Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Walker’s First Ad Inaugurates 2016 Presidential Campaign Season

Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker (R) appears to be the first unofficial national candidate to release a video promoting what looks to be the underpinnings of a 2016 presidential campaign; and, the piece is not your typical soft bio ad.

Gov. Walker’s affiliated “Our American Revival” political organization is promoting a two-minute film that challenges President Obama and presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The attack message also appears to include the Republican congressional leadership when railing Continue reading >

The GOP’s Precarious Dependent Senate

It appears continuing the new-found Senate majority could well turn on the 2016 presidential election, and that puts Republicans in a precarious position.

When the GOP captured the Senate in 2014, much was made that their fledgling majority could be short-lived. Seeing that 24 of the 34 in-cycle 2016 seats are Republican-held means that Democrats need a minimum net conversion of only four states to re-claim control. That is, if the Ds – presumably in the person of former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton – hold the White House upon President Obama’s exit. Otherwise, they would need to gain five.

In looking at the Senate players for the coming campaign we see not only a Republican Party forced to protect two dozen seats, but 10of those 24 can already be considered as highly competitive complete with a pair (IL-Kirk; WI-Johnson) in the toss-up category.

Of the vulnerable 10 states, seven (Arizona-McCain; Florida-Rubio, New Hampshire-Ayotte, North Carolina-Burr, Ohio-Portman, Pennsylvania-Toomey and Wisconsin-Johnson) are high-level presidential campaign targets. Likely putting the Republicans in even greater peril for the next election, President Obama twice Continue reading >

And Now, Florida …

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is now promising a final decision about his presidential aspirations in only a matter of weeks. Currently, his political moves suggest that he is moving toward a national run.

With Rubio repeatedly saying he will not run for two offices simultaneously, an open Florida Senate seat would build even more intrigue into the 2016 election cycle. Sensing this, budding Senate candidates are beginning to float their names as his possible statewide successor.

As in California and Illinois, where a large number of federal, state, and local politicians are testing the waters for individual Senate runs, yesterday’s Sunshine State musings from several political figures are indicative that Florida may soon see a similar parade of office holders positioning themselves for an open US Senate campaign.

Sen. Rubio, himself, began the debate by saying in an interview, when asked who might be lining up to succeed him if he were to run for president, that Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former House Speaker Will Weatherford would be two potential Republican candidates.

Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL-9) indicated that he would seriously consider seeking the Democratic senatorial nomination. Most often mentioned as potential senatorial candidates are Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz Continue reading >

Is Illinois Another California?

Much of the early Senate political coverage has been devoted to the open California Senate race, but now the Illinois contest is about to make an equivalent amount of news.

For several weeks, speculation, not denied by her staff, that Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8) is seriously considering challenging Sen. Mark Kirk (R) came true last week when the congresswoman herself confirmed the sentiment. She had recently given birth towards the end of 2014 and had previously not been granting interviews.

Sen. Kirk, representing a highly Democratic state after his tight 48-46 percent win over then-state treasurer Alexi Giannoulius (D) in the Republican landslide year of 2010, later suffered a serious stroke that put him on a long road to recovery. The presidential year turnout model in a reliably Democratic state against a weakened Republican incumbent sets this race as the party’s best 2016 conversion opportunity in the nation.

Duckworth is the first female double-amputee of the Iraq War. She sustained severe injuries to both legs when an enemy rocket struck the helicopter she was co-piloting. After a long recuperation, she decided to embark on a career in public service. She challenged Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-6) in a marginal district in the heavily Democratic year of 2006. Backed as one of the strongest Democratic challengers in the nation that year, she still fell short, losing 51-48 percent.
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Louisiana Polling

Louisiana Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy, a former Democrat and US Senate candidate, hired the North Star Opinion Research firm to help guide his political ambitions. Kennedy is reportedly considering running for governor or attorney general in 2015. His name is also mentioned in conjunction with the 2016 US Senate contest.

The North Star survey research (Jan. 10-13; 600 registered Louisiana voters) tested Kennedy within a field of candidates first for governor, and then for attorney general as well as for US Senate.

Currently, with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) ineligible to seek a third term later this year, Sen. David Vitter (R) has jumped into the off-year gubernatorial race. Also considering running are Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, State Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, and Kennedy. State Rep. John Bel Edwards is the lone Democrat to express interest in running. Should Kennedy decide on the attorney general’s race, that impending field so far consists of incumbent Buddy Caldwell (R), who is politically weak, and former Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA-3). Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy is the one Democrat tested.

The 2016 US Senate picture will largely be dictated by what happens in the governor’s race. Should Sen. Vitter win, and he’s the early favorite, an individual will be appointed to fill the unexpired Continue reading >