Sept. 11, 2015 — The post Labor Day period is already bringing clarity to various Senate races, including several within the last day or two.
Speculation surrounding Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) jumping into the open North Dakota governor’s race was put to bed earlier this week. Sen. Heitkamp announced that she will not enter the state campaign and instead will complete her first senate term. Heitkamp was elected in 2012 and comes in-cycle three years from now.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee leadership was concerned that Heitkamp would run for governor. Though she would not have risked her Senate seat to run, had she been victorious, a new succession law the legislature and Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) adopted this term takes the appointment power away from the governor pertaining to Senate vacancies. Instead, their action now requires calling an immediate special election. The chances of Republicans being able to convert an open North Dakota seat in a special 2017 vote would be very high, hence the importance of the national party leaders prevailing upon Sen. Heitkamp to forego a gubernatorial bid.
Aug. 4, 2015 — Just after the first two 2016 presidential debates, the media coverage will undoubtedly center on the candidates and the plethora of public polls that will test public response. But, there is another important process facet that won’t receive any attention: the voting schedule and delegate allocation.
As the campaign now begins to unfold in earnest, it is clear that the Democratic nomination is headed Hillary Clinton’s way. Though she has serious flaws as a national candidate, her weaknesses are not a particular factor before her own party’s electorate.
National polls consistently show her barely ahead of several Republican candidates, and having major problems convincing the general electorate of her honesty, trustworthiness, and whether she cares about the average voter. Yet, these negatives do not appear to be dissuading the Democratic primary voters.
June 15, 2015 — It’s very possible that a large number of the nation’s congressional districts will be re-drawn before the next census; the key unanswered question is, will most of it happen before the next regular vote, or will the district line adjustment process be pushed forward to the 2018 election cycle?
The US Supreme Court has been active in cases involving the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and methodology used to draw congressional districts. They first struck down a key VRA section in the Shelby County (AL) case that virtually eliminated the pre-clearance requirement associated with Voting Rights Act, Section V. This took a great deal of redistricting power away from the federal government (Department of Justice) and strengthened the states.
Awaiting a decision to be released before the end of the month is the Arizona congressional commission case. In this instance, Grand Canyon State Republicans filed suit against the voter-created special redistricting commission that has power to create state legislative and congressional districts. The Arizona Republicans are challenging the legitimacy of the commission itself, arguing that the US Constitution gives power to redistrict the House of Representatives only to the state legislatures.
Legal experts suggest the Arizona Republicans have a 50/50 chance of prevailing, and most agree the final vote will be 5-4, one way or the other. Continue reading >
May 19, 2015 — The 2016 cycle hosts 34 Senate races and, at this point, it appears 16 of them will feature significant competition. From these in-cycle seats, the current majority Republican party must defend 24 positions. To re-capture the majority, Democrats will need to convert four Republican states if the party wins the presidency, and five if it does not.
Below is a major candidate listing within the currently contested 16 states:
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) Possible
• Mike Dunleavy (R) – State Senator
• Joe Miller (R) – Attorney; 2010 US Senate nominee Unlikely
• Mark Begich (D) – former US Senator
• Sen. John McCain (R) Likely
• Kelli Ward (R) – State Senator Possible
• Fred DuVal (D) – Former Statewide Candidate Unlikely
• Richard Carmona (D) – Former US Surgeon General
• Ann Kirkpatrick (D) – US Representative, District 1
• Matt Salmon (R) – US Representative, District 5
• David Schweikert (R) – US Representative, District 6
• Kyrsten Sinema (D) – US Representative, District 9 Continue reading >
May 18, 2015 — The on-again-off-again Loretta Sanchez for Senate campaign finally became official. Earlier in the cycle, Rep. Sanchez (D-CA-46) told supporters she would announce for the Senate, only to put her statewide plans on hold.
Earlier last week a statement came from her political headquarters saying that a special announcement would be made Thursday. Immediately, that comment was withdrawn, with Sanchez saying she was only considering the race. She then reversed direction yet again, and this time did formally declare for the Senate.
With the campaign beginning in bungling fashion, Sanchez finds herself in the role of major underdog to a fellow Democrat, Attorney General Kamala Harris. But, coming from far behind in a race few thought she could win is exactly how she began her political career back in 1996. That is when she upset then-Rep. Bob Dornan (R) by a mere 984 votes, and has not been seriously challenged since. Now at 55, Rep. Sanchez will risk what will be a 20-year House career to venture toward a statewide contest. Continue reading >