Category Archives: Election Analysis

Kaine; Wasserman Schultz’s Problems

By Jim Ellis

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.

Continue reading

Takai Passes;
VP Announcement Coming

By Jim Ellis

July 22, 2016 — In May, freshman Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea/Honolulu) announced his pancreatic cancer had spread, thus preventing him from seeking a second term. Sadly, Mr. Takai, 49, succumbed to the disease Tuesday morning. Hawaii’s 1st District will remain vacant most likely until the election unless Gov. David Ige (D) decides to schedule a special election before November. Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) is the prohibitive favorite to succeed the late congressman.

VP

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has scheduled two major rallies in Tampa on Friday and Miami, Saturday, and reports indicate that she will name her vice presidential selection at the latter event. Her choice will largely tell us a how she views her own general election prospects.

If Ms. Clinton chooses either Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) or Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), it will be an indication that she feels weak on her left flank. Adopting a running mate from the ideological left will signify that she believes her support among the Bernie Sanders’ wing of the Democratic Party needs reinforcing. Such a move would be designed to help attract the 43% of the Democratic primary electorate who supported Sanders earlier this year.

Continue reading

Hoosier Musical Chairs

By Jim Ellis

July 19, 2016 — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s selection as Donald Trump’s Republican vice presidential nominee begins an unusual succession process. Immediately, the members of the Indiana Republican Party’s State Committee must take action to choose replacement nominees for what is becoming a series of vacancies.

Friday was the state deadline to finalize the November ballot. Up until noon on July 15, candidates throughout Indiana could withdraw after winning the May 3 primary, leaving the affected political party structure in charge of selecting replacements. Never has the ballot deadline created such an active period.

Somewhat lost in the deadline flurry of activity surrounding Pence’s ascension to the national ticket, was the Democratic move earlier in the week when party leaders were able to convince ex-Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9) to withdraw from the Senate race and allow former senator and governor, Evan Bayh (D), to step in as the replacement.

Continue reading

Trump’s VP Selection

By Jim Ellis

July 18, 2016 — Donald Trump had scheduled an announcement Friday in New York to introduce who would be his vice presidential running mate. A plethora of media reports suggested that he would select Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The reports were right. Gov. Pence withdrew from the governor’s race before the noon CDT, for that was the established deadline when the ballots became final under Hoosier State election law. Once a vacancy is registered, the Indiana Republican Party has 30 days to name a replacement for the gubernatorial ballot, and already at least three individuals have informed the party leadership that they are candidates. Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and representatives Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) and Todd Rokita (R-Clermont) are withdrawing from their respective campaigns, but the ones not chosen could conceivably be reinstated in order to keep their present ballot position.

Choosing Pence makes sense for Trump, at least from the standpoint that the conservative Indiana governor will help unite the Republican base. Though Trump’s GOP support numbers in national polling appears on par with Hillary Clinton’s backing within the Democratic Party universe in most polls, the bedrock Republican states, particularly in the central and Rocky Mountain regions of the country, are a slightly different story.

Continue reading

Hello, Good Bayh

By Jim Ellis

July 13, 2016 — The big political news on Monday saw the Democrats engineering a surprise Senate comeback. Former Indiana senator and governor, Evan Bayh, confirmed he will now enter the Hoosier State’s open federal statewide campaign. Earlier, ex-US Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9), who won the Democratic nomination in the May 3 Senate primary, withdrew from the race thus allowing the party leaders to name his replacement. The candidate swap had to be completed before close of business on July 15, the state deadline for ballot qualification.

It’s a strong Democratic move clearly in two ways, but the Bayh political re-entry also places him in a potentially awkward position.

First, the Democratic leaders needed to find a way to make the open Indiana race competitive. It was painfully clear that Hill, whose campaign was basically moribund, was failing to give Republican nominee Todd Young, the current 9th District congressman, a serious run, so they opted for ex-Sen. Bayh.

Second, though at the time of his exit from the political scene six years ago Democratic leaders were incensed that Bayh would not part with any of the $9-plus million he kept in his campaign account, they are now pleased to see this huge asset for their new candidate and party.

Continue reading