Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Nevada Looks to Change
Presidential Nominating System

April 29, 2015 — Majority state legislative Republicans, led by Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, are moving a bill to change Nevada’s presidential nominating system from a caucus to a primary. A companion measure has been introduced in the state Senate.

The initiative, if both houses pass and Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signs the bill(s) into law, is quite significant considering Nevada is one of just four states the Republican National Committee sanctions for voting prior to March 1, 2016. The measure(s) would schedule the new Republican primary for Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, just ahead of the Saturday (Feb. 27, 2016) South Carolina primary and behind the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary that is tentatively targeted for Tuesday, Feb. 9. The nation’s first caucus vote, held in Iowa, is scheduled to occur on or around Feb. 1, 2016.

The legislators do not appear to be attempting to aid any one particular candidate, though the candidates with more in the way of campaign financial resources should benefit to the detriment of those depending upon a strong grassroots precinct organizations. Rather, their stated goal is to increase voter participation and avoid what state Republican Party chairman Michael McDonald said hurt the state in 2012.
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Another Potential GOP Candidate Moves Toward the Presidential Race

April 28, 2015 — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) last-minute appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas this weekend accomplished several goals.

First, considering the mixed messages emanating from several meeting attenders and the governor’s spokespeople as to whether or not he has decided to enter the presidential race, Snyder has managed to make himself, at least in the short-term, part of the presidential conversation.

Second, he clearly scored political points with the group when telling of his “Michigan Story,” a recitation of his record since becoming governor of the economically troubled state in 2011 that included his handling of the Detroit financial collapse.

Third, just before the meeting he formed a federal PAC entitled “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story,” his version of the type of entity presidential candidates create to pay for the extensive travel required of national contenders and for purposes of self-promotion.
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Rubio Surges in Presidential Poll

April 27, 2015 — Quinnipiac University conducted a new nationwide poll (April 16-21; 1,323 registered voters; 567 Republican primary voters, 569 Democratic primary voters) and found a new leader among the prospective Republican candidates: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

According to the data, Rubio, clearly receiving a major bump from his major announcement event that earned him positive national media coverage, leads the growing pack of GOP hopefuls but with a small 15 percent preference factor. Fellow Floridian Jeb Bush is next with 13 percent, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who posts 11 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is fourth with nine percent, followed by all the others in lower single-digits.

For the Democrats, it is again Hillary Clinton easily leading Vice President Joe Biden, 60-10 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) follows with eight percent, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley registers only three percent preference.
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Hillary’s Big, Unreliable Leads

April 24, 2015 — CNN, along with their polling partner, ORC International, conducted a nationwide poll of the presidential contest and, as happens from time to time in modern-day national political polling, the result does not likely reflect the state of the actual electorate.

The poll (April 16-19; 1,018 American adults; 435 self-identified Republicans and Independents who lean Republican; 458 self-identified Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic) projects Hillary Clinton to be holding huge leads over the major Republican candidates in hypothetical general election pairings.

In the GOP primary, a very tight race is forecast with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leading Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by five points, and senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) together by six. Another 13 candidates were tested, but all of these attracted only single-digit preference. But, what is consistent in all national polls, as was found here, even when Bush leads the pack, he is still generally below 20 percent (in this case, 17 percent). This, for a candidate having virtually universal name identification with the vast majority of respondents expressing an opinion of him.
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Is McCollum Poised to Make a
Comeback in the Florida Senate?

April 23, 2015 — A new but familiar name has surfaced in the open Florida Senate candidate conversation. Beginning the process of deciding whether to enter another campaign is former congressman and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R).

Out of office since losing the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary to current Gov. Rick Scott, McCollum was assumed to be retired from elective politics after spending 20 years in the House, four more as attorney general, and losing two US Senate campaigns and a governor’s race.

A new poll, however, is clearly one of the elements making him think about embarking upon yet another political campaign. The new Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey (April 14-16; 400 Florida Republican primary voters; 400 Florida Democratic primary voters) finds McCollum holding a significant lead over the rest of the prospective Republican primary field.
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