Category Archives: Election Analysis

Markey Wins; Now Faces Investor Gomez

As projected, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) defeated his House Democratic colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), in last night’s special US Senate party primary election. Markey racked up an expected 57-43 percent margin over Lynch, with a turnout of more than 530,000 Democratic voters. All of the candidates are vying for Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat, now held by interim Sen. Mo Cowan (D).

Both men racked up strong percentages in the congressional districts they represent; Markey in the 5th District north and west of Boston, and Lynch in the 8th CD anchored in the area south of Massachusetts’ capital city including the towns of Quincy, Brockton, and Fall River. Lynch also carried the central region of the state nestled in between the cities of Worcester and Springfield, as well as the area around the city of Lowell and the New Hampshire border territory. Markey was strong in virtually other part of the state, thus accounting for his lopsided victory.

When all of the expenditures are totaled, Markey will have exceeded the $5 million mark in spending; Lynch a little over $2 million.

On the Republican side, private equity investor and former US Navy veteran Gabriel Gomez convincingly won his primary, defeating former US Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Dan Winslow. Gomez scored 51 percent to Sullivan’s 36 percent and Winslow’s 13 percent. Just over 182,000 Republicans participated in their primary election. Late polling also forecast Gomez to be leading the GOP field, but sample sizes from the public polls were so small as not to be considered reliable.

The Gomez expenditure level is not clear at this point in time, but the other two Republican candidates spent less than $300,000 on their campaigns.

The special general, which is scheduled for June 25, appears to be Markey’s to lose. As we all know, Massachusetts is one of the  Continue reading >

Upward Mobility

Even at this early point in the 2014 election cycle, a grand total of 32 House members have either indicated they will run for another office or are mentioned as considering doing so. Below is a listing:

  • Arkansas – Rep. Tom Cotton (R) – reportedly moving toward a challenge to Sen. Mark Pryor (D), but has yet to finally decide.
  • Georgia – The free-for-all to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) is touching a large number of Georgia House delegation members.
    • Rep. John Barrow (D) – has twice publicly said he has no plans to run for Senate, but may now be changing his mind. He is reportedly pressuring Democratic Party leaders to help clear the primary field so he has the maximum amount of time to raise general election funds without the pressure of a primary.
    • Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) – though he has received little coverage about a possible Senate bid, Mr. Bishop has reportedly been telling people in his 2nd District that he is seriously considering running for the seat.
    • Rep. Paul Broun (R) – announced Senatorial candidate
    • Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) – Georgia political insiders rate him as “very likely” to run for Senate.
    • Rep. Tom Graves (R) – announced that he will not run for Senate.
    • Rep. Jack Kingston (R) – clearly making moves to run for the Senate but has been known in the past to shy away from taking political chances. Today, he is a likely candidate, but that may change when next year’s filing deadline approaches.
    • Rep. Tom Price (R) – originally thought to be a sure Senatorial candidate, Mr. Price is now putting  Continue reading >

Yes, No, Maybe So

Some of the 2014 US Senate races are already beginning to take shape, while others have yet to develop.

In just the past few days, political insiders in central Georgia are reporting that Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2) is telling supporters that he is seriously considering entering the open Senate race. In Iowa, others are saying that while Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) is moving toward running for his state’s open Senate seat, Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) is more likely to seek re-election than run statewide.

Below is a quick snap-shot of the candidate situation in what are expected to be the more hotly contested Senate campaigns of the election cycle:

  • ALASKA: Sen. Mark Begich (D) – Seeking his second term
    • In: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R)
    • Possible: Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R)
    • Unlikely: Gov. Sean Parnell (R)
    • Out: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R)
  • ARKANSAS: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) – Seeking his third term
    • In: Lt. Gov. Mike Darr (R)
    • Possible: Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4)
    • Out: Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2)
  • GEORGIA: Open Seat – Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) – Retiring
    • In: Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10)
    • Likely: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11)
    • Possible: Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA-6), Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12), Sec of State Brian Kemp (R)
    • Unlikely: Former Sen. Max Cleland (D), former Sec of State Karen Handel (R), Mayor Kasim Reed (D)
    • Out: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3)

     Continue reading >

Chambliss, Harkin to Retire; Senate Dominoes Falling

The past few days brought two Senate retirement announcements as both Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) made public their intentions not to seek another term. When the 113th Congress ends in January 2015, Harkin will conclude 40 years of congressional service: 30 in the Senate and 10 in the House. Sen. Chambliss will complete two senatorial terms after serving four as a Representative for a grand total of 20 years in elective federal office.

Georgia

The Georgia race likely will be decided from the Republican nomination process, and at least two current GOP House members, Reps. Tom Price (R-GA-6) and Paul Broun (R-GA-10), are likely Senate contenders. Reps. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3) are also potential candidates, as are former presidential aspirant Herman Cain and ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel. Democratic Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12), who successfully held a newly configured Republican-leaning seat in 2012, says he will not run statewide but is planning to seek re-election in 2014.

