Tag Archives: Michigan

Wendy Davis to Announce in Texas

Later today, as expected, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) will announce her campaign for governor. With incumbent Rick Perry (R) retiring after four terms, Texas voters will witness an open governor’s campaign for the first time since 1990, when Democrat Ann Richards defeated Republican businessman Clayton Williams.

The 2014 general election looks to match Sen. Davis and three-term Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott who, for years, has been waiting in the wings to run for the state’s top office. Davis attained notoriety over the summer by filibustering a bill that increased abortion restrictions and succeeded in delaying its passage for several weeks.

The GOP has dominated Texas politics ever since George W. Bush unseated Gov. Richards in 1994. Of the 29 statewide offices, Republicans continue to control all of them, in addition to the two US Senate positions, a majority in the congressional delegation, and both houses of the state legislature. Since the Bush gubernatorial re-election effort in 1998, the GOP has typically won the major statewide offices by margins between 12 and 16 points.

But, will the string continue in 2014? With an ever-growing populace – remember, Texas gained four seats in the last reapportionment – and a Hispanic population reaching 37.6 percent of the state’s total population, Lone Star State Democrats claim that the demographic changes are making them more competitive.

Two polls have been conducted, both showing similar patterns. The most recent, the Texas Lyceum Poll (Sept. 6-20; 800 registered Texas voters), gives Abbott only a 29-21 percent lead with a whopping 50 percent undecided/don’t know factor. In early summer, Public Policy Polling (June 28-July 1; 500 registered Texas voters), even before Gov. Perry announced his retirement, tested several candidates against one another. At that time, Abbott led Davis 48-40 percent, holding the same eight-point edge as the Lyceum poll projects, but one where 38 percent more respondents believed they knew enough about the candidates to make a decision.

The fact that the Lyceum poll has a very long sampling window, over two weeks, and  Continue reading >

New Michigan Numbers Raise Questions

A new EPIC-MRA poll (Sept. 7-10; 600 registered Michigan voters) places Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and potential Republican senatorial nominee Terri Lynn Land in an improved political position just as next year’s active campaign cycle is beginning. But, the poll’s methodology may contain a flaw. The sampling universe is arguably skewed slightly toward the GOP.

The survey’s ballot test posts Gov. Snyder to a 44-36 percent lead over former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), a net seven-point swing in the incumbent’s favor since the last EPIC-MRA poll was conducted in May.

For the Senate race, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), the presumed Democratic nominee, is staked to only a one-point 38-37 percent edge over Land. In EPIC’s May poll, the firm tested Peters against Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) who, at that time, was considering entering the race. The result found the Democratic congressman leading his Republican colleague 37-30 percent. The current EPIC findings are very similar to a late July Denno Research poll that plotted the two candidates – Peters and Land – in a 39 percent deadlock.

The study, however, may not accurately reflect the proper composition of the Michigan electorate. Generally a state that leans Democrat, the sampling universe constructed for this particular survey is comprised of 39 percent self-identified Democrats, 36 percent who affiliate with the Republicans, and 25 percent either saying they are independent or named a minor party with which they associate. Michigan voters do not register as political party members, so it is difficult to ascertain an accurate total of each party’s loyalists. But, considering the electorate has supported President Obama twice with percentage splits of 54-45 percent (2012) and 57-41 percent (2008), it is reasonable to argue that EPIC’s Democratic share is low.

On the other hand, in the 2010 mid-term election, Snyder carried the state 58-40 percent under a much lower voter participation factor (in 2008, five million people cast ballots; in 2010, the total turnout was only 3.2 million). Therefore, considering that we are soon headed into another mid-term election, the partisan spread of just over three points could, in fact, be close to accurate for such a projected turnout model.

The Candidates

Though the Democratic leadership has  Continue reading >

Chafee Out in R.I.; Bentivolio Challenged in MI-11

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who began his political career as a Republican, switched to Independent to run for governor after losing his US Senate seat, and who then became a Democrat after attaining the state office, announced yesterday that he will not seek a second term next year.

Gov. Chafee is among the least-popular state chief executives according to various public opinion polls. The surveys project him languishing in upside-down job approval territory by sometimes greater than a 2:1 negative to positive ratio. His move to join the Democrats appeared to be a desperate attempt to retain his office, and a strategy he hoped would cause potential intra-party contenders to back away once he became an official member. That did not happen, and Chafee clearly has blinked.

For the Democrats – the dominant political party in Rhode Island – state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Tavares have been expected to enter the race against Chafee and now will assuredly do so under an open seat situation. Republicans Allen Fung, the mayor of Cranston, and 2010 nominee John Robitaille, who lost to Chafee by only three points, are the minority party’s prospective candidates. The Democrat nominee, however, will be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election.

Chafee’s retirement means that eight of the 38 in-cycle gubernatorial elections will be open races, five of which are term limit related.

