Monthly Archives: June 2015

Why Cillizza’s Senate Dems’ “Stellar”
Recruitment Analysis is Wrong

June 9, 2015 — The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote a story at the end of last week that rated 2016 Senate Democratic candidate recruitment as “stellar”, but he omits some rather major analytical points in drawing that conclusion. Mainly, he fails to mention the large number of cumulative losses these individuals have recently absorbed.

He first starts with the Nevada race and says the Democrats recruited the top potential candidate, former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto who outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) prompted to run and supports. He gives the party further points by citing that Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-1) will not challenge Masto. This is all true, and avoiding a primary does make things better for them during the general election, but Masto should not be considered to be a prohibitive favorite against what should be a strong Republican. She won her first AG race in 2006, a Democratic landslide year, with a solid 59.0 percent vote count. Four years later she significantly regressed, scoring 52.8 percent, though 2010 was clearly a better Republican year.

In Florida, he cites Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) as a strong recruitment, and we agree. As Cillizza correctly mentions, Rep. Alan Grayson’s (D-FL-9) potential candidacy certainly clouds the Democratic picture. The Florida seat is open because Sen. Marco Rubio (R) is running for president.
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Perry Makes Ten; North Carolina Shaping up as Major Battleground

June 8, 2015 — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced for the presidency last week, becoming the tenth official GOP candidate; more are coming.

Perry will run nationally for the second time. As you will remember, his last campaign ended with him making a major debate gaffe when he couldn’t recall the federal agencies that he was promising to eliminate. In addressing how this campaign will overcome the mistake of the past, Perry former chief of staff and 2012 communications director Ray Sullivan said that “ … people realize that what the governor did in the high-profile debate, stumble, everyone has done as some point in their lives. I think he’s already earned a second look, particularly in Iowa.”

Arguably, had he not self-destructed during the early 2012 stages, Perry may well have defeated Mitt Romney and the rest of the field to become the party nominee. His record as the longest-serving governor in Texas history is strong, and plays well to a Republican primary electorate. He was polling at, or near, the top of the 2012 polls at the time of his well-publicized debate mishap.

The big question for Perry goes beyond whether or not he can repair his reputation from mis-speaking. In the 2012 race, the then-governor raised over $20 million for his campaign effort and considerably more was invested in various super PACs that were supporting him. But, at that time he was the sitting governor of the nation’s second largest state. Now, as a former state chief executive who failed badly in his first presidential run, it is believed his fundraising apparatus will generate far less this time around.
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The Ever-Widening and Tightening Pack of GOP Presidential Candidates

June 4, 2015 — Two national presidential polls were released this week and we continue to see survey results yielding a pack of Republican candidates either tied for, or in close proximity of, the lead. Each hovers around 10-15 percent with no clear path to a majority.

Both the new Washington Post/ABC News (May 28-31; 1,001 adults; 376 registered Democrats; 362 registered Republicans) and CNN/ORC (May 29-31; 1,025 adults) polls tested the national candidates, and though neither survey is particularly sound from a methodological nor practical political perspective, their results are consistent with most other available research.

A national poll of the presidential primaries is not a particularly useful tool because votes are cast on an individual state, and not a national basis. Secondly, the registered voters segmentation for each survey is very small. The Post poll, where only 376 Democrats and 362 Republicans are sampled for their views and attitudes about primary candidates and ballot tests, possesses a high unreliability factor. The CNN survey tests 483 Republicans and 433 Democrats. This is a better sample draw, but not substantially. Third, and again particularly pronounced in the Post poll, the sample skews highly negative. In fact, all tested candidates have unfavorable personal ratings, which is not consistent with other known data.
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Colorado Senate Candidate Field Narrows Significantly By One

June 4, 2015 — Sen. Michael Bennet (D) has cleared his first major re-election obstacle. Sitting in realistically what could be one of two offensive Republican targets – the Nevada open seat being the other – Bennet will not have to face the man largely viewed as his most difficult potential opponent.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was heavily recruiting four-term Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6). He rose to the top of their prospective candidate list after winning two costly and difficult re-election campaigns in a Denver suburban court-drawn district basically designed to elect a Democrat. On Tuesday, Coffman confirmed that he will not challenge Sen. Bennet next year, choosing to seek re-election.

In a way, the Coffman decision is somewhat curious because it is arguable that his re-election campaign under a presidential turnout model could be just as difficult as running statewide. In his last two campaigns, Coffman spent a combined $8.5 million to win 48 and 52 percent victories.
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Successor Elected to MS-1

June 3, 2015 — Alcorn County Prosecuting Attorney and Iraq War veteran Trent Kelly (R), as expected, easily won the northern Mississippi special MS-1 congressional election last night to succeed the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R). The three-term congressman passed away in early February.

Kelly racked up approximately 70 percent of the vote against former Jackson mayoral aide Walter Zinn, Jr, (D). He won the endorsement of Rep. Nunnelee’s widow in the May 12 jungle primary helping him qualify for yesterday’s run-off election, and claimed 20 of the district’s 22 counties last night. He will immediately be sworn in, and serve the remainder of the current term. Rep-Elect Kelly will assuredly seek a full two-year term in the regular 2016 cycle.

The 1st District occupies Mississippi’s northern quadrant and houses the south Memphis (TN) suburbs, and the Tupelo and Columbus areas. Special election turnout unofficially tallied 98,254 voters, but the final canvass could produce totals closer to 100,000.

Zinn had little chance. With virtually no money, in a next to hopeless political minority, and spending his career in politics well away from the 1st District in the state’s capital city of Jackson, it was a foregone conclusion that Kelly would be victorious when he topped a field of 11 other Republican candidates in the May vote.

Only one House vacancy remains, that in IL-18, the seat then-Rep. Aaron Schock (R) resigned in March. A replacement will be chosen in September. The House now stands at 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats, with the one vacancy.