Category Archives: Presidential campaign

A Contested Convention After All?

By Jim Ellis

June 27, 2016 — There is clear evidence that “Never Trump” Republican national delegates are organizing an effort to force a national convention rules change and, in effect, fully open the floor proceedings when all delegations gather in Cleveland.

The movement received a shot in the arm earlier in the week when Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus appointed former US Rep. Enid Greene Mickelsen (R-UT) as chair of the national convention rules committee, and veteran RNC committeeman and former White House staff member Ron Kaufman (R-MA) as her co-chair. In doing so, Priebus by-passed the current RNC eules committee chairman, Arizona committeeman Bruce Ash, who is a strong proponent for keeping the rules consistent.

That’s not to say that Mickelsen and Kaufman would be sympathetic to opening the convention, but it was clear that Ash is hostile to the idea. In media interviews, Ash repeatedly stated that Donald Trump has abided by all party rules and fairly won the nomination through his particular strength in primaries. Trump has amassed more votes than any Republican candidate in history, meaning his presidential nomination is clearly legitimate. Ash further indicated that the GOP delegates, including himself, represent the Republican voters of their states, and they have clearly selected Trump.

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Why the Panic?

By Jim Ellis

June 23, 2016 — It is clear that most Republican insiders, and many elected delegates preparing for the national convention in Cleveland, appear terror stricken over the Trump campaign’s current status. Now, a long-shot move is underway to attempt to change the GOP convention rules so all delegates would be free to vote as they choose, thus dissing state laws and binding planks in a last-ditch attempt to deny Donald Trump the nomination.

Trump, himself, is being portrayed as showing signs of panic with his abrupt firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, but this act is likely a response to the poor fundraising operation that came directly under the departed top staff man’s purview. The Trump campaign reports an embarrassingly low $1,289,507 million cash on hand.

But is there reason for such panic? As often seems the case, the people directly involved in the political process appear to pay more attention to media stories than to numbers and maps because the empirical data is telling quite a different story.

Quinnipiac University just released polls in three key states, all taken between June 8-19. Their new Florida poll (975 registered Florida voters) finds Hillary Clinton leading Trump 47-39 percent, a significant gain in this most important of swing states, but the relatively modest eight point spread is her best showing, by far.

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How Rubio’s Decision Affects Others

By Jim Ellis

June 22, 2016 — It appears that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will change course and run for re-election after repeatedly saying he would not. GOP leaders, fearing they would lose the seat without him, have apparently prevailed upon him to seek re-election after exerting intense pressure. We will know for sure very shortly, because the state’s candidate filing deadline closes Friday afternoon.

But, Rubio’s decision will not only affect the Senate race. Two House district campaigns could also drastically change if he launches a new campaign.

Already, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL-13) has left the Senate race and returns to his Pinellas County congressional district to fight an uphill battle for re-election in an unfavorable post-redistricting seat. The state Supreme Court drew a new 13th CD that greatly favors the Democrats, and party switching former Gov. Charlie Crist will be Jolly’s general election opponent.

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Nevada’s Critical Role in November

By Jim Ellis

June 17, 2016 — As we examine the 2016 political landscape, it appears that Nevada, the small four-congressional district western state of 2.8 million people, will play a defining role in electing a president, determining which party controls the United States Senate, and whether or half of its House seats swing.

The developing Senate contest between Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) and former two-term Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) became official in Tuesday’s statewide primary. Masto and Heck each recorded landslide victories in their respective nomination contests and have now begun the arduous general election campaign. The state also hosts two nationally significant House races.

In the 3rd Congressional District, businessman and frequent candidate Danny Tarkanian upset state Senate Majority Leader Mike Roberson to win the Republican nomination from the politically marginal district that encompasses south Las Vegas and the succeeding territory all the way to the Arizona and California borders. Tarkanian will now face software developer Jacky Rosen (D) in the general election. Until Rep. Heck made his district politically secure, the 3rd delivered victory percentages of only 47.4, 48.1, and 50.4 from 2008 through 2012.

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Incumbent Loss; Favorites & Upsets

By Jim Ellis

June 16, 2016 — Digging a little deeper for a more detailed look at Tuesday’s primary results:

District of Columbia

In what proved to be a meaningless District of Columbia primary, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton destroyed Sen. Bernie Sanders with a 79-21 percent win from almost 100,000 votes cast.

The contest concluded all primaries and caucuses and sends Clinton to the national convention in Philadelphia with more than enough pledged votes and Super Delegate support to claim an official first ballot victory in late July.

Virginia

The big news came from the Virginia Tidewater where eight-term veteran Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Chesapeake) suffered a crushing 53-41 percent defeat in his new Virginia Beach district, becoming the cycle’s second special redistricting casualty following Rep. Renee Ellmers’ (R-NC-2) loss last week.

The winner is Virginia Beach first-term state Delegate Scott Taylor (R) who spent less than 20 percent of incumbent Forbes’ $2 million total. The court-ordered mid-decade redistricting plan forced Forbes out of his 4th District. The new CD-4 includes the cities of Petersburg and part of Richmond, which virtually assures the Democrats of victory. Thus, Rep. Forbes decided to move into the open Virginia Beach anchored 2nd District an area that he had never represented in his 15-year congressional career, but which seemed to be his best available chance of prolonging his career.

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Convention Arithmetic

By Jim Ellis

June 10, 2016 — Except for the District of Columbia Democratic primary next Tuesday, the presidential nomination process is now complete yet activists in both parties are still attempting to upend the two presumptive nominees.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has still not conceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton and he actually has only slightly more of an argument to stay alive than the band of conservatives and Republicans who persist in their quest to de-rail a Trump nomination.

Because of the large number of Democratic Super Delegates, the unofficial counts only agree on one point: that Clinton does not have enough pledged delegates to clinch a first ballot victory. All agree, however, that when adding the unbound Super Delegates who say they will support her on the presidential nomination roll call scheduled for July 25 at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that she achieves victory.

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A Closer Look at Tuesday’s Results

By Jim Ellis

June 9, 2016 — As has been the pattern since it became clear that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would be the eventual nominees of their respective parties, Trump consistently won big, breaking 67 percent in all primary venues Tuesday (California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota — North Dakota was a Democratic Caucus only) and averaging approximately 74 percent of the Republican vote. Clinton lost Montana, and the North Dakota Caucus to Bernie Sanders but scored surprisingly well in California, topping 62 percent in early returns. Clinton, however, averaged only in the 55 percent range, almost 20 full points below how Trump is performing among Republicans.

It’s officially onto the Clinton-Trump general election even if Sen. Sanders decides to make any type of run at the Democratic National Convention. For now, let’s take a little closer look at each state’s Tuesday results.

North Carolina

Turnouts for the stand-alone US House primaries were very low across the board Tuesday night, averaging just about 25,000 in the eight contested Republican contests and approximately 21,000 in the three significant Democratic intra-party battles. The special plurality primary was instituted in response to the federal court ordered mid-decade congressional re-draw.

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