Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Immigration Politics: The White House Task Force on New Americans

Fox News ran a story over the weekend quoting “Republican strategists” as saying that the new White House Task Force on New Americans is targeting specific numbers of legal non-citizen immigrants in 10 states with the underlying purpose of increasing Democratic voter registration. They complain the Task Force is fast-tracking people in this category for citizenship to make them eligible to participate in the 2016 presidential election in order to increase the Democratic Party advantage.

The Task Force’s stated goal is to help “welcome” the new immigrants and more seamlessly assimilate them into American society. The administration is emphasizing national economic benefits as the reason for making it easier to qualify the legal immigrants for citizenship. They argue that the immigrant population represents 13 percent of the national population, slightly larger than the African American share, but comprises 16 percent of the workforce, and is responsible for creating 28 percent of all new businesses. About half of those in the legal immigrant category are Hispanic, with Asians being the second largest group.

Though voting privileges will be part of attaining citizenship, the 10 states chosen – because 75 percent of the legal immigrants reside in these places – are almost exclusively not swing political states. It is clear that seven of the 10, and maybe as many as nine, are established Electoral Vote havens for one party or the other.
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Conversion Opportunities Lie Ahead for Senate Democrats; McSally Wins – Officially

As 2014 closes, we’re taking a quick look ahead at the 34 in-cycle US Senate seats for 2016. The tables have turned in that it is the Democrats who will have to convert Republican seats in order to recapture their lost majority. With Republicans having to defend 24 of the 34 Senate states, the Democrats will have plenty of conversion opportunities. They will need to win all 10 of the seats they currently hold and convert five Republican seats to reach 51 senators. Should the Democrats hold the White House in the presidential election, the Senate conversion number will drop to four because the Democratic vice president will then be able to break a 50-50 deadlock.

Of the senators who preliminarily say they will seek re-election, four (senators Richard Shelby (AL), John McCain (AZ), Charles Grassley (IA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD), will be 80 years old or older at the time of the next election. Another six will be 70 or older.

Right now, several seats are projected to be competitive, and both Democrats and Republicans are eying individuals they would characterize as dream challengers.

For Democrats, the two most competitive incumbent protection contests will be Nevada and Colorado. New Senate Minority Continue reading >

Will Another Bush Take Root With the Electorate?; The AZ-2 Recount

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced yesterday that he will indeed form a political action committee for purposes of testing his viability in a campaign for president, thus following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps. The announcement is hardly a surprise based upon Bush’s political moves of the preceding weeks.

The other potential candidates who spoke about a potential Jeb Bush candidacy – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and previous 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney – are unanimously moving forward with their own political plans regardless of whether or not the legacy candidate enters the race.

Since Republican voters have a history of always turning to their heir apparent in the presidential race, the more establishment-oriented potential candidacies of Bush and Romney must be taken seriously. If they both enter the race, along with adding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the mix, the more centrist voters will likely be split, thus possibly opening the door for fresher candidates like Sen. Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and others.

When looking at the general election match-ups, a Romney/Bush style candidate may be exactly what the Democrats are looking for despite the Hillary Clinton camp’s comments about what a formidable Continue reading >

House Reruns Passed Over

With the AZ-2 race at last drawing to a close in the Tucson area (Martha McSally-R vs. Rep. Ron Barber-D), the political lineup for the 114th Congress is virtually finalized. Though McSally’s 161-vote lead in the original tally is obviously close, it is likely to hold since Arizona election law has no provision to challenge votes. Therefore, we can now delve more deeply into the 2014 electoral patterns.

One area worthy of examining is how former members attempting to return to the House fared. Often times, incumbents run for a different office, are defeated, or retire, and at a later date decide to launch a political comeback. In the 2014 cycle, a dozen former members ran campaigns to obtain their former positions. Looking at how this group fared could be an indicator as to what we might expect in 2016. In virtually every election cycle, there are individuals in this category.

Of the 12 ex-House members attempting to return, only two, Bob Dold (R-IL-10) and Frank Guinta (R-NH-1) were successful. The other 10, all running as Republicans with the exception of former representatives Joe Baca (D-CA-31) and Hansen Clarke (D-MI-14), were defeated. One of the unsuccessful former members, ex-Rep. Gene Taylor (MS-4), ran as a Republican in 2014, but served in the House for 11 terms as a Democrat. Baca, Clarke and Taylor all fell in their respective primaries, as did GOP former representatives Clyde Holloway (LA-5) and Todd Tiahrt (KS-4). The others: ex-representatives Doug Ose (CA-7), Charles Djou (HI-1), Bobby Schilling (IL-17) Continue reading >

Even More Presidential Candidates Emerge

Almost everyday now, a new individual is mentioned as someone considering a potential run for president in 2016. The latest to be attracting some attention are two big state Republican governors both named Rick. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Michigan state chief executive Rick Snyder are reportedly floating national trial balloons, testing whether they might be viable GOP presidential candidates next year.

Though both are clearly considered long shot candidates at best, they do have several key obvious positives. First, they are governors, which has historically been the best office from which to successfully run for the White House. Second, if either were to capture the nomination, their home states should give them a key boost on the general election map, particularly in Gov. Scott’s case because a Republican realistically cannot win a presidential election without carrying Florida. Third, both have a fundraising base that could quickly reach national proportions.

But, both Scott and Snyder also possess clear negatives. Though they won re-election to a second term last month in their respective competitive states, neither did so impressively. Florida being the quintessential swing domain always yields a close race, but Scott’s 48-47 percent victory margin, virtually identical to his 49-48 percent win four years ago over then-Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D), should have been stronger against an opponent Continue reading >