Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Hoffman Bows Out; NY Now Highly Competitive

The Republicans may have climbed at least one step closer to their goal of regaining control of the House of Representatives yesterday when Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman ended his congressional campaign in New York (upstate NY-23 district). In the 2010 primary, Hoffman came close to winning the GOP nomination after securing the Conservative Party nomination, but was nipped at the end by wealthy businessman Matt Doheny.

Right after the mid-September primary, Hoffman said he would pursue a full-fledged campaign to attempt to win the seat solely on the Conservative Party ballot line, but with polls showing that the three-way contest would almost assuredly re-elect Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY), Hoffman decided to end his campaign and endorsed Doheny. If the Republicans/Conservatives now unite behind Doheny, who also carries the Independence Party line, this race will go from a clear Democratic advantage to a toss-up if not all the way to Lean R. Owens is now in serious trouble because the seat historically votes Republican.

Those Wacky, Crazy Illinois Polls

Three pollsters just simultaneously surveyed the Illinois statewide political landscape and came up with decidedly different results. Suffolk University, Market Shares Corp. for the Chicago Tribune, and Public Policy Polling were all in the field from Sept. 23 – Oct. 3. In the Governor’s race, both Suffolk and Market Shares actually found embattled Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to be reclaiming the lead over state Sen. Bill Brady (R), after trailing for several weeks. Suffolk projected Quinn’s best margin; a 43-37% result. Still, an incumbent in the low 40s is a poor sign, and this is the top number for the Democrat who replaced impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and barely won the Democratic nomination in February. Market Shares gives Quinn only a 39-38% advantage. Public Policy Polling, coming in with numbers more in line with other recent studies, gives Republican Brady a 42-35% lead.

The Senate numbers are similar. Market Shares finds state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) leading Rep. Mark Kirk (R) by just two points, 38-36%. Suffolk and PPP have Kirk ahead. Suffolk scores it 42-41% for the Republican and PPP finds Kirk’s advantage to be a mere four points, 40-36%. With companion polls forecasting different leaders, these two races are still anybody’s game with less than a month of campaign time remaining. Watch for a photo finish in both for both Governor and the Senate.

Potential Republican Gain in LA Likely to Last Only 2 Years

The national nominating cycle finally drew to a close this past Saturday evening with an easy 65-35% Republican run-off victory for attorney Jeff Landry. He defeated former state House Speaker Hunt Downer in the open Louisiana-3 district, the seat Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) is vacating to challenge Sen. David Vitter (R).

Back in August, Landry came within a fraction of a percentage point of winning the nomination outright, but the fact that he did not exceed 50% plus one vote necessitated the second election. Since Mr. Landry came so close to victory against Downer, who was originally viewed to be the favorite, and several others, the eventual run-off result became a foregone conclusion.

Landry now faces Democratic attorney Ravi Sangisetty in a campaign projected to be a Republican conversion win. But the November election is not the biggest political obstacle to having a long congressional career for one of the new nominees to face. The winner will likely hold the seat for only two years because reapportionment is almost assuredly going to reduce the size of the Louisiana congressional delegation by one district. With population changes, the fact that LA-2 just to the north is a protected Civil Rights district and needs to gain people, and the territory borders the Gulf of Mexico, there is little other option but to collapse the 3rd district when the state’s new congressional map is drawn. Nothing is certain when it comes to politics and redistricting, but the chances of the 3rd district being next year’s apportionment victim are high.

For much more detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please email me @PRIsm-us.com.

As the Senate Races Turn …

As we enter the final month of the 2010 election cycle, the Senate races are beginning to fully define themselves.

We now believe that only three of the 37 campaigns can be labeled as pure toss-ups, down from five. The three are the Nevada race featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid versus former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, the Illinois open seat campaign with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL-10) doing battle, and in West Virginia where Gov. Joe Manchin (D) and businessman John Raese (R) are locked in a much closer than expected special election campaign to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd.

Overall, Republicans now appear positioned to win 24 of the in-cycle Senate races compared to the Democrats’ ten. This would decrease the Democrats strength in the chamber to 50 with the three undecided campaigns still on the board. Republicans would gain a net of six seats under these calculations, bringing their total to 47.

Under this model the Democrats would retain the majority, but would have no more than 53 seats and as few as 50, depending upon the resolution of the Nevada and Illinois races.

For much more detailed insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please email me @PRIsm-us.com.

Meek’s Support Among Democrats Grows in Florida

The Florida Senate race continues to unfold as one of the most interesting three-way political campaigns of all time.

Right now, polling suggests that Republican Marco Rubio has a significant lead over Republican-turned-Independent Gov. Charlie Crist and the Democratic nominee, Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek. Crist led for the two months preceding the Democratic primary, and then the tables turned. Now that Rep. Meek is becoming better known statewide, a large segment of the Crist Democratic vote is beginning to return home. Thus, as Meek gains support, Crist loses it, and Rubio continues to unify conservatives and tick upward. Therefore, in order to position himself with a chance to win, Meek must first overtake Crist and hope for a roughly even split among the three candidates. Theoretically, such a mix could elect a Democrat against a Republican and former Republican.