It appears continuing the new-found Senate majority could well turn on the 2016 presidential election, and that puts Republicans in a precarious position.
When the GOP captured the Senate in 2014, much was made that their fledgling majority could be short-lived. Seeing that 24 of the 34 in-cycle 2016 seats are Republican-held means that Democrats need a minimum net conversion of only four states to re-claim control. That is, if the Ds – presumably in the person of former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton – hold the White House upon President Obama’s exit. Otherwise, they would need to gain five.
In looking at the Senate players for the coming campaign we see not only a Republican Party forced to protect two dozen seats, but 10of those 24 can already be considered as highly competitive complete with a pair (IL-Kirk; WI-Johnson) in the toss-up category.
Of the vulnerable 10 states, seven (Arizona-McCain; Florida-Rubio, New Hampshire-Ayotte, North Carolina-Burr, Ohio-Portman, Pennsylvania-Toomey and Wisconsin-Johnson) are high-level presidential campaign targets. Likely putting the Republicans in even greater peril for the next election, President Obama twice Continue reading >
At the end of 2014, California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) provided strong hints that she would not seek a fifth term in 2016. Yesterday, she made that decision official. In a video hosted by her grandson, Sen. Boxer announced that she will not be a candidate for the Senate next year, thus ending what will be a 34-year-career in Congress.
The succeeding election now marks the first time since Boxer originally won in 1992 that California will host an open US Senate campaign. A plethora of Democrats are expected to enter the statewide fray. The most interesting dynamic will be the interplay between political allies Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutenant governor, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. It would be surprising to see the two close colleagues challenge each other, but stranger things have happened in politics. It is also possible that neither will run. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is apparently not giving serious consideration to the Senate race. One potential major contender who is seriously looking at becoming a candidate is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Another mayor drawing attention is Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson, a former NBA professional basketball player. Continue reading >
As 2014 closes, we’re taking a quick look ahead at the 34 in-cycle US Senate seats for 2016. The tables have turned in that it is the Democrats who will have to convert Republican seats in order to recapture their lost majority. With Republicans having to defend 24 of the 34 Senate states, the Democrats will have plenty of conversion opportunities. They will need to win all 10 of the seats they currently hold and convert five Republican seats to reach 51 senators. Should the Democrats hold the White House in the presidential election, the Senate conversion number will drop to four because the Democratic vice president will then be able to break a 50-50 deadlock.
Of the senators who preliminarily say they will seek re-election, four (senators Richard Shelby (AL), John McCain (AZ), Charles Grassley (IA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD), will be 80 years old or older at the time of the next election. Another six will be 70 or older.
Right now, several seats are projected to be competitive, and both Democrats and Republicans are eying individuals they would characterize as dream challengers.
For Democrats, the two most competitive incumbent protection contests will be Nevada and Colorado. New Senate Minority Continue reading >
Now that states are beginning to report their certified election numbers, we can better gauge the 2014 turnout patterns. It appears that over eight million fewer people voted in this mid-term election than did in 2010. This is a large number to be sure, but much of the participation fall-off comes from places that featured little in the way of competitive elections.
Thirty-five states are reporting turnout figures that are lower than their respective voter participation tabulations for 2010. This is a substantial number in any event, but even more so when one is cognizant of the fact that virtually all states have increased population and higher registered voter totals now than they did four years ago. Conversely, 15 states saw an increase in aggregate voter turnout when compared to 2010.
The three states with the steepest turnout drop are Missouri, California and Nevada.
The Show Me State found 34.2 percent fewer people voting in this past election than in the last mid-term, but that is likely due to the fact that the only statewide contest was for the office of auditor, and none of the eight congressional races were viewed as competitive heading into Election Day. With California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) re-election being a foregone conclusion and no Golden State US Senate contest, mid-term turnout in America’s largest state dropped 27.6 percent. California did have a host of competitive congressional contests, but they were not enough to balance the Continue reading >
Final pre-election polls are being released, and some new data is telling us different things in a series of key Senate, House and gubernatorial campaigns. The featured surveys depict forming trends, different race leaders in polls conducted simultaneously, or ones that appear to be outliers.
Polls bucking the latest trend:
• Georgia: Monmouth University (Oct. 26-28; 436 likely voters):
David Perdue (R) ……….. 49%
Michelle Nunn (D) ……… 41%
Amanda Swafford (L) …… 3%
Perdue, if leading, has done so by a much closer margin.
• North Carolina: Public Opinion Strategies (Oct. 26-27; 600 likely voters):
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) ……. 44%
Thom Tillis (R) ………….. 44%
Sean Haugh (L) ……………. 7%
Sen. Hagan has been leading in most polls.
• Iowa: Garin Hart Yang Research for Braley campaign (Oct. 25-27; 802 likely voters) Continue reading >
Like the Senate and House races, 36 gubernatorial campaigns are also drawing to conclusion this week, and in as tight a fashion as the US Senate races that have dominated the political landscape.
Republicans hold a 29 to 21 advantage in the national gubernatorial division, but Democrats appear poised to gain a small number of state houses in this election. Strong competition is underway in 20 of the 36 states, a very high number. Nine races are thought to be too close to call headed into Election Day.
The tightest of all, not surprisingly, may be in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) are doing battle. Florida, as we know, is no stranger to tight campaigns, and the Sunshine State electorate will almost assuredly give us another one this year. The Scott-Crist race is a flat tie, with multiple polls yielding each candidate a very small lead. Democrats feel they have the ground game to win a close race, but Scott has the clear momentum fighting back from very poor approval ratings to force the race to a virtual draw.
One campaign that likely won’t be close is the Democratic conversion of Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has virtually no victory path and has trailed Democratic businessman Tom Wolf for the entire general election cycle, usually by double-digits. Continue reading >
During the past week’s primaries, several races ventured into political overtime, which we update today.
Last night in central Wisconsin’s open 6th District race – Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6) retiring – the Associated Press prematurely declared state Sen. Glenn Grothman the winner of the Republican primary. Now the projection has been rescinded as fellow GOP Sen. Joe Leibham rebounded in the remaining Sheboygan County votes to pull into a virtual tie.
When the projection was made, Grothman had a comfortable eight percentage point lead over Leibham, with Assemblyman Duey Stroebel dropping well behind in third place. As more of Sheboygan County continued to be counted, Leibham’s strength exponentially increased to the point of him finishing just 214 votes behind. All precincts are reporting, but provisional counting is underway. It is unlikely there are enough votes outstanding to change the outcome, but an even closer finish will lead to a recount. Therefore, we are probably weeks from arriving at a final total.
Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the Democratic nominee and, on paper, he appears to be a credible candidate. If he is to seriously compete, however, he, his Continue reading >