Category Archives: Senate

A Polling Quintet

By Jim Ellis

July 14, 2016 — Five states have just reported key post 4th of July US Senate polls. From California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Nevada, new independent data was recorded for very important statewide races.

California

There is no suspense over which party will win the open Golden State Senate seat. In California’s top-two jungle primary system, Democrats qualified two candidates to advance to the general election for the first time in state history. Either Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) or Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46) will replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) next year.

The California Field poll (June 8- July 2; 956 registered voters) was reported just after the July 4th break, and though it features a very long sampling period, the Senate results are not particularly surprising. Harris, who placed first in the jungle primary with 40 percent of the vote leads the first general election poll with 39 percent as compared to Rep. Sanchez’s 24 percent.

Harris, the more well known of the two having been elected to statewide office, leads among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. If Sanchez is to win, she must to develop a coalition of Southern California voters, Hispanics, and Republicans in order to overtake San Francisco’s Ms. Harris. The Attorney General’s early lead in Los Angeles County is 41-29 percent, while its 36-22 percent in the southern counties outside of LA.

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The Senate Pairings

By Jim Ellis

July 12, 2016 — The US Senate campaigns have attracted a great deal of attention in this election cycle, and they are likely to gain even more as the election cycle progresses. Along with the presidency, control of the legislative chamber is at stake and either party can claim a national victory.

At this point, 11 races are in the Toss-up, Lean Republican, or Lean Democratic categories. Interestingly, except for the New Hampshire campaign, the races appear to fall into five neat pairs. Therefore, the following couplings help us view the national Senate picture:

• Illinois and Wisconsin: Incumbent Republicans Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are clearly in the most vulnerable of political positions. Both senators trail their Democratic opponents, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-8) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), respectively, in all polls. The Illinois voting patterns are decidedly Democratic, and particularly so in presidential years, and Kirk is behind by mid-single digits in every public poll. It is possible his margin worsens.

The Wisconsin numbers are more erratic, with Sen. Johnson recently trailing from between one to 11 points. It is clear that these two states are the top Democratic conversion opportunities, and both must be won if the party is to re-take the majority they lost in the 2014 election.

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Senate Re-Set

By Jim Ellis

July 8, 2016 — Returning from this week’s 4th of July break and preparing for the late season primaries, now is a good time to review the 2016 Senate picture:

Nominees

Alabama: Safe R
Sen. Richard Shelby (R) vs. Ron Crumpton (D) – non-competitive

Arkansas: Likely R
Sen. John Boozman (R) vs. Connor Eldridge (D) – moderately competitive

California: Open Seat (Sen. Barbara Boxer-D; retiring) Safe D
AG Kamala Harris (D) vs. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) – competitive

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Primaries Yesterday

By Jim Ellis

June 29, 2016

Colorado

Sen. Michael Bennet (D) officially heads into the general election, and learned the identity of his Republican opponent, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. The GOP has had nothing but trouble in finding a suitable challenger here, in what was once thought to be a competitive race. But, a series of recruiting mishaps and several candidates having trouble with the petition signature process means the Senator stands in strong position for re-election.

In addition to Glenn, the Republican candidates were businessman John Blaha, and ex-state Rep. Jon Keyser, along with former Aurora city councilman and previous congressional candidate Ryan Frazier, and ex-Colorado State University Athletic Director Jack Graham. Glenn begins as a decided underdog to Sen. Bennet and faces a major uphill climb in making this race a top-tier challenge campaign.

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Douglas Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) drew respective party primary challenges, but both won easily.

New York

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) stands for re-election and will have little trouble securing a fourth term in November. He had no primary opposition.

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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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