July 29, 2016 — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) faces a Wisconsin primary challenge that is beginning to show movement, and he’s responding. While there is little chance Ryan loses re-nomination on Aug. 9, his opponent, businessman Paul Nehlen (R), is scoring points.
The Speaker, conscious of avoiding the political campaign mistakes that cost former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) his seat in Congress, responded this week with a positive ad television buy (above).
Cantor’s mistake was attacking his Republican opponent, now Rep. David Brat (R-Glen Allen). The Majority Leader’s offensive provided Brat’s insurgent campaign enough credibility to attract meaningful attention, resulting in significant numbers listening to his message.
July 28, 2016 — Suddenly, the Democrats seemed well positioned to potentially claim a new senator and governor from normally Republican Indiana.
Tuesday, appointed Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, the former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, won the special vote to replace vice presidential nominee Mike Pence as the party’s gubernatorial standard bearer. He now faces former state House Speaker John Gregg (D) in the general election. Gregg held Pence to a 49-46 percent victory in 2012.
The party’s State Committee, comprised of the state party officers and congressional district chairs and vice chairs from all nine districts, has the responsibility of filling statewide ballot vacancies. With Gov. Pence departing on the final day that the party could begin replacement proceedings, the State Committee leadership scheduled the secret ballot vote for Tuesday, though they had 30 days to take action.
July 27, 2016 — Though last week’s Republican convention had its political hiccups, Donald Trump appears to have received the bump that he and his campaign hierarchy had desired.
A series of new polls were released Monday, all conducted between the July 21-24 period, just after the Republican conclave ended.
CBS News (July 22-24; 1,118 US registered voters) finds Trump leading Hillary Clinton, 44-43 percent in a head-to-head ballot test, and 40-39-12 percent when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is included.
CNN (July 22-24; 882 US registered voters) produced a bit better split for Trump. They see the now official Republican nominee holding a three-point head-to-head edge, 48-45 percent, and a larger 44-39-9-3 percent margin when Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are added to the polling questionnaire.
July 26, 2016 — Hillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate became official over the weekend, and it tells us several things about her campaign.
First, she appears to have taken the politically safe route in tabbing the more centrist Kaine, a senator, former governor, and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Second, the move suggests that she feels comfortable with her November prospects and base support, since Kaine does not have great appeal to the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren left. Additionally, his selection doesn’t appear to have direct pull within the minority communities, though Kaine speaking fluent Spanish will undoubtedly be highlighted whether or not it attracts any actual votes.
The real reasons for picking him, however, are that Sen. Kaine is unlikely to make any major mistake on the campaign trail, and he proves an important asset in converting his home swing state, Virginia, to the Democratic column. The Old Dominion (13 Electoral Votes) has been considered battleground territory in the 21st Century’s presidential elections, breaking twice for each party.
July 25, 2016 — Though the presidential nomination process is just about complete, the primary season is far from finished. With the Republican convention now in the books and the Democrats just about to begin, we take our focus away from the national election to recap what still remains in the states.
Beginning early next week, 22 states still must fully nominate congressional candidates, and in some cases gubernatorial candidates, for the fall election.
Below is a summary of the races to be decided:
July 26: (Georgia, Indiana)
The GA-3 run-off between Republicans Mike Crane and Drew Ferguson will end, with the winner eventually succeeding retiring Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Grantville).
July 22, 2016 — In May, freshman Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea/Honolulu) announced his pancreatic cancer had spread, thus preventing him from seeking a second term. Sadly, Mr. Takai, 49, succumbed to the disease Tuesday morning. Hawaii’s 1st District will remain vacant most likely until the election unless Gov. David Ige (D) decides to schedule a special election before November. Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) is the prohibitive favorite to succeed the late congressman.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has scheduled two major rallies in Tampa on Friday and Miami, Saturday, and reports indicate that she will name her vice presidential selection at the latter event. Her choice will largely tell us a how she views her own general election prospects.
If Ms. Clinton chooses either Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) or Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), it will be an indication that she feels weak on her left flank. Adopting a running mate from the ideological left will signify that she believes her support among the Bernie Sanders’ wing of the Democratic Party needs reinforcing. Such a move would be designed to help attract the 43% of the Democratic primary electorate who supported Sanders earlier this year.
July 21, 2016 — If we use the 2012 presidential map as the starting point for projecting the current campaign’s outcome, we can see that the race could literally be determined in three large swing states. If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump maintain the states that President Obama and Mitt Romney each won four years ago with the exception of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, such a configuration would result in a Trump national victory.
To review, President Obama received 332 Electoral Votes, winning 26 states and the District of Columbia. Romney took 24 states for a total of 206 Electoral Votes. The grand total for Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania is 67 Electoral Votes, meaning Trump winning all three would give him 273 national votes and ultimate victory. It takes 270 Electoral Votes to win the Presidency.
A Trump victory is also dependent upon him carrying the 22 states that have gone Republican in every presidential election of this century, and Indiana, which strayed only in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama carried the Hoosier State by one percentage point. The addition of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to the ticket should help in that regard, if any is needed.