By Jim Ellis
May 19, 2016 — Once again Sen. Bernie Sanders performed well against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s primaries. While even Sanders is all but conceding a Clinton ultimate Democratic presidential nomination victory, he nonetheless won the Oregon primary. In the face of the latest Fox News poll (May 6-9; 304 likely Oregon Democratic primary voters) predicting a 15-point Clinton advantage, Sanders appears to have won by six. The final tally, because of Oregon’s all-mail voting system will take time to fully record.
In Kentucky, Sanders actually gained the lead with 95 percent of the precincts reporting, but in the end Clinton pulled out what appears to be a 1,900-vote victory. The count is not final at this writing, however.
Even though Clinton again badly under-performed in what should be a victory lap for her, she still moved closer to her goal of capturing the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination. There is no doubt she will deliver, but it’s going to take her until the primary season’s last day (June 7) to officially clinch, something that was not predicted at the beginning of the campaign. Most analysts believed she would become the presumptive nominee back on Super Tuesday (March 1).
By Jim Ellis
May 18, 2016 — Primaries were held last night in three states, and there were no surprises to speak of, except perhaps how well Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to perform against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
Voters headed to the polls in the Blue Grass State to choose nominees for state and federal offices. Only Democrats cast ballots in the presidential contest. Republicans met in caucus back in early March, so there was no accompanying GOP primary.
Sen. Rand Paul (R) seeks re-nomination for a second term, and facing only two minor opponents, he easily won. His general election opponent will be Lexington/Fayette County Mayor Jim Gray (D), who glided to a landslide nomination win over six minor Democratic candidates.
None of the five incumbents seeking re-election had any serious nomination threat. Minister Nancy Jo Kemper (D) was thought to potentially be a serious opponent for two-term Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) in the general election, but she had raised less that $150,000 for the race. All incumbents brushed back minor opposition. No Kentucky seat is expected to change hands in the general election. Continue reading →
March 24, 2016 — To no one’s surprise, especially with the Brussels attack sparking even more emotionalism within Donald Trump’s core political base, the Republican leader easily swept the Arizona primary Tuesday. As we know, Trump notched a 47-25-10 percent popular vote victory margin over Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich, respectively. With this performance, the New York real estate mogul claimed the last major Winner-Take-All primary and all 58 Arizona delegates.
For the Democrats, also as expected, Hillary Clinton easily defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders. The result means the former Secretary of State could conceivably secure approximately 60 Democratic delegates from the Arizona pool of 85 once the final count is apportioned and more Super Delegates announce their intentions. The Grand Canyon State will add to her gaudy national delegate total, putting her within sight of 1,700 committed and announced votes. She needs 2,383 delegate votes to clinch the party’s presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this summer.
For Trump, the Arizona victory puts him in the 750 bounded delegate vote range. The eventual Republican nominee needs 1,237 votes to claim the national party mantle.
March 22, 2016 — Republicans and Democrats in Arizona and Utah visit polling places and caucus meeting sites today, as do Idaho Democrats and Republicans in American Samoa. The big question is whether Sen. Ted Cruz can capture Utah with a majority vote, thereby making it a backdoor Winner-Take-All state. Arizona is the final large Winner-Take-All on the GOP side.
March 22 Lineup:
Republicans: 58 delegates; Winner-Take-All
Last Public Poll: Opinion Savvy – Fox 10 Phoenix (March 20; 588 likely Arizona Republican primary voters through interactive voice response system): Donald Trump, 46%; Sen. Ted Cruz, 33%; Gov. John Kasich, 17%
Democrats: 85 delegates; proportional – Super Delegates announced: Hillary Clinton, 5; Sen. Bernie Sanders, 1
Last Public Poll: Merrill/West Group (March 7-11; 300 likely Arizona Democratic primary voters): Clinton, 50%; Sanders, 24% Continue reading →
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?
March 8, 2016 — A quartet of states votes in Republican primaries and caucuses tonight: Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii, with the candidates fighting for an aggregate of 150 delegate commitments.
Democrats will vote only in Michigan and Mississippi. Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is expected to carry both states in her party contests, while Republican Donald Trump is favored in Michigan and Mississippi.
Observers are closely watching to see if Gov. John Kasich can finish a strong second in Michigan, which would likely help him build needed momentum in anticipation of next week’s critical Ohio Winner-Take-All challenge. Sen. Ted Cruz has the strong potential of running well in Idaho. Hawaii is small and anyone’s guess, but Sen. Marco Rubio has a chance to come away with the most delegate votes. Continue reading →
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 >