In Governor on July 16, 2013 at 11:04 am
In a surprising announcement, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), who was thought to be the strongest potential primary challenger to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, said yesterday that she will not run for the state’s top job. Previously, and on repeated occasions, Madigan said she was planning to enter the campaign.
This is the second time she has backed away from an intra-party gubernatorial challenge. In 2010, the attorney general also decided against challenging the governor in what would have been an expensive and divisive primary battle. In the previous campaign, Quinn had yet to be elected by voters. As lieutenant governor, he ascended to the chief executive position when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was forced to resign upon his indictment and arrest but before being sent to prison for a series of associated crimes.
But there was an overriding reason that influenced her final decision. The attorney general’s father, Mike Madigan, is the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and is commonly thought of as one of the most powerful political leaders in the state. Particularly with the legislature taking hits over the state pension debacle among other things, she clearly felt that a father-daughter combination in two of the three highest state legislative offices would not sit well with people.
“I feel strongly that the state would not be well served by having a governor and speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for governor if that would be the case. With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for governor,” Madigan said in her written announcement statement.
This drastically changes the governor’s race. Though Gov. Quinn won’t have to face the attorney general in the Democratic primary, he still must deal with former US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, also the ex-chief of staff to President Obama. He is the son of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and the brother of recently retired Richard M. Daley, the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. Daley officially announced the formation of a gubernatorial exploratory Continue reading >
In House on July 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm
Completing our two-part series examining the congressional political picture (the July 8 Political Update covered the Senate outlook), today we look at the House.
Currently, 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats comprise the body’s membership. Three seats are slated to soon become vacant: Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) will be sworn into the Senate upon official certification of his late June special election victory; Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL-1) announced his resignation effective in mid-August to accept a position at the University of Alabama; and Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12), should he be confirmed, will become the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency thus leaving the House at an undetermined date.
In contrast to the 2012 cycle when 62 seats were open, at this point only 14 members have announced their retirements, accepted new positions, or are running for a different office. Three others: representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Mark Sanford (R-SC-1), and Jason Smith (R-MO-8), have won special elections since the current 113th Congress began making a grand total of 17 seats that have opened, or will open, since the 2012 general election. Of the fourteen currently projected open seats, eight are Republican held and six Democratic.
Attributable to a tight national redistricting model, only eight seats are now in this column. Six of those belong to Democrats (representatives Ron Barber (AZ-2), Scott Peters [CA-52), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Joe Garcia (FL-26), Mike McIntyre (NC-7), and Jim Matheson (UT-4)], while only two are Republican-held [representatives Gary Miller (CA-31) and Mike Coffman (CO-6)]. Therefore, the GOP is in a slightly better position to gain a small number of seats.
Both parties have just about an equal number of “lean” seats. Majority Republicans have 18 of their members or open seats rated as Lean Republican, while Continue reading >
In Courts, Senate on June 26, 2013 at 10:31 am
Voting Rights Ruling
The Supreme Court, ruling for the plaintiffs in the Shelby County (AL) case on a 5-4 decision, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) saying that the formula determining VRA jurisdiction is no longer applicable. In 2006, Congress renewed the Voting Rights Act for the succeeding 25 years but did not change the triggering election. Until yesterday, dropping below the turnout pattern dictated in the 1972 presidential election would bring a municipality, county, or state under VRA coverage. Had the court not acted, that triggering mechanism would have stayed in place at least until 2031, or almost 60 years.
The high court majority members made clear they are not striking down the Act itself, only the formula for determining which jurisdictions will come under federal supervision. Doing so eliminates the Department of Justice’s power to pre-clear election laws after a covered jurisdiction enacts statutory changes. Because the formula is now declared unconstitutional, all of the laws previously denied pre-clearance now take effect. This could greatly change matters in several states, and very quickly. In fact, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), for example, announced that he would immediately begin enforcing the state’s voter identification law that had been previously stayed by the DoJ’s refusal to pre-clear the legislation.
