Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Archive for December, 2014|Monthly archive page

Grimm Hangs on Despite Odds Against Him; Deep South Regional Primary Concept Reportedly Gaining Traction

In House, Primary on December 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

Happiness to all as we enter the year-end holiday period. In honor of the season, we will take a brief publication hiatus for the next few days but be back at the beginning of the new year. Thank you for a great 2014 and enjoy the time with your loved ones.

NY-11

Two days ago it was predicted that New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) would plead guilty to one count of tax evasion, and then soon resign his House seat possibly as a way to avoid incarceration. The prediction proved half true.

Grimm did, in fact, plead guilty in federal court to one count of tax evasion from an enterprise occurring prior to his entering Congress. His sentencing is now scheduled for June 8, but the representative stated he does not intend to resign from office.

It is likely just a matter of time before he is forced to do so, however, either by having to report to prison or, simply because his status as a convicted felon may disqualify him from congressional service because he will no longer be an elector. Voting privileges are suspended until the completion of a sentence even if the penalty consists only of probation and paying a fine.

In any event, it appears Grimm will take the oath of office for a new term and continue to execute his duties at least until early June. This means that any special election to be Continue reading >

A Grimm Solution

In House on December 23, 2014 at 10:20 am

Despite being under indictment for 20 counts of various financial felony charges, New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY-11) was handily re-elected (53-41 percent) to a third term in office last month, but he soon may be forced to resign.

Reports emanating from New York City indicate that Grimm will plead guilty to one count of felony tax evasion at a hearing later today. He obviously hopes to avoid a prison term, though a sentence of between 24 and 30 months appears highly possible.

Clearly, if he goes to prison Rep. Grimm will be forced to resign his congressional office, and most likely the felony guilty plea will make it legally impossible for him to continue even if he isn’t incarcerated. To become a congressional candidate, one must legally qualify as an elector. Since he will lose his voting privileges upon conviction, Grimm will no longer qualify to serve in Congress.

A pending resignation means Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will schedule a special election to fill the subsequent vacancy. The 11th District comprises all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. Almost two-thirds of the district includes Staten Island, which gives us an indication as to why favorite son Grimm did so well in this district despite his legal problems. Ironically, despite his indictments becoming a major issue in the just-completed campaign, his 2014 performance was the strongest of his three winning efforts for the seat.
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Immigration Politics: The White House Task Force on New Americans

In Immigration on December 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Fox News ran a story over the weekend quoting “Republican strategists” as saying that the new White House Task Force on New Americans is targeting specific numbers of legal non-citizen immigrants in 10 states with the underlying purpose of increasing Democratic voter registration. They complain the Task Force is fast-tracking people in this category for citizenship to make them eligible to participate in the 2016 presidential election in order to increase the Democratic Party advantage.

The Task Force’s stated goal is to help “welcome” the new immigrants and more seamlessly assimilate them into American society. The administration is emphasizing national economic benefits as the reason for making it easier to qualify the legal immigrants for citizenship. They argue that the immigrant population represents 13 percent of the national population, slightly larger than the African American share, but comprises 16 percent of the workforce, and is responsible for creating 28 percent of all new businesses. About half of those in the legal immigrant category are Hispanic, with Asians being the second largest group.

Though voting privileges will be part of attaining citizenship, the 10 states chosen – because 75 percent of the legal immigrants reside in these places – are almost exclusively not swing political states. It is clear that seven of the 10, and maybe as many as nine, are established Electoral Vote havens for one party or the other.
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Conversion Opportunities Lie Ahead for Senate Democrats; McSally Wins – Officially

In Senate on December 18, 2014 at 10:48 am

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 >

Will Another Bush Take Root With the Electorate?; The AZ-2 Recount

In House, Presidential campaign on December 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced yesterday that he will indeed form a political action committee for purposes of testing his viability in a campaign for president, thus following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps. The announcement is hardly a surprise based upon Bush’s political moves of the preceding weeks.

The other potential candidates who spoke about a potential Jeb Bush candidacy – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and previous 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney – are unanimously moving forward with their own political plans regardless of whether or not the legacy candidate enters the race.

Since Republican voters have a history of always turning to their heir apparent in the presidential race, the more establishment-oriented potential candidacies of Bush and Romney must be taken seriously. If they both enter the race, along with adding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the mix, the more centrist voters will likely be split, thus possibly opening the door for fresher candidates like Sen. Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and others.

When looking at the general election match-ups, a Romney/Bush style candidate may be exactly what the Democrats are looking for despite the Hillary Clinton camp’s comments about what a formidable Continue reading >

House Reruns Passed Over

In House on December 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

With the AZ-2 race at last drawing to a close in the Tucson area (Martha McSally-R vs. Rep. Ron Barber-D), the political lineup for the 114th Congress is virtually finalized. Though McSally’s 161-vote lead in the original tally is obviously close, it is likely to hold since Arizona election law has no provision to challenge votes. Therefore, we can now delve more deeply into the 2014 electoral patterns.

