Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Democrat Debate Friction


By Jim Ellis

June 10, 2019 — The Politico publication ran a story late last week detailing building friction between the Democratic National Committee and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a late-entering Democratic presidential candidate, over the committee leaders apparently axing the western governor from the first debate forum coming later this month.

The source of controversy is the party leadership contending that Gov. Bullock, who looked to have qualified for the debate under the outlined criteria, now has not. Instead, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is in position to capture the 20th and final debate podium for the upcoming June 26-27 candidate forums from Miami.

As we have previously reported, the qualifications the party leaders have placed upon the candidates require them to either build a fundraising organization of 65,000 donors, with a minimum of 200 coming from 20 states, or score one percent support in at least three surveys from eight designated pollsters.

Gov. Bullock appeared to have met the polling requirement. He exceeded the one percent threshold in the ABC/Washington Post survey in January. But, the DNC is now disallowing this particular poll, and the action probably eliminates him from the debate.

Their reasoning is that the ABC/Post poll asked an open-ended presidential ballot test question — that is, where the names of the candidates are not read, but the respondents must voluntarily state a name. This type of question is usually employed to test hard name identification and candidate strength.

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Polling vs. Delegates:
“The Game Within the Game”

By Jim Ellis

Texas state senate districts

June 7, 2018 — Quinnipiac University released their latest Texas poll (May 29-June 4; 1,159 registered Texas voters) and it finds former Vice President Joe Biden doing well in opponents’ Beto O’Rourke and Joaquin Castro’s home state.

According to the results, Biden heads the Lone Star State Democratic presidential field and is the only candidate to top President Trump when the president is isolated against each competitive Democrat (Biden over Trump: 48-44 percent).

Arguably, Texas, with its 38 Electoral Votes and the largest cache that a Republican candidate can generally claim, is Trump’s most important state. Losing here would likely mean forfeiting the presidency. There is no mathematical way to compensate for Trump failing to win Texas’ electoral votes and still allow him a path to reach the 270 Electoral Votes to claim a national victory.

In the Democratic primary, scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 3, Biden leads the pack of candidates with 30 percent of the vote, topping ex-Rep. O’Rourke (16 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders (15 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (11 percent), and the nine others who recorded between one and four percent statewide support.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Steve Bullock (D-MT), Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Mayors Bill de Blasio (New York, NY), Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL), failed to reach the one percent plateau.

But, how would such a vote split translate into delegates for the participating candidates? Under Democratic Party rules, each state has both at-large and district delegates. Another group, called PLEO’s, are comprised of state and local Democratic Party leaders along with elected officials.

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Electoral Vote Compact Takes a Hit

By Jim Ellis

June 3, 2019 — Recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke one of her strongest applause lines on the presidential campaign trail, when she talked about eliminating the Electoral College. And the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact organization had been gaining significant energy when Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico officially joined its ranks earlier this year. But, that momentum hit a major roadblock yesterday.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, or NPVIC, began soon after the 2000 presidential election when Democratic nominee Al Gore won the popular vote count but fell to George W. Bush in the Electoral College. The result marked the first time since the 1888 election when the popular vote winner failed to win the presidency.

By 2007, Maryland became the first state to officially join the NPVIC. Today, 14 states are Compact members, representing 189 Electoral Votes. The organization’s stated goal is to recruit enough states to equal a majority of 270 EVs that will agree the respective members will deliver its Electors to the national popular vote winner regardless of how their own electorate votes.

However, the Maine House of Representatives, on a 76-66 vote, defeated legislation late last week to add their state to the growing NPVIC organization. And, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), in a surprise move to some, vetoed the compact legislation that had reached his desk. Earlier in the Oregon legislative session, the state Senate passed its bill to join the compact and action is awaited in the House before the legislative session’s scheduled end on June 21.

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Democrats Up the Debate Ante

By Jim Ellis

May 31, 2019 — The Democratic National Committee just announced the imposition of new requirements for presidential candidates to participate in the series of subsequent debates to begin in mid-September. The first two sessions are scheduled for June 26-27 and July 30-31 in Miami and Detroit, respectively.

The field is close to being set for the initial forums with 20 candidates qualifying according to the Intelligencer publication, the personnel from which have been tracking the debate process since the schedule was first announced.

To earn a podium in the first two debates, the candidates are required to either score one percent support in three of eight designated polls or reach 65,000 donors, of which at least 200 must come from 20 specific states.

The participants will include some of the more obscure candidates including author Marianne Williamson, New York City businessman Andrew Yang, and the two western governors, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Steve Bullock from Montana.

This means that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam likely will not be part of the first forum, though time remains for them to still qualify.

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Trump’s Ballot Politics

President Donald Trump | whitehouse.gov


By Jim Ellis

May 28, 2019 — Earlier this month, the California state Senate approved a bill that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to qualify for the Golden State ballot. A similar measure was vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2017, but current Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign the measure.

A total of 17 other states also have similar pending legislation, with the strongest chances for enactment coming most probably in New York and Washington.

The move, of course, is targeted at President Trump who will not release his tax returns. But, would denying him ballot placement in states that he won’t carry actually hurt him?

A contrary argument exists to suggest that Trump and the down-ballot Republican candidates in those states might actually receive some tangential benefits from the president not being on the official ballot in places like California and New York, in particular.

First, if Trump didn’t appear on the California, New York, and Washington ballots, it would not change the Electoral College outcome because he won’t carry any of those states. He will likely concede them at the outset and spend no campaign money in any of those locations. Therefore, his ballot placement in these places could arguably be irrelevant.

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