Category Archives: Senate

NYT: Harry Reid to Retire

The New York Times is running a major story today saying that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has made the decision not to seek re-election and will soon announce his course of action.

Reid had been vociferously denying the many retirement rumors that were circulating earlier in the year, and was actively raising funds and taking steps to hire a campaign team. Now, the Times says he is reversing course.

Reid’s departure will naturally change the Senate in a dramatic way, but the decision has major political ramifications, as well. Republicans will be much more competitive in an open seat situation in Nevada, and will now likely see stronger candidates come forward.

Previously, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) and representatives Joe Heck (R-NV-3) and Mark Amodei (R-NV-2) have all either said or indicated that they would not challenge Reid in 2016. In an open seat situation, this could all change.

The Reid retirement will fundamentally change the 2016 political picture.

This is a developing story.

Florida Senate Numbers …
Without Rubio

Public Policy Polling released new survey numbers for what appears to be an upcoming open US Senate race, sans incumbent Marco Rubio (R). It appears likely that the senator will soon announce he is not seeking re-election in order to devote his full attention to a presidential run.

The PPP survey (March 19-22; 923 registered Florida voters; 425 self-identified Republicans; 371 self-identified Democrats) tested the Florida Senate race in various configurations late last week and found what most of us would expect to see in politically marginal Florida -– in an open seat situation, the campaign would become a toss-up.

First, Sen. Rubio was tested before the entire respondent universe, and he scored a 45:40 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval. From a firm that normally produces upside-down ratios almost across the board in response to this question, Rubio’s five-point positive is actually a lot stronger than it looks.

Against announced Democratic senatorial candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) and probable contender Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL-9), Rubio fares well considering the state’s 50/50 political nature.
Continue reading >

Open Seat #3: Indiana Sen. Dan Coats

Several weeks ago, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R) promised to announce his 2016 political plans before April 5, and on Tuesday kept his word. When Coats announced such an early time frame upon making a re-election decision, it encouraged political speculation that he would retire, thus opening the seat for next year’s election. Such prognostication proved accurate because Sen. Coats announced that he will retire for the second time.

Coats first came to office when he succeeded his former congressional boss, then-Rep. Dan Quayle (R-IN-4). When Quayle defeated Sen. Birch Bayh (D) in 1980, it was Dan Coats who won the Ft. Wayne-anchored congressional seat that Quayle vacated. Coats would serve four terms, and then once again succeed Quayle when he was appointed in 1989 to fill the unexpired Senate term when the latter was elected Vice President. Coats would then win a special Senate election in 1990, filling the final two years of the term to which he was originally appointed. He then claimed a full six-year term in the next regular election. Coats decided to retire from the Senate in 1998, rather than face then-Gov. Evan Bayh (D) in what was expected to be a very tough re-election fight.

Upon his retirement, Coats served as US Ambassador to Germany, and then returned to Washington DC to join a lobbying firm. He rather surprisingly was recruited to return to elective politics in 2010, and this time ironically succeeded Sen. Bayh who himself had decided to retire expressing his disdain for continuing service in the federal legislative body on his way out. Now, it is former Sen. Bayh who is not yet completely ruling out a return to elective politics.

The Coats’ move opens a third Senate seat for the 2016 election cycle. A fourth may soon be coming if Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) decides to forgo re-election in order to concentrate on a presidential campaign, as expected. Earlier in the year, Democratic senators Barbara Boxer (CA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD) announced their respective retirements.
Continue reading >

Murphy Announces in Florida; Schilling on Radar

Florida Senate

As expected, Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) formally announced his US Senate candidacy. Accompanying the public pronouncement were targeted Internet ads to liberal political websites indicating that he is running to “stop the Tea Party”.

Murphy’s reach to the left is intended to secure the liberal base for purposes of capturing the Democratic nomination, thus beginning to pinch Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Orlando), another potential candidate. Murphy has to walk a tightrope, however, moving far enough left in the short term but not so far as to marginalize himself for the general election in what has become America’s quintessential swing state.

The congressman’s ad features a picture of conservative ex-Rep. Allen West (R-FL-22), who Murphy unseated in 2012, with the word “Stopped” stamped across his picture. Next to West’s image is a picture of Sen. Marco Rubio, with the word “Next” affixed to his photo. The final shot shows Murphy above a US Senate banner, and adjacent to a sign-up box. The inference is that Murphy defeating West “stopped” him, and ostensibly running against Rubio means the senator is next in line for defeat.

Rep. Murphy needs to cover his left flank largely because of his more centrist voting record. The National Journal ranks him as the 10th most conservative Democrat in the House. Though this positions him to the left of every Republican, twisting such a statistic before Democratic primary voters would likely portray him in an unfavorable light irrespective of how he votes in the aggregate.
Continue reading >

Jumping the Gun in the Florida Senate

Major action is happening in the upcoming Florida Senate race even without an official re-election or retirement announcement from Republican incumbent Marco Rubio. And now we see that at least two GOP officeholders are possibly leaping ahead to eye Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) re-election bid in 2018.

Sen. Rubio has been saying for months that he would not simultaneously run for president and re-election to the Senate. Since it appears clearer by the day that he will soon enter the presidential contest, waiting for the statement that he will not seek a second term in the Senate appears relegated to mere formality status.

We previously reported that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) is expected to officially announce his 2016 senatorial campaign next week. He says he’s running irrespective of what Sen. Rubio decides, but the Florida politicos are all proceeding as if Rubio will not seek re-election to a second term so he can run in an unencumbered fashion for president.

Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23) said she will not run statewide next year. Considering her recent flap of troubles with part of her Democratic funding base and a controversy over whether she would politically attack President Obama if removed as Democratic National Committee chair, it is not surprising that she is retreating to the safety of her US House district.
Continue reading >