Author Archives: Jim Ellis

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 >

Russell Shows Strength in Oklahoma; Four New Arkansas Polls Show No True Leader

One of the most intriguing and impressive 2014 congressional candidates is retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell (R), the commander of the military operation that captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Russell is a career soldier, author, public speaker, and former Oklahoma state senator now running for the open 5th CD.

In the June 24 Republican primary, Russell placed first in a field of six candidates, garnering 26.6 percent (14,597 votes). Patrice Douglas, state corporation commissioner (an elected position in Oklahoma) was second with 24.5 percent (13,440 votes). The two vie for the party nomination in an Aug. 26 run-off. The winner becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in November and succeed Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) who will be moving to the Senate.

Russell placed first but spent the least (just over $171,000) among the top four GOP candidates in the race. His effort was boosted by his local notoriety and a strong and highly targeted grassroots operation.
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A Snapshot of Senate Races

With the plethora of polls providing us snapshots of the various Senate battles around the country, it’s a good time to reflect about where the races stand today.

As we know, Republicans need to convert six Democratic seats to claim the Senate majority so long as they win every state they currently control. Their position is strengthened because they realistically risk only two (Kentucky and Georgia) of the 15 GOP in-cycle seats.

  • Safe Republican (11): Alabama (Jeff Sessions), Idaho (Jim Risch), Maine (Susan Collins), Nebraska (open: Ben Sasse), Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe), Oklahoma (open: James Lankford), South Carolina (Lindsey Graham), South Carolina (Tim Scott), Tennessee (Lamar Alexander – though he has primary competition on August 7), Texas (John Cornyn), and Wyoming (Mike Enzi).
  • Highly Likely Republican (2): Kansas (Pat Roberts – facing primary competition on August 5), Mississippi (Thad Cochran).
  • Highly Likely Democratic (3): Hawaii (Brian Schatz – faces primary competition on August 9), New Jersey (Cory Booker), New Mexico (Tom Udall).
  • Likely Democratic (3): Minnesota (Al Franken), Oregon (Jeff Merkley),  Continue reading >