Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Sasse’

Rounding Out the New Members

In Governor, House, Senate on November 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm

With the 2014 election cycle nearly complete, we can now begin to study the House and Senate freshman class composition.

If Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6) defeats Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in the Louisiana run-off – he’s the favorite to win, despite her incumbency, with internal polls showing him ahead by as many as 16 percentage points – the Senate freshman class will feature 13 members, 12 of whom are Republican.

Of the baker’s dozen, again including Cassidy, five won their seats by defeating incumbents. Former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (Alaska), representatives Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Cassidy (Louisiana), and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (North Carolina) are, or will be, the Republican challenger victors.

In the recent past, the House of Representatives had not proven to be a particularly favorable political position from which to launch a statewide run. This current cycle reversed that trend. In fact, a majority of the new members, seven, come to the Senate via the House: representatives Cotton, Gardner, Cassidy, Gary Peters (D-MI-14), Steve Daines (R-MT-AL), James Continue reading >

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Nebraska, West Virginia Slates Set

In House, Senate on May 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

The Tea Party and conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth struck gold in the Nebraska Senate primary last night as Midland University president Ben Sasse easily won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns (R). The late polling that predicted Sasse pulling away and early front-runner Shane Osborn, the military veteran and former state treasurer, falling all the way to third place proved precisely accurate. Making a charge at the end that was blunted by outside group attack ads in the closing days was wealthy banker and first-time candidate Sid Dinsdale.

Sasse impressively earned 50 percent of the votes, followed by Dinsdale’s distant second-place finish with 22 percent, and Osborn’s 21 percent. Sasse now becomes the overwhelming favorite to win the general election against attorney David Domina, who won the Democratic nomination with two-thirds of the vote.

The governor’s race came down to a one-point margin, as businessman Pete Ricketts slipped past Attorney General Jon Bruning to claim the Republican nomination and an eventual ticket to the  Continue reading >

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  Continue reading >

Senate Races: Nebraska Race Changes Focus, Handel Closing in Georgia

In Polling, Senate on May 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Nebraska Race Changes Focus

Often times in a multi-candidate primary field when two candidates isolate each other and begin firing and returning charges, a third contender comes unscathed from the outside to claim the nomination.

In the Nebraska Senate race, non-connected conservative organizations have been targeting the early front-runner, former  Continue reading >

Three New Senate Polls Show Rocky Roads Ahead for Incumbents

In Polling, Senate on February 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

Colorado

We now have confirming data that Sen. Mark Udall (D) must traverse a rocky political road to secure re-election.

Last December, Public Policy Polling (Dec. 3-4; 928 registered Colorado voters) released a surprising survey that showed the senator leading a potential general election Republican opponent by a mere four points, 46-42 percent. The result occurred when pairing Udall with 2010 Republican nominee and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck. As you will remember, Buck lost to Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 46-48 percent even though they faced each other during the Republican landslide of 2010.

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University made public their latest Colorado poll (Jan. 29-Feb. 2; 1,139 registered Colorado voters) and the result verified PPP’s pre-Christmas finding. In fact, the current Q-Poll’s 45-42  Continue reading >

Chafee Changes in RI; Fortenberry Stays in Nebraska

In Senate on May 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has come full circle. The son of former governor and senator John Chafee (R), Lincoln, then the Republican mayor of Warwick, RI, was appointed to the US Senate succeeding his late father in 1999. He then won election to a full term in 2000, but began straying further and further to the left through the first six years of the George W. Bush administration.

In the anti-Republican year of 2006, Sen. Chafee was turned out of office in this most Democratic of states at the hands of former Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D). Embittered by his defeat and some Bush Administration policy directives such as the Iraq War, Chafee left the Republican Party and became an Independent. Returning to run in a three-way race for the open governor’s seat in 2010, Chafee made his comeback successful, becoming the only Independent elected to a gubernatorial post in that particular election year.

Yesterday, Gov. Chafee completed his conversion to the Democratic Party by officially registering as a member. He did this for purely political reasons, thinking the action would bolster his desperate re-election chances. Chafee’s approval ratings are arguably the worst in the nation. Nate Sliver’s 538 website (May 28 data table) recently gathered job approval scores for 41 governors who are measured in 2013 public polling data. Of the 41, Gov. Chafee placed dead last, scoring a miserable 26:69 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio.

Chafee has never been known as one who executes brilliant political moves, and this action may actually make his re-election even more difficult. The first primary election before the new electorate is always the most tenuous for a party-switcher and already two major Democratic office holders appear poised to enter the gubernatorial campaign. It is unlikely that Chafee now joining the Democratic Party will dissuade either state Treasurer Gina Raimondo or Providence Mayor Angel Taveras from running against him.
 Continue reading >

Nebraska’s Heineman Won’t Run

In Senate on May 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) announced over the holiday weekend that he will not run for his state’s open US Senate seat next year, ending more than 13 weeks of political speculation concerning his decision. Heineman said he believed a campaign would take away from serving his final 18 months as governor but, at least at one point, claimed he was very close to becoming a federal candidate.

Heineman’s decision now opens up what should be a fierce campaign to replace one-term Sen. Mike Johanns (R), a former governor and US Agriculture Secretary, who decided not to seek re-election. All potential candidates had been awaiting Heineman’s decision, because his popularity is such that no person in either party is likely to defeat him.

The Democrats are in the more precarious position because they are now staring at two open statewide races with a depleted political bench. Former two-term senator and governor Bob Kerrey returned to the state last year and went down to an ignominious 58-42 percent defeat at the hands of then state senator Deb Fischer (R). The result left the Democrats in a politically moribund state as Kerrey was always viewed as the party’s best possible standard bearer. For him to lose as badly as he did to a state legislator in what should have been a strong Democratic year, casts major doubt over the party’s 2014 prospects.

That being said, the Democrats will likely concentrate on the open gubernatorial campaign, a position more important to party leaders. Heineman, who will be the longest-serving governor in the state’s history (10 years at the end of his term), is ineligible to seek re-election. At this point, the Democrats’ strongest candidate may be Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. He will likely run statewide, but probably as a gubernatorial candidate, thus by-passing the Senate contest. Beyond Beutler, their options are few.
 Continue reading >

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