Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Money Shows Who the Real Challengers Are

The Federal Election Commission has finally published the 4th quarter 2013 House financial numbers, and through the reports we can begin to ascertain the challenger candidates who are going to put forth serious political efforts later this election year.

Some who were predicted to be strong contenders are proving such:

• In Arizona, former Air Force officer Martha McSally (R), who lost to Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ-2) by just under 2,500 votes in 2012, out-raised the congressman by just over $63,000 in the 4th quarter.

• Democratic former Colorado state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff outpaced incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-6) by $45,000. Both have posted highly impressive off-year financial numbers. Each  Continue reading >

The Fourteen Key Senate Races

Since venturing into 2014, a new round of US Senate polls came into the public domain giving us a better picture of the current state of political affairs. Now it appears that 14 seats can be considered competitive, or are on their way to becoming so. The early tightness of so many of these campaigns tells us that we are a long way from being able to confidently predict a national outcome.

For Republicans, the first step in achieving their goal of capturing the Senate majority revolves around the ability to convert the three seats from retiring Democratic senators in states that normally elect GOP candidates. Winning the Montana (Rep. Steve Daines), South Dakota (ex-Gov. Mike Rounds), and West Virginia (Rep. Shelley Moore Capito) seats becomes the foundation for the Republican drive to obtain Senate control. Democrats, on the other hand, need merely to re-elect their incumbents.

As we know, the Senate’s partisan division features 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. If we remove the 14 competitive seats from  Continue reading >

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 >