Tag Archives: Florida

Graham Out; Senate Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2016 — Ever since the Florida State Supreme Court decided to re-draw the congressional boundaries halfway through the decade, freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D, FL-2, Tallahassee) has been in the political wilderness. The court declared eight of the state’s districts unconstitutional last July and finished the new map earlier this year, radically changing the original plan as enacted by the legislative and executive branches.

After the preliminary map became public it was evident that Rep. Graham was becoming a political casualty. Wanting to draw a minority 5th District that stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee instead of the traditional draw that began in J’ville and then meandered through Gainesville and Sanford on its way to Orlando, the court sacrificed Graham by removing the Democratic base from the 2nd District seat and transferring it to the new District 5.

Rumors were rampant that Graham, the daughter of former governor and US Sen. Bob Graham (D), would enter the open Senate race. As time passed with no movement in that direction, it was apparent she saw her career heading in a different direction. Yesterday, Rep. Graham announced that she will not seek re-election, and broadly hinted that running in the open 2018 governor’s race is within her political future.

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Florida Rep. Crenshaw to Retire

By Jim Ellis

April 15, 2016 — Jacksonville area Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-4) has announced he will not seek a ninth term in office, thus ending a congressional career that began with his initial election in 2000.

He becomes the 44th House member not to seek re-election in 2016, and the 29th Republican, making this the third consecutive election cycle with an abnormally large number of open seats. In 2012, 63 districts were open; 2014 saw 48 campaigns without an incumbent running. Normally, open seats number in the 30-35 range. Crenshaw’s unexpected retirement means that seven of Florida’s 27 US House seats will be open for the coming election.

Previously, the 71-year-old lawmaker served in the Florida state House and Senate for a combined total of 14 years. In 1992, Crenshaw became the first Republican in almost 120 years to be elected as president of the Florida state Senate. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

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Wrapping up Tuesday’s Presidential Primaries; a Look at Other Races

By Jim Ellis

March 17, 2016 — The late Republican polling proved accurate. Donald Trump easily won the Florida Winner-Take-All primary, and in such a landslide that Sen. Marco Rubio was forced to suspend his campaign after not winning his home state. As you now know, winning Florida entitles Trump to the state’s 99 delegate votes.

In Ohio, the survey research also foretold the growing John Kasich momentum in his home state, culminating with the governor notching an 11-point victory over the New York real estate mogul. And, of course, Kasich captures Ohio’s 66 Winner-Take-All delegates.

On the Democratic front, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have delivered the political knockout punch that she has needed to put the nomination battle to bed. Winning the Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois primaries has increased her already substantial delegate lead, thus beginning to put her in sight of the 2,383 convention votes to win the nomination. For his part, Sen. Bernie Sanders only out-polled Clinton in Missouri.

Trump also placed first in North Carolina and Illinois, which will add to his delegate totals. Since those two states have no vote threshold requirement, all candidates, including Rubio, added to their delegate totals. Trump fought Sen. Ted Cruz to a virtual draw in Missouri, leading by less than 2,000 votes statewide, but due to the congressional district winner-take-all system the state employs his actual delegate take may be as high as 34-15. The three Republican National Committee delegates are unbound. Continue reading

Tuesday Tells the Tale

March 15, 2016 — It’s very likely that today’s results from the all-important Ohio and Florida Winner-Take-All Republican contests will determine whether Donald Trump wins the GOP presidential nomination, or whether the campaign descends into a contested convention.

While Trump appears to be well ahead in Florida, and is the odds-on favorite to capture that state’s 99 delegates, the Ohio race is very much in doubt.

FOR MORE INSIGHT, READ MY LATEST FLOOR FIGHT COLUMN: FLOOR FIGHT

Though Trump is approaching a mid 40s support range in the last three Sunshine State polls, and appears 20-plus points ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), it is important to remember that only registered Republicans can vote in tomorrow’s closed primary. Therefore, Trump’s polling numbers may be a bit inflated if the pollsters were not properly screening solely for registered Republican voters.

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The Real Super Tuesday

March 11, 2016 — March 1 earned the billing of “Super Tuesday” because 13 states held a primary or caucus that day, but the real deciding date at least for Republicans is next week’s Tuesday, March 15.

The true action in the coming days is on the Republican side despite Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset Michigan victory earlier this week. Should Donald Trump win both the key Winner-Take-All states of Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66), he would isolate himself as the only candidate able to win a first ballot victory.

If Trump converts Florida and Ohio, and places first in the proportional states of North Carolina (72 delegates) and Illinois (69), as polling currently suggests, while taking a significant share of the Missouri congressional district Winner-Take-All format (52), he will likely fall into the range of committing approximately 712 delegate votes by next Wednesday morning. This means he would need 53.4 percent of the 983 available delegates from the 22 post-March 15 remaining voting entities in order to secure a first ballot victory.

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More Questions

March 10, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset victory over former Secretary of State and race leader Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary is causing people to ask some surprising questions. Factoring in Clinton’s overwhelming 83 percent victory in the Mississippi primary, she will add to her national delegate lead so she is still in strong shape for the nomination despite the Wolverine State setback … at least for now.

The top observation spawning from Tuesday night pertains to whether Sanders can take advantage of the campaign schedule once it moves more toward the type of states where he has consistently been winning. Can he fully capitalize upon an election calendar that is about to become much more favorable to him?

Since Clinton’s strong delegate lead is largely based upon her overwhelming dominance among Super Delegates — those elected Democratic officials and party leaders who are largely free agents at the convention — will those individuals begin to back away if Sanders overtakes her among the regular delegates?

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Denying Trump

March 4, 2016 — The Republicans are at a political crossroads. Now with voting completed in 15 states, Donald Trump finds himself settling into a support zone of between 316-334 committed delegates, depending upon what media count one examines. Sen. Ted Cruz’s support lies in the 224-234 range, while Sen. Marco Rubio falls between 110-113 pledged first ballot tallies. Gov. John Kasich has between 23-28 committed votes, while Dr. Ben Carson, who suspended his campaign Wednesday, has eight delegates according to all renderings. Carson will be speaking today at CPAC in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s high total of 334 is far from the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination, with 41 more states and territories yet to vote. In the next two weeks, culminating with the big Winner-Take-All primaries in Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates), voters from 17 entities will visit the polls. At the end of voting on March 15, 1,466 of 2,472 Republican delegates (59.3 percent) will be assigned to a candidate or placed in the unbound category. Therefore, the next two weeks will prove critical toward determining the GOP resolution.

Without changing the present course, Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination because no one opponent has unified the anti-Trump coalition. If the early front runner were to score another plurality victory in Florida and Ohio, an additional 165 delegates would come his way in addition to what he gains in places like Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri, all of which will vote on or before March 15.

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