As the calendar turns to 2015, we immediately usher in a new year of political jockeying. Come January, we will be reading many stories describing how political party leaders are attempting to move their state into a prime nomination position for the upcoming presidential campaign. With an open national race upon us for the first time in eight years, and on the threshold of what could become the most exciting political contest in generations, the schedule of primaries and caucuses become of tantamount importance.
With several exceptions, Republicans and Democrats generally have the same respective nominating schedule as it relates to voters participating in primaries or caucus events. Though the dates are not yet finalized, a projected schedule can be constructed. Most of the political musical chairs tend to occur on the Republican side because GOP leaders in states like Florida have a history of jumping ahead from their historical primary position into a more prominent spot.
From a big state, the Floridians gain significant leverage if they hold their primary just before what is normally pegged as “Super Tuesday”, the large gathering of mostly southern state primaries held on the same day in early March of the election year. But, Republican National Committees have previously punished state delegations for threatening the early positioning of the four sanctioned states. In fact, Florida itself has been stripped of its entire slate of delegates Continue reading >
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. The PRIsm Political Update will return on Monday, Dec. 1. Don’t eat too much!!
The 2014 election increased the universe of federal “cross-districts”.
In the 2012 presidential election, voters in 411 congressional districts uniformly chose a US House member of the same party as they supported for president. This means only 24 CDs elected a representative belonging to the opposite party of the candidate they backed for the nation’s top office. In 2012, 16 districts elected a Republican representative while simultaneously supporting President Obama; conversely, eight CDs chose a Democratic congressman while voting for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In 2014, we see a slightly different pattern. The total number of cross-districts rose to 31, but 404 still elected a House member consistent with the party of their previously chosen presidential candidate. Twenty-six of those CDs elected a Republican House member earlier this month, even though those casting ballots supported President Obama two years earlier. Voters in only five incoming House districts backed Romney in 2012, but elected a Democratic Representative in the current election; two Continue reading >
Like the Senate and House races, 36 gubernatorial campaigns are also drawing to conclusion this week, and in as tight a fashion as the US Senate races that have dominated the political landscape.
Republicans hold a 29 to 21 advantage in the national gubernatorial division, but Democrats appear poised to gain a small number of state houses in this election. Strong competition is underway in 20 of the 36 states, a very high number. Nine races are thought to be too close to call headed into Election Day.
The tightest of all, not surprisingly, may be in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) are doing battle. Florida, as we know, is no stranger to tight campaigns, and the Sunshine State electorate will almost assuredly give us another one this year. The Scott-Crist race is a flat tie, with multiple polls yielding each candidate a very small lead. Democrats feel they have the ground game to win a close race, but Scott has the clear momentum fighting back from very poor approval ratings to force the race to a virtual draw.
One campaign that likely won’t be close is the Democratic conversion of Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has virtually no victory path and has trailed Democratic businessman Tom Wolf for the entire general election cycle, usually by double-digits. Continue reading >
Today marks the second-to-last major primary day of the 2014 cycle, as voters in three states visit the polls to choose nominees.
In Arizona, Republicans will select a candidate to oppose former Clinton Administration official Fred DuVal (D) in the general election. State Treasurer Doug Ducey, the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery who is running on strong border security that earned him the support of both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has been leading in all polling. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has surpassed attorney Christine Jones for second place, but the race appears to be Ducey’s to lose.
The GOP will also choose three nominees in competitive US House districts. In the 1st, a tight race culminates among state House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman, and wealthy rancher Gary Kiehne. Tobin and Kwasman are neck and neck according to late polling, but Kiehne remains within striking distance. The winner earns the right to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), who could lose as an incumbent for the second time. She was first elected in 2008, defeated in 2010, and re-elected in 2012. Continue reading >
The sprawling Kansas 1st Congressional District, which consumes all of the western part of the state and stretches almost all the way to Topeka, could be the scene of an upset in tonight’s Republican primary according to some local political observers. Two-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp is being challenged by former school superintendent Alan LaPolice.
Though the challenger had only raised $137,000 through the June 30 financial disclosure deadline, the local farm groups and many in the solar wind energy industry are actively involved in trying to unseat the incumbent. Huelskamp, the victim of Speaker John Boehner’s show of party discipline in the former’s freshman year, was removed from the Agriculture Committee. The action left the region uncovered on the panel, something unheard of for a representative from this agriculture dominated district.
Huelskamp has been one of the vocal members of the Tea Party caucus openly critical of the GOP leadership. Whether he is toppled tonight remains to be seen, and the congressman is still the favorite to win, but it does add another bit of intrigue into what will already be an exciting night most specifically in Kansas and Michigan. Continue reading >