Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Trump’s Achilles Heel

By Jim Ellis

April 13, 2016 — Donald Trump’s flap over the Colorado delegation’s action this past Saturday reveals his campaign’s biggest weakness. While he has performed better than any other Republican candidate in attracting votes in the primary/caucus process to date, the Trump organization has paid scant attention to delegate selection mechanics in the various states. Now, the omission is beginning to cost him.

Trump is crying foul because the Colorado Republican Party met in convention instead of scheduling a primary or caucus, but theirs was not a random, or unheard of act. In fact, North Dakota used the same procedure the previous weekend without raising the Trump campaign’s ire.

“Though [Trump] has placed first more often than any other Republican candidate in primaries and a few caucuses, he has still garnered support from just 37 percent of voters casting ballots in a primary or caucus, far from obtaining majority status.”

Colorado Republicans have always employed a nominating convention. Prior to the 1980s, the only ballot access a candidate for any partisan office had was to obtain at least 20 percent of the convention vote. For the past 25-plus years, however, candidates can opt to bypass the convention and directly qualify exclusively through the signature petition process.

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Why Cruz Visited The Bronx

By Jim Ellis

April 11, 2016 — Many people are questioning why Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went to The Bronx last week in preparation for the April 19 New York primary, a little over a week from now.

Significantly trailing both front-runner Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) in the latest released polling (Monmouth University; April 2-3; 302 likely New York Republican primary voters; Trump 52 percent, Kasich 25 percent, Cruz 17 percent), which is consistent with earlier data in the public realm, it appears that the senator may not be using his limited time wisely in visiting a place with so few Republican voters. But, there is a method to Cruz’s “madness”.

New York has a complicated Republican delegate apportionment system. For a candidate to qualify for any of the 11 at-large delegates, he must break the 20 percent vote threshold. If, on the other end of the spectrum, a candidate exceeds a statewide majority the at-large delegates then become Winner-Take-All.

The 27 congressional districts are designed in similar fashion. If a candidate breaks the 50 percent barrier in an individual district, that seat’s three delegates are all awarded to the top finisher. If the district winner falls between 20 and 50 percent, he wins two delegates and the person in second position receives one.

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New Senate Primary Polls

By Jim Ellis

April 8, 2016 — Democrats have two near-term US Senate primary battles underway and both will be decided on April 26. The Maryland Democratic primary will almost assuredly determine who succeeds retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). The Pennsylvania contest will identify first-term Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) general election opponent in what promises to be a hotly contested campaign with national implications.

Maryland

The polls have seesawed for weeks between representatives Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County). Just last Friday, Van Hollen released his own Garin Hart Yang Research survey giving the candidate a 45-40 percent advantage, but this is the only recent poll arriving at such a conclusion. Several days earlier, the Baltimore Sun published their data giving Edwards a 34-28 percent lead.

Seeing this, the Washington Post, partnering with the University of Maryland, went into the field with their own poll (March 30-April 3; 539 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) and also found Edwards ahead. The spread was 44-40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters and 44-35 percent when the entire registered Democratic universe (741) was queried. The conclusions are exactly the opposite of Van Hollen’s findings.

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Following Up on the
Big Wisconsin Wins

By Jim Ellis

April 7, 2016 — Both senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) handily exceeded expectations in Wisconsin Tuesday night. Cruz, in particular, had an impressive night, hovering around the 50 percent mark throughout the counting and finished just a point under the majority threshold. Donald Trump notched only 34 percent, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) came up way short with just 14 percent.

Wisconsin is a Winner-Take-All by congressional district state, and it is in the all-important delegate count where Cruz came close to running the table. Except for the two western state congressional districts, 3 (Rep. Ron Kind; D-La Crosse) and 7 (Rep. Sean Duffy; R-Wausau), the Texas lawmaker swept the state including the Madison-anchored 2nd District where Kasich appeared to be favored going into the election. Therefore, Sen. Cruz scored a 36-6 delegate apportionment victory over Trump, with Kasich being shut out.

The result should be seen as a significant setback for Trump, just as it is becoming clear that he will face a serious degradation in delegate support if the convention deadlocks and multiple ballots are required.

Reports emanating from states such as Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Dakota and Arizona suggest that the delegate composition from these places, once the members are released according to their individual state law or party rule, will back away from Trump and head toward Cruz or possibly another candidate if others can be introduced into the process at the convention.

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Understanding State
Delegate Nuances

By Jim Ellis

April 5, 2016 — This past Sunday, the Drudge Report led with a story from a St. Louis political blogger who claimed Sen. Ted Cruz will be eliminated from obtaining a first ballot victory on April 26 even if he wins the Wisconsin primary today as all public polls indicate (The Gateway Pundit). The story’s premise is incorrect.

Joe Hoft, writing for the Gateway Pundit political blog, errs because he misunderstands the Republican National Committee delegate apportionment formulas. Therefore, to set the record straight, although Cruz is on political life support for a first ballot nomination, he likely won’t be mathematically eliminated this month.

Hoft misstates several points regarding exactly how the delegates are apportioned, particularly in the remaining Winner-Take-All by congressional district states. To capture all delegates in the seven states that use this system, one would have to place first in the statewide vote, and then carry every congressional district. Donald Trump accomplished this feat in South Carolina, but it appears unlikely Cruz will do so in Wisconsin today. Plus, Hoft’s projection (see chart in the linked article) that Trump would win two delegates from the Badger State is impossible because winning a CD awards the candidate three delegates. And, since even the three RNC delegates here are bound to the statewide winner, the remaining votes are assigned in groups of three after the 15 at-large delegates go to the statewide first-place finisher.

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Competitive House Primaries

By Jim Ellis

March 31, 2016 — The anti-Washington political sentiment is more than just a factor in the presidential race. The feeling is permeating the early congressional nomination campaigns, particularly among Republicans, and House incumbents are taking serious notice.

So far six states have held their congressional primaries: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas, and though no incumbent has lost many have deflected competitive intra-party challenges, while several others loom on the horizon. In the six states that have nominated their 2016 congressional candidates, including four with run-off systems, none has even been cast into a secondary election. The closest two results came in Texas and Illinois, where veteran representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) and John Shimkus (R-IL-15) won respective 53 and 60 percent re-nomination victories.

The most serious current primary campaigns are occurring in North Carolina, now scheduled for June 7 after a court-mandated major redistricting plan forced the state to move its congressional primaries from March 15.

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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