Category Archives: Election Analysis

Hillary Takes Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands; A North Carolina Preview

By Jim Ellis

June 7, 2016 — Hillary Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary Sunday, capturing just under 60 percent of the vote. She unofficially defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in pledged delegates, 36-24, and captured an additional five Super Delegates. Two Puerto Rico convention voters remain uncommitted.

The former secretary of state also won the US Virgin Island caucus on Saturday, and comes away with at least six of the seven pledged delegates who were at stake. Sen. Sanders scored one convention vote. Two Super Delegates indicated support for Clinton, with the remaining three classified as uncommitted.

Combined, she gained 42 pledged delegates and likely another seven Super Delegates for an aggregate weekend total of 49 votes. She is now and additional 49 delegate votes away from clinching the nomination, which she will do early tonight.

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Murkowski’s Surprise Challenge; North Carolina Ruling

By Jim Ellis

June 6, 2016 — As the June 1 filing deadline was just minutes from closing, an unexpected individual came forward to declare a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R), the 2014 Republican lieutenant governor nominee (he and Gov. Sean Parnell lost to Democrat Byron Mallot and Independent Bill Walker, respectively), announced opposite incumbent Murkowski for the Aug. 16 Republican nominating election.

This challenge is significant for several reasons. First, Sullivan is an accomplished Alaska politician, serving as mayor of the state’s lone major city for six years after spending almost a decade as a member of the Anchorage city assembly.

Second, during her last nomination campaign, Sen. Murkowski fell to a little known former local judge, Joe Miller, in the 2010 Republican primary. Miller scored a shocking 51-49 percent win with just under 110,000 voters participating, after taking clear advantage of the building Tea Party wave. But, Murkowski refused to give up. Armed with millions of dollars, strong support at home and from Washington, the senator embarked upon an Independent write-in effort that proved highly successful. Just 10 weeks after her stunning defeat, Murkowski rebounded to score a 39-35-23 percent general election victory over Miller and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka.

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Sanders’ Final Strategy

By Jim Ellis

June 3, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) has repeatedly said he plans to take his campaign to the Democratic National Convention, but what he really expects to attain from doing so has been a relative mystery. Now, however, according to the Wall Street Journal and other sources, his plan is beginning to come into focus.

As we head into the final major primary day on next Tuesday, Hillary Clinton stands with 2,291 to 2,312 pledged and Super Delegate votes to Sanders’ 1,544 or 1,545 total, depending upon what count you view. Many media outlets have differing delegate tabulations because their Super Delegate information is inconsistent. Most of the Super Delegates can change their votes, so there is an inherent variance in the true vote count.

On Tuesday, Democratic voters in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and California will vote. It is likely that Clinton will score enough delegates from the first three voting entities of that day, the USVI, Puerto Rico, and New Jersey in the Atlantic and Eastern time zones, respectively, to officially claim the nomination.

But, Sanders won’t necessarily be through, if his convention plan gains legs. His strategy is to force a rules fight and move to bind the Super Delegates to their respective statewide vote totals instead of allowing the vast majority of them to remain as free agents.

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Kristol’s Candidate

By Jim Ellis

June 1, 2016 — Weekly Standard magazine founder and editor Bill Kristol has been banging the proverbial drum for an Independent candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, thus leading to a Memorial Day weekend Twitter war of words. Kristol tweeted that a new “independent candidate – an impressive one with a strong team … ” is emerging, with Trump responding that “dummy Bill Kristol’s” effort will cost the Republicans the presidency and the Supreme Court.

Kristol maintains an independent candidate could still start from scratch at the beginning of June and actually win the race despite the logistics inferring otherwise.

Considering the independent ballot qualification deadlines have passed in many states, acquiring 50-state ballot access at this late date would be nearly impossible. In states where one can no longer qualify, an aspiring candidate would need court intervention to supersede state law, and under what grounds?

When former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was considering an Independent run, for example, his political professional team told him to decide before April 1 if he were to have any chance of gaining national ballot placement. He did. In the last week of March, Bloomberg announced that he would not run.

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They’re At It Again

By Jim Ellis

May 27, 2016 — Now the Republicans are doing it.

Before the May 10 Nebraska primary, we detailed how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was running television ads under their own acronym, advising Omaha Republican voters about who was the most conservative candidate. As we chronicled, the Democrats’ ploy to promote former state senator and Douglas County Commissioner Chip Maxwell because they believed him to be the weaker contender, had little effect since retired Gen. Don Bacon (R) won a landslide Republican nomination victory.

Now, Republicans are replicating the tactic in California. Feeling they have a chance to advance a pair of Republicans in the open June 7 CA-24 jungle congressional primary, the National Republican Congressional Committee, under the disclaimer “NRCC”, is now attempting to “educate” the Democratic electorate about who is the more liberal candidate.

The new ad targets Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who the NRCC and most political analysts believe is the strongest Democratic candidate. The 24th District is open this year because veteran Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) is retiring.

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McCain Teetering

By Jim Ellis

May 20, 2016 — A new Public Policy Polling survey (May 13-15; 896 registered Arizona voters, 443 likely Republican primary voters) provides further evidence that the Arizona Senate race will attract a great deal of attention in the fall campaign. If this data is accurate, then the Aug. 30 Republican primary will be noteworthy, too.

According to the results, five-term Sen. John McCain (R) holds only a 42-36 percent lead over Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) in the general election pairing. Though the ballot test presents an ominous sign for McCain, this data is actually better for him than an April Behavior Research Center study. That poll found he and Rep. Kirkpatrick tied at 42 percent.

But this PPP survey, for the first time, shows McCain becoming potentially vulnerable in the Republican primary. The senator has four Republican primary challengers, including former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

According to the primary ballot test question, McCain would only lead the GOP field with 39 percent, followed by Ward who registers 26 percent support. Adding all of the minor candidates together totals an additional nine percentage points, with 27 percent undecided. If McCain and Ward are isolated in a one-on-one contest, the two are actually tied with 41 percent apiece.

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More on Tuesday’s Primaries

By Jim Ellis

May 19, 2016
— Once again Sen. Bernie Sanders performed well against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s primaries. While even Sanders is all but conceding a Clinton ultimate Democratic presidential nomination victory, he nonetheless won the Oregon primary. In the face of the latest Fox News poll (May 6-9; 304 likely Oregon Democratic primary voters) predicting a 15-point Clinton advantage, Sanders appears to have won by six. The final tally, because of Oregon’s all-mail voting system will take time to fully record.

In Kentucky, Sanders actually gained the lead with 95 percent of the precincts reporting, but in the end Clinton pulled out what appears to be a 1,900-vote victory. The count is not final at this writing, however.

Even though Clinton again badly under-performed in what should be a victory lap for her, she still moved closer to her goal of capturing the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination. There is no doubt she will deliver, but it’s going to take her until the primary season’s last day (June 7) to officially clinch, something that was not predicted at the beginning of the campaign. Most analysts believed she would become the presumptive nominee back on Super Tuesday (March 1).

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