Monthly Archives: August 2015

First Florida Map

Aug. 10, 2015 — Prior to the opening of the special state legislative session convened to re-draw the Florida congressional map, Sunshine State legislative leaders released their initial plan late last week. It is likely that his map will not pass in its current form, but it does provide a good starting point.

The plan radically changes four districts and makes several more competitive, but allows the GOP a chance at maintaining its 17-10 delegation majority.

Three districts are designed to change hands. What the state Supreme Court isolated as the focal point for declaring eight of the 27 districts as legally non-conforming, Tampa Bay’s District 13 — Rep. David Jolly (R) — would become decidedly more Democratic according to the 2012 presidential election result. The addition of St. Petersburg to this seat, as directed by the court, represents a Democratic voter increase of 9.2 percent based upon the previous configuration. With incumbent Jolly now in the Senate race, FL-13 becomes a prime conversion opportunity for Democrats most likely in the person of former Gov. Charlie Crist.

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Sanders Gaining; Strange
Mississippi Primary Result

Aug. 7, 2015 — Over the past few weeks, VermontUniversity of New Hampshire has drawn great crowds on the presidential campaign trail while basking in nonstop media attention.  But the increased activity and notice had not translated into meaningful ballot test movement against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

A new Granite State Poll release from the University of New Hampshire and the state’s top television news station (WMUR-TV channel 9; July 22-30; 722 New Hampshire adults; 276 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters) suggests that Sanders may now be closing the polling gap.  Climbing to within six points of Clinton, the Vermont Senator trails her 42-36 percent, suggesting a further possible erosion of the front-runner’s status.

In the past month or so things have continued to trend downward for the former Secretary of State and First Lady, particularly relating to her favorability index. With Sanders now potentially securing a foothold in New Hampshire, directly adjacent to his Vermont political base, the race has the appearance of becoming more precarious for her.

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McGinty to Run
In Pennsylvania Senate Race

Aug. 6, 2015 — Tuesday, as expected, just-resigned gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinty announced that she will challenge former congressman Joe Sestak for the Democratic US Senate nomination next year. The winner opposes first-term Sen. Pat Toomey in one of the nation’s most critical campaigns.

The Pennsylvania contest has already been a major problem for the Democratic Party leadership. Falling into open internal warfare with Sestak, largely over personality conflicts and the inability to work together during his previous campaign five years ago, the party leaders have been candid about their desire to field another candidate.

Earlier in the year they attempted to recruit Montgomery County Commission chairman Josh Shapiro but failed. Largely because of Rep. Bob Brady’s (D-PA-1) behind-the-scenes work, McGinty is now an official candidate.

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Perry Out in GOP Debate

Aug. 5, 2015 —  Fox News’ dubious way of choosing their 10 presidential debate participants for this Thursday’s event has reached its predictable ending.  One candidate was rejected on the basis of just a few responses from an averaged set of small-sample polls.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has apparently secured the tenth and final debate spot, edging former Texas Gov. Rick Perry by what appears to be an imaginary percentage point at most.  Kasich joins Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie on the Fox debate dais.

Also failing to make the cut are Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.

The huge Republican field puts Fox and the other media outlets sponsoring debates in a difficult situation because the logistics of managing a 17-candidate forum are quite unwieldy.

Choosing to divide by an averaged set of national polls, many with samples comprised of less than 300 people, is not an equitable way of deciding which contenders are invited.  A series of smaller debates, with participants selected in random order would have been a fairer way to bring equal exposure to the candidates.

The Debates Begin

Aug. 5, 2014 — The first joint 2016 presidential event occurred Monday night at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH.  Managing a record-high 14 candidates, the forum was well organized and brought more policy discussion than we see in most programs of this type.  All Republican contenders but Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and ex-Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore participated.

As publicized, Trump did not attend because of his anger at the main sponsoring organization, the Manchester Union Leader, for what he described as their unfair treatment toward him.  It was reported at the end of the debate that Huckabee was not included because he responded after the inclusion deadline.  Ex-Gov. Gilmore, who just announced his candidacy last week, became a candidate too late to be invited to this particular forum.

Each candidate was separately interviewed, and then given a short amount of time to speak about whatever subject they desired.  The moderator, local New Hampshire radio host Jack Heath, was strong because he simply asked the question and backed away, thus giving each candidate a chance at providing unencumbered answers.

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