Author Archives: Jim Ellis

FLOOR FIGHT!! Hoosier Tuesday

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2016
— The Indiana primary was never one that attracted much attention in early prognostications, but that has changed. Placed alone in early May, it appeared that either the Republican nomination battle would be over, or the candidates would be deadlocked and clearly headed to a brokered convention. Either way, the Hoosier State was not supposed to be a defining primary. Now, however, the Indiana winner-take-all by congressional district event may well provide the final momentum deciding election, at least for Republicans.

Originally, Indiana figured to be a Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) state, with him winning the 27 at-large delegates and most of the nine congressional districts (also 27 delegates, with three apiece going to the first-place finisher in the particular domain). Late polling, or at least seven of the final eight that were conducted in mid to late April, suggests, rather, a Donald Trump victory. To remain on his first ballot victory track with no unbound delegate votes, Trump needs to secure at least 39 delegates of the state’s 57-member contingent. Considering the polling results, though no study delved into individual CD’s, such a quota appears highly attainable.

Mathematically, no matter what happens later today, the Republican nomination will not be clinched. A big Trump win, however, could ignite such a momentum drive to overwhelm Sen. Cruz and cause the race to effectively be over. At least this is the unfolding scenario according to Trump … and, he may be right.

For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs less than 20 percent of the outstanding delegates to clinch her party’s nomination. Polling suggests the Indiana result will be close, but halving the delegates with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) would still be a major victory for the national front-runner. It is now only a matter of time before Clinton becomes the official Democratic presidential nominee.

Below are the latest unofficial delegate results:

REPUBLICANS

CANDIDATE ESTIMATED DELEGATE COUNT
Donald Trump 966
Ted Cruz 570
Marco Rubio (out) 173
John Kasich 153
Others (out) 16
Uncommitted 92
Needed to win: 1,237 Remaining: 502

DEMOCRATS

CANDIDATE REGULAR DELEGATES SUPER DELEGATES
Hillary Clinton 1,663 520
Bernie Sanders 1,367 39

Total Clinton: 2,183
Total Sanders: 1,406
Needed to win: 2,383

Remaining: 1,206


• Delegate Count Source: Unofficial — The New York Times (for both parties)

• The Democratic totals include some Super Delegates who have announced their support for a candidate even though their states have not yet voted.


One Poll Has Cruz Up

By Jim Ellis

May 3, 2016 — Seven polls, all taken between April 13-28 testing today’s important Indiana Republican presidential primary, report similar information; yet one stands alone. Six studies find Donald Trump leading from between two and 15 points over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but one actually finds the opposite result and the margin isn’t even close.

The stand-alone survey comes from the Mike Downs Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and projects the Texas senator to be holding a 45-29-13 percent lead over Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The methodology, however, appears flawed. The sampling period stretches over too long a period for a small respondent group of 400 likely Republican primary voters.

So, should this data be ignored? Not entirely. The six pro-Trump polls from April 18-27 (sample sizes range from 400 to 645) produced a wide range of responses suggesting that the electorate is fluid. The latest two surveys come from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (April 26-28; 645 likely Indiana Republican primary voters) and the American Research Group (April 27-28; 400 likely Indiana Republican primary voters). Each shows Trump holding a substantial lead, but the surveys differ greatly relating to Gov. Kasich’s standing.

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Crowning Too Early?

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2016 — Are the pundits who are already making Donald Trump the Republican nominee, and those House members rushing to endorse him, and the others like former House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2) calling out Sen. Ted Cruz acting too quickly?

It was only two weeks ago when Trump was reeling and people were speculating that he would lose a contested convention to Cruz as early as the second ballot because he had allowed the Texan to out-maneuver him in the delegate selection process. In Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, and other places, pro-Cruz individuals were being elected as convention delegates. Though most would be legally bound to cast a first ballot for Trump, if a deadlocked convention went more than one ballot these delegates could break away and cause the New York real estate mogul to fall.

Then came New York and the eastern regional primary. Though Trump exceeded expectations and delegate quotas, was it really a surprise that he carried the states in his home region? The after-effect has reinvigorated the Trump campaign and helped send Cruz to the ropes.

The results shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump was always projected to carry the eastern states, and certainly so when Cruz insulted the whole state of New York with his “New York values” comment in an early debate.

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Where We’re Headed

By Jim Ellis

April 29, 2016 — The 2016 presidential campaign has taken a dramatic turn in a very short amount of time. Is the race reaching its end, or will we see yet another twist?

Before last week’s New York primary, Donald Trump was reeling, clearly experiencing the most significant momentum downturn since his campaign began. Then came the primary, and he exceeded his pre-determined delegate goal, thus righting the ship. In this week’s eastern regional primary, the real estate mogul performed in similar fashion and even topped his New York finish. Now, it is Sen. Ted Cruz who is suddenly facing elimination as the Indiana primary quickly approaches next Tuesday. For Trump to remain on his first-ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the 57 Indiana Republican delegates.

