Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Rep. Jo Bonner’

Major House Retirements Announced

In House on December 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

Three House members surprisingly announced retirements yesterday, potentially altering the outlook for 2014. Veteran congressmen Jim Matheson (D-UT-4), Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) and Tom Latham (R-IA-3) each will not seek re-election, representing an aggregate total of 68 years of exiting congressional seniority.

At first glance, it appears the eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to convert the solidly conservative 4th Congressional District of Utah, while both the Virginia and Iowa marginal seats will begin in the “toss-up” category. See our analysis below. Along with the vacant FL-13 seat, three more Republican seats will now become competitive and susceptible to Democrat conversion. The party needs 17 seats to claim the House majority and converting these three winnable districts would reduce their net minimum number to just 15.
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Look for at Least One Surprise Tomorrow on Election Day

In Governor, House, Mayor, Polling on November 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

It appears all of the “big” race outcomes, except one, are foregone conclusions in tomorrow’s significant 2013 election.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Christie has maintained leads approaching or exceeding 25 points for virtually the entire election cycle, and he will easily cruise to a second term when the ballots are actually tabulated. No one is predicting an upset for Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, a state senator. The only intrigue is whether Christie will extend political coattails to Republican legislative candidates in order to increase the party strength in the state legislature. Democrats are expected to maintain control of both the state Senate and Assembly.

Virginia

Turning to Virginia, former Democratic National Committee chairman, Terry McAuliffe, is likewise poised for victory tomorrow night. Every poll has staked him to a lead of at least four to as many as 12 points over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Christopher Newport University released the latest of the public surveys (Oct. 25-30; 1,185 registered Virginia voters; 1,038 characterized as likely voters) and the academic pollster projects McAuliffe to hold a seven-point lead over Cuccinelli, 45-38 percent, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis capturing 10 percent.

The CNU researchers asked further questions about why Sarvis respondents are supporting the independent gubernatorial candidate. They also queried those in the sampling universe about the Virginia down ballot races.

In responding to whether the Sarvis voters are supporting their candidate as a form of protest against both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, 68 percent said yes. Thirty-seven percent said if Sarvis were not a candidate they would be supporting Cuccinelli; 17 percent made the same statement regarding McAuliffe. These findings are more dramatic than published elsewhere. When other pollsters have asked this question, they have reported results suggesting a more even distribution of Sarvis voters vis-a-vis major party candidate preference.
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Will History Repeat in Alabama?

In Governor, House, Polling on November 1, 2013 at 10:42 am
Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

According to a brand new flash poll, history may repeat itself in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District special run-off election scheduled for next Tuesday.

In 2010, Alabama state Sen. Bradley Byrne scored 27.9 percent of the statewide Republican gubernatorial vote to finish in first place and advance to the two-person run-off election. He was paired with Tuscaloosa dermatologist and state Rep. Robert Bentley, who qualified for the secondary vote with the barest of margins over the man placing third, Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James. Backed by the various Tea Party organizations and his strongly conservative base voter, Bentley soared past Sen. Byrne to capture a 56-44 percent Republican nomination run-off victory, and then was elected governor in the general election.

Now, as a candidate in the special congressional election for resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R-AL-1) former position, Byrne again placed first in the original primary, garnering 35 percent of the total Republican vote. He faces businessman and conservative activist Dean Young, who scored 23 percent on Sept. 24, but is now running much closer according to late race polling.

Byrne is leaving no stone unturned in this run-off campaign, employing aggressive fundraising and advertising techniques, capturing more endorsements, benefiting from outside independent expenditure advocacy, and attracting establishment Republican support. But, according to a new Cygnal consulting firm flash poll conducted on Oct. 30, Byrne has dropped behind his opponent, Young, by a 43-40 percent  Continue reading >

Special Elections Are Preeminent This Week

In House, Polling, Senate on October 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

Action is now occurring in three separate special elections: New Jersey, Louisiana and Alabama. In two of those states, voters will cast ballots this week.

