Category Archives: Senate

House Races Conclude; Landrieu Reeling

CA-7, CA-16

The two outstanding California House races are now finished. Both Democratic incumbents Ami Bera (D-CA-7) and Jim Costa (D-CA-16) have officially pulled out close victories.

Despite the Republicans chalking up their largest majority since the 1928 election, the Bera and Costa wins mean the Democrats actually gain one seat in the lopsided California delegation. This result was made possible because of five other very close wins in San Diego (Rep. Scott Peters over GOP challenger Carl DeMaio), Ventura County (freshman Rep. Julia Brownley barely surviving against Assemblyman Jeff Gorell), and San Bernardino (the open Republican seat where Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) scored a tight 51-49 percent win over GOP candidate Paul Chabot).

With counting of absentee ballots just about complete, some 15 days after the election itself, Rep. Bera has now increased the lead he just took to 1,432 votes, a number that the national and local news media deems insurmountable for former Rep. Doug Ose (R) to overcome based upon the number of ballots still remaining to be counted.

In Fresno, the race is even closer with only a few more ballots left to count in Democratic strongholds. Rep. Costa, like Bera in Sacramento, trailing for most of the post-election period has now assumed an Continue reading >

The Polling Report Card

As we all know, a plethora of polls were conducted throughout the country but some proved much more accurate than others. By and large, virtually every pollster correctly forecasted the races in Colorado and South Dakota, but fared very poorly in Kansas and Virginia.

Of the late polls taken, usually the last five immediately prior to the election, we look at which pollsters did the best and worst in the most competitive Senate campaigns.

Alaska
• Actual result: Dan Sullivan (R) 48%; Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46% – +2 points
• Closest Pollster: Public Policy Polling (Nov. 1-2): Sullivan, 46-45% – +1 point
• Worst Poll: Ivan Moore & Assoc (Oct. 24-26): Begich 48-42%; missed by 9 points

Arkansas
• Actual result: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) 57%; Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 40% (+17)
• Closest Pollster: University of Arkansas (Oct. 21-27); Cotton 49-36% – +13 points
• Worst Poll: Opinion Research Assoc (Oct. 25-26); Pryor 45-44%; missed by 18 points

Colorado
• Actual result: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) 49%; Sen. Mark Udall (D) 46% (+3)
• Closest Pollster: The final Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac University, and YouGov surveys were all between one and three points
• Worst Poll: None; all of the Colorado participating pollsters correctly predicted the final trend.
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2016 Match-Ups … Already!

Now that the 2014 election is finally ending, speculation begins to build around the next in-cycle group of seats.

With Gov. Sean Parnell (R) conceding defeat to Independent Bill Walker in Alaska and the two outstanding California congressional races likely soon ending in razor-thin wins for representatives Ami Bera (D-CA-7) and Jim Costa (D-CA-16), the 2014 cycle will conclude on Dec. 6 when the Louisiana run-offs are decided. Then, we can look forward to almost non-stop coverage of the impending presidential race in addition to frequent US Senate analyses.

Since Republicans will have a majority of either 53 or 54 seats depending upon whether Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) or Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) wins the Louisiana campaign, the GOP will likely be forced to defend 24 of 34 states up for election in two years. Therefore, Democrats will have ample opportunity to reclaim their lost advantage, which is the storyline we can expect to hear from the major media outlets.

With this backdrop, some senators are already drawing speculation about potential opponents. Illinois is likely at the top of the Democrats’ target list since the state votes heavily with their party, particularly in presidential years. Sen. Mark Kirk (R) started the ball rolling early this week by stating unequivocally that he intends to seek Continue reading >

Rounding Out the New Members

With the 2014 election cycle nearly complete, we can now begin to study the House and Senate freshman class composition.

If Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) defeats Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in the Louisiana run-off – he’s the favorite to win, despite her incumbency, with internal polls showing him ahead by as many as 16 percentage points – the Senate freshman class will feature 13 members, 12 of whom are Republican.

Of the baker’s dozen, again including Cassidy, five won their seats by defeating incumbents. Former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (Alaska), representatives Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Cassidy (Louisiana), and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (North Carolina) are, or will be, the Republican challenger victors.

In the recent past, the House of Representatives had not proven to be a particularly favorable political position from which to launch a statewide run. This current cycle reversed that trend. In fact, a majority of the new members, seven, come to the Senate via the House: representatives Cotton, Gardner, Cassidy, Gary Peters (D-MI-14), Steve Daines (R-MT-AL), James Continue reading >

Landrieu, McSally Still Seek Final Results; Sights Already Set on Reid for 2016; Leadership Elections Underway

Landrieu: Kicking into high gear for the Louisiana Senate run-off election, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is already badly trailing in a new Magellan Strategies poll (Nov. 12; 1,197 registered Louisiana voters via automated response). The survey, conducted for Rep. Bill Cassidy’s (R-LA-6) statewide campaign, finds the congressman leading the endangered senator by a huge 57-41 percent clip.

The Landrieu campaign scoffs at the automated nature of the poll, claiming the methodology is not as accurate as live phoning. While such a premise is certainly the prevailing train of thought among political professionals, the actual reliability numbers suggest something far different: that the automated approach is improving by the day and can be just as accurate as the live “phoner” approach. If that’s so in this case, then Sen. Landrieu is likely headed toward defeat on Dec. 6.

If Cassidy wins, the Senate party division will be 54R-46D, a total gain of nine seats for the Republicans in the 2014 election.

McSally: As predicted yesterday, the final count in the 2nd District of Arizona did yield at least a preliminary victory for challenger Continue reading >

More Overtime Races End

As has been the case during this entire week, covering the 13 various campaigns went to political overtime – that is post-election ballot counting, or voting, that could alter the final outcome – has been the dominant political subject.

So far, Democrats have been the beneficiaries of the late counting, winning four of the races and appear headed for three more wins. Republicans claimed one state, and are well positioned for a second win. The GOP then looks to sweep the three Louisiana campaigns that are in post-election run-offs scheduled for Dec. 6.

Several more races were called late yesterday.


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McSally on Threshold; Sullivan Expands Lead; Fresno Hangs in the Balance

With most political overtime races trending toward the Democrats, Tuesday’s fortunes looked more favorably upon Republicans.

AZ-2: In Arizona’s 2nd District, it appears that challenger Martha McSally (R), who lost a bitterly close campaign two years ago, will win an even tighter battle this year.

The final count nears and McSally is clinging to a bare 133-vote lead, but it may be enough to unseat Rep. Ron Barber (D). All of the ballots are now tabulated with the exception of about 200 in Pima County. Since this entity is divided among three congressional districts (59 percent of the county is in District 2), it is likely that only between 110-120 of those votes are from the undecided CD. Even if Barber were to attract 60 percent of this number, he would still fall between 100 and 110 votes short of victory.

While it now appears evident that McSally will lead after all of the votes are tabulated and recorded, the closeness of the finish means that an automatic recount will be conducted. Rarely do recounts change the candidates’ finish order, but only a 100-vote spread of more than 215,000 cast ballots does suggest that eligibility challenges to individual voters could exceed that margin. Still, with Republicans in a strong House majority, the body itself must seat all of its members, and McSally’s chances of becoming the ultimate victor here are now Continue reading >