Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

In Governor, Presidential campaign, Senate on August 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

Michigan

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa

Much attention is being paid to former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) visiting Iowa this weekend, leaving no doubt that he is testing the waters to run for president. Brown says he is traveling the country to assess his message of broadening the Republican Party’s ideological appeal.

Whether or not the defeated former senator decides to run for president, his foray into Iowa and presumably soon into other early 2016 presidential states tells us more about the coming mid-term election than it does the next nationwide campaign. Since his defeat at the hands of now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) last year in Massachusetts (46-53 percent), Brown has floated the idea of him running for the Senate in neighboring New Hampshire, governor of Massachusetts, and now president. Combined, these moves signal that he won’t likely be on the ballot in 2014.

His New Hampshire trial balloon was unsuccessful. After making it clear that he was considering such a race, little has occurred to suggest that he is serious, and initial polling indicates that it would be a dubious move at best. In two publicly released polls, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) appears in solid position to easily defeat him.

But, the more curious situation is why Brown is not moving more decisively toward running for governor in his home state. While the Massachusetts voters defeated him last November, his favorability ratings remain unusually high for a defeated politician and his polling status is very strong against all potential Democratic candidates. With the news breaking that Attorney General Martha Coakley, the woman he defeated for the Senate in the special election of 2010, may run for governor, his chances to win that position have seemingly increased. Yet, he makes no discernible move toward running.

Too much indecision suggests no race for Scott Brown in 2014. We’ll see what happens in the future.

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