New Jersey

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Senate special election will be decided as Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) face each other in the final vote. The winner of Wednesday’s electoral contest serves the remaining portion of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D) term and will be eligible to seek a full six-year term next November.

The race has yielded rather extraordinary polling numbers in that several diverse survey research firms all agree over the race’s status. In the past week alone, four pollsters all projected Mayor Booker to have a low double-digit lead; two, Rasmussen Reports and Quinnipiac University, found exactly the same margin, 53-41 percent. Most other pollsters have been around this same range for the better part of two weeks.

The numbers still strongly suggest a Booker win, but a closer result than originally projected – an analysis that we have been reporting for the better part of a week. Such unanimity of exact polling results from multiple sources is quite unusual, however.

Come Thursday morning, it is more than probable that Mayor Booker will be a senator-elect and the chamber’s party division will return to 55D-45R.

LA-5

The special election not attracting much national attention is scheduled for this coming Saturday in northeastern Louisiana.

Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) resigned mid-term to accept a position as director of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. Upon Alexander’s announcement, the governor quickly scheduled a new election so that the winner would be able to serve the entire second session of the 113th Congress, which begins in January.

Saturday’s election features all of the candidates appearing on the same ballot,  Continue reading >

Alabama Results Show no Surprises; New WV Poll

In House, Senate on September 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

Alabama voters went to the polls in the first of three elections to choose a successor to resigned Rep. Jo Bonner (R) last night, who departed the House in August to accept a position at the University of Alabama. The end result met predicted expectations, as former state Representative candidate, Democrat Burton LeFlore, easily won his low-turnout primary with 70 percent of the vote. He now awaits the winner of the Nov. 5 Republican run-off.

Of the nine GOP candidates, two will advance, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne (35 percent) and businessman and former congressional candidate Dean Young (23 percent).

The remaining seven candidates, three of whom ran significant campaigns, are eliminated from further competition. State Rep. Chad Fincher placed third with 16 percent, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer was next at 14 percent, and former Republican National Committee deputy chief of staff Webb Griffith finished fifth, garnering 11 percent. The remaining four candidates all pulled less than 400 votes.

The special election turnout rate was relatively low, but Republicans dominated among the voters who did participate. Almost 52,000 people cast ballots in the GOP election versus just 4,300 for the Democrats. The eventual Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite in the Dec. 17 special general election.

Though Byrne finished first last night, he is by no means guaranteed to win the run-off. In fact, he was in an identical position in the 2010 governor’s campaign but failed to secure the nomination in the subsequent head-to-head battle.

Three years ago, Byrne placed first in that primary, too, but fell in the run-off to Gov. Robert Bentley by a relatively stiff 56-44 percent margin. Interestingly, Bentley only secured second place by a 166-vote spread in the statewide contest. We’ll see on Nov. 5 whether the first-place qualifier breaks the majority barrier or if history will repeat itself.

West Virginia

Now that Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) is a formal US Senate candidate and will challenge Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D), Public  Continue reading >

Another Swing in Politically Volatile NH?

In House on September 24, 2013 at 10:24 am

Since 2006, the state of New Hampshire has been the most politically volatile entity in the entire country. The swings in voter sentiment have been so severe that, since 2006 inclusive, more incumbent US House members have actually been defeated in this state than re-elected. The instability could again be present in the 2014 mid-term election, as the turnout model will return to lower participation territory, possibly creating a similar dynamic that led to a Republican sweep in 2010.

Hoping to make the latter statement a reality is former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH-1), who defeated then-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-1) in 2010, but subsequently lost to her in a re-match during his first re-election attempt last year. For her part, Shea-Porter defeated then-Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH-1) in 2006, was re-elected in ’08, and lost to Guinta in 2010 before winning her comeback attempt.

Yesterday, Guinta officially announced that he will strive to come back in 2014. The move is not a surprise. He has been counted among several 2012 candidates or defeated incumbents who are potential re-match challengers. His path to the nomination isn’t clear, however. University of New Hampshire business school dean Dan Innis, who is referred to as a “gay married man” in certain local press articles, is leaning heavily toward running for the seat. Guinta in 2010, sitting as the mayor of Manchester, which is the state’s and 1st CD’s largest city, came to office in the Tea Party wave. So, if both men do in fact enter the primary race, the campaign should be lively assuming Innis can attract the necessary funds to run competitively.