MI-11

Freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R) is considered by many to be an “accidental” congressman. When first filing to run for office in Michigan back in early 2012, he did not anticipate actually winning the seat. Rather, he was attempting to make a political statement from the Libertarian right.

After the candidate filing deadline passed, ensuing events began to develop. Then-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s (R) organization self-destructed, failing to submit enough qualified petition signatures to legally secure the incumbent’s ballot placement. As a result, McCotter was forced into retirement and Bentivolio found himself as the only legally qualified Republican candidate in a nominal Republican district. He repelled a write-in primary opponent backed by established Republican Party  Continue reading >

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

Michigan

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa
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Re-Capping the Senate

Current Senate makeup

Current Senate makeup

With last week’s announcement that Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) would challenge Sen. Mark Pryor (D), thus setting the Arkansas field for 2014, it is a good time to check the national US Senate picture.

In 2014, 35 Senate races are on tap, including campaigns in Hawaii and South Carolina to affirm political appointments. Of the 35, the following 18 senators currently have little or no pending opposition for 2014:

Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mark Udall (D-CO), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tim Scott (R-SC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Alaska:
Despite the potential of former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) running here, the likely 2014 pairing is first-term incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D) and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R). This will be a tight race, but Alaskans don’t often unseat incumbents.

Arkansas: The match is already set – Sen. Mark Pryor (D) vs. Rep. Tom Cotton (R). Arkansas is now trending Republican, but unseating an incumbent – especially one who ran unopposed in the previous election – is never easy.

Georgia: Michelle Nunn (D), the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D), will be her party’s nominee. The Republican side is a free-for-all among five candidates, all of whom could conceivably win the nomination. The Republican general election candidate should have the advantage, but this primary battle could turn nasty.

Hawaii: Appointed Sen. Brian Schatz is drawing serious Democratic primary opposition from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The Dem primary, which must be rated a toss-up, will determine who wins the  Continue reading >

Three States, Three Potentially Challenging Races for Incumbents

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

South Carolina

The long-expected Republican primary challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham is now coming to fruition. A candidate emerged yesterday who has an interesting background. It remains to be seen if she has the political wherewithal to compete with the veteran senator, however.

Nancy Mace is the first female graduate of The Citadel. Born into a military family, her father is a retired Army general. She announced her challenge to the senator late this week, joining Greenville area businessman and former 3rd District congressional candidate Richard Cash in the nomination race. State Sen. Lee Bright, coming from the Ron and Rand Paul wing of the Republican Party, says he will soon follow suit.

Can any of the three beat Lindsey Graham? While it’s clearly a long shot, the senator does have some obvious vulnerabilities. First and foremost, as any casual political observer understands, Graham is to the left of the South Carolina Republican electorate and has taken some unpopular stands in the state, such as his leadership efforts in the area of immigration reform.

Secondly, though a crowded field usually helps an embattled incumbent, South Carolina does have a run-off law, meaning it could become harder to capture a majority in a split vote primary situation. If someone is strong enough to deny the senator an outright primary victory, the scenario would then be drawn to upset him in the secondary election.

Third, while none of his opponents has significant name ID, they are all substantial individuals, and if one or more can prove they possess fundraising ability, outside conservative groups are ready to come to their aid if Graham begins to falter.
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Camp Considers Michigan Senate Race

Rep. Dave Camp

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-4)

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) confirms that he has made an about-face and is seriously considering running for Michigan’s open US Senate seat. Back in March when Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Rep. Camp immediately declined to run statewide, preferring to concentrate on his duties in the House and driving tax reform proposals.

Now, the 11-term representative himself, as well as several people close to him, acknowledge that there is a distinct possibility he may oppose consensus 2014 Democratic candidate Gary Peters, a fellow Michigan congressman, for Levin’s seat.

Currently, former two-term Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is the only announced significant Republican candidate. Her response to the pending Camp candidacy was a bit unusual and spread speculation that she might withdraw in favor of the north-central state congressman. Land stated, in non-committal fashion, that she will “wait to see what happens” when asked if she would oppose Camp in a Republican senatorial primary.

So far, most political observers view Land as a weak candidate despite her winning two previous statewide campaigns. She has made no significant strides on the fundraising circuit. On the other hand, Camp, with over $3 million in his political account, has a perch to raise whatever he needs to run a competitive Wolverine State campaign. The race instantly becomes more interesting and aggressively fought if he were to become a candidate.

For his part, Rep. Peters (D-MI-14) has raised $1.42 million for the year, and reports just under $1.8 million cash-on-hand. Michigan normally trends Democratic, so Peters is thought to have the advantage in a normal election year, but we have to turn the clock back only three years to see a major Republican landslide sweep, so a GOP Senate victory certainly must be considered a viable possibility.

In order to compete for the majority, the Republicans must put more seats in play, and enticing a strong candidate such as Rep. Camp into the race would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal. It remains to be seen just how serious his considerations are, but if he were to run the open Michigan Senate race would become a top tier campaign.