Tag Archives: Nikki Haley

Where DeSantis Stands

By Jim Ellis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

June 29, 2021 — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been a hot political property of late, and no less than three political pollsters were in the field during late June to test his popularity in several scenarios.

Two of the firms, Echelon Insights and McLaughlin & Associates, tested Gov. DeSantis nationally in anticipation of a possible presidential run in 2024, while the Political Matrix/Listener Group surveyed the more timely Sunshine State 2022 governor’s race.

From the interactive voice response system poll released late last week, Political Matrix/Listener Group, on June 21, surveyed a total of 716 Florida likely voters who have a gubernatorial preference. They found DeSantis faring well against both announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

If US representative and former governor, Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), were his 2022 general election Democratic opponent, Gov. DeSantis would hold a 55-45 percent advantage. Opposite state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), Florida’s only Democratic statewide elected office holder, the DeSantis margin would expand to a huge 61-39 percent spread; this, in a state where Republicans consistently perform a few points better than polling numbers typically predict.

The other two survey research firms tested Gov. DeSantis against a large number of commonly viewed ’24 GOP presidential prospects. Echelon Insights (June 18-22; 1,001 registered US voters, online from representative sample of registered voters) finds the governor topping the field of 19 named potential candidates within the 386 Republican primary voters segment with a 21 percent support figure, which is seven points higher than the former vice president, Mike Pence.

Donald Trump, Jr. posted seven percent, one point ahead of ex-UN Ambassador and former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who both followed with six percent apiece. This group of five are the only potential contenders exceeding five percent preference. Former president, Donald Trump, was not included in the Echelon Republican nomination ballot test.

McLaughlin and Associates (June 16-20; 1,000 likely US voters, 444 GOP likely presidential primary voters) tested a two-tiered national GOP primary vote, one with former President Trump and one without.

If Trump does not run in 2024, McLaughlin, like Echelon, finds Gov. DeSantis to be the leading early candidate. In the field sans the ex-president, Gov. DeSantis places first with 24 percent followed by ex-VP Pence who attracts 19 percent, while Donald Trump, Jr. places third with 15 percent. Sen. Cruz (six percent) is the only other potential candidate who tops five percent of the vote.

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Do Democrats Have a Chance in SC-1?

By Jim Ellis

South Carolina 1st District Republican nominee, state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerville)

South Carolina 1st District Republican nominee, state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerville)

June 18, 2018 — A day after US representative and former governor Mark Sanford (R-Charleston) was denied re-nomination, becoming the second incumbent in this election cycle to fall before the national vote even begins (in May, North Carolina Rep. Bob Pittenger, R-Charlotte, was the first to lose) the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party was claiming that his political organization is now staring at a conversion opportunity.

“It is a perfect storm and an opportunity for us to pick that seat up,” said Trav Robertson, the SC Democratic chairman in an interview last week with the Huffington Post.

Robertson and the local Democrats are claiming that the 1st District is now competitive because Rep. Sanford is out. The 1st stretches from Daufuskie and Hilton Head Islands along the Atlantic coast in the state’s southeastern corner and moves up State Route 17 to the Santee Coastal Reserve while taking in the southern tip of Charleston before jutting up Interstate 26 and State Highway 52 to capture the Goose Creek, Summerville, Moncks Corner, and Bonneau communities.

But it seems the chairman may have it backwards. His “perfect storm” might actually have formed if his candidate, attorney Joe Cunningham, were now facing a weakened Rep. Sanford, who might have won re-nomination with a 50.5 – 46.5 percent spread, instead of losing to state Rep. Katie Arrington (R-Summerville) by such a margin.

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Unelecteds and Opens

By Jim Ellis

June 12, 2017 — It was always known that a large number of 2017-18 cycle governors’ races would be open contests, but finding several unelected incumbents running to hold their new positions is an unforeseen nuance.

In three states, and possibly soon a fourth, governors have been appointed to Trump administration positions or forced from office, thus allowing the lieutenant governor to move into the state’s top position.

South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, now UN Ambassador; Terry Branstad of Iowa becoming US Ambassador to China and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley being forced from office for misappropriation of state funds have made Henry McMaster (SC), Kim Reynolds (IA), and Kay Ivey (AL) overnight governors. While on paper and in practice this is a big advantage for the former lieutenant governors in running for the state’s top position, none of them have easy campaign roads, and not even for their respective party nominations.

Last week’s announcement from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) that he will enter his state’s open gubernatorial contest next year may soon lead to him battling a new incumbent if on-again, off-again Washington, DC appointment rumors eventually prove true.

Speculation has abounded that President Trump will tap Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) for an open United Nations position, or another associated with foreign policy. Though such talk has been a subject of discussion since February and he has yet to be appointed, it is unclear if such will ever happen. Should it, however, then Secretary Kobach, oil businessman Wink Hartman, and ex-state Rep. Ed O’Malley will have to face a new sitting Republican governor, Jeff Colyer, the current lieutenant governor.

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South Carolina Run-off Numbers

By Jim Ellis

May 15, 2017 — Northern South Carolina Republican voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose a special election nominee in the vacant 5th Congressional District run-off election. The June 20 special general winner will replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-Lancaster) who resigned from Congress to become Director of the Office of Management & Budget.

We remember the results from the special primary vote held 10 days ago that almost ended in a tie. Seven Republicans originally entered the GOP contest, and it quickly became clear that a two-week run-off period would be necessary to determine a final nominee. Few expected, however, that the original vote would come close to deadlocking.

State House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope (above) arguably began as the favorite for the nomination. Ironically, it is likely that he wouldn’t have even been a congressional candidate had not incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley (R) been appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations. The move allowed Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) to ascend to the state’s top job where he can now run for a full term unencumbered by the term limit that would have ended Gov. Haley’s tenure. In an open seat situation, Pope intended to run for governor.

The second major candidate, state representative and former congressional nominee Ralph Norman (below) quickly jump-started his political effort by resigning from the legislature to go “all-in” for the congressional race. His campaign aggressiveness paid off as he drew virtually even with Pope in the primary vote.

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Filing Closes in SC-5

By Jim Ellis

March 15, 2017 — The special election that has so far attracted the least attention in this active early political season is Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s north-central South Carolina congressional district.

Most believe the Republicans will retain the seat, but while the GOP victories here have been consistently solid, they are not landslides. Then-state Sen. Mulvaney first won the district under a different configuration in 2010, ousting 14-term Congressman John Spratt (D-Rock Hill) in a 55-45 percent result. The Republican incumbent then averaged 57.8 percent of the vote in his three subsequent re-election campaigns, reaching his highest total this past November, at 59.2 percent.

Seven Republicans, three Democrats, and five minor party contenders have filed as candidates. In South Carolina, the special election system is partisan and three-tiered. The party primaries are posted for May 2. Using the state’s typical two-week run-off format, the secondary election will be May 16 if no candidate secures an absolute majority in the first vote. The special general is scheduled for June 20.

In all likelihood, with seven Republicans on the primary ballot, it is probable that the GOP contest will yield a run-off election. Democrats appear to have one serious candidate compared to a pair of “also-ran” contenders. Therefore, it is at least plausible that the Democratic nominee will be chosen in the May 2 primary.

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