Tag Archives: Robert Burns

The Turnout Precursor

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

While the New Hampshire results are not completely final, retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc has been projected as the Republican primary winner and he now advances to face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

The senator’s campaign wasted no time in attacking Bolduc, hitting him with an abortion ad the day after the primary ended.

Gen. Bolduc’s margin of victory over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) will be in the neighborhood of 1,800 votes when all the counting is finally complete.

Turnout was robust. It appears the New Hampshire Republican primary will feature, when the counts become official, approximately 145,000 voters. This is an extraordinarily high figure, since it is only about 8,000 short of the number who participated in the 2020 first-in-the-nation New Hampshire presidential primary.

The Democratic side will have drawn only approximately 95,000 when all of the towns and counties finally report, though Sen. Hassan and state Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Rye) were largely unopposed in the Senate and governor’s race.

The presidential nomination election, which in many ways becomes an economic industry in New Hampshire because of the major campaign spending from so many national campaigns that is associated with winning the first vote in the nominating process, last drew 153,674 GOP voters. Typically, turnout for the presidential primaries are close to general election participation levels.

The 2nd Congressional District Republican race was just as close as the Senate campaign, but it now appears certain that former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns defeated Keene Mayor George Hansel by just under three percentage points or a little over 1,600 votes. He now advances to face five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord).

The 1st District was decided on Tuesday night, and former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt will officially challenge two-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in one of the most politically volatile congressional districts in the country.

Though former President Trump did not endorse a candidate in the Senate race, his supporters had a big night on Tuesday and are largely credited with delivering the victories for Bolduc, Leavitt, and Burns. It remains to be seen how the national Republican committees respond, since there was clear consternation among the party leadership about the candidates and Bolduc, in particular.

Yesterday, however, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, said his committee remains fully committed to New Hampshire as a key target race. The organization has over $9 million in media time already reserved for the Granite State’s general election.

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Gen. Bolduc Leads;
Gov. McKee Survives

By Jim Ellis — Sept. 14, 2022

The Final Primaries

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire — The last major US Senate primary is close to concluding as retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, despite being wildly outspent, appears to have turned back state Senate President Chuck Morse’s late race momentum and is staked to a one-point, 37-36 percent lead (1,270 votes) in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary with 85 percent of the expected vote counted.

Though the margin is tight, it is most likely that Gen. Bolduc will advance into a shortened general election cycle against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

A great deal of controversy surrounded this primary, particularly a verbal sparring battle between Gen. Bolduc and Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Both had unflattering things to say about the other, and now it will be interesting if we see a quick healing between the two. No doubt Democrats will use the governor’s words against Bolduc. Even before the votes were tabulated, however, Gov. Sununu was sending more conciliatory signals and stressing the importance of Republicans uniting to defeat Sen. Hassan, whom he says, “nobody likes.”

Though Bolduc was viewed as the weakest general election candidate in the field of six, head-to-head test polling didn’t show him any further behind Sen. Hassan than those, such as Sen. Morse, who were viewed as the better options to become the Republican standard bearer.

The Republican leadership will now have a difficult decision about how to proceed. Do they invest heavily in this race to back a candidate who they believe is weak even though Sen. Hassan appears vulnerable in a state that could easily swing Republican, or to do they cut their losses early and transfer the funds to another place where their chances for victory might be brighter? It will be interesting to see what they decide.
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Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Close Polling in Washington; NH-1 Still Undecided; Survey in NY Shows Gov. Race Tightening

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

Senate

Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D)

Washington: Despite Jungle Vote, Close Polling — After a strong showing in the Washington jungle primary on Aug. 2 when Sen. Patty Murray (D) placed first with a 52-34 percent spread over veterans’ advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R), a new Trafalgar Group survey finds a surprisingly close general election count. The Trafalgar survey (Aug. 30-Sept. 1; 1,087 likely Washington general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) yields a ballot test with a Murray advantage of only 49-46 percent, the closest result we have seen since the primary.

The only other post-primary survey came from McLaughlin & Associates, like Trafalgar, a Republican pollster (Aug. 15-17; 500 Washington likely general election voters; live interview & text). This ballot test featured a similar, but slightly stronger margin for Sen. Murray. The result broke 49-43 percent, just beyond the polling margin of error.

The McLaughlin poll found the respondents believing the country is on the wrong track by a major 24:68 percent margin, but President Biden’s favorability index was 48:51 percent favorable to unfavorable, one of his better marks in the country. Sen. Murray remains the favorite in this election, but the polling margins are tighter than what one would have predicted based upon Washington voting history and the actual jungle primary results.

