Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Four More Primaries Today

the-primariesBy Jim Ellis

Aug. 14, 2018 — Voters in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin will choose their nominees today. Minnesota and Wisconsin, in particular, feature some key contests.


MINNESOTA

Most of today’s action will occur in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as a major open race for governor will see party finalists determined in both political camps. Republicans feature former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner who is the officially endorsed party candidate.

Democrats have a three-way battle among state Rep. Erin Murphy (D-St. Paul), the official party endorsed candidate, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and US Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato). Though Murphy is the sanctioned candidate, she appears to be trailing both Swanson and Walz. The winners will set up a highly competitive general election that will probably be considered a toss-up campaign all the way to Election Day.

Both US senators are on the ballot. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) is a lock for re-election, while appointed Sen. Tina Smith (D) is finding a competitive battle coming from state Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Croix River Valley), but these scenarios are dependent upon all of the aforementioned easily winning their respective nominations tonight.

The state could yield as many as four competitive campaigns from their eight congressional districts, but today the real nomination battles are in Districts 1, 5, and 8.

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Hanabusa Defeated in Hawaii;
Case Nominated in Dem Contest

Gov. David Ige (D-HI)

Gov. David Ige (D-HI)

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 13, 2018 — The Hawaii primary was held on Saturday, and while Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) began her Democratic primary challenge as a virtual favorite to deny Gov. David Ige re-nomination — at one time she led by more than 20 points according to several polls — the incumbent rebounded to score a 51-44 percent victory. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to claiming the general election, meaning the November contest between Gov. Ige and state House Minority Leader Andrea Tupola (R-Kapolei), the new Republican nominee, is likely to be a mere formality.

Rep. Hanabusa was originally elected to the House in 2010, defeating then-Rep. Charles Djou (R-Honolulu) in that year’s general election. In 2014, she challenged appointed Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary after the passing of veteran Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), who served in Congress from the day when Hawaii became a state.

Hanabusa returned to the House in 2016 when her successor, Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea), passed away from pancreatic cancer. Quickly after making her way back to Washington, however, the congresswoman decided to launch the intra-party challenge to Gov. Ige who himself had unseated a Democratic governor, Neil Abercrombie, in the 2014 primary campaign.

Ige hit rock bottom in this contest when a false alarm catastrophic missile attack warning was unleashed, sending panic throughout the islands, and his poll numbers unsurprisingly dropped precipitously in the aftermath. But he rebounded to re-generate support from his Democratic base, improve his job approval ratio, and substantially increase his lagging fundraising operation. Polling had detected the momentum change within the last two weeks of the primary cycle, and an Ige lead was being widely reported as the two candidates headed into the election’s final days.

The Democratic turnout was 242,413 voters, most of whom voted early, which is about 5,000 more than voted in the last midterm when Ige defeat then-Gov. Abercrombie in a 66-31 percent landslide margin. By contrast, Saturday’s GOP turnout was only 31,134 individuals.

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Hyde-Smith Up in Mississippi

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 13, 2018 — A new Triumph Campaigns survey for the Y’all Politics blog (July 30-31; 2,100 likely Mississippi registered voters, 25 from each of the state’s four congressional districts) tested the two Mississippi US Senate campaigns. The results reveal interesting data for appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), who has been on the job since her April 9 induction ceremony after being appointed to succeed veteran Sen. Thad Cochran (R). The state’s senior senator, who amassed 40 years of service in the Senate, stepped down for health reasons.

According to the Triumph results, Sen. Hyde-Smith would lead former US Agriculture secretary and congressman Mike Espy (D), state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville), and Independent Tobey Bartee, 41-27-15-1 percent in the statewide ballot test.

The new senator fares best in south and east congressional districts, numbers 3 and 4. The two Republicans do particularly well in the Biloxi-Gulfport anchored 4th District where the senator records 42 percent support and McDaniel has 24 percent, while Espy drops to 17 percent. Statewide, the preliminary data suggests that Hyde-Smith and Espy would move into a secondary run-off election.

In this special election, where the winner will fill the balance of the current term, all candidates will appear on the concurrent general election ballot. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers will advance to a run-off election a few days after Thanksgiving, on Nov. 27.

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Hawaii Primary Tomorrow

hawaiian-islands

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 10, 2018 — Hawaii voters go to the polls tomorrow for a rare Saturday primary in what will likely be an election to choose a governor. The Democratic primary winner is a lock to carry the general election, and Gov. David Ige and US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) have been in a tough intra-party battle for months.

Ironically, Gov. Ige came to office in much the same way that Rep. Hanabusa hopes to succeed. That is, defeating a sitting Democratic governor in the primary. Four years ago, Ige, then a state senator, challenged and easily defeated incumbent Neil Abercrombie in a 66-31 percent Democratic primary thrashing.

For a time, it looked like history might repeat itself. Early in the race, and not long after the false missile attack alarm that became a national news story, Rep. Hanabusa was staked to large polling leads. In a Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategies mid-March survey, she led the governor, 47-27 percent. In late June, Q-Mark Research, polling for the Hanabusa Campaign, projected their candidate to a whopping 57-31 percent advantage.

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Recapping the OH-12 Results

Troy Balderson (R)

Troy Balderson (R)

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 9, 2018
— The OH-12 special congressional election drew major attention Tuesday evening as state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) and Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor (D) battled well into the night before it became clear that the GOP had again escaped with a close victory. Despite the loss, Democrats began looking toward November as they made the point that their candidate exceeded typical voting patterns in what should be a Republican district.

Though approximately 3,300 provisional ballots remain uncounted, it is likely too small a number to eradicate a 1,754-vote margin. But, approximately 5,000 absentee ballots that were requested and mailed to the voter have yet to be returned. It is unclear just how many from this group are on the way to the appropriate elections officer. But, the outstanding votes didn’t prevent the GOP leadership from introducing Balderson as the new “congressman-elect.”

Prior to the election, the Daily Kos Elections Page featured a set of predictions from David Jarman, one of the site’s principals, who developed a model posting Democratic benchmarks for every county throughout the district. The numbers represented the percentage that O’Connor would need to obtain in order to score a bare 48-47 percent win over Sen. Balderson.

The prediction chart proved almost precisely accurate. Over-estimating the percentages that Green Party nominee Joe Manchik received was the only flawed calculation. The Jarman prediction suggested that Manchik would garner in the neighborhood of five percent, but the actual figure was only 0.6 percent.

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