Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Edwin Edwards Up in LA-6; Utah House Candidates Battle; Begich Ad Marks a Turn

In House, Senate on March 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

LA-6

Last week, we made mention that 86-year-old former governor and ex-convict Edwin Edwards (D) is making another political comeback by running for the House this year. Edwards’ last year of congressional service was in 1972, when he resigned to begin the first of his four terms as Louisiana governor.

Now, a new automated poll from the local Louisiana Glascock Group consulting firm (released March 20; 718 registered LA-6 voters) finds the former governor leading the jungle primary that will occur concurrently with the Nov. 4 general election. If no candidate receives an outright majority, the top two will advance to a Dec. 6 post-election run-off.

According to the Glascock data, Edwards, possessing 100 percent name identification, draws 43 percent of the respondents’ votes. In second place is Republican state Sen. Dan Claitor with 20 percent, followed by businessman Paul Dietzel (R) at 19 percent. So far, eight Republicans have announced for the seat, with Edwards being the only prominent Democrat. Therefore, even though the Baton Rouge-anchored open seat is overwhelmingly Republican, Edwards coalescing the Democratic vote could certainly qualify him for the run-off. He would have a difficult time winning a one-on-one match-up with a Republican but, in a crowded primary field, the former governor may find himself living to fight another day.

Utah

Candidate filing closed in Utah, and with no US Senate or gubernatorial race leading the ballot this year, the four congressional races take center stage. Three of the state’s House incumbents are seeking re-election. The only retiree is the delegation’s lone Democrat, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT-4).

In the 1st District, Rep. Rob Bishop (R) again draws minimal opposition. He faces a frequent candidate before the Republican state convention, an event in which the congressman will easily surpass the 60 percent threshold required for nomination sans a primary election. He will cruise to a seventh term in November.

In the 2nd District, freshman Rep. Chris Stewart (R) drew three minor Republicans at the convention (if no candidate receives 60 percent of the delegate vote, the top two finishers then qualify for a primary), and state Sen. Luz Robles (D) for the general election. The fall campaign may be slightly more competitive than one might normally expect in Utah because Sen. Robles appears poised to make a serious run for the seat.

Third District Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) filed to run for a fourth term and he faces two minor Republican candidates at the convention, and a Democratic placeholder in November. The congressman should have another easy run for re-election.

In the open 4th District, Saratoga Springs mayor and former congressional candidate Mia Love (R) returns after losing to Matheson by one percentage point in 2012. Love has drawn three Republican opponents, state Board of Education member Jennifer Johnson, radio talk show host Tim Aalders, and businessman Bob Fuehr. Love stomped to victory in the 2012 Republican convention against a favored candidate, so she remains the strong favorite in the 2014 delegate format. For the general election, the eventual Republican nominee will likely face Democrat Doug Owens, son of the late Rep. Wayne Owens (D-UT-2). Owens served four non-consecutive terms in the House, and lost races for both the US Senate (twice) and governor. He died in 2002. The UT-4 seat is the top Republican conversion target in the country.

Alaska Senate

Earlier this month, we wrote an article about one of Sen. Mark Begich’s (D) television ads, and were critical of its convoluted message and strategy. In a turnabout, a new positive bio spot from the Putnam Partners media firm for the Begich campaign (above) is an excellent piece. The minute-long format and strong cinematography makes the ad prominent.

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