The states that could be most affected by this ruling, even as early as the present election cycle, are the three hearing live redistricting litigation. The trio of states are Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. Depending upon the outcome of the various lawsuits, and yesterday’s ruling that strengthened the plaintiffs hands against their state in all instances, it is possible the congressional and state legislative lines could conceivably be re-drawn before the 2014 election.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5), as we’ve been predicting for several weeks, successfully claimed Secretary of State John Kerry’s (D) former Massachusetts Senate seat, but his margin of victory was a bit under what a Continue reading >
In Senate on June 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm
The long-anticipated special US Senate election to replace Secretary of State John Kerry (D) is being held today, and the final three polls all favor Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) to carry the vote over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez.
Suffolk University (June 19-22; 500 likely Massachusetts voters) projects Markey to a 52-42 percent advantage. New England College (June 18-20; 579 likely voters) gives the congressman an even wider 56-36 percent majority. Finally, the Western New England University Polling Institute (June 16-20; 503 likely Massachusetts voters) shows a much closer 49-41 percent spread.
There has been no poll throughout the entire special election cycle that projected Markey to be trailing. One survey, a Republican study from McLaughlin & Associates, showed the congressman in the lead at one point, but that is as close as challenger Gomez has gotten.
The Suffolk U. and Western New England polls are clearly more reflective of each other, and in line with the vast majority of surveys commissioned during the previous weeks. The New England College poll appears to be skewed in favor of the Democratic nominee.
Though Gomez conducted a spirited campaign, it is not likely that the magic surrounding former Sen. Scott Brown (R) in his 2010 special election victory will reappear in this battle. There is simply no evidence to suggest that this Republican is close enough to score an upset victory.
Despite Rep. Markey being poised to win the race, his percentage might be below that of usual Democratic performance in Massachusetts. In such an open seat special election race, a Bay State Democratic nominee should finish in the high 50s. By most accounts, Markey will likely score in the low to mid-50s.
The winner of today’s election will serve the balance of Kerry’s term and be eligible to seek a full six-year term in 2014. If Markey does win, as predicted, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will then schedule a new special election for his 5th Congressional District. Already several candidates are actively campaigning for this post, in anticipation of a Markey win today.
In Senate on June 17, 2013 at 11:37 am
As expected, a political entity is taking to the airwaves to highlight the Internal Revenue Service’s role in implementing the Obama healthcare law, but the message delivery needs to be stronger if they expect to move voters.
The organization Americans for Progressive Action, supporting Republican Gabriel Gomez over Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) in the Senate special election scheduled for June 25 in Massachusetts, attacked with an ad that depicts Markey as supporting IRS “control” of “health care reform” and Gomez as an opponent, though making it clear that the Republican supports reforming the healthcare system. (Though the ad says that both Markey and Gomez support “healthcare reform”, it doesn’t specifically say that Gomez supports President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, though the casual viewer will be left with the impression that he does.)
The effectiveness of the ad will be questioned. Though making it clear that the IRS “controlling” healthcare reform is a bad thing, it doesn’t explain why. The spot assumes, most likely incorrectly, that the viewing voter base knows the details of the current IRS profiling scandal.
Survey data will soon tell us if the IRS issue is moving voters in the Massachusetts Senate race, which could be a precursor of how the issue might play in the regular 2014 election. But, the political ad producers will have to tell a better story than the APA’s current effort if they hope to make this issue a deciding electoral factor.
In Polling, Senate on June 10, 2013 at 11:47 am
The Massachusetts special Senate election is scheduled for June 25, and there is rather a large discrepancy amongst the myriad of polls that have just recently been released. Depending upon which survey you want to believe, the race is either Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA-5) to lose, or one in which he is dangerously close to falling behind Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez.
Here are the most recent polls:
- McLaughlin & Assoc. – June 4-5; 400 likely Massachusetts voters – Markey 45% – Gomez 44%
- Public Policy Polling – June 3-4; 560 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 39%
- New England College – June 1-2; 786 Massachusetts registered voters – Markey 53% – Gomez 40%
- UMass (by YouGov) – May 30-June 4; 357 Massachusetts likely voters – Markey 47% – Gomez 36%
As you can see, Markey’s advantage varies from one to 13 points. All of the studies agree that the Democrat is leading, but is the race of razor-thin proportion, or does the suburban Boston congressman enjoy a comfortable lead?
