Author Archives: Jim Ellis

An Array of Surprises Lining up for Incumbents

On the heels of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning Republican primary loss last week in Virginia, a series of new polls and developments suggest further surprises could be on the political horizon …

LA-5

First, in Louisiana, scandal-tainted Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA-5), who announced that he would not seek a second term after being caught in an extra-marital affair, stated in a local radio interview this week that he is having second thoughts about retiring and is now leaning “55-45” in favor of running again. This development certainly merits further attention.

State Sen. Neil Riser (R), whom McAllister defeated in the 2013 special election after then-Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) resigned, has not yet committed to the race but is certainly leaning toward running based upon his public comments. The Louisiana filing deadline, because the jungle primary runs concurrently with the November general election, isn’t until Aug. 22, so much time remains for both men, and others, to finally decide upon their 2014 electoral  Continue reading >

Further Examination of Cantor’s Loss; Two Wildly Divergent Oregon Senate Polls

More is being learned about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R) primary election loss in Virginia’s 7th CD. As is true for almost all political outcomes, there is more than one answer to explain this result and, not surprisingly, multiple elements contributed to the final conclusion.

While the immigration issue seems to be taking top billing as the principal reason for Cantor losing, in reality, it likely only played a secondary role. The fact that challenger and victor David Brat used the issue to his advantage – characterizing Cantor as supporting amnesty for illegal aliens – certainly helped color the Majority Leader in a negative light, but such a radical final electoral result cannot simply be explained as an extreme reaction to a controversial issue.

Contrast this outcome with that of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R) campaign in South Carolina. Graham was more identified with the immigration reform issue, and hails from a more conservative domain than Cantor’s central Virginia congressional district. Yet, the senator won a surprisingly large re-nomination victory on the same  Continue reading >

Leadership Election Run-down

With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) resigning his position after losing the primary election on Tuesday – he’ll leave the leadership on July 31st – Republican Conference replacement elections have been quickly scheduled for June 19. This leaves little time for a campaign to develop, but within a closed voting universe where everyone knows all participants an elongated campaign time segment is unnecessary.

Currently, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) has announced his intention to run for Cantor’s position with the outgoing Leader’s backing. Meanwhile, House Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) stated that she will remain in her current post. The same is true for House Budget Committee chairman and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R-WI-1).

The Texas delegation is deciding who, if anyone, to back from their delegation against McCarthy – either Rules Committee and former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX-32) or Financial Services  Continue reading >

How Cantor Lost in Virginia, and What’s Next

The irony of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) losing his primary election last night when several hundred miles to the south Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), long known for his trouble within the Republican base, would defeat a field of six opponents with 56 percent of the vote, must be acknowledged. Even as late as yesterday, most people would not have believed such a predicted outcome. Yet, it happened.

Cantor lost for varying reasons. First, his perceived position of supporting amnesty as part of the immigration issue proved a lightning rod against him within the conservative base.

Second, the majority of his central Virginia Republican electorate clearly believed he is part of the problem in Washington.

Third, the campaign strategy of attacking opponent David Brat as a liberal clearly backfired and was ill-advised. It is unlikely that painting someone who hails from the Tea Party as a “liberal” would carry any credence with a voter who pays attention. Knowing that the turnout would be low – and it was, 65,000-plus GOP voters – a  Continue reading >

Post-Primary Mississippi Polling Gives McDaniel the Edge; California Counting Continues

The first two public polls were just released in the Cochran-McDaniel Republican senatorial run-off campaign (June 24 election), and both the Democratic and Republican survey research firms conducting the studies arrived at the same conclusion: challenger Chris McDaniel is leading.

As you will remember, last Tuesday’s Mississippi primary contest found incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel headed to a run-off because neither garnered an outright majority of the vote. McDaniel placed first with 49.4 percent as compared to Sen. Cochran’s 49.0 percent.

The Democratic polling firm, Chism Strategies, which may have been the most accurate bellwether in the primary (predicted a 46-44 percent McDaniel lead going into Election Day), returns for the run-off. Their new data (June 5; 835 likely Mississippi Republican run-off voters, self-identifying as primary voters and  Continue reading >