Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Strategic Changes Ahead in Montana Senatorial Bid

Reports are rampant that President Obama will soon select retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to serve as the country’s next ambassador to China. Doing so will bring major change to the impending senatorial political battle to replace him.

Republicans have maintained the early prime position to convert the seat ever since the veteran senator announced that he would not seek election to a seventh term next year. Polling shows freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) with the inside track toward capturing the open seat over both Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. Since the seat will become vacant upon Baucus’ confirmation as ambassador should he be nominated, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement on an interim basis, and Walsh already appears to be the pick.

While on the surface Walsh’s appointment to the seat would clearly bring certain benefits to his election campaign, it also would tie him down in Washington, like  Continue reading >

Major House Retirements Announced

Three House members surprisingly announced retirements yesterday, potentially altering the outlook for 2014. Veteran congressmen Jim Matheson (D-UT-4), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) and Tom Latham (R-IA-3) each will not seek re-election, representing an aggregate total of 68 years of exiting congressional seniority.

At first glance, it appears the eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to convert the solidly conservative 4th Congressional District of Utah, while both the Virginia and Iowa marginal seats will begin in the “toss-up” category. See our analysis below. Along with the vacant FL-13 seat, three more Republican seats will now become competitive and susceptible to Democrat conversion. The party needs 17 seats to claim the House majority and converting these three winnable districts would reduce their net minimum number to just 15.
 Continue reading >

Better News for Pryor in Arkansas

Last week, The Polling Company/Women Trend released the results of their study conducted for the Citizens United Political Action Committee (Dec. 6-7; 400 registered Arkansas voters) as reported here. The results gave Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) a rather surprising 48-41 percent lead over two-term incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D).

Yesterday, Public Policy Polling implementing a robo-call survey for the Americans United for Change liberal political organization (Dec. 13-15; 1,004 registered percent voters) finds that the race is tied at 44 percent. This latter data, though better for the senator but by no means a positive finding for any incumbent seeking re-election, is closer to the results produced in earlier polls.

The PPP data also provided some interesting cross-tabs. There is a huge gender gap developing in this race as the surveyors detected women breaking for Pryor 49-37 percent, while male voters prefer the Republican challenger by an even larger 53-39 percent spread.
 Continue reading >

The Politics Behind the Budget Vote; First Cornyn Poll Shows Big Advantage

The House passed the Murray-Ryan budget bill 332-94, but there are some interesting political strategies at play relating to the individual votes.

Of the 94 “No” votes, 62 came from Republicans and 32 from Democrats. The member complexion is an interesting mix and was comprised predominantly from those on the far right and far left. The opposition Republicans are mostly ardent Tea Party supported members such as retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6), sophomore Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID-1), and freshman Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY-4).

Eleven members, almost half of the Texas Republican delegation, were among those in opposition, including veteran representatives Ralph Hall (R-TX-4), Joe Barton (R-TX-6), and Michael Burgess (R-TX-26). The Texans supporting the budget bill are generally aligned with the  Continue reading >

Frank Wolf Faces Opposition; A New House Vacancy

Veteran Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf (R), who is preparing to run for his 18th term in the House, has now drawn a potentially strong re-election opponent. Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D) announced earlier this week that he will challenge the veteran congressman. Though the 10th District is drawn as a discernible Republican seat, Democrats pin their hopes on the facts that Virginia is politically transitioning their way, and that President Obama only lost CD-10 to GOP nominee Mitt Romney by just one point, 49-50 percent. The president carried the state 51-47 percent.

Foust represents the County’s Dranesville District, which begins in the McLean area, runs through Great Falls, and then wraps around to annex the community of Herndon. Supervisor Foust was first elected to the local Board in 2007 and was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote in 2011. He is one of 10 members on the local panel, nine from districts in addition to one Board chairman who is elected county-wide. Foust’s district houses over 77,000 voters, but not all fall into the 10th Congressional  Continue reading >