Category Archives: Senate

Netanyahu’s Hold Tenuous; New Franken Polling

Looking at an important election beyond our borders, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beytenu Party seemed to be holding steady in first place with 31 seats, but fewer than the 32-35 range that was projected. In the 2009 election, Likud scored 27 seats, but after officially joining forces with Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman the combined total expanded to 42 of the 120 seats in Israel’s Knesset. Netanyahu was then able to add other center-right parties to form the current government.

This time the eventual coalition will look much different. Some even believe disgruntled Likud supporters may look for a leadership alternative to Netanyahu. The key to forming the next coalition will be surprise second-place finisher Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which earned 19 seats. The Labor Party, predicted to finish second, placed third, winning 17 seats. Netanyahu has already asked Lapid to join his government, and preliminary indications are that he will. With the center-left parties scoring either 58 or 59 seats, however, the Prime Minister has a very thin margin from which to form a government. As the leader whose party finished first in the balloting, Netanyahu has 42 days to form a governing coalition.

Voter turnout was high, estimated at 66.6 percent of the eligible electorate, meaning almost 3.77 million participants. This Continue reading >

Arkansas GOP Snapshot

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R), it is being reported, will soon announce his candidacy to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor next year. Darr was also thought of as a potential gubernatorial candidate, but with former Rep. Asa Hutchinson already in that race, it appears that Darr will opt for the Senate.

The move would give Arkansas Republicans two strong candidates for the two top statewide contests. The governor’s campaign will be an open-seat campaign, as incumbent Mike Beebe (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Sen. Pryor was first elected in 2002. He was re-elected in 2008 without any opposition. His father, David Pryor, served three terms in the Senate from 1979-1997, after six years in the US House and one term as governor of Arkansas.

Natural State voters trended heavily to the GOP in the 2012 election, with the party’s candidates taking all four of the state’s congressional districts. Still, considering Sen. Pryor’s personal popularity, unseating him in 2014 would qualify as a major upset.

SC-1

Almost all of the early SC-1 special election campaign action has been on the Republican side, especially with former Gov. Mark Sanford entering the field of candidates. But now, two Democrats, including the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, are joining the Continue reading >

Hawaii Heating Up

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1)

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1)

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) appointed Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), he ignited a budding Democratic Party firestorm. Sen. Inouye, before his death, communicated to the governor that his favored choice for a successor was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1). Hanabusa, reportedly miffed for being passed over despite the esteemed Senator’s endorsement, is already beginning to rattle her political saber.

In an interview with KHON-TV in Honolulu, the congresswoman confirmed that she is considering a race against both Schatz and Abercrombie as well as running for re-election. In response to a direct question about her future political plans, Hanabusa confirmed that “… they will all be on the Continue reading >

Sen. Rockefeller To Retire

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

At the end of last week, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) became the first 2014 election cycle senator to announce that he will not seek re-election. The move is not a surprise, particularly in light of his age (77, at the time of the next election), the attacks he’s launched on his home state coal industry, previously Democratic West Virginia now swinging decidedly toward Republicans, and looking at a tough new opponent in the guise of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) who announced her own senatorial bid earlier this month.

Rockefeller will leave the Senate after he completes his fifth term. Prior to serving in Washington, the senator was a two-term governor, secretary of state, and member of the House of Delegates. In all, when his current term ends at the beginning of 2015, he will have served 48 of his last 52 years in public office.
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Poll: Alarm Bells for Lautenberg

Fairleigh Dickinson University, whose poll (Jan. 2-6; 700 registered New Jersey voters; 336 self-identified Democrats or leaning Democratic) we quoted earlier in the week pertaining to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, now releases the US Senate portion of their data. For veteran Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), the news can either be taken as being a bitter pill or simply a wake-up call.

Background

Lautenberg, who will be 90 years of age at the next election, came from the business world where he was the chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. In 1982, using his vast personal wealth earned through years of having a major position within the company, Lautenberg ran for his first political office, that of United States Senate. He scored a 51-48 percent win over the better-known Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ-5), at the time a 72-year-old four-term congresswoman who was often seen smoking her trademark pipe. Lautenberg was easily re-elected twice, but then decided to retire from politics in 2000.

Less than two years later, when Sen. Bob Torricelli (D) met with scandal and appeared headed for defeat, the New Jersey Democratic leadership forced him to resign well after the 2002 primary. Armed with a favorable political ruling from a Democratic state Supreme Court, the party leaders successfully installed Lautenberg to replace Torricelli. He went on to save the seat for the Democrats that year, and was re-elected without significant challenge in 2008.
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