Tag Archives: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending in Alaska; Walker Remains Above Attacks in GA; Polls in Nevada Show Some Flip-Flopping

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

Senate

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Alaska: Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending — The media is covering comments former President Donald Trump is making over the Senate Leadership Fund’s campaign spending as it relates to the Alaska race featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and the ex-president’s endorsed candidate, Kelly Tshibaka (R). The SLF, an organization that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) former staff members and political allies control, is committing $9 million in media money to support Sen. Murkowski.

Trump attacks the group, and Sen. McConnell by name, for spending this money against another Republican instead of in places where GOP candidates are opposing strong Democratic incumbents such as Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Many agree with Trump’s assessment since, particularly in Arizona, more money is needed to counter Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D) huge financial edge.

Because of Alaska’s new electoral system, it is clear that the general election is coming down to a battle between the two Republicans, hence not endangering the Senate’s party division count.

Georgia: Attacks Not Destroying Walker — Republican Herschel Walker has been under intense attack recently in his Senate battle against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), but several new polls, so far, suggest that the attacks about his personal life have not yet devastated his campaign.

A series of six polls were released in the past few days, and only one, from Survey USA, shows Sen. Warnock holding a substantial lead. Four of the six find the margin between the two candidates falling within a 1-3 percentage point margin. A total of four surveys, from The Trafalgar Group, Quinnipiac University, Emerson College, and Insider Advantage, conducted their studies between the Oct. 4-11 period. The other two, from the aforementioned Survey USA and the University of Georgia, polled between Sept. 25 through Oct. 4. The sample sizes range from 550 to 1,157 likely voters. S-USA is most out of line, showing Warnock up 50-38 percent. Quinnipiac sees the second largest Warnock edge, 52-45 percent.

The group of polls allows observers to arrive at two conclusions. First, Sen. Warnock leads the race. Second, Walker is still very competitive and remains within striking distance.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll — After trailing in seven consecutive polls among likely voters, a new Suffolk University survey (Oct. 4-7; 500 likely Nevada voters; live interview) finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) pulling back in front of former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 46-44 percent.

Clearly, the cumulative result from these many polls is that both candidates are alive heading into voter decision making time. The bad sign for Sen. Cortez Masto is that she has failed to reach 50 percent support in the last dozen consecutive polls, dating all the way back to July. Such is a troubling indication for any incumbent.

Governor

Georgia: Conflicting Polls — From the myriad of Georgia Senate polling (see Georgia Senate above), two of the survey research entities released numbers for the Peach State governor’s race. Quinnipiac University (Oct. 7-10; 1,157 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview) plots Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) lead over former state House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) at just 50-49 percent. The University of Georgia (Sept. 25-Oct. 4; 1,030 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), however, sees a much wider Kemp advantage, 51-41 percent.

Nevada: Sheriff’s Edge — The aforementioned Suffolk University survey (see Nevada Senate above) that found Sen. Cortez Masto (D) reclaiming a small lead over her Republican opponent instead finds Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) holding a slight 44-43 percent edge over Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Just as in the Senate race where either candidate can win, such is also the case in the Silver State’s governor’s contest.

Fox Poll Blitz: Alaska, Ark., Colo., Kan. & Ky.

Fox News, which contracts with both a Democratic and Republican pollster to provide joint data relating to key political races, released a series of surveys yesterday, each providing good news for Republicans. The results may skew slightly Republican because in certain instances they exceed other similarly published survey suggests.

The two firms, neither particularly well known nor quoted in national polling circles, are Anderson Robbins Research (D) and the Shaw Polling Company (R). The two combined to produce polls in five different states during the Oct. 4-7 period. In each place, the sampling universe numbered somewhere between 702 and 739 likely voters. In all but Kentucky, both the Senate and governors’ races were tested. Blue Grass State voters won’t choose a new governor until next year. As identified in the headline, the other four polled states were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and Kansas.

Alaska

Here, the Fox poll gave former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R) a 44-40 percent lead over Sen. Mark Begich (D), which could well be accurate. Sullivan and Begich have Continue reading >

The State of the Senate

Much has been written about which party will control the US Senate in the next Congress and, with seven pure toss-up races on the political board, there’s plenty of room for conjecture on both sides of the ideological aisle.

