Category Archives: Election Analysis

It’s Coming Down to Ohio

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2016 — Donald Trump placed first in three of the four states last night, meaning next week’s Ohio Winner-Take-All contest may well determine if the Republicans will nominate a candidate on the first ballot or plummet into a contested convention. Sen. Marco Rubio had a terrible night, with only the two delegates he earned in Hawaii saving him from being shutout.

THE DELEGATE COUNT

REPUBLICANS:

Michigan Primary – 59 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 36.5% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 24.9% 17
John Kasich – 24.3% 17
Marco Rubio – 9.3%
Mississippi Primary – 40 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 47.3% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 36.3% 15
John Kasich – 8.8%
Marco Rubio – 5.1%
Idaho Primary – 32 Delegates (20% Vote Threshold)
Ted Cruz – 45.4% 20 Delegates
Donald Trump – 28.1% 12
Marco Rubio – 15.9%
John Kasich — 7.4%
Hawaii Caucus – 19 Delegates (0% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 42.4% 7 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 32.7% 5
John Kasich — 10.6% 2
Marco Rubio – 13.2% 2
RNC Uncommitted 3

UPDATED GOP NATIONAL DELEGATE COUNT (UNOFFICIAL):

CANDIDATE DELEGATES PERCENTAGE
Donald Trump 460 43.7
Ted Cruz 361 34.3
Marco Rubio 156 14.8
John Kasich 56 5.3
Ben Carson 8
Others 7
Uncommitted 5
Needed to win: 1,237

In order for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot, he will have to commit just over 54 percent of the remaining delegates, or 25 percent better than his performance to date. For Sen. Cruz to win on the first ballot, he must obtain 62 percent of the remaining delegate pool, or an improvement of 80 percent over his current rate of delegate acquisition.

The March 15 primaries that feature the Winner-Take-All states of Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates) will be critical in determining if the Republicans can nominate a candidate on the first ballot.

The five states and one territory voting next Tuesday will apportion 367 Republican delegates. With Trump running strongly in Florida, it is likely that Ohio will determine the nomination campaign’s future course. Should Trump win, he has a path to a first ballot majority. If Gov. Kasich scores the 66 delegates, then a brokered convention becomes the likely end game scenario.

Sanders’ Major Upset

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ surprising win in Michigan last night adds a bit of intrigue to the Democratic battle. Winning in a big state with a significant African-American population for the first time, Sanders may be giving Democratic Super Delegates some reason for pause.

Until possibly now, Hillary Clinton has dominated Super Delegate acquisition, which is responsible for her large overall lead in committed delegate votes. But, most of the Super Delegates are not bound on the first ballot. Therefore, they can change their positions.

Since Sanders runs consistently better among white Democratic voters than does Clinton, and most of the states featuring few black voters are still to come, there is reason to believe that he could catch her in the regular delegate category. If so, will the Super Delegates begin to fold? It may become difficult for them, a delegate category comprised of Democratic elected officials and party leaders, to oppose their state constituents.

For weeks, it appeared that Clinton was a lock for the nomination, and still maintains the inside track, no doubt. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope for the Sanders camp, and now a scenario is developing that brings him back into the game.

The adjusted delegate totals account for more Super Delegate declarations and pledged assignments (needed to win: 2,383):
Total Hillary Clinton: 1,229
Total Bernie Sanders: 575
Clinton Super Delegates: 90
Sanders Super Delegates: 575
Clinton Regular Delegates: 707
Sanders Regular Delegates: 485
Delegate Compilation Source: The Green Papers website

Trending Toward
A Brokered Convention

By Jim Ellis

March 7, 2016 — Republicans voted in five states over the weekend, and all four remaining GOP presidential candidates gained delegate votes. Both Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump placed first twice, while Sen. Marco Rubio scored a backdoor Winner-Take-All victory in Puerto Rico.

