Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Looking Beyond Tomorrow’s Final Primaries

MA-6

Last week we wrote about the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District Democratic primary where Rep. John Tierney faces a formidable opponent in ex-Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton. According to a new poll, the challenger has the critical momentum and is pulling to within three points of the congressman, holding him below 50 percent.

The Emerson College Polling Society (Sept. 2-4; 343 likely MA-6 Democratic primary voters) finds Rep. Tierney clinging to a 47-44 percent lead over Moulton, hardly a comforting margin for a nine-term incumbent. Clearly, the late trends are riding with Moulton; the only question is will they be enough to carry him over the political finish line tomorrow. The Society conducted two other polls of this race, one in April and the other in June. Tierney held leads in those studies of 64-11 percent and 59-17 percent, respectively.

The Emerson College Polling Society is comprised of a group of students at the named educational institution. They came to fame shortly after the 2013 Virginia governor’s race when all of the professional Continue reading >

“Political Brad Pitt” Strikes Back

Earlier this week, the Politico news publication labeled Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN-8) as one of the five most endangered House incumbents nationally. While we might not go quite that far, it is clear that the Republicans have recruited a strong challenger who is doing things a bit differently.

Called the “Brad Pitt of politics” because of his slight resemblance to the famous actor and his longer hair, Stewart Mills is responding to a liberal House Majority PAC attack ad in a unique manner. Mills accuses the HM PAC, or “Rick Nolan’s DC friends” as he refers to them, of splicing together parts of a talk he delivered to make it appear that he was favoring major tax cuts for the wealthy, a segment of society to which he belongs. The local media investigated and largely supported his charges, thus several stations have refused to run the spot.

The Mills campaign has now launched its own clever spot against Nolan, deliberately splicing together disparate film tapes of the congressman that amusingly portray him as saying he is “putting an end to salmon, cheese, and catfish.”

The 8th District of Minnesota, commonly referred to as the “Iron Range District”, occupies all of the state’s northeastern sector. Its largest population center is Duluth-St. Louis County (population: 200,540) that sits on the western tip of Lake Continue reading >

Kansas Sentatorial Democrat Drops From Race

For the second time this week, a statewide Democratic Party nominee ended his campaign in order to help a stronger Independent candidate defeat a Republican incumbent. Earlier, Alaska Democrats and Independents agreed to join forces, coalescing around an Independent candidate and former Republican, Bill Walker, with the joint goal of defeating Gov. Sean Parnell (R). Yesterday, Kansas Democratic senatorial nominee Chad Taylor ended his candidacy, thus giving competitive Independent Greg Orman a better chance of unseating Sen. Pat Roberts (R).

Public Policy Polling conducted a post-Aug. 5 primary survey (Aug. 14-17; 903 likely Kansas voters) in the Sunflower State and found Roberts leading a three-way race but attracting only 32 percent support. More significantly, the incumbent trailed Orman by ten percentage points, 33-43 percent, when the two were isolated. This, and the results from private internal polling, were key factors in Taylor making his exit decision.

Though the Democrats give up the opportunity of converting the Kansas seat for one of their own party members, they are coalescing with a political soul mate. Orman toyed with the idea of previously entering a Democratic statewide primary but chose against doing so. Therefore, should he be successful in November and Continue reading >

The One-Point Races – Four in All

As we pass Labor Day and enter into Election 2014 stretch drive mode, it appears that four US Senate races are polling within one point. In Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina, a polling conglomeration over the last several weeks points to consistently dead-even contests.

Another race, in Alaska, could join this group, but their late primary (Aug. 19) has only yielded an official nominee for a short period. Once the polling crystallizes around Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan (R) as the two official candidates, a more consistent close race will likely formulate. The recent polling history, virtually all of which was conducted before the state primary, has yielded inconsistent results.

Right now, it is clear that Republicans will gain seats in the US Senate, but will they score well enough on the conversion front to wrest a small majority away from the Democrats? Such is the major question that will be answered in the next two months.

If one considers that the GOP will likely hold its two vulnerable seats in Georgia Continue reading >

Tierney Faces Trouble in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Democratic primary this coming Tuesday will likely be a sleepy affair with the exception of what’s happening in the northeastern sector. It is here where the 6th Congressional District is housed and it’s nine-term incumbent, Rep. John Tierney (D-Salem), may not survive a stiff primary challenge.

Tierney was a surprise winner in 2012, an odd statement when describing an incumbent’s electoral prospects, but even the congressman himself thought his congressional career was coming to an end. Six weeks before the election, he pulled his advertising and indicated he was no longer going to spend campaign money.
Continue reading >

Close Race Decided in AZ-1; Post-Primary Polls in Four Key States

AZ-1

The closest race of Tuesday night’s primary now looks to be concluded. State House Speaker Andy Tobin appears to have captured the Republican congressional nomination over rancher Gary Kiehne and state Rep. Adam Kwasman. With still two precincts not fully reported, but from an area where Tobin did well, the state legislative leader has a 36-35-29 percent margin, a 480-vote spread over his closest competitor, Kiehne.

Though this is a tight contest, such a margin is probably too large for Kiehne to overcome. So, unless there are uncounted votes elsewhere – which, often seems to happen – look for Tobin to become the Republican nominee.

Assuming the supposition of an official Tobin victory is true, the state House Speaker will now face vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in what will likely be a toss-up campaign. Kirkpatrick was first elected in 2008, but lost in the midterm election of 2010 by a wide margin. She returned to win the seat again in 2012 after Continue reading >

No Surprises In Florida; Russell “Gets It” in Oklahoma; Arizona Results Roundup

Florida

The Florida primary proceeded as expected. Gov. Rick Scott won an 88 percent Republican victory; former Gov. Charlie Crist scored 74 percent on the Democratic side. With no US Senate race on the ballot this year, all of the contested federal action is in US House races. The eight challenged incumbents all broke 70 percent of the vote.

In the two congressional races of note, Miami Dade School Board member and former US Senate state director for interim Sen. George LeMieux (R), Carlos Curbelo, was an easy winner in the Miami-based 26th District. He earns the right to challenge freshman Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in what will be a highly competitive campaign.

Curbelo defeated four other Republicans, including former Rep. David Rivera who was attempting a comeback after being defeated in 2012, a result of several simultaneous scandals involving the freshman congressman and former state representative. Rivera managed to attract only eight percent of the vote last night. Curbelo topped the field with 47 percent, Continue reading >