House

NH-1: Primary Still Undecided — The University of New Hampshire released their latest Granite State Poll (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 419 NH-1 likely Republican primary voters; online) and, like the Remington Research Group survey concluded eight days earlier, sees a dead heat in the 1st Congressional District’s Republican primary. The UNH survey finds 2020 congressional nominee Matt Mowers holding a slight 26-24 percent edge over former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt with former news reporter Gail Huff Brown, the wife of ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), trailing at 16 percent.

The Remington ballot test (Aug. 14-17; 462 NH-1 likely voters; live interview & text) saw a 21-21 percent tie between Mowers and Leavitt with Brown attracting just nine percent support. Clearly, the Sept. 13 primary will feature a very close finish. The winner will then immediately move into a competitive race with second-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in a district that has defeated more incumbents than any other seat in the nation since 2004.

NH-2: Clear GOP Primary Leader — The University of New Hampshire’s Granite State Poll also tested the competitive western NH-2 District (Aug. 25-29; 1,993 New Hampshire online panel members; 469 NH-2 likely Republican primary voters; online) and projects that former Hillsborough County treasurer Robert Burns holds a 32-18 percent advantage over Keene Mayor George Hansel. The winner will then advance into a competitive race against five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) in November.

Governor

New York: New Closer Survey — The Trafalgar Group and Insider Advantage teamed to produce a New York gubernatorial survey (Aug. 31-Sept. 1; 1,019 likely New York general election voters; multiple sampling techniques). Their ballot test yielded Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and US Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R) closest result. The Trafalgar/IA responses posted the governor to a 48-43 percent edge. The most recent previous poll, from Survey USA (Aug. 17-21; 1,200 New York adults; 1,046 registered voters; 715 likely New York governor election voters; online) found a 51-33 percent spread in Gov. Hochul’s favor.

Skewed Polling Questions in Florida? Internal GOP Battle Brewing in NH

By Jim Ellis — June 9, 2022

Senate

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) | Rep. Val Demings (D)

Florida: New Poll, Similar Result — The Florida Senate race will be an expensive fight – each candidate had already raised over $30 million before the end of March – but polling continues to suggest that incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) holds relatively small but consistent margins over US Rep. Val Demings (D-Orlando). Public Policy Polling released a new survey for Giffords PAC, a group supporting Rep. Demings (May 26-27; 655 registered Florida voters; interactive voice response system), that finds Sen. Rubio holding a 47-41 percent advantage. This is consistent with other polling.

The pollsters then asked a series of gun control questions designed to push the respondent toward Demings. Even after the barrage of inflammatory questions, Sen. Rubio still held a 44-42 percent edge.

Washington: New Poll, Similar Result — Public Policy Polling, conducting another in a series of their polls for the Northwest Progressive Institute (June 1-2; 1,039 registered Washington voters; live interview & text), again finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading the 2022 general election contest over Republican Tiffany Smiley but without her usual overwhelming majority. The new results post the senator to a 50-41 percent lead, which is consistent with their previous polls conducted earlier in the year. Sen. Murray is the clear favorite to win a sixth term, but we can expect to see an unusually competitive general election in one of the Democrats’ most reliable political states.

House

NH-2: Internal Battle Brewing — With New Hampshire redistricting finally complete, and both of the state’s congressional districts remaining in the competitive mode, an ideological Republican primary is forming to challenge Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton). At the end of last week, Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns, who defines himself as a “staunch conservative” announced his congressional campaign for the GOP nomination. He will challenge the party establishment’s candidate, Keene Mayor George Hansel, who holds Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement and is a self-described “pro-choice Republican.”

Though Rep. Kuster could be vulnerable in this D+2 western state CD, the state primary isn’t until Sept. 13. Therefore, this budding Republican primary challenge will go on for quite some time, thus allowing the congresswoman to build a further advantage in a shortened general election campaign.

NY-23: Rep. Chris Jacobs Decides to Retire — Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park), who was just elected to his first full term in 2020, announced that he is now abandoning plans to run in the new post-redistricting 23rd District largely due to fallout over his position on the gun control issue and related impending legislation. This opens a safely Republican and vacant 23rd District and completely changes both the regular election primary and the upcoming special election both concurrently scheduled for Aug. 23.

Now it appears the special election will be the determining factor. Before Rep. Jacobs’ retirement decision, he had announced for the new 23rd CD but would not participate in the special election after incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) resigned. The reason: Jacobs is still serving out the final term in District 27. The 27th CD was eliminated in redistricting because New York lost a congressional seat in national reapportionment.

The political parties choose special election nominees in New York without a special primary election, so it appears the 10 Republican County chairmen whose entities comprise the current 23rd CD will likely be determining who wins the succeeding special election, and therefore the new regular general election as well.