Category Archives: Senate

The Final Primaries

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesSept. 11, 2018 — The last two states to nominate candidates prior to the Nov. 6 general election will host primary elections this week. Voters in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York will go to the polls today, Wednesday, and Thursday, respectively. New York held its federal primary on June 26, but the nominees for state offices will be chosen on Sept. 13.

The Ocean State features the only Wednesday primary in the nation. Two other states voted on a Thursday (Tennessee and Delaware), and one more on a Saturday (Hawaii). All others voted on Tuesdays.

Louisiana will hold its jungle primary concurrently with the Nov. 6 general election. If no candidate receives majority support the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will run-off on Dec. 8. The other post-general run-off will occur in Mississippi. If no candidate receives majority support in the Nov. 6 special US Senate election the top two finishers, again irrespective of party affiliation, will advance to a secondary Nov. 27 election.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

First-term Gov. Chris Sununu (R) runs for a second term even though he was just elected in 2016. New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont are the remaining two states that hold a gubernatorial vote in every regular general election.

The governor is unopposed in tomorrow’s Republican primary, while Democrats feature a battle between former state Sen. Molly Kelly and ex-Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand. Kelly is favored for the party nomination, but Gov. Sununu will begin the general election as a heavy favorite. Politically, New Hampshire has swung more wildly than any state for a decade, so any result is possible here.

The big attraction is the open 1st Congressional District, a seat that has defeated more incumbents than any in the nation since 2006. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-Rochester) originally won this seat in 2006. She then lost (2010), won (2012), lost (2014), and won again (2016). Now, she is retiring.

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Sen. Feinstein Slips Below 40 Percent

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 10, 2018Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) was first elected a California senator back in 1992 when she won a special election to fill Pete Wilson’s unexpired term. Wilson left the Senate when he was elected governor in 1990, ironically, defeating Feinstein to win the post. He then appointed state Sen. John Seymour as his replacement, who then lost the special election challenge to Feinstein. She won a close re-election in 1994, and then won easily in 2000, 2006, and 2012. Despite being 85 years of age, the senator currently is running for a fifth full, six-year term.

However, this 2018 campaign is a much different one for the veteran senator. Pitted against another Democrat in the general election thanks to California’s top two (regardless of political party affiliation) primary nomination system, this contest appears to be the most difficult one she has faced since losing to Wilson in the governor’s campaign, and then barely winning Senate re-election four years later against then-Congressman Michael Huffington (R).

While the senator has led in every poll and finished first in the jungle primary, she has yet to top 50 percent. The new survey released late last week from Probolsky Research (Aug. 29-Sept. 2; 900 registered California voters), actually places her not only below 50 percent, but well under 40 percent. According to the Probolsky, Sen. Feinstein leads state senator and former state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) by only a 37-29 percent margin.

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Delaware Primary Results

By Jim Ellis

DelawareSept. 7, 2018 — The First State voters chose their nominees last night, the 47th state to do so in the current election cycle. The nominating election was basically a non-event despite media reports attempting to hype the challenger’s chances. Sen. Tom Carper (D) scored almost a 2:1 victory over socialist Democrat Kerri Harris. Sen. Carper, running for a fourth term, posted a 65-35 percent win from a turnout of just over 83,000 Democratic voters.

The three-term incumbent will now face the GOP winner from last night, Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett who thrashed two minor GOP candidates with 67 percent of the vote. The general election is not competitive and Sen. Carper will easily win a fourth term in November.

In the House race, freshman Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) was unopposed for re-nomination. In the Republican primary, floral contractor Scott Walker scored a 53-47 percent win over teacher and actor Lee Murphy. As in the Senate race, this House campaign will be non-competitive and Congresswoman Rochester will easily win a second term on Nov. 6.

Delaware Today; MA-3 Still Undecided

By Jim Ellis

the-primariesSept. 6, 2018 — The nation’s second Thursday primary is underway today, as Delaware voters will choose their federal and state candidate slates. Also, yesterday morning in northern Massachusetts, former congressional chief of staff and businesswoman Lori Trahan held a news conference to declare herself the new 3rd District Democratic congressional nominee, but her victory dance may have been premature.


DELAWARE

The race of note today features state Human Relations Commissioner Kerri Harris challenging Sen. Tom Carper (D). Harris has raised only $120,540 through the Aug. 18 pre-primary financial disclosure period in comparison to Sen. Carper’s $3.6 million, and her effort is not expected to amount to a highly competitive Democratic primary battle. The Harris Campaign did draw support from New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose political operation is actively supporting this long-shot challenge.

Sen. Carper was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and is completing his third term. He toyed with the idea of retiring this year but obviously rejected that course of action. Before his election to the Senate, Carper served two terms as Delaware’s governor and was the at-large representative in the US House for five terms after serving a six-year stint as Delaware state treasurer. Since his original election as treasurer in 1976, Sen. Carper has spent 42 consecutive years in elective office.

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Capuano Thrashed; MA-3 Undecided

Boston-City-Councilwoman-Ayanna-PressleyBy Jim Ellis

Sept. 5, 2018
— Ten-term Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) was unseated last night as at-large Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley scored a major 59-41 percent victory in the 7th District Democratic primary.

The challenger victory means that a total of four US House incumbents to date, two Democrats and two Republicans, have been denied re-nomination. The other three are Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Bob Pittenger (R-NC), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

The 7th District is Massachusetts’ only majority minority district and Pressley, who is African American, successfully coalesced the minority communities behind her campaign. She was quoted last night as saying that while the situation is different than in New York where Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Crowley, the energy and momentum behind her own campaign greatly increased after the New York result became a national story.

Pressley demonstrated her ability in uniting minority voters, particularly in Boston where she is a known entity, despite the community leadership largely backing Rep. Capuano. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Gov. Deval Patrick, the Congressional Black Caucus, and most labor unions all supported Rep. Capuano. Polling never projected Rep. Capuano gaining majority support, but it also failed to foretell him losing and by such a decisive margin.

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