Monthly Archives: May 2015

Nevada Senate Outlook

May 14, 2015 — Because they are defending so many states in the 2016 Senate elections (24 of the 34 in-cycle seats are Republican-held), the open Nevada seat could be one of the few available national offensive opportunities for the majority party. Therefore, Republican leaders have been working hard to field a strong candidate to fight to succeed retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D), and they may have found him.

Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is the party leaders’ first choice and, based upon his 71 percent re-election performance last November, the Silver State chief executive is clearly the individual best positioned to convert the seat. But Sandoval is committed to serving his second term and consistently says he has no interest in a 2016 Senate race. That being the case, Republicans are turning to Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3), and late reports suggest their courting efforts are working.

After originally saying he would not challenge Reid when it looked like the senator would seek re-election, Rep. Heck now appears to be moving toward entering the open-seat race. With most other Republicans appearing ready to yield to him, Heck having a clear path to the GOP nomination is highly realistic.
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Mississippi Special Election Results

May 13, 2015 — A group of 87,302 individuals went to the polls yesterday to choose a replacement for the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Tupelo) who passed away in early February. Featuring 13 candidates, none with a particularly huge advantage over the others, a close result was expected. Proceeding to a secondary run-off election was viewed as a certainty. Both prognostications proved true.

Former Jackson mayoral aide Walter Zinn, the only Democrat in the huge field, placed first, even though he spent only $9,000 on his campaign and has no base in the district. The city he served, Mississippi’s capital city, is located in the 3rd Congressional District. Attracting just over 15,000 voters (17 percent), which may represent the last vestiges of the partisan group once described as “yellow dog Democrats”, Zinn was able to top the field. But, this means advancing to a June 2 run-off and what will likely be almost certain defeat at the hands of a Republican candidate.

Zinn’s opponent will be Alcorn County District Attorney and Iraq War veteran Trent Kelly (R), who finished 896 votes behind, equivalent to a 16 percent preference. Kelly ran very strong in the seven counties he represents as District Attorney, which was enough to propel him to second place, some three percent ahead of his next closest rival, state Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert (R). Because of the recent Republican voting history here, Kelly becomes a prohibitive favorite next month. Though Democrat Zinn placed first before this crowded field, 83 percent of the voters chose a Republican candidate.

The 1st District covers 22 northern Mississippi counties. The three population centers are the Memphis suburban communities just south of the Tennessee border, Tupelo, and Columbus. The region gave Mitt Romney 62 percent of its votes in 2012. Rep. Nunnelee, first elected in 2010 defeating incumbent Travis Childers (D), scored a 68 percent re-election victory last November.

Stutzman Declares in Indiana;
MS-1 Special Notes

May 13, 2015 — Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN-3), who began talking about running for Senate even before Sen. Dan Coats (R) announced that he wouldn’t seek another term, officially declared his candidacy Monday. He joins former Indiana Republican Party chairman and Coats’ aide Eric Holcomb in the field of candidates.

Though Sen. Coats made public his intention to retire at the end of March, the field of potential successors has been slow to form. Immediately, all but three of the nine-member House delegation indicated interest in the race but, until yesterday, none had moved into the statewide contest.

At this point, most of the delegation members have declined to run. The two who have not yet closed the door on a potential Senate bid are representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN-4), who is unlikely to enter, and Todd Young (R-IN-9), who well could oppose Stutzman and Holcomb.

No Democrat has yet come forward. Party leaders hope to recruit former senator and governor, Evan Bayh, back into elective politics, but this is likely wishful thinking on their part. Upon leaving office five years ago, Sen. Bayh made public statements about being less than enamored with the way Congress was operating, and it is fair to say the situation has deteriorated since.
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New Hampshire Poll Shows 2016 Republican Candidates Even Tighter

May 12, 2015 — A new Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm’s University survey (May 2-6; Purple Strategies consulting firm; 500 registered New Hampshire voters; oversampled to attain 400 Democratic primary voters and 400 Republican primary voters) projects that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is a virtual multi-candidate tie. The general election figures are also tightening, uncovering further weakness in presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The pollsters tested 13 Republican candidates or potential candidates, four of whom broke into double-digits. At 12 percent support are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Just one point behind loom former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio.

Businessman Donald Trump makes an appearance in this poll, and does reasonably well, capturing eight percent preference. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with seven percent, just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent) and Dr. Ben Carson (five percent). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ex-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all follow in a range between four and one percent.
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Unreliable Poll Shows Bush Leading

May 11, 2015 — The University of New Hampshire is routinely among the most unreliable of public polling entities, and the institution’s new release in partnership with WMUR-TV in Manchester is no exception to that characterization. The poll is attracting attention because it is the first one in months to project former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as leading his fellow Republican competitors in any early voting state.

The survey, conducted during the very long sampling period of April 24 – May 3, interviewed only 293 “likely GOP primary voters.” The 10-day questioning period is seven days longer than the optimum timetable, and the sample size is only half as large as what one would typically see in a state the size of New Hampshire.

The pollsters will argue that because they are testing only likely Republican primary voters, the sample size will be smaller than a poll studying the entire electorate. While this is true, not even reaching 300 people taints the results with a very high error factor. By the pollsters’ own admission, the error rate in this study is greater than plus or minus 5.7 percent, which means the results could vary by as much as 10 points per individual.
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