One area worthy of examining is how former members attempting to return to the House fared. Often times, incumbents run for a different office, are defeated, or retire, and at a later date decide to launch a political comeback. In the 2014 cycle, a dozen former members ran campaigns to obtain their former positions. Looking at how this group fared could be an indicator as to what we might expect in 2016. In virtually every election cycle, there are individuals in this category.

Of the 12 ex-House members attempting to return, only two, Bob Dold (R-IL-10) and Frank Guinta (R-NH-1) were successful. The other 10, all running as Republicans with the exception of former representatives Joe Baca (D-CA-31) and Hansen Clarke (D-MI-14), were defeated. One of the unsuccessful former members, ex-Rep. Gene Taylor (MS-4), ran as a Republican in 2014, but served in the House for 11 terms as a Democrat. Baca, Clarke and Taylor all fell in their respective primaries, as did GOP former representatives Clyde Holloway (LA-5) and Todd Tiahrt (KS-4). The others: ex-representatives Doug Ose (CA-7), Charles Djou (HI-1), Bobby Schilling (IL-17) Continue reading >

Even More Presidential Candidates Emerge

In Presidential campaign on December 15, 2014 at 11:58 am

Almost everyday now, a new individual is mentioned as someone considering a potential run for president in 2016. The latest to be attracting some attention are two big state Republican governors both named Rick. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Michigan state chief executive Rick Snyder are reportedly floating national trial balloons, testing whether they might be viable GOP presidential candidates next year.

Though both are clearly considered long shot candidates at best, they do have several key obvious positives. First, they are governors, which has historically been the best office from which to successfully run for the White House. Second, if either were to capture the nomination, their home states should give them a key boost on the general election map, particularly in Gov. Scott’s case because a Republican realistically cannot win a presidential election without carrying Florida. Third, both have a fundraising base that could quickly reach national proportions.

But, both Scott and Snyder also possess clear negatives. Though they won re-election to a second term last month in their respective competitive states, neither did so impressively. Florida being the quintessential swing domain always yields a close race, but Scott’s 48-47 percent victory margin, virtually identical to his 49-48 percent win four years ago over then-Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D), should have been stronger against an opponent Continue reading >

Pessimism Abounds Among Electorate

In Polling on December 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

A new USA Today/Pew Research poll (Dec. 3-7, 1,507 adults; 408 Republicans, 445 Democrats, 574 Independents) tested a representative American sampling group about their attitudes and impressions toward national political institutions, now that we have moved into a post-election period.

Back in 2009, when asked whether the country was more politically divided than in the past respondents answered that it was, but only by a 46-45 percent margin. The latest data finds that 81 percent believe America is more ideologically divided, as compared to just 15 percent who say it is not. And, 77 percent say they believe the nation will become either even more divided or stay at this same apparently unbridgeable level. Additionally, 71 percent say that such a situation hurts the country “a lot”, with an additional 16 percent believing that seeing such a starkly divided ideological nation is “somewhat” harmful.

The pollsters then asked respondents to name the most important problem facing the country. Of those who answered, 76 percent (71 percent of Democrats, 78 percent among Republicans, and 80 percent from the Independent sector), said they believe President Obama and Republican congressional leaders will make little or no progress in solving the issue they identified, regardless of the topic.

In terms of job approval, 42 percent gave President Obama a positive rating as compared to just 22 percent who have a similar impression of Congress. This marks Continue reading >

New North Carolina Numbers … Already

In Governor, Senate on December 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

The calendar is obviously not stopping Public Policy Polling from examining the impending 2016 campaign. In the company’s home state of North Carolina, an electorate they survey monthly, both Sen. Richard Burr (R) and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) are scheduled to stand for re-election.

In polling the state, PPP looked at defeated Sen. Kay Hagan as the Democrats’ most prominent 2016 candidate, at least for the Senate seat. The outgoing senator has not yet commented about what her future political plans may include, but her presence on a hypothetical ballot is a good indicator against which to measure Burr’s political strength.

For governor, the top Democrat appears to be four-term Attorney General Roy Cooper. Previously mentioned as a possible candidate for other statewide positions, Cooper has stayed put for what will be 16 years, racking up strong re-election percentages while doing so. At the present time he appears to be preparing for a gubernatorial run.

PPP’s Dec. 4-7 survey (823 registered North Carolina voters) finds Sen. Burr leading Hagan 46-43 percent. He scores identical 44-38 percent marks when paired with state Treasurer Janet Cowell (D) and current US Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte mayor, Anthony Foxx (D). Neither of the latter individuals has given any indication that they are considering launching a senatorial campaign challenge, however.
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