (Aug. 31 – Sept. 2; 1,099 US adults; 339 likely Democratic primary voters) finds Clinton now dropping below a majority within the Democratic cell sample, a first for a national poll in this election cycle. Monmouth projects Clinton having 42 percent support, followed by Biden with 22 percent, and Sen. Sanders close behind scoring 20 percent.

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