Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Michigan’s Rogers Won’t Run for Senate

It had been presumed for the past several weeks that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8), widely believed to be the Republicans’ best potential US Senate candidate, would not run and he clarified his status on Friday afternoon in an email to supporters. In his message, Rogers said, “I have determined that the best way for me to continue to have a direct impact for my constituents and the nation is to remain in the House of Representatives. For me, the significance and depth of the impact I can make on my constituent’s behalf far outweighs the perceived importance of any title I might hold.”

With that, the congressman made clear his intent to remain as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a position of even greater importance with the revelations about the National Security Agency conducting warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

The GOP is now left with former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land to run against presumed Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters (MI-14), in the open Senate seat campaign. Sen. Carl Levin (D) is retiring after what will be 36 years in office at the end of his current term. Based upon Michigan voting history, Peters and the Democrats will start the campaign in the favorite’s position. But, the Wolverine State has been known to swing Republican from time to time, particularly in mid-term elections as it did in 2010 when the GOP swept the ballot from top to bottom, so the Senate race does have the potential to become competitive.

Land was twice elected Secretary of State, winning her elections with 55 and 56 percent of the statewide vote in 2002 and 2006, respectively. She was not eligible to seek re-election in 2010.

Peters was first elected to Congress in 2008, defeating veteran GOP Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI-9). He won a close re-election (50-47 percent) in the Republican landslide year of 2010, and then, in 2012, won election to a Detroit city congressional seat defeating a Democratic incumbent in the primary after his Oakland County CD became a reapportionment casualty. Prior to his election to Congress, Peters served as the state’s lottery commissioner and in the Michigan Senate.

Michaud for Governor?

Maine 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud (D) released a video (see below) yesterday announcing that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for governor next year. When most people file “exploratory committees,” as Illinois Democrat Bill Daley did earlier in the week for his own Land of Lincoln gubernatorial campaign, it is with the clear intent of running for the office. Here, Michaud has probably not completely decided and is truly using the entity to test the waters for his effort.

You will remember in 2012, just after Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) announced that she would not seek re-election, Michaud quickly, but tentatively, jumped into the statewide race. When it became apparent that Independent former Gov. Angus King was heading to consensus candidate status for Independents and Democrats, Michaud quickly scurried back to his safe House seat and announced that he would run for re-election.

The Maine gubernatorial contest is similar to the ’12 Senate campaign because a strong Independent will be in the race. Back in 2010, Independent liberal attorney Eliot Cutler placed a close second to Republican Paul LePage, leaving Democrat Libby Mitchell far behind in third place. Many observers credit Cutler’s presence in the race, and his strong campaign, as the main reason LePage won. Since the Republican scored only 37.5 percent of the vote in the three-way contest, such an analysis appears to carry credibility.
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Noem Remains; Brown Up in Massachusetts

In a formal and unsurprising announcement, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD-AL) confirmed that she will not challenge former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) for South Dakota’s open US Senate seat next year. Noem, serving her second term in the House, indicated that she will seek re-election to her current position.

Rumors and speculation had persisted for months that the congresswoman may hop into the Senate race and attempt to challenge Rounds from the right, but she never appeared to be making any tangible moves to prepare for such a race. Meanwhile, as he has done since the 2012 election cycle concluded, the former governor continued to build his Senatorial campaign on a daily basis.

Rounds is definitely the man to beat. Now with a clear shot at the Republican nomination, he will have a united party behind him as he works to convert the open seat to the GOP column. Democrats have only one candidate so far, Rick Weiland a former staff aide to then-Sen. Tom Daschle (D), because stronger potential contenders such as former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD-AL) and US Attorney Brendan Johnson both declined to run. Three-term Sen. Tim Johnson (D), Brendan’s father, is retiring.

Both the open South Dakota and West Virginia Democratic seats top the GOP conversion list, as Republicans have big leads against weak opponents in both states. In West Virginia, where veteran Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) is retiring, the early leader and prohibitive favorite is Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2).

Massachusetts Governor’s Race — Brown Cruising

A just-released University of Massachusetts political survey (conducted by international pollster YouGov; May 30-June 4; 500 registered Massachusetts voters) again projects former Sen. Scott Brown (R) to be in strong position to win next year’s open governor’s campaign. Currently, Brown is testing the waters for a senatorial run in New Hampshire, but his early standing  Continue reading >

Daley for Governor

http://youtu.be/xSODie3GHjE

The Daley family Chicago political dynasty has never produced a governor, but that may soon change if former US Commerce secretary Bill Daley realizes his new quest. Announcing via video the formation of a gubernatorial exploratory committee, Daley, son of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley and brother of ex-mayor Richard M. Daley, will almost certainly challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

There has been little doubt that the unpopular Quinn would be in a difficult position for renomination, let alone re-election. Most of the attention, however, has been focused upon Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is expected to make the race in 2014 after shying away from a similar challenge in 2010. A three-way contest among Quinn, Madigan, and Daley could produce unexpected results.

The move to run for governor is out of character for Daley in several ways. First, challenging a Democratic opponent is an unusual act for a man who has exemplified party unity throughout his entire political career. Daley is a former US Commerce secretary for President Clinton, chairman of Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, and an ex-chief of staff for President Barack Obama. He also spent time in the banking industry and as a law firm partner.

His video message is interesting in that it clearly reveals his political strategy. Obviously the product of extensive survey research of the Democratic voting base,  Continue reading >

New NJ Senate Candidate May Change Things

NJ State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

NJ State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

The New Jersey Senate special election candidates submitted their ballot qualification petition signatures to the state’s Division of Elections, and one of the individuals filing was a bit of a surprise.

State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) began publicly mulling entering the race just over the weekend, and yesterday she did just that. As the sitting leader of one of the state’s two legislative chambers, and in a situation where everyone knows she will continue in this position even if losing the Senate race, Oliver should be able to raise enough money to compete.

If she can successfully mount a challenge, Speaker Oliver has the potential of hurting Newark Mayor Cory Booker. As the second African-American candidate in the race, Oliver cutting into what should be a solid base vote for Booker could bring all of the Democratic candidates into contention.

Also filing signature petitions yesterday, as expected, were representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) and Rush Holt (D-NJ-12). One thousand valid signatures from registered voters are required. Holt, in fact, appeared in person at the Division of Elections office in Trenton to deliver petitions containing more than 3,000 signatures.

Republicans Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, NJ, and physician Alieta Eck also filed, but neither is expected to be major competition for the eventual Democratic nominee. Therefore, the Aug. 13 Democratic primary vote will effectively elect the next US senator.

Two polls were quickly put into the field, but  Continue reading >