Monthly Archives: January 2014

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 >

The Retirement Parade Continues

California Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA-25) becomes the eleventh House member since Dec. 15 to announce retirement, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) announced last night that he will resign from Congress at the end of 2014. Coburn’s move means that 36 Senate races will be contested this year.

At least Rep. Mckeon’s retirement is not a surprise. The House Armed Services Committee chairman yesterday confirmed and made formal the conventional wisdom that he would retire at the end of this current congressional term. The 75-year-old, 11-term congressman also indicated that his reaching the end of his term-limited period as the Armed Services Committee chair definitely played a role in his decision not to seek re-election.

McKeon’s move sets off what will be a very interesting June qualifying election. Already committing to run as Republicans are former state senator and 26th Congressional  Continue reading >

More Senate Democrat Weakness Showing

Two new Public Policy Polling surveys, one in New Hampshire and the other from North Carolina, reveal increased weakness for a pair of Senate Democratic incumbents. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) has been on the vulnerability list for the entire election cycle so her poor showing is not particularly surprising, but New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) has, heretofore, been viewed as a clear favorite.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire situation is becoming interesting because it involves former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). You will remember that Brown came to national prominence in early 2010 when he won the special Bay State senatorial election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D). Three years later he fell to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 regular election, and has since re-located to neighboring New Hampshire where he has clearly been testing the waters for a run against Sen. Shaheen.
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FL-13 Special Election Defined; Owens, Moran to Retire

The first phase of the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young (R) was held last night in Pinellas County, Florida on the western Tampa Bay peninsula. Though the Democratic race was a non-event because former state Chief Financial Officer and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink was unopposed, the Republican side featured a three-way race.

Lobbyist David Jolly, a former staff member to Congressman Young, won the nomination securing 45 percent of the vote. Jolly raised the most money (more than $400,000) on the Republican side and enjoyed support from the Young political organization, including the late congressman’s wife, Beverly Young, who voiced her support through a television ad.

Placing second was state Rep. Kathleen Peters who never seemed to get her campaign untracked. She garnered votes from 31 percent of the Republican electorate.
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Gillespie for Senate

With optimism growing in national Republican circles that the party can capture the Senate majority this November, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie is on the verge of announcing a challenge to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D), and may do so as early as this week if not today.

Gillespie, also a former chairman of the Virginia Republican Party and a Capitol Hill staff member beginning his career with former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX-26) who would later become Majority Leader, may be embarking upon what most believe is a daunting task. But, there are some budding trends that suggest a Warner upset is at least within the realm of possibility.

Though the senator is one of the most well-prepared politicians in the country, if not the best, Virginia is still a state that can swing both ways particularly in low turnout elections. Unquestionably the state is trending toward the Democrats, especially when looking at the elections since 2004 (with the exception of those in 2009 and 2010), but it is not so far beyond the “purple” range as to make a Republican  Continue reading >