Iowa

The open Iowa campaign will be much different from the Georgia situation as competitive party primaries are expected as well as a tough general election race. It is not out of the realm of possibility that all four of Iowa’s sitting US Representatives Continue reading >

Halvorson Strategy Working Early

Debbie Halvorson

Debbie Halvorson

The first two election surveys have been released for the Feb. 26 special Democratic primary race in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, and the polling leader in both instances isn’t who one would expect. Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL-11), hoping to split the 60 percent-plus, majority African-American voter contingent among at least six well-known black candidates and win with a small plurality coalition of white voters, appears to be in early position to achieve her strategic objective.

The Normington-Petts Democratic survey research firm just completed an internal poll (Jan. 8-10; 400 likely Democratic primary voters) for candidate Toi Hutchinson, who Continue reading >

Hillary Flies High on a Low-Flying Poll

A new Public Policy Polling national survey (Jan. 3-6; 1,100 registered voters; 400 Democratic and 536 regular Republican primary participants) projects Hillary Clinton to be in the strongest position of all potential 2016 presidential candidates from either party, but the poll has methodological flaws.

According to the data, Clinton would easily capture the Democratic nomination, scoring a 57-16 percent margin over Vice President Joe Biden. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren notched 4 percent, followed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 3 percent, while Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner tallied 2 percent apiece.

The poll then paired only Clinton against a myriad of Republican potential candidates such as former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Clinton beats them all in hypothetical individual ballot test match-ups, but early results such as these are inconsequential and particularly so in this poll. Of the aforementioned, Christie fares best coming within two points of Clinton, behind 42-44 percent. All of the others trail her in double-digits.
Continue reading >

Southern States Polling Results

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R)

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R)

Public Policy Polling, fresh from setting the mark as one of the most accurate pollsters in the 2012 election cycle, went into the field in three key southern states — Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina — to project some very early Senatorial numbers. Here’s what they found:

Kentucky

Among the incumbents tested was Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who won his last election (2008) with 53 percent.

Looking ahead to 2012 in the Bluegrass State, the PPP data (Dec. 7-9; 1,299 registered Kentucky voters) produced unusual results. In their analysis, the organization’s president, Tom Jensen, claims that McConnell’s 37:55 percent job approval ratio is the worst of any senator. But, he still leads all hypothetical foes in isolated ballot tests.

The senator tops three well-known Democrats by identical 47-43 percent margins. Two of the three, Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, already have said they have no intention of challenging McConnell. The third tested candidate is actress Ashley Judd. She also has made public statements downplaying her desire to run but is the favorite of liberal activists, nonetheless, because many of them want a celebrity challenger to the Republican leader.

The other two Democratic figures who come within single-digits of the senator are Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (trailing McConnell 41-46 percent) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (behind 40-47 percent).

Though McConnell is not particularly popular in his home state, he remains one of the best campaigners in the Republican stable. Should the Democrats actually convince Judd to run, she might find going against McConnell much more difficult than it appears on paper. It is unlikely that she will run. Right now, the Democrats have no viable option, but expect them to field a credible challenger.

North Carolina

Looking ahead to 2014, first-term North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) appears to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents facing re-election. Hagan won in the high turnout year of 2008, defeating then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) who made many strategic campaign mistakes and had clearly lost touch with her constituency. In the upcoming mid-term election, considering the assured lower turnout when compared with a presidential year and that the state was one of two (Indiana was the other) that failed to support President Obama in 2012 after doing so in 2008, the stage is already set for a highly competitive Republican challenge race against her.

Looking at the early hypotheticals, Public Policy Polling (Dec. 6-9; 578 registered North Carolina voters) tested several North Carolina Republicans, not including any of the newly elected statewide officials. Among various members of the congressional delegation, Hagan scores in similar territory. Paired with GOP Reps. Renee Ellmers (down 39-45 percent), Virginia Foxx (trailing 39-49 percent), Patrick McHenry (behind 40-48 percent), and just-elected George Holding (Hagan leading 48-39 percent), the senator scores in a consistent range. Her totals suggest vulnerability. Though leading all of the congressmen, she doesn’t break 50 percent against any and, despite none of them having statewide name identification, all are within early striking distance. This will prove to be one of the hardest fought of the 2014 Senate races.

South Carolina

With all the talk surrounding Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R) resignation and potential replacement, less attention is being paid to the state’s senior senator who also must face the voters in 2014. While the conventional wisdom has been that Sen. Lindsey Graham is vulnerable in a South Carolina Republican primary, the new PPP polls paints a completely different picture.

According to the Public Policy Polling Republican primary data (Dec. 7-9; 506 South Carolina Republican voters), Sen. Graham enjoys a 66:26 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval ratio and crushes selected members of the congressional delegation in individual ballot tests.

Of the potential congressional challengers that PPP tabbed, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC-1) fares the best, but even he trails 32-54 percent. Graham is well above 50 percent against all potential comers, and scores 51-40 percent when asking whether the respondent would favor the senator or another candidate who is more conservative. Continued similar results will soon remove Sen. Graham from the primary vulnerability list.