Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

With NC Primary Results Still Unclear, Crisco Dies; Aiken Looks to be Nominee – Late Nebraska Numbers Show a Changing Race

In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on May 13, 2014 at 10:11 am

The North Carolina primary was held on May 6, but the 2nd District Democratic result is still not official. There, singer Clay Aiken has a slight lead over businessman Keith Crisco as the official canvas is proceeding to conclusion. Unfortunately, yesterday after an apparent fall in his home, the 71-year-old Crisco died suddenly.

Aiken’s 369-vote lead on election night is likely to hold up, but the final result may have been close enough that Crisco could have been entitled to a recount. Should the count turnaround and the late Crisco’s vote totals exceed those of Aiken, the Democratic Party would then be empowered to nominate a candidate through a caucus process.

In any event, it appears that one way or another Aiken will become the party nominee and face sophomore Rep. Renee Ellmers (R). However, the Republican nature of the district gives the congresswoman a major general election advantage.

Late Nebraska Primary Poll

Magellan Strategies released the final pre-primary poll (May 8; 525 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters) of the Cornhusker State GOP electorate and it detects some clear movement in both the hotly contested open US Senate and governor’s races.

In the Senate campaign, Magellan finds that early front-runner Shane Osborn, the former state Treasurer and military officer, has now dropped to third place. Midland University President Ben Sasse, with strong support from the Tea Party and other outside conservative organizations, has opened up a lead beyond the margin of polling error. In second place, riding a last-minute charge that appears to be falling short, is wealthy banker Sid Dinsdale. The numbers break 38-24-20 percent in Sasse’s favor. In all probability, tomorrow night’s Republican winner will become the next senator replacing the retiring Mike Johanns (R).

The opposite trends are occurring in the governor’s race. Here, it appears the candidates are bunching together, making the outcome too close to call. The data reports that businessman and former US Senate nominee Pete Ricketts attracts 25 percent support, followed closely by Attorney General Jon Bruning’s 24 percent. State Auditor Mike Foley is third, but still within striking distance at 18 percent. State Sen. Beau McCoy posts a respectable 16 percent.

Bruning appeared to have the late momentum, just picking up the endorsements of popular outgoing Gov. Dave Heineman (R) and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, but major spending from the wealthy Ricketts may have propelled his campaign to its peaking point at precisely the correct time.

With a small statewide sample and a relatively high polling error factor of 4.3 percent, virtually anything can happen in this race. With only hours remaining before tonight’s votes are counted, it remains a pure toss-up.

The Democratic primaries appear to be foregone conclusions. In the Senate race, attorney Dave Domina is poised to claim victory, and former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook is unopposed for the party’s gubernatorial nomination. Both men will be huge underdogs in the general election.

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