Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Hawaii Primary Battles?

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D)

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s appointment of Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye may have ignited an internal Democratic Party firestorm. As was well-reported, Sen. Inouye, soon before his death, had communicated his desire to the governor and his staff of having Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1) replace him.

Under Hawaii succession law, it was up to the Democratic Party — since the vacating federal official was a member of that particular political organization – to convene and provide the governor the names of three individuals, one of which he would be compelled to choose. (The appointee serves until the next regular election – the November 2014 general, in this instance. Since Inouye was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2010, Schatz will now Continue reading>

News and Notes: Following up Previous Posts

McConnell Replies

You may remember last week that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager launched a public attack on the Public Policy Polling survey research firm when they published numbers showing the senator with only a 37:55 percent favorability index. Though the PPP numbers showed his popularity at a low point for any incumbent senator, McConnell still maintained consistent 47-43 percent leads over actress Ashley Judd, Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. The latter two have already ruled out a 2014 senatorial run.

Yesterday, the senator’s campaign released their internal Voter/Consumer Research poll taken during the Dec. 10-13 period. Interestingly, though the McConnell team disparaged the PPP results, their own data projects him to be leading Judd by exactly the same 47-43 percent margin. What is vastly different, however, is the Minority Leader’s approval rate among the voters of his home state. While PPP forecast him in hopelessly upside down job approval territory, the Voter/Consumer Research poll posted him to a 51:40 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio.

Obviously, the 2014 Kentucky Senate race will draw a great deal of national attention, Continue reading>

Newark Mayor Booker’s Plans for Governor

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who has been publicly debating whether he should challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) next year, has decided not to do so. Instead, he intends to complete his second term as mayor, but would consider a run for the US Senate in 2014.

Does this mean he will launch a primary challenge to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who will turn 88 years old before the next election? Booker remained silent on such a possibility, other than to make laudatory comments about the senator. Lautenberg has expressed a desire to run again but his age clearly makes him a retirement possibility.

Without the Democrats’ top choice in the governor’s race, it appears that Christie may be fortunate enough to draw a second-tier opponent. The only announced Democratic candidate is state Sen. Barbara Buono, but questions surround whether she can mount the type of excessively expensive campaign necessary to oust the first-term Republican governor.

Crist Running Well Among Democrats

It appears more probable that former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist will attempt to regain his old job, but this time as a Democrat. And, if his personal approval ratings, as captured by the latest Quinnipiac University Florida poll, are accurate, then his chances of performing well before his new party voters are rapidly improving.

Crist, who was literally run out of the Republican senatorial primary by then-former state House Speaker Marco Rubio two years ago, ran poorly in the Senate race as an Independent and officially registered as a Democrat last week.

The new Q-Poll (Dec. 11-17; 1,261 registered Florida voters) gives Crist an overall 47:33 percent positive to negative personal favorability rating. Surprisingly, this is much better than 2010 nominee Alex Sink, who only lost to incumbent Gov. Rick Scott by just one percentage point. Ms. Sink’s favorability index was 27:14 percent, which yields a decent 2:1 positive ratio, but her name familiarity is much lower than one would have guessed about a person who ran in a major statewide contest in 2010 and had previously served in a statewide position, while twice attracting more than 2.5 million votes.

More confirming research will have to be presented before accepting the premise that Crist would be doing this well within his new party, especially in comparison to as accomplished a Democrat as Alex Sink.

Schwartz, Peters Likely to Stay

Rep. Schwartz (D-PA-13), Rep. Peters (D-MI-14)

Rep. Schwartz (D-PA-13), Rep. Peters (D-MI-14)

There has been some political speculation of late that Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13) and Michigan Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) will forgo their 2014 re-election campaigns in order to challenge their respective Republican governors.

The new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) assignments suggest that both of the aforementioned members of Congress will remain in their current positions, however. Schwartz has agreed to become the committee’s National Finance Chair and Peters will serve as the Candidate Recruitment Committee’s Vice-Chairman.

Their willingness to accept high-level House campaign-oriented positions sends the clear signal that both believe their future, at least for the short term, remains in the House and not in running for a state-based office.