According to The Green Papers.com website that compiles political statistics, Trump has a first-ballot delegate count of 956, which tells us he is 281 away from winning the nomination. This means that the GOP front-runner must obtain 56 percent of the remaining 502 delegates from the 10 states yet to vote. Trump is the only candidate who can qualify for a first-ballot victory and do so without the aid of unbound delegates. Sen. Cruz and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) can now only band together in hopes of denying Trump the outright majority in order to force a contested convention.

Now it is Sen. Cruz who desperately needs a win. Since his new goal is to deny Trump as many delegates as possible, any sizeable Indiana victory will blunt his opponent’s momentum and stop the march toward a first ballot nomination. Gov. Kasich’s decision to not campaign there will help, but there will have to be a sizable push from the Ohio governor to encourage his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz. With a series of recent polls finding Cruz trailing Trump from five to eight points, the Kasich push is a critical component for the Texas senator to move into first place. Failure to win Indiana may prove fatal to Sen. Cruz’s 2016 presidential aspirations.

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Indiana Now Becomes Critical

By Jim Ellis

April 28, 2016 — Indiana now becomes critical for Donald Trump. Originally projected as a victory state for Sen. Ted Cruz, this winner-take-all by congressional district Hoosier State is now leaning toward Trump. Three polls, all conducted between April 18-22 from three different pollsters (Public Opinion Strategies, Fox News, and CBS/YouGov) find Trump topping Cruz in each instance, but the spreads are tight.

The Trump range is between 41 and 37 percent in the three polls, while Cruz attracts between 31-35 percent. Gov. John Kasich is significant in each survey, placing third with support figures in the 16-22 percent realm. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now working with Cruz to deny Trump a victory, says he will step away from Indiana in order to give the Texas senator a better shot, could give Cruz the needed boost he needs to slip past Trump.

Indiana is unique in that its at-large delegate contingent is equal to those coming from the congressional districts (27). Indiana has 57 Republican delegates, 27 at-large and 27 from the nine congressional districts (three apiece) in addition to the state’s three Republican National Committee convention votes. The three Republican National Committee delegates are unbound. It appears certain that next Tuesday, Indiana will set the tone for the final stretch in this marathon nomination campaign.

The statewide winner takes the at-large base, and the respective congressional district delegates are awarded to the first-place finisher in each individual CD. For Trump to remain on his first ballot victory track, he must take at least 39 votes from the Indiana contingent.

Trump, Hillary Closing In;
Van Hollen, McGinty Post Solid Wins

By Jim Ellis

April 27, 2016 — Donald Trump exceeded expectations in last night’s eastern regional primary and looks to have won 112 of the available 118 delegates in the five voting states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island). He needed at least 103 to stay on course for a first-ballot nomination victory.

The GOP front-runner captured a majority in every state, ranging from a high of 64 percent in Rhode Island to a low of 55 percent in Maryland. More importantly, he swept the winner-take-all by congressional district states in Connecticut and Maryland, winning each of the combined 13 congressional districts. Not only did Trump win every district and thus score backdoor winner-take-all victories in the congressional district domains along with adding the one at-large winner-take-all state (Delaware) to his column, he went so far as to win every county in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

The April 26 primaries came on the last day that featured more than two states — until we reach the nomination finale on June 7. That day, an additional five states will host primary voting, including California. With its 172-delegate contingent, the Golden State is the nation’s largest delegation and will likely decide whether Trump can score a first-ballot victory or if the nomination battle falls into a contested convention.

For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed first in four of the five states and easily expanded her delegate take. Sen. Bernie Sanders took the Rhode Island primary, and came close in Connecticut, but Clinton easily captured the bigger states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She also won a strong victory in Delaware. In all, Clinton likely captured about 200 delegates according to preliminary counts, well beyond the 27 percent she needs to average from the outstanding delegate pool in order to clinch the nomination.

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Maryland, Pennsylvania
House Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

Maryland

April 26, 2016 — With representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County) and Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) locked in a Senate Democratic nomination battle that is now favoring the former, we take a look at the state’s House primaries that will be decided in today’s election.

Though all but one Maryland House incumbent faces primary opposition, the real action is in the state’s two open seats. No incumbent primary challenge is viewed to be serious including that of former state Delegate Mike Smigiel who, along with two others, is opposing the lone Republican incumbent in the congressional delegation, three-term Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-1).

MD-4: The 4th District, Edwards open seat, features former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who badly lost the 2014 gubernatorial campaign to now-Gov. Larry Hogan (R). He squares off in a multi-candidate contest with former Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, College Park state Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, retired Army officer Warren Christopher and psychologist Terence Strait. The winner takes the heavily Democratic seat in the general election. Brown is attempting to resurrect his political career after losing embarrassingly to Hogan even when cast as the early favorite.

MD-8: Van Hollen’s open 8th District is an overwhelmingly Democratic seat anchored in Montgomery County before going all the way to the Pennsylvania border. Today, the multi-million dollar mega-Democratic primary to replace him concludes. Since Maryland has no run-off law, the Democratic nomination, and therefore the seat, will be decided today. Continue reading