Author Archives: Jim Ellis

California Loses 102 Years of Seniority

With yesterday’s retirement announcement from veteran Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA-33), added to the recent decisions of representatives George Miller (D-CA-11) and Buck McKeon (R-CA-25) not to seek re-election this year, California will lose a combined 102 years of congressional seniority in the next Congress. Both Waxman and Miller will have served for 40 years when their current terms expire, and Rep. McKeon’s tenure will have been 22 years. Though seniority is not as important in the more modern congressional era, particularly on the Republican side, a state simultaneously losing so much service time in its federal delegation is still significant.

Rep. Waxman was the unofficial senior partner of the famed Waxman-Berman political machine in Los Angeles County, which was a dominant force throughout California Democratic Party circles at its apex. His departure represents the end of an era in southern California politics. In 2012  Continue reading >

New Senate Numbers in Ga., Ky.

Georgia

It’s been several months since a public poll has been released for the important open seat Senate race in Georgia, and this new Public Policy Polling survey portends that at least the tested candidates remain closely bunched together.

The poll (Jan. 24-26; 640 registered Georgia voters), conducted for the Americans United for Change liberal organization, gives consensus Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn a slight lead over the selected Republican contenders.

The margin of difference between the individual candidates and Nunn is similar to what PPP found in their August 2013 survey, except in reverse. In the August poll, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) was the one candidate who polled outside the margin of error against Nunn, trailing her 36-41 percent. In this study, however, Broun actually does the best of the GOP group, trailing her by only one point, 41-42 percent.
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Kansas Updates: Primary Challengers and a Poll

Former Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R), originally elected in 1994 and representing his Wichita-anchored seat until running unsuccessfully for the Republican senatorial nomination in 2010, is hinting that he may begin a comeback attempt for his former 4th District seat. Doing so would mean launching a Republican primary challenge to sophomore Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4).

The former congressman was quoted as saying “… how can we hold Republican incumbent elected officials accountable if they don’t have a primary?” When asked by reporters if he believed he was more conservative than Rep. Pompeo, he simply replied, “yes.”

Proving such may be a difficult task, however. According to the recently released National Journal report, the Kansas members together rank as the most conservative delegation in Congress. According to the DW-Nominate scale of ranking congressional votes, Pompeo ranks as the 63rd most conservative House  Continue reading >

Radel Out; Mack In? Assessing FL-19

Last evening, freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R) officially resigned from the House, succumbing to Republican Party leaders both in and out of government who were urging him to leave. Controversy arose around the congressman after he accepted a plea bargain arrangement for the misdemeanor cocaine possession charges brought against him in the District of Columbia.

Radel just finished 30 days in a rehab facility as part of the agreement with DC prosecutors. His action vacating the congressional seat now requires Gov. Rick Scott (R) to schedule a special election to fill the unexpired portion of the current term. As is the case with all 435 House seats, the new incumbent will stand for a full term in the 2014 regular election.

The resignation brings the House vacancy total to three. The other two incumbent-less seats are the late Rep. Bill Young’s (R-FL-13) district to the north of Radel’s, and former Rep. Mell Watt’s (D) 12th  Continue reading >

Candidate Filings Close in West Virginia, Kentucky

Still just over a month away from the first votes being cast in the regular 2014 primary election cycle, two more states are finalizing their candidate filings. West Virginia now has an official slate of candidates for the coming election, and Kentucky will close tomorrow.

West Virginia

While it has been common conjecture that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) are the unofficial nominees for their respective parties, both do face several nominal primary opponents and will have three Independents joining them on the general election ballot.

Rep. Capito has six Republican opponents for the open Senate nomination, including a former state Delegate and an-ex local police chief. None appears to be a serious  Continue reading >

Big Decision for GOP in FL-13

The special election to replace the late Florida Rep. Bill Young (R) in the 13th Congressional District is heating up, and the Republican Party chieftains must soon decide whether or not to match their opponents’ multi-million dollar campaign expenditure budget. Combined, the Democratic national party apparatus and their outside organization allies are making winning this open Tampa Bay congressional special election the highest of priorities.

The National Republican Congressional Committee did just purchase $230,000 in television air time in order to run a negative ad campaign against Democratic nominee Alex Sink. This, in addition to their previous $495,000 outlay, brings their total expenditure for the March 11 special election already to $725,000. This is a major sum for one House seat, but the Democrats are doing far more.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already spent or allocated $820,000 for the 13th District special election, in addition to the House Majority PAC organization dropping $650,000.  Continue reading >

Black Backs Out of Open VA-10 Race

Late last night, Virginia State Sen. Dick Black, who earlier this month announced his intention to run for the open 10th Congressional District, released a statement saying he has changed his mind about seeking federal office. The move by the Republican is a boon to state Delegate Barbara Comstock, who is gearing up for her own congressional run after winning a difficult re-election campaign to the Virginia House this past November. It was commonly viewed that Black would have an advantage in a district nominating convention, but that Comstock would be the stronger general election opponent to presumed Democratic nominee John Foust, a Fairfax County Supervisor.

Black’s statement reiterated his belief that “… the Virginia Senate (is) in a precarious 20-20 split, with the lieutenant governor as tie-breaker. Because of that, I (Sen. Black) am no longer able to leave the 13th District Senate Seat. Too much is at risk for Virginia, and I must not trigger another costly senate race by stepping down from my seat at this time.”
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