Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Dan Sullivan’

Defensive Tactics

In Senate on September 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

Kentucky Senate


“Skeet Shooting”

Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes just launched a new television ad to strike back against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hard-hitting campaign against her. But the ad likely misses its mark. In reality, the message context may be reinforcing her opponent’s points instead of scoring some of her own.

Grimes, reciting her lines as she’s shooting skeet ostensibly to prove that she can handle a gun, directly responds to being painted a rubber stamp for the president by simply saying she’s not Barack Obama. Though the script takes an offensive tone, attempting to turn the tables on McConnell, the message fails. If anything, Grimes underscores the Republican attacks against her: that she supports Obama whose job approval score in Kentucky is 2:1 negative, while reiterating the charges that she is soft on guns and the EPA anti-coal regulations.

The campaign ad fails because it repeats the attacks being made against the candidate, and then likely leads the viewer to ask questions rather than providing answers.

Alaska Senate


“Message for Begich”

In a new ad, the Dan Sullivan (R) campaign attempts to repel Sen. Mark Begich’s (D) attacks that he (Sullivan) is an outsider who knows little about the “real Alaska”. Begich has been hitting Sullivan because he hasn’t personally lived in Alaska long, even though his wife, Julie Fate Sullivan, and her family have been mainstays in the state for years.

The theme of the ad, narrated by Mrs. Sullivan, is that Begich is attacking his opponent for being away on military duty and in State Department service. Whether this explanation completely covers where Dan Sullivan lived or for how long he’s been an Alaskan is unclear, but will undoubtedly be a topic of further discussion.

The ad is moderately effective because it attempts to change the dynamic when answering an attack. It will be interesting to see how Begich’s campaign responds, and whether the incumbent can again shift attention toward Sullivan’s lack of a sufficiently long Alaska history.

Iowa Senate


“Ernst: Really Cares”

Democrats and outside organizations have been attacking Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst for wanting to “cut Social Security and Medicare.” Ernst responds to the attacks by not directly mentioning them. Rather, she extols her support for Social Security as a fundamental goal and attempts to deflect the direct attacks subtly, through what should be perceived as a positive ad.

Hearing the exact opposite message from what is being launched in attacks will likely leave many viewers confused, which is a far better alternative than seeing a clear negative image.

The Ernst campaign presents an interesting approach, but a routine positive ad is often not memorable. The ad’s underlying purpose is to let voters see the candidate and encourage voters to form a positive image of Ms. Ernst, not necessarily through the ad’s script or the state legislator’s words, but through an image that can be seen and heard. The goal is to present the candidate as a disarming person, convincing the viewer that she would never harm those earning government transfer payments.

The Ernst counter is certainly acceptable, but not particularly memorable. Therefore, the ad does not fully cement the campaign’s stated goals in the viewers’ minds.

The One-Point Races – Four in All

In Polling, Senate on September 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

As we pass Labor Day and enter into Election 2014 stretch drive mode, it appears that four US Senate races are polling within one point. In Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina, a polling conglomeration over the last several weeks points to consistently dead-even contests.

Another race, in Alaska, could join this group, but their late primary (Aug. 19) has only yielded an official nominee for a short period. Once the polling crystallizes around Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan (R) as the two official candidates, a more consistent close race will likely formulate. The recent polling history, virtually all of which was conducted before the state primary, has yielded inconsistent results.

Right now, it is clear that Republicans will gain seats in the US Senate, but will they score well enough on the conversion front to wrest a small majority away from the Democrats? Such is the major question that will be answered in the next two months.

If one considers that the GOP will likely hold its two vulnerable seats in Georgia Continue reading >

Sullivan Wins in Alaska ; Wyoming Results In; Kansas Candidate Emerges

In Governor, House, Senate on August 20, 2014 at 10:56 am

Alaska Primary

Thirty percent of Alaska voters went to the polls last night in one of the nation’s last major competitive primaries. There, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department director Dan Sullivan claimed the Republican senatorial nomination, winning the right to challenge vulnerable first-term incumbent Mark Begich (D). Sullivan took 40 percent of the vote, defeating surprise second-place finisher Joe Miller (32 percent) and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (25 percent).

For the second time in four years, Miller came from nowhere to vastly exceed his polling projection. In 2010, he upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski to win the GOP nomination. This time, he attracted far more votes than his single-digit polling status suggested. Treadwell, the early race leader, lost momentum months ago and never regained strength. Some late polling suggested that he was pulling closer to Sullivan, but that did not prove accurate as he finished behind Miller.

Sullivan now formally faces Sen. Begich, the latter of whom drew 83 percent in his own ADL primary against one Democrat, two Continue reading >

Primaries Today; Pressler’s Impact

In Governor, House, Senate on August 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

Alaska, Wyoming
 
Another two primaries are on tap for today, as we continue to pass through the final quarter of nomination voting. Beginning tomorrow, only seven more states will hold primaries and one, Oklahoma next week, will decide a run-off situation.
 
The big vote of this evening comes in Alaska, in a primary that will be decided in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast. Here, Republicans will choose a nominee against first-term Sen. Mark Begich (D) in a three-way battle among the candidate projected as the favorite by most, former Attorney General and Natural Resources Department Director Dan Sullivan, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, and 2010 US Senate nominee Joe Miller.
 
