Aug. 4, 2016 — Voters in four states went to the polls Tuesday, and the primary evening’s top news featured western Kansas Republicans unseating their three-term Freedom Caucus congressman.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler) fell to Dr. Roger Marshall (R), 56-44 percent, effectively ending his six-year tenure in the House. Huelskamp was at odds with the Republican leadership from the very beginning of his congressional career, even driving them to remove him from the Agriculture Committee, the industry of premier dominance in his district. The situation deteriorated to the point that even the Kansas Farm Bureau and the state Livestock Association officially backed Dr. Marshall.
Though national issues drove Huelskamp, it was the local agriculture situation that cost him the seat. The successful opposition campaign centered around Huelskamp’s ouster from the Agriculture Committee in one of the nation’s richest farm producing districts, and the incumbent’s refusal to support the farm bill in several Congresses. Dr. Marshall will easily win the seat in the general election.
Aug. 3, 2016 — The national post-convention polls are quickly being reported into the public domain and, as time has progressed from the weekend into the beginning of this new week, Hillary Clinton’s advantage increases.
It’s not particularly surprising that the former Secretary of State’s post-conclave bounce would neutralize the gains that Donald Trump made the previous week when he officially accepted his nomination. In fact, the principle reason the Democrats scheduled their convention in the immediate week after the GOP national meeting was to blunt any sustained momentum the Republican nominee might develop.
In a poll taken throughout the Democratic convention week, Ipsos Reuters (July 25-29; 1,433 likely US voters) found Clinton leading Trump 40-35 percent. When Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is added, Clinton and Trump tie at 37 percent, while the newcomer had five percent.
Aug. 2, 2016 — Today, voters in four states go the polls to choose nominees for their federal and state races. Intra-party contests in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will be decided. The Tennessee primary will follow on Thursday.
The day’s most competitive primary challenge is underway in the 1st District, where one of the conservative Freedom Caucus’ most outspoken members, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler/Western Kansas), faces one lone, serious challenger, Dr. Roger Marshall (R). Sen. Jerry Moran (R) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park/Kansas City) face only minor opposition in their respective campaigns.
The 1st District stretches from the Colorado border east through three-quarters of Kansas’ land mass. Including cities such as Manhattan, Hutchinson, Salina, Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal, KS-1 is a conservative, agriculture-dominated CD. Rep. Huelskamp, who won a crowded open seat nomination fight in 2010, also received a primary challenge in 2014 and prevailed 56-44% over Alan LaPolice who only managed to spend just over $160,000.
Aug. 1, 2016 — While Hillary Clinton was officially accepting the Democratic nomination last week in Philadelphia, a new Pennsylvania poll provided her with some encouraging news even as other data from a reliable Democratic state produced a much different conclusion.
Massachusetts’ Suffolk University surveyed the Pennsylvania electorate (July 25-27; 500 likely Pennsylvania voters) and revealed conclusions not found in previous polling data. While other pollsters have generally determined that Clinton and Donald Trump are running within a few points of each other, this new data suggests a much larger lead for the newly crowned Democratic nominee.
According to the Suffolk results, Clinton leads Trump, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 46-37-5-2 percent, quite a departure from the Quinnipiac University poll (June 30-July 11; 982 registered Pennsylvania voters), for example, which posted a six-point Trump lead.
July 29, 2016 — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) faces a Wisconsin primary challenge that is beginning to show movement, and he’s responding. While there is little chance Ryan loses re-nomination on Aug. 9, his opponent, businessman Paul Nehlen (R), is scoring points.
The Speaker, conscious of avoiding the political campaign mistakes that cost former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) his seat in Congress, responded this week with a positive ad television buy (above).
Cantor’s mistake was attacking his Republican opponent, now Rep. David Brat (R-Glen Allen). The Majority Leader’s offensive provided Brat’s insurgent campaign enough credibility to attract meaningful attention, resulting in significant numbers listening to his message.
July 27, 2016 — Though last week’s Republican convention had its political hiccups, Donald Trump appears to have received the bump that he and his campaign hierarchy had desired.
A series of new polls were released Monday, all conducted between the July 21-24 period, just after the Republican conclave ended.
CBS News (July 22-24; 1,118 US registered voters) finds Trump leading Hillary Clinton, 44-43 percent in a head-to-head ballot test, and 40-39-12 percent when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is included.
CNN (July 22-24; 882 US registered voters) produced a bit better split for Trump. They see the now official Republican nominee holding a three-point head-to-head edge, 48-45 percent, and a larger 44-39-9-3 percent margin when Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are added to the polling questionnaire.
July 26, 2016 — Hillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate became official over the weekend, and it tells us several things about her campaign.
First, she appears to have taken the politically safe route in tabbing the more centrist Kaine, a senator, former governor, and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Second, the move suggests that she feels comfortable with her November prospects and base support, since Kaine does not have great appeal to the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren left. Additionally, his selection doesn’t appear to have direct pull within the minority communities, though Kaine speaking fluent Spanish will undoubtedly be highlighted whether or not it attracts any actual votes.
The real reasons for picking him, however, are that Sen. Kaine is unlikely to make any major mistake on the campaign trail, and he proves an important asset in converting his home swing state, Virginia, to the Democratic column. The Old Dominion (13 Electoral Votes) has been considered battleground territory in the 21st Century’s presidential elections, breaking twice for each party.