When considering polls released prior to these four, it does appear that Gomez is becoming a formidable challenger. Almost all of the post-April 30 primary day surveys have shown him to be within single-digits of Markey, an unusual circumstance for a Republican in Massachusetts.
But the major point of contention surrounds the Republican and right-of-center organizations and whether or not they will actively support Gomez. So far, there is little evidence of independent expenditure activity for the Republican nominee, but there is still time for such to occur.
Questions remain for the National Republican Senatorial Committee brain-trust, however. Is the polling foretelling a close race, or are the current numbers fool’s gold? And, even if Gomez somehow pulls the upset, would such a victory mean anything more than “renting” the position Continue reading >
In Polling, Senate on June 6, 2013 at 10:27 am
Four pollsters released new data in four different Senate states, each giving us some previously unknown information. Most of the results show an undefined electorate, but the one covering the upcoming Bay State special election shows a widening chasm between the two candidates.
With the special senatorial election now four weeks away on June 25, New England College (June 1-2; 786 registered Massachusetts voters via automated interviews) released the findings of their latest poll. Their results show Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) increasing his lead over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez. According to the automated results, Markey now enjoys a 53-40 percent advantage, up from the single-digit spreads that previous surveys had projected.
The two candidates are vying for the right to succeed veteran Sen. John Kerry (D), who was appointed US Secretary of State earlier in the year. The winner serves the remaining segment of the current term, which ends when the 113th Congress adjourns. The new senator can then stand for a full six-year term in November of 2014.
Public Policy Polling (May 30-June 2; 697 registered Michigan voters; 334 Republican primary voters) tested the open Senate race and found good news and bad news for Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14). The good news is that he leads all Republican potential candidates. The bad news is that he is unknown to two-thirds of the polling respondents.
Earlier this week, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) announced her senatorial candidacy and she fares best against the Detroit congressman. According to PPP, Peters sports a 41-36 percent advantage over Land. He leads representatives Dave Camp (R-MI-4) 43-31 percent; Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) 42-32 percent; and Justin Amash (R-MI-3) 42-30 percent. In the Republican primary, Land finishes behind the three Congressmen (Camp 21 percent; Rogers 18 percent; Amash 16 percent; Land 15 percent), but it Continue reading >
In Polling, Senate on May 10, 2013 at 10:45 am
On the heels of Public Policy Polling surveying the Massachusetts Senate special general election that showed Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) holding only a slim four-point, 44-40 percent, lead over private equity investor and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R), MassINC and Suffolk University quickly released their data.
Though neither show the race as close as PPP, the MassINC poll lands in the same range as Public Policy Polling, while Suffolk gives Markey a double-digit lead. Over the course of the past two elections, PPP has proven to be the more reliable pollster than either of these other survey research entities, however.
The MassINC poll (May 5-6; 497 registered Massachusetts voters) conducted for WBUR-TV, the Boston region’s PBS affiliate, gives Markey only a 41-35 percent lead among those who stated a defined choice. When “leaners” are added, the Markey advantage increases to 46-38 percent.
Regionally, Gomez claims a big 47-28 percent (51-31 percent adding leaners) advantage in the western and central part of the state. Markey is up 41-40 percent in the area defined as the “outer suburbs,” the region beginning at the northeastern corner of the state on the New Hampshire border and swinging around the western end of Boston before wrapping its way back to the Atlantic Ocean south of the city. But, that slight edge is countered by a one-point 35-34 percent Gomez lead in the southeast, the territory including the cities of Brockton and Fall River, and then continuing all through the hook-shaped Cape Cod peninsula. Markey has a commanding 59-20 percent split in Boston and the city’s inner suburbs.
The Suffolk University poll (May 4-7; 500 likely Massachusetts voters) produces a much different result, forecasting Markey to have a substantial 52-35 percent advantage. The 17-point gap between the two is obviously far greater than PPP’s four-point margin and WBUR’s six-point spread.
According to MassINC’s Steve Koczela, Continue reading >