Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Sen. Walsh Drops Election Bid

PRIsm Flash!

Appointed Montana Sen. John Walsh (D), reeling from published reports that he plagiarized his War College thesis, said the effects upon his campaign from the revelation is causing him to end his effort to win election to the seat. Walsh had been appointed in February to succeed Sen. Max Baucus (D), who resigned early to become US Ambassador to China. Walsh had been the state’s sitting lieutenant governor.

Republican nominee Steve Daines, the state’s at-large congressman, now has the opportunity to expand his general election advantage while the Democrats scramble to find a replacement nominee. The party now must hold a statewide nominating convention and do so before Aug. 20 in order to qualify a general election candidate.

Tennessee Today

The nation’s only Thursday primary occurs today with several races on tap for the Republicans. Democrats will have a relatively quiet night.

Senate

Two-term senator and former presidential candidate Lamar Alexander (R) faces a total of six Republican challengers, two of whom have raised in the neighborhood of $1.5 to $2 million apiece for their respective campaigns. State Rep. Joe Carr and self-funding physician George Flinn are the senator’s top challengers, but the fact that the anti-Alexander vote will be split among six GOP candidates goes a long way to ensuring that the senator will win re-nomination. Alexander’s other key structural advantage is that Tennessee is the only southern state that does not employ a run-off system. Therefore, whoever garners the most votes this evening, regardless of percentage, wins the party nomination.

Interest increased in this race after Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel out-polled Sen. Thad Cochran in their state’s June 3 Republican primary, but dissipated when the senator scored a come-from-behind victory in the June 24 run-off. Tea Party activists around the country believed that “Alexander was next” when they thought that Cochran was headed for defeat.
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MI-14 Flips

PRIsm FLASH!

Earlier this morning, we reported that state Rep. Rudy Hobbs was leading the closely fought MI-14 Democratic primary. Hobbs, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, and former Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13) were the main contenders vying for the right to succeed Democratic Rep. Gary Peters.

With a large number of Wayne County precincts now being included in the reported counts, the race has turned. Mayor Lawrence now leads with 36 percent, a spread of just under 2,500 votes over Rep. Hobbs, who currently registers 34 percent. Former Rep. Clarke has moved up considerably, too. He now has 31 percent – 3,631 votes behind Lawrence.

It is reasonable to assume that this count will change again as further previously unreported votes become tabulated. Still, with Lawrence now leading by well over 2,000 votes, she is clearly in the driver’s seat to claim the Democratic nomination, and the seat in November.

Michigan, Kansas, Washington Primary Results

MICHIGAN

Bentivolio Defeated; Amash Wins; 14th Tight

Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford), a Tea Party favorite tabbed as an “accidental congressman” when he was elected in 2012 – after then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) was disqualified from the ballot – lost his bid for renomination last night, as predicted. Attorney David Trott, brandishing endorsements from virtually all key state Republican leaders and overwhelming the incumbent in fundraising, won a huge 66-34 percent win in the 11th District that ended Bentivolio’s ill-conceived congressional career. Trott now faces former State Department official Bobby McKenzie, who barely won (671 vote margin) the Democratic primary against three opponents. Trott is the clear favorite to carry the open seat in November.

In the other incumbent challenge, controversial Tea Party-backed Rep. Justin  Continue reading >

KS-1 Sleeper Primary; Florida to Re-Draw

The sprawling Kansas 1st Congressional District, which consumes all of the western part of the state and stretches almost all the way to Topeka, could be the scene of an upset in tonight’s Republican primary according to some local political observers. Two-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp is being challenged by former school superintendent Alan LaPolice.

Though the challenger had only raised $137,000 through the June 30 financial disclosure deadline, the local farm groups and many in the solar wind energy industry are actively involved in trying to unseat the incumbent. Huelskamp, the victim of Speaker John Boehner’s show of party discipline in the former’s freshman year, was removed from the Agriculture Committee. The action left the region uncovered on the panel, something unheard of for a representative from this agriculture dominated district.

Huelskamp has been one of the vocal members of the Tea Party caucus openly critical of the GOP leadership. Whether he is toppled tonight remains to be seen, and the congressman is still the favorite to win, but it does add another bit of intrigue into what will already be an exciting night most specifically in Kansas and Michigan.
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Major Primary Week Begins Tomorrow

Voters in six states go the polls this week to choose their fall nominees. Most of the primary action is on the Republican side, but that all changes as the weekend approaches in the Aloha State of Hawaii. There, Democrats may deny a sitting governor re-nomination, will settle a tough Senate primary, and choose a fall candidate for the open Honolulu House seat. More on this state later in the week. Same for the Senate and House situation in Tennessee, which holds its primary on Thursday.

Four primaries, in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington are scheduled for tomorrow, and all but the Show Me State feature important contests. Missouri has neither a Senate nor a governor’s race this year, and no House incumbent faces serious nomination competition.

But, the climate is much different in Kansas, where the Republican split between moderates and conservatives is more pronounced than in virtually any state, and Michigan where establishment Republicans  Continue reading >

New Michigan Data in Advance of Primary Day

A series of polls were just released in anticipation of Tuesday’s Michigan primary. The state features some of the most important establishment versus Tea Party races, and the results could have a definitive impact upon national politics.

MI-3

A new Strategic National poll (July 29; 532 likely MI-3 GOP primary voters) still finds Tea Party-backed Rep. Justin Amash (R) holding a healthy lead over primary challenger Brian Ellis (R), an area businessman, but each candidate’s ability to turn out his vote will likely be the determining factor. According to Strategic, Amash continues to lead Ellis 51-31 percent, a 20-point margin that has been relatively consistent. But the challenger has the stronger turnout mechanism, the backing of virtually the entire Republican establishment, and the Michigan Right to Life organization.

The 3rd District is anchored in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. Amash was first elected in 2010. Prior to running for Congress, he spent one term in the state  Continue reading >