Let’s take a look at the aggregate Senate campaign picture, remembering that the Republicans must retain all of the seats they currently possess (15 in this election cycle) and convert six Democratic states just to reach the minimum majority level. Democrats will maintain control if the two parties deadlock at 50-50 (including the Independents who will caucus with one party or the other). The Dems hold power in such a situation because Vice President Joe Biden (D), the constitutional Senate president, will break any tie vote in his party’s favor.

The model also assumes Republican conversion victories in three Democratic retirement seats, Montana (Sen. John Walsh), South Dakota (Sen. Tim Johnson), and West Virginia (Sen. Jay Rockefeller). A three-way contest in South Dakota could Continue reading >

Defensive Tactics

Kentucky Senate


“Skeet Shooting”

Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes just launched a new television ad to strike back against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hard-hitting campaign against her. But the ad likely misses its mark. In reality, the message context may be reinforcing her opponent’s points instead of scoring some of her own.

Grimes, reciting her lines as she’s shooting skeet ostensibly to prove that she can handle a gun, directly responds to being painted a rubber stamp for the president by simply saying she’s not Barack Obama. Though the script takes an offensive tone, attempting to turn the tables on McConnell, the message fails. If anything, Grimes underscores the Republican attacks against her: that she supports Obama whose job approval score in Kentucky is 2:1 negative, while reiterating the charges that she is soft on guns and the EPA anti-coal regulations.

The campaign ad fails because it repeats the attacks being made against the candidate, and then likely leads the viewer to ask questions rather than providing answers.

Alaska Senate


“Message for Begich”

In a new ad, the Dan Sullivan (R) campaign attempts to repel Sen. Mark Begich’s (D) attacks that he (Sullivan) is an outsider who knows little about the “real Alaska”. Begich has been hitting Sullivan because he hasn’t personally lived in Alaska long, even though his wife, Julie Fate Sullivan, and her family have been mainstays in the state for years.

The theme of the ad, narrated by Mrs. Sullivan, is that Begich is attacking his opponent for being away on military duty and in State Department service. Whether this explanation completely covers where Dan Sullivan lived or for how long he’s been an Alaskan is unclear, but will undoubtedly be a topic of further discussion.

The ad is moderately effective because it attempts to change the dynamic when answering an attack. It will be interesting to see how Begich’s campaign responds, and whether the incumbent can again shift attention toward Sullivan’s lack of a sufficiently long Alaska history.

Iowa Senate

http://youtu.be/F_JqmuNkZ30
“Ernst: Really Cares”

Democrats and outside organizations have been attacking Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst for wanting to “cut Social Security and Medicare.” Ernst responds to the attacks by not directly mentioning them. Rather, she extols her support for Social Security as a fundamental goal and attempts to deflect the direct attacks subtly, through what should be perceived as a positive ad.

Hearing the exact opposite message from what is being launched in attacks will likely leave many viewers confused, which is a far better alternative than seeing a clear negative image.

The Ernst campaign presents an interesting approach, but a routine positive ad is often not memorable. The ad’s underlying purpose is to let voters see the candidate and encourage voters to form a positive image of Ms. Ernst, not necessarily through the ad’s script or the state legislator’s words, but through an image that can be seen and heard. The goal is to present the candidate as a disarming person, convincing the viewer that she would never harm those earning government transfer payments.

The Ernst counter is certainly acceptable, but not particularly memorable. Therefore, the ad does not fully cement the campaign’s stated goals in the viewers’ minds.

Results and Reverberations from the Biggest Night of the Primary Season

The biggest night of the primary election season to date unfolded last night, and the marquee race featured the quintet of Republican candidates vying for the open Georgia Senate nomination. In the end, with all five individuals at least maintaining a slight chance to advance to the July 22 run-off as the voting day began, is now coming down to a two-way contest between businessman David Perdue (who registered 30 percent) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), who nipped former Secretary of State Karen Handel, 26-22 percent. Representatives Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) and Paul Broun (R-GA-10) registered only 10 percent apiece. The secondary election winner will face the now-official Democratic nominee, Michelle Nunn, who captured her primary with 75 percent of the vote.

The plethora of pre-election political polls accurately forecast the final order, with the Kingston and Handel pulling away and Perdue finishing first. Rep. Kingston took  Continue reading >