The Delegate Count:

REPUBLICANS

Louisiana Primary 46 Delegates
Donald Trump – 41.4% 18 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 37.8% 18
Marco Rubio – 11.2% 5
Uncommitted 5
Kansas Caucus 40 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 48.1% 24 Delegates
Donald Trump – 23.3% 9
Marco Rubio – 16.7% 6
John Kasich – 10.7% 1
Maine Caucus 23 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 45.9% 12 Delegates
Donald Trump – 32.6% 9
John Kasich – 12.2% 7
Marco Rubio – 8.0%
Puerto Rico Primary 23 Delegates
Marco Rubio – 71.0% 23 Delegates
Donald Trump – 13.0% 9
Ted Cruz – 8.6% 7
John Kasich – 1.3%

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Trump, Clinton Knocking on Door

March 3, 2016 — Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered strong performances Tuesday night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma. She won seven of the 11 Democratic voting entities Tuesday night (with American Samoa still to report at this writing). Sen. Bernie Sanders, in addition to his 51-41 percent win in Oklahoma, took his home state of Vermont, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.

Clinton was again dominant in the states with large African-American populations and it is probable that she once more attracted approximately 90 percent support within the black community. Sanders, however, is in the superior position among white Democratic voters. Massachusetts was the only northern state that Ms. Clinton carried, but it was close. She finished with 50.3 percent of the Bay State popular vote.

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Trump and Clinton Deliver,
But No Knockout Punch Quite Yet

March 2, 2016 — Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered strong performances last night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma. She won seven of the 11 Democratic voting entities last night.

Trump also took seven of the 11 Republican voting states; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) placed first in three, his home state of Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska; while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was victorious in the Minnesota Caucus. Despite placing first in seven voting entities, Trump broke the 40 percent threshold in only two places: Massachusetts and Alabama.

Though Trump has a healthy early lead, he is far from securing the 1,237 delegate votes required to clinch the party nomination. This suggests that the possibility of forcing a contested, or brokered, remains tangible.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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The Changing Presidential Campaign

Feb. 12, 2016 — The presidential candidates are now exiting the race just as fast as they were entering about a year ago. In early to mid-2015, there were 17 Republican candidates and five Democrats, but after yesterday those numbers are now, respectively, seven and two.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina joined the cavalcade of Republican candidates abandoning their presidential quest, as both came to the realization through disappointing New Hampshire finishes that neither has a path to victory in the national contest. Since the Iowa Caucus ended, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Christie, and Fiorina have all left the race.

Breaking 10 percent of the New Hampshire vote was a must for Christie, because that is the minimum vote threshold required in the state’s delegate apportionment formula. Realistically, the New Jersey governor needed a John Kasich-type finish (second place) to jump-start his effort in order to seriously vie for the moderate and establishment sectors’ support. Virtually making New Hampshire a watershed state for his campaign, it was little surprise that Gov. Christie ended his national effort when he failed to achieve his stated Granite State goals.

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Garcia Returning; Maryland Filings

Feb. 8, 2016 — The recent court-mandated Florida redistricting plan has made South Florida’s 26th District more Democratic, which could well lead to freshman Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s (R-Miami) electoral defeat. Though the Democratic leadership has been lining up behind ex-congressional and statewide candidate Annette Taddeo, former Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Miami) announced yesterday that he will return to the political arena in an attempt to re-capture his former position.

On his third attempt for Congress, Garcia, the former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, defeated then-scandal tainted Rep. David Rivera (R) in the 2012 election. Two years later, in the Republican wave election, Curbelo bounced Garcia back into private life.

The former representative has lost three of his last four congressional campaigns. Him now seeking a re-match with Curbelo does not please the party leadership. Remembering that Garcia was tossed partially because of his own political scandal, not unlike what happened to Rep. Rivera, isn’t something the Democratic chieftains want to revisit. Just when businessman Andrew Korge (D), also an announced congressional candidate and son of a major Florida Democratic contributor, decided to abandon his congressional campaign in favor of a state Senate contest, thus ostensibly clearing the primary field for Taddeo, Garcia makes his return apparent.

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