Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) announced yesterday that he will not seek the open Iowa Senate seat next year. His decision is not particularly surprising. Iowa insiders had been indicating for more than a week that the 10-term congressman was leaning against launching a statewide bid.
In publicizing his decision, Latham indicated that he had just been re-elected to the House in a much different post-redistricting CD — in fact, 83 percent of the constituents are new to him — and a two-year statewide campaign would take him away from properly fulfilling his current responsibilities.
Politically, though he was commonly seen as the best general election candidate the Republicans could field, he faced a major obstacle in the GOP primary. Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4), fresh from his own convincing re-election victory over a strong and well-known Democratic opponent, commands the inside track to the Senate nomination. King is backed with vigorous Tea Party support and enjoys strong grassroots presence for his Republican nomination campaign, which are major factors.
Late January and early February polling provided us a quick glimpse into how the Continue reading >
A new Public Policy Polling survey (Feb. 15-17; 1,011 registered Montana voters; 371 “usual” Democratic primary voters) shows clear vulnerability for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). The senator, first elected in 1978, is preparing a run for a seventh term next year. Prior to his service in the Senate, Baucus spent four years in the US House of Representatives.
While the senator’s numbers aren’t particularly strong, he fares much worse against individuals unlikely to challenge him. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), who has repeatedly said he has no intention of running for the Senate, compares very well to Baucus if he were to oppose him in the Democratic primary. According to the survey results, the ex-two-term governor would bury the veteran federal incumbent 54-35 percent. Schweitzer’s personal favorability index registers a strong 56:37 percent positive to negative. In contrast, Sen. Baucus’ job approval ratio is an upside down 45:48 percent.
Three Republicans are highly competitive with the senator, but at least two of them won’t become candidates. Former Gov. Marc Racicot (R) leads Baucus 47-42 percent. Freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) enjoys a 49-44 percent margin over the incumbent. Newly elected Attorney General Tim Fox (R) trails Baucus only 43-46 percent.
When paired individually against the two Republicans who have announced a campaign for the Senate — ex-state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds — Sen. Baucus re-establishes healthy leads. He tops Stapleton 45-38 percent, while posting a full 10-point advantage over Edmunds, 47-37 percent. Continue reading >
Two different pollsters tested the Georgia electorate about their new open Senate race (Sen. Saxby Chambliss retiring) and came away finding that one party’s strongest candidate is someone who shows no interest in running.
Both Harper Polling (Feb. 11-12; 939 registered Georgia voters; 375 Republican primary voters; 338 Democratic primary voters) and Public Policy Polling (Feb. 15-18; 602 registered Georgia voters; 366 Republican primary voters) found that Democratic former Sen. Max Cleland, who served one term from 1997 to 2003 (he lost his 2002 re-election to Sen. Chambliss 46-53 percent), would defeat all potential Republican nominees if he were to run in 2014. The former senator, now 70 years old, has given no indication that he is contemplating a political comeback, however.
Tested against the four Republican US representatives who have either entered the race or are considering such, Harper projects that Cleland would place ahead of Continue reading >
State Rep. Jason Smith, the Missouri House of Representatives’ Speaker Pro Tempore, was chosen Saturday as the Republican nominee for the June 4 special election called to replace resigned Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO-8). Earlier this month, the congresswoman left the House to become the president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Eighty-four of the 86 designated members from the 30 county Republican committees that comprise the 8th Congressional District, and 14 at-large voters, caucused in the small town of Van Buren to nominate a standard bearer. Smith won on the sixth ballot, defeating Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former state Sen. Jason Crowell. Ex-Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Lloyd Smith withdrew after the fifth ballot. Former one-term congressman Wendell Bailey was eliminated after three. Smith led the balloting in all six rounds and recorded 55 votes on the final vote, five more than he needed to claim the nomination. Neither Kinder nor Crowell ever topped the 20-vote mark.
Jason Smith, an attorney and farmer, is serving his fifth term in the state House, originally coming to the legislature via special election to fill a vacancy in 2005. He was unopposed in new District 120 last November. Born in St. Louis, the 32-year-old legislator moved to Dent County Continue reading >
Public Policy Polling went to Iowa to test the potential Senate candidates and confirmed what Harper Polling had previously concluded: the Democrats are generally in better position statewide; Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) is the stronger Republican primary candidate; and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) fares better than King against all Democratic potential contenders.
PPP’s poll (Feb. 1-3; 846 registered Iowa voters; 326 self-identified “usual” Republican primary voters) shows similar levels of strength when comparing Democrats Tom Vilsack, the former governor and current US Agriculture Secretary, with Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1).
Vilsack would defeat King 49-39 percent, and Braley outpaces his Republican congressional colleague by a similar 49-38 percent. But against Rep. Latham, the margins tighten. Vilsack tops the Des Moines area Congressman 46-42 percent, and Braley only has a 44-41 percent lead.
A third Democrat, defeated one-term Gov. Chet Culver, who is publicly considering seeking a re-match with five-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R), is weaker in the statewide Senate contest. He leads King 48-41 percent, but trails Latham 41-45 percent.
In the Republican primary, King would place first in a four-way race at 41 percent, followed by Latham with 22 percent. If Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and ex-gubernatorial Continue reading >
Harper Polling surveyed the field in Iowa, and found that early suppositions pertaining to next year’s open Senate race may already be proving true. Many believe, that on the Republican side, Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4) has an advantage for the nomination but Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) is a better general election candidate. The Harper numbers show such a conclusion.
According to their Jan. 29 poll of 523 registered Iowa voters, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) leads King 39-33 percent, but trails Latham 33-36 percent. In the statewide Republican primary, though understanding that the sample size is a very low 200 registered Republicans, King has a 46-29 percent advantage over Latham if the two were to face each other in a stand-alone battle.
Adding two other potential Republican candidates, former gubernatorial contender Bob Vander Plaats and state senator and former congressional candidate Brad Zaun, King also places first. He would lead this field 35-22-20-3 percent over Latham, Continue reading >
As predicted, now that the Massachusetts Senate special election is officially underway, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8) jumped into the race. He released an announcement video yesterday declaring his statewide candidacy. From his tweets on Twitter, it is clear that he will attempt to draw a sharp contrast between he and fellow Democratic Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5), his opponent in the party primary to be decided on April 30.
Lynch will position himself as the outsider, versus Markey, who he portrays as the insider, establishment candidate. This might be a very difficult strategy to implement since Massachusetts voters normally support the most entrenched of incumbents.
Congressman Lynch represents downtown Boston and the South Boston area, going as far as Quincy and Brockton before swinging back up toward West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. Markey, on the other hand, represents the area north of the city commonly known as “Bean Town,” including his home base in Malden and Melrose, before swinging southeast to Revere and then west toward Framingham. Markey will move to secure the left flank of the party base whereas Lynch will attempt to rally the moderates. Markey has a huge financial advantage, beginning the Continue reading >