Author Archives: Jim Ellis

The Candidates Start Lining Up

It’s already been a busy political new year. Two days ago we witnessed several potential candidates for various offices around the country quickly quelling speculation about their specific individual political plans. Yesterday, we see the opposite as several potential candidates confirmed they will seek different positions.

California Senate

The daily open Golden State Senate report includes an announcement from Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) that she will run for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D) office. The development was expected after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom made public his intention to remain in his current job, and then attempt to succeed incumbent Jerry Brown (D) when the latter is ineligible to seek another term in 2018.

But, the Harris decision to enter the Senate race is apparently not dissuading other contenders. Both former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46) immediately issued separate statements reaffirming that they are both individually “seriously considering” becoming Senatorial candidates. Twenty-two Democrats and twelve Republicans confirm publicly that they have not yet ruled out running for the California Senate seat, the first such open contest in 24 years.
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Candidates Who Choose Not to Run …

Several prospective candidates for various offices made official yesterday their plans not to seek another position.  
 
President
 
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, confirmed that he will not run for president in 2016.  Always mentioned as a potential candidate, Ryan was not making the preliminary campaign moves one who is serious about running for president would typically execute.  He showed no overt signs of building a national political and financial operation necessary to becoming a major political party’s presidential nominee.
 
Now ensconced as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Rep. Ryan says he will devote his attention and political acumen toward that particular job.
 
In another report, speculation is changing around Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) presidential plans.  Now a train of thought suggests that Sen. Rubio will run for re-election instead of the presidency, and then possibly take a shot at the open governor’s office in 2018.  Then, as a sitting public chief executive from arguably the most important state on the Republican map, Rubio would have the option of running for President in 2020 or 2024, depending upon whether a Democrat or Republican wins in 2016.
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Reverberations From Boxer’s Retirement Continue

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D) retirement announcement, as we mentioned in previous columns, has set off a political firestorm in the Golden State. An open Senate seat for the first time in what will be 24 years has given aspiring statewide officeholders, particularly among Democrats, their first glimpse of attaining a major federal office. More than 30 people have been mentioned as potential candidates, but events of the last few days have begun to clarify the picture.

The state’s relatively new jungle primary law (2016 will mark the third election since its institution) makes this a much more interesting race. Before, particularly in a place that has trended so heavily toward one party in the last two decades, winning the June Democratic primary would have been tantamount to a general election victory. No more.

Now, with all candidates on the same primary ballot and the top two advancing to the general election irrespective of party affiliation with no ability to win outright on the first vote means a number of general election configurations could result. Typically, a Democrat and a Republican advance. But, if the GOP doesn’t have a capable candidate – a possibility in this overwhelmingly expensive state in what will be a long shot for them at best – two Democrats could qualify. On the other hand, if we see a large number of strong Democrats entering the race, which is a distinct possibility, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that two Republicans could actually advance if the Democratic vote is Continue reading >

What Boxer’s Retirement Means; An “SEC” Primary?

At the end of 2014, California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) provided strong hints that she would not seek a fifth term in 2016. Yesterday, she made that decision official. In a video hosted by her grandson, Sen. Boxer announced that she will not be a candidate for the Senate next year, thus ending what will be a 34-year-career in Congress.

The succeeding election now marks the first time since Boxer originally won in 1992 that California will host an open US Senate campaign. A plethora of Democrats are expected to enter the statewide fray. The most interesting dynamic will be the interplay between political allies Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutenant governor, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. It would be surprising to see the two close colleagues challenge each other, but stranger things have happened in politics. It is also possible that neither will run. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is apparently not giving serious consideration to the Senate race. One potential major contender who is seriously looking at becoming a candidate is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Another mayor drawing attention is Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson, a former NBA professional basketball player.
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Next Steps for the 2016 Presidential Election: Delegates & Timing

A year from now, we will be fast approaching the initial Iowa Caucus vote, but much remains to be decided before the first voters cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential contest. Most of the uncompleted tasks involve delegate allocation and scheduling.

Today, it appears the Democrats will have 4,508 voting delegates at their national convention, which will likely occur either during the week of July 25th or Aug. 22nd. The Democratic National Committee has narrowed their convention site to three possibilities: New York City, Philadelphia and Columbus, OH. Republicans look to be gearing up for their convention during the week of July 18th, and they have already decided upon Cleveland as their gathering site. The total GOP delegate universe will be a much smaller 2,409.

Each party’s nomination rules will go a long way toward determining the respective presidential contenders, particularly on the Republican side. Though the Democratic delegate allocation formula (by state) is very complex, their voting process is simpler. Thirty-seven states will employ a proportional allocation structure based upon primary votes cast, while 18 more will meet in a caucus/state convention system. One state, Texas, will use a combined caucus and proportional primary program, and one final entity, Michigan, will assign all of its delegates to the winning primary candidate in a Winner-Take-All format.
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