Author Archives: Jim Ellis

McGinty to Run
In Pennsylvania Senate Race

Aug. 6, 2015 — Tuesday, as expected, just-resigned gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinty announced that she will challenge former congressman Joe Sestak for the Democratic US Senate nomination next year. The winner opposes first-term Sen. Pat Toomey in one of the nation’s most critical campaigns.

The Pennsylvania contest has already been a major problem for the Democratic Party leadership. Falling into open internal warfare with Sestak, largely over personality conflicts and the inability to work together during his previous campaign five years ago, the party leaders have been candid about their desire to field another candidate.

Earlier in the year they attempted to recruit Montgomery County Commission chairman Josh Shapiro but failed. Largely because of Rep. Bob Brady’s (D-PA-1) behind-the-scenes work, McGinty is now an official candidate.

Continue reading

Perry Out in GOP Debate

Aug. 5, 2015 —  Fox News’ dubious way of choosing their 10 presidential debate participants for this Thursday’s event has reached its predictable ending.  One candidate was rejected on the basis of just a few responses from an averaged set of small-sample polls.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has apparently secured the tenth and final debate spot, edging former Texas Gov. Rick Perry by what appears to be an imaginary percentage point at most.  Kasich joins Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie on the Fox debate dais.

Also failing to make the cut are Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.

The huge Republican field puts Fox and the other media outlets sponsoring debates in a difficult situation because the logistics of managing a 17-candidate forum are quite unwieldy.

Choosing to divide by an averaged set of national polls, many with samples comprised of less than 300 people, is not an equitable way of deciding which contenders are invited.  A series of smaller debates, with participants selected in random order would have been a fairer way to bring equal exposure to the candidates.

The Debates Begin

Aug. 5, 2014 — The first joint 2016 presidential event occurred Monday night at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, NH.  Managing a record-high 14 candidates, the forum was well organized and brought more policy discussion than we see in most programs of this type.  All Republican contenders but Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and ex-Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore participated.

As publicized, Trump did not attend because of his anger at the main sponsoring organization, the Manchester Union Leader, for what he described as their unfair treatment toward him.  It was reported at the end of the debate that Huckabee was not included because he responded after the inclusion deadline.  Ex-Gov. Gilmore, who just announced his candidacy last week, became a candidate too late to be invited to this particular forum.

Each candidate was separately interviewed, and then given a short amount of time to speak about whatever subject they desired.  The moderator, local New Hampshire radio host Jack Heath, was strong because he simply asked the question and backed away, thus giving each candidate a chance at providing unencumbered answers.

Continue reading

More Than Polls and Campaigns

Aug. 4, 2015 — Just after the first two 2016 presidential debates, the media coverage will undoubtedly center on the candidates and the plethora of public polls that will test public response.  But, there is another important process facet that won’t receive any attention: the voting schedule and delegate allocation.

As the campaign now begins to unfold in earnest, it is clear that the Democratic nomination is headed Hillary Clinton’s way.  Though she has serious flaws as a national candidate, her weaknesses are not a particular factor before her own party’s electorate.

National polls consistently show her barely ahead of several Republican candidates, and having major problems convincing the general electorate of her honesty, trustworthiness, and whether she cares about the average voter.  Yet, these negatives do not appear to be dissuading the Democratic primary voters.

Continue reading

Senate No-Go’s in Florida;
A California Democrat Fights Back

Aug. 3, 2015 — Three House members who had been very public about considering US Senate bids in their respective states, yesterday announced their decisions not to pursue a statewide campaign.

In what is becoming the most unpredictable of all Senate races, another surprise occurred in Florida.  Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Pensacola), who had been hiring staff, beginning to raise money, and even assembling an initial campaign schedule suddenly reversed course and will not join the growing field of Republican candidates.

Gainesville Rep. Ted Yoho (R), potentially a victim of the mid-decade, court-ordered congressional redistricting process, also reached the same conclusion about his own prospective Senate campaign.  So did California Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).

Continue reading