Voters in eight states go to the polls tomorrow, making June 3rd the largest single voting day on the primary election calendar.
We begin our analysis in the south, with the premier race of the day. Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran fights to win renomination against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in order to continue his long political career. Cochran was originally elected to the Senate in 1978 and became the first modern-day Republican to represent a Deep South state. He won his House seat six years earlier, in fact on the same day that Richard Nixon was re-elected president.
The latest public opinion polls actually showed McDaniel leading the senator, perhaps as a result of a unified front of national conservative organizations falling in line behind the challenger and spending Continue reading >
The incumbent primary challenges are far from over. Yesterday afternoon, in a move that had been discussed for some time but had not crystallized until the last few days, former Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) announced his intent to challenge two-term Congressman Mike Pompeo (R), the man who succeeded him in 2011. Tiahrt left his Wichita-anchored US House seat to run unsuccessfully for the Senate in the 2010 election (lost to then-Rep. Jerry Moran in the GOP primary, 45-50 percent).
In his announcement address before a room full of supporters in Wichita, Tiahrt laid out his differences with the incumbent, and even the House Republican leadership. He expressed disappointment with what he termed as the way Pompeo and the leadership are giving away too much in the national ideological fight. He criticized Pompeo for not fighting hard enough over losing local jobs to other states and countries and cited specific examples, particularly in the local aviation industry.
Tiahrt said Pompeo’s position pushing American military involvement in Syria, his “funding” of Obamacare, and approval of the NSA listening to Americans’ private conversations and reading emails delineate Continue reading >
Though we are approaching an important primary next Tuesday and charges and counter-charges from candidates and outside groups are penetrating the electronic airwaves across the country, we take a break from that action to review the new Pew Research Center for the People and Press survey. Their data shows an extraordinary change in public attitude toward national political candidates.
As late as 2007, a vast majority of the electorate believed that being a member of the Senate or House proved a better preparatory ground for the presidency than did serving as governor. Just seven years later, today’s respondents now look at Washington experience far more negatively.
According to the results of this late April survey of 1,501 adults that was released in mid-May, the respondents now rate being a governor equal to serving in Washington. Responding to the question, “which better prepares someone to be president, serving as a state’s governor or as a senator or member of Congress”, 44 percent responded governor, the same number who answered congressional service. In 2007, this question drew a 55-24 percent response in favor of Washington service. Continue reading >
Venerable Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-4-R), who at 91 years of age is the oldest member in the history of the House of Representatives, lost his bid for a 19th term last night in the Texas Republican run-off. Hall becomes the first federal incumbent to lose a bid for renomination during this election cycle. Fifty-two other senators and representatives of both parties have been renominated in the early primaries against competition of varying strength.
Former US Attorney John Ratcliffe (R) scored a 53-47 percent victory last night after holding Hall to 46 percent in the primary election. True to form, when an incumbent is forced to a run-off, he or she invariably loses. In this case, because Hall had received endorsements from the losing candidates in the March 4 Texas primary and was drawing renewed respect for his longevity of service, and that he is the last remaining World War II veteran in Congress, many believed he had the opportunity and ability to reverse the normal post-primary electoral trend. But, such was not to be.
As is typical in Texas nominating elections, turnout was extremely low, only 42,139 Continue reading >
Resuming our reporting after the long three-day Memorial Day weekend, today marks the Texas run-off vote – nominating day for the races that did not return majorities on March 3.
The most notable run-off features venerable Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX-4) who, at 91 is the oldest House member, is fighting to save his political career. Hall has already pledged that the next term, if he’s re-elected for an 18th time, will be his last. In March, the congressman placed first with 45 percent of the vote but failed to achieve majority status. Against him in the run-off election is former US Attorney John Ratcliffe, who recorded 29 percent back in March.
Normally when an incumbent is forced to a run-off, the challenger prevails because already a majority of voters have chosen another candidate. Such may not be the case here, however. The remaining two primary candidates have both endorsed the congressman, and the fact that Hall is the last remaining World War II veteran serving in Washington is weighing upon many voters. The latest poll gave the incumbent a Continue reading >
A race that has attracted little attention so far has the makings of a Democratic sleeper campaign. Certainly, former President Bill Clinton’s intense involvement in the congressional contest raises its level of importance and likely places it as the Democrats’ top southern conversion opportunity.
Arkansas’ 4th Congressional District covers most of the state’s southwestern quadrant, stretching from the Louisiana and Texas borders north to the area beyond the community of Huntsville, which lies Continue reading >
Tuesday’s Georgia primary produced a Republican Senate run-off election that will take us well into summer, and the county vote delineation is providing an early clue as to who will prevail on July 22.
First-place finisher David Perdue, the former Dollar General CEO, is in the far superior position as the run-off begins based upon his performance in the state’s most populous areas. Though the second-place qualifier, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), recorded impressive vote totals in Georgia’s southern sector, the counties and regions he carried have far fewer GOP voters than those in the northern section of the state, particularly in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area. Kingston came within one county of sweeping southern Georgia. Only Grady County, on the Georgia-Florida border with just 1,885 total votes cast, eschewed Kingston in favor of Perdue.
In the key Atlanta area counties themselves, neither Purdue nor Kingston won. In Fulton, Gwinnett, and Forsyth Counties, it was former Secretary of State Karen Handel who placed first. Perdue was second in each of the three entities, with Rep. Kingston a distant third. Continue reading >