Category Archives: Senate

Michigan’s Rogers Won’t Run for Senate

It had been presumed for the past several weeks that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8), widely believed to be the Republicans’ best potential US Senate candidate, would not run and he clarified his status on Friday afternoon in an email to supporters. In his message, Rogers said, “I have determined that the best way for me to continue to have a direct impact for my constituents and the nation is to remain in the House of Representatives. For me, the significance and depth of the impact I can make on my constituent’s behalf far outweighs the perceived importance of any title I might hold.”

With that, the congressman made clear his intent to remain as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a position of even greater importance with the revelations about the National Security Agency conducting warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

The GOP is now left with former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land to run against presumed Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters (MI-14), in the open Senate seat campaign. Sen. Carl Levin (D) is retiring after what will be 36 years in office at the end of his current term. Based upon Michigan voting history, Peters and the Democrats will start the campaign in the favorite’s position. But, the Wolverine State has been known to swing Republican from time to time, particularly in mid-term elections as it did in 2010 when the GOP swept the ballot from top to bottom, so the Senate race does have the potential to become competitive.

Land was twice elected Secretary of State, winning her elections with 55 and 56 percent of the statewide vote in 2002 and 2006, respectively. She was not eligible to seek re-election in 2010.

Peters was first elected to Congress in 2008, defeating veteran GOP Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI-9). He won a close re-election (50-47 percent) in the Republican landslide year of 2010, and then, in 2012, won election to a Detroit city congressional seat defeating a Democratic incumbent in the primary after his Oakland County CD became a reapportionment casualty. Prior to his election to Congress, Peters served as the state’s lottery commissioner and in the Michigan Senate.

Noem Remains; Brown Up in Massachusetts

In a formal and unsurprising announcement, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD-AL) confirmed that she will not challenge former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) for South Dakota’s open US Senate seat next year. Noem, serving her second term in the House, indicated that she will seek re-election to her current position.

Rumors and speculation had persisted for months that the congresswoman may hop into the Senate race and attempt to challenge Rounds from the right, but she never appeared to be making any tangible moves to prepare for such a race. Meanwhile, as he has done since the 2012 election cycle concluded, the former governor continued to build his Senatorial campaign on a daily basis.

Rounds is definitely the man to beat. Now with a clear shot at the Republican nomination, he will have a united party behind him as he works to convert the open seat to the GOP column. Democrats have only one candidate so far, Rick Weiland a former staff aide to then-Sen. Tom Daschle (D), because stronger potential contenders such as former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD-AL) and US Attorney Brendan Johnson both declined to run. Three-term Sen. Tim Johnson (D), Brendan’s father, is retiring.

Both the open South Dakota and West Virginia Democratic seats top the GOP conversion list, as Republicans have big leads against weak opponents in both states. In West Virginia, where veteran Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) is retiring, the early leader and prohibitive favorite is Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2).

Massachusetts Governor’s Race — Brown Cruising

A just-released University of Massachusetts political survey (conducted by international pollster YouGov; May 30-June 4; 500 registered Massachusetts voters) again projects former Sen. Scott Brown (R) to be in strong position to win next year’s open governor’s campaign. Currently, Brown is testing the waters for a senatorial run in New Hampshire, but his early standing  Continue reading >

New NJ Senate Candidate May Change Things

NJ State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

NJ State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver

The New Jersey Senate special election candidates submitted their ballot qualification petition signatures to the state’s Division of Elections, and one of the individuals filing was a bit of a surprise.

State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) began publicly mulling entering the race just over the weekend, and yesterday she did just that. As the sitting leader of one of the state’s two legislative chambers, and in a situation where everyone knows she will continue in this position even if losing the Senate race, Oliver should be able to raise enough money to compete.

If she can successfully mount a challenge, Speaker Oliver has the potential of hurting Newark Mayor Cory Booker. As the second African-American candidate in the race, Oliver cutting into what should be a solid base vote for Booker could bring all of the Democratic candidates into contention.

Also filing signature petitions yesterday, as expected, were representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) and Rush Holt (D-NJ-12). One thousand valid signatures from registered voters are required. Holt, in fact, appeared in person at the Division of Elections office in Trenton to deliver petitions containing more than 3,000 signatures.

Republicans Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, NJ, and physician Alieta Eck also filed, but neither is expected to be major competition for the eventual Democratic nominee. Therefore, the Aug. 13 Democratic primary vote will effectively elect the next US senator.

Two polls were quickly put into the field, but  Continue reading >

A Race or Not for the Massachusetts Senate?

The Massachusetts special Senate election is scheduled for June 25, and there is rather a large discrepancy amongst the myriad of polls that have just recently been released. Depending upon which survey you want to believe, the race is either Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA-5) to lose, or one in which he is dangerously close to falling behind Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez.

Here are the most recent polls:

  • McLaughlin & Assoc. – June 4-5; 400 likely Massachusetts voters – Markey 45% – Gomez 44%
  • Public Policy Polling – June 3-4; 560 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 39%
  • New England College – June 1-2; 786 Massachusetts registered voters – Markey 53% – Gomez 40%
  • UMass (by YouGov) – May 30-June 4; 357 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 36%

As you can see, Markey’s advantage varies from one to 13 points. All of the studies agree that the Democrat is leading, but is the race of razor-thin proportion, or does the suburban Boston congressman enjoy a comfortable lead?

When considering polls released prior to these four, it does appear that Gomez is becoming a formidable challenger. Almost all of the post-April 30 primary day surveys have shown him to be within single-digits of Markey, an unusual circumstance for a Republican in Massachusetts.

But the major point of contention surrounds the Republican and right-of-center organizations and whether or not they will actively support Gomez. So far, there is little evidence of independent expenditure activity for the Republican nominee, but there is still time for such to occur.

Questions remain for the National Republican Senatorial Committee brain-trust, however. Is the polling foretelling a close race, or are the current numbers fool’s gold? And, even if Gomez somehow pulls the upset, would such a victory mean anything more than “renting” the position  Continue reading >

Christie Appoints Chiesa; Holt Joins the Race

Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) yesterday appointed Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (R) to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) who was laid to rest on Wednesday. Chiesa is a long-time associate of the governor’s, having served with him in a law firm and Christie’s US Attorney’s office before being appointed attorney general. Chiesa said he will not enter the special election, therefore he will serve only through the conclusion of the short special election cycle now scheduled for Oct. 16.

Also yesterday, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) sent an email message to supporters announcing himself as a candidate in the New Jersey special Senate election and asking for help in collecting the 1,000 valid registered voter signatures to qualify him for the ballot.

In his email, Holt said his reason for running “is simple.” He believes that he is “… the best candidate to continue the passionate advocacy for progressive values that Sen. Lautenberg exemplified.”

As you will remember, Gov. Christie scheduled the 2013 vote to replace Lautenberg despite the seat being in-cycle during 2014. The governor is now taking political heat because he is spending $24 million in taxpayer dollars to hold a special vote just three weeks before the regular Nov. 5 statewide election, when Christie himself faces the voters. His motive in not joining the two elections is clearly to avoid an increased turnout from Democrats desiring to elect their Senate nominee, and who would likely vote for gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono while in the voting booth.
 Continue reading >