Originally, Treadwell began the race as the leader but his poor early fundraising – he now has collected $1.2 million in campaign receipts – quickly put him behind Sullivan both in dollars raised (Sullivan has gone over the $4 million mark), and then in polling. Though the Alaska Republican establishment began to fall in line behind Sullivan, Treadwell has been hanging strong, remaining within single digits according to several late polls. Some believe Miller could be positioned to again come from nowhere to Continue reading >

McAllister Out in Louisiana; A Roundup of Senate Poll Shockers

In Election Analysis, House, Polling on April 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who was elected in a November special election in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District to replace resigned Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) but then quickly became embroiled in an extra-marital scandal, announced yesterday that he will not seek a full term this November. He will serve the balance of the current term, however.

Due to his short stint in Congress and his upset of the party establishment candidate, McAllister did not have the internal district support to withstand a scandal. His announcement means that 45 seats will now be open in the 2014 election cycle, though one – the 19th District of Florida – will be filled in a June special election. In addition to the 45 members leaving the House, seven more vacancies, including this Louisiana seat, have been filled in special elections since the beginning of this Congress.

In the special election, McAllister defeated 11 other Republican candidates. Some, such as former Rep. Clyde Holloway (R-LA-8) and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, already  Continue reading >

Alaska: The First Frontier

In Senate on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

Alaska’s actual nickname may be “The Last Frontier” but, in terms of recent political activity, the state is streaking to first place. As you have read in recent previous columns, the early ads coming from outside groups and the major candidates are attempting to cement candidate impressions for the long term. Sen. Mark Begich (D) has been unusually active on the airwaves for an incumbent with an election still eight months away, and now we may have uncovered why.

Yesterday, Rasmussen Reports released a new survey (March 19-20; 750 registered Alaska voters) that shows the incumbent leading only one of the three Republican candidates vying for a shot at opposing him in the general election. Sen. Begich is tied with the contender who seems to be gathering the most inside and outside momentum for the GOP, and surprisingly trails another whose campaign is in the middle of a major shake-up. The only candidate trailing the incumbent is the 2010 Republican nominee who ended up losing the general election to a write-in effort.
 Continue reading >

Lines Drawn in Key Battleground State for Senate Majority

In Senate on March 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

This week, events in Alaska’s nationally important Senate race have apparently begun to crystallize. Just as Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) begins an offensive campaign surge, the Republican coalition’s disparate segments are moving to coalesce behind one  Continue reading >

Results From MA-5; Major New Senate Polls

In House, Polling, Senate on October 16, 2013 at 11:37 am

MA-5 Special Election

The race for the Democrat nomination last night, tantamount to special election victory in the Boston suburban 5th Congressional District, was projected to finish within a razor-thin margin. It didn’t.

State Sen. Katherine Clark, riding a large turnout from her Malden-Melrose political base, pulled away from Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian when the last quarter of the vote was counted to clinch the Democratic nomination with 32 percent of the vote. Koutoujian finished 10 points behind at 22 percent. In third, exceeding his polling expectations, was state Rep. Carl Sciortino notching 16 percent. State senators Will Brownsberger and Karen Spilka brought up the rear with 15 and 13 percent, respectively. Spilka was the most disappointing performer based upon previous polling releases. Her own two Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Group surveys both showed her in second place, just a single point behind the leader.

Not only did Sen. Clark prove to be the strongest candidate, her polling firm, GBA Strategies, turned in the most accurate data. In their released poll of voters over the Sept. 23-25 period, GBA correctly projected Clark’s lead to be far greater than one point, as she led Spilka 27-18 percent with Koutoujian a close third posting 16 percent.

On the Republican side, attorney Frank Addivinola easily claimed his party’s nomination, securing 49 percent of the vote as compared to physicist Mike Stopa’s 26 percent, and former US Marine Tom Tierney’s 25 percent. Sen. Clark and Addivinola now advance to the Dec. 10 special general election, but that vote will not likely be much of a contest as Clark is now the prohibitive favorite to win the seat.

Democrat turnout dwarfed that of Republicans, as 69,525 members of their party cast ballots within the crowded field of candidates. The GOP turnout only reached just 9,692 voters, a testament more to the low number of registered Republicans as opposed to an abnormally low participation rate. The grand total of 79,217 voters is  Continue reading >

Senate Questions

In Senate on May 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

capitol

Within the last week, no fewer than four major potential senatorial candidates have decided not to run. Three sitting members of the House, representatives John Barrow (D-GA-12), Steve King (R-IA-4), and Tom Price (R-GA-6), and one former congresswoman, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin from South Dakota, each announced that they will be doing something other than running for the United States Senate in 2014. With so many potential candidates content to allow their current opportunity to evaporate, what now is the status of the various Senate races?

Both the Republicans and Democrats have, so far, experienced recruitment failures. Democrats see two seats that they currently hold, Jay Rockefeller’s post in West Virginia and Tim Johnson’s position in South Dakota, going by the wayside. Currently, they have no candidate willing to challenge GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) in the Mountaineer State, and their two strongest South Dakota potential contenders have taken a pass. While they do have a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle (Rick Weiland) now in the race, it is apparent that he is no match for Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds.

Republicans have yet to field a candidate in Iowa where Sen. Tom Harkin (D) is retiring.  Continue reading >

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