The 1st District occupies the central and eastern regions of New Hampshire and is the more conservative of the two seats. Rep. Shea-Porter has scored 51, 52, 42, and 50 percent in her four House elections. Clearly, never topping 52 percent during her entire electoral career makes her highly vulnerable in the ensuing election.

AL-1 Primary Election Today

As reported yesterday, tonight the votes will be counted in Alabama’s special primary election to fill the vacancy for resigned Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R) seat. He left the House in August.

All the action will be on the Republican side, as the eventual GOP nominee will be the  Continue reading >

AL-1: September Election

In House on September 16, 2013 at 10:22 am
Alabama Congressional Districts

Alabama Congressional Districts

Another special election is fast coming upon us. Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner’s (R) resignation from the House means a special primary on Sept. 24. The underdog Democrats filed two candidates, so the party will select a nominee in the first vote. The two contenders are former state Representative candidate Burton LeFlore and retiree Lula Albert-Kaigler.

The Republican side is a much different affair. With nine candidates on the ballot, a Nov. 5 run-off is a virtual certainty. The special general election is scheduled for Dec. 16. If neither party requires a secondary election, the special general will move to Nov. 5.

Former state Sen. Bradley Byrne actually placed first in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, outpacing the eventual winner, Robert Bentley, and Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James (Democrat to Republican).

Byrne scored 28 percent of the Republican primary vote against Bentley and James, who both scored in the 25 percent range. Bentley edged James by just a tenth of a percentage point. Judge Roy Moore, who came to notoriety for his insistence of displaying the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, was fourth.

In the run-off, Byrne fell to Bentley 44-56 percent, indicating the strength of the Republican Party’s conservative wing. Byrne, viewed as the establishment candidate, came through a crowded primary but quickly became the underdog in a head-to-head race. Bentley went on to easily  Continue reading >

Candidate Developments

In House, Senate on July 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

Alabama

With resigning Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL-1) leaving office this Friday, Gov. Robert Bentley (R) announced the schedule for the upcoming replacement special election. With 11 candidates already running, eight of whom are Republicans, the governor has designated Monday, Aug. 5 as the candidate filing deadline. The party primaries will occur on Sept. 24, with run-offs, if necessary, to be held Nov. 5. The special general will then be Dec. 17.

In the unlikely occurrence of candidates from both parties securing a majority of the vote on Sept. 24, and thus clinching their respective nominations, the general election will then move to the Nov. 5 date. The eventual Republican nominee will be favored.

Arkansas

Key political insiders believe that Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) will announce a challenge to Sen. Mark Pryor (D) later this week. Cotton, a freshman, has been considered a potential Pryor opponent almost the day after he was elected to the House, and now his move looks to become official.

The Arkansas Senate seat will likely fall into the highly competitive category, and this should be one of the most important statewide campaigns during the entire election cycle. It is clearly one of the seats that will determine the Senate majority for the next Congress.

Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D), who forced then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln into a divisive Democratic primary that added to her political woes in 2010, thus leading to her eventual 57-36 percent defeat at the hands of then-Rep. John Boozman (R), has decided not to pursue another statewide Democratic primary battle. Originally announced as a 2014 open seat gubernatorial candidate, Halter announced this week that he is withdrawing from the contest. The action gives former Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR-4) a clear shot for the Democratic nomination that means a virtual sure general election contest with former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR-3). Early polling had given Ross a large lead over Halter, which clearly played into the ex-lieutentant governor’s withdrawal decision.

Illinois

Beginning with the end of World War II until January of this very year, the southwestern Illinois seat anchored in East St. Louis had been represented by only two men: representatives Mel Price (D; 1945-1988) and Jerry Costello (D; 1988-2013). Now, freshman Rep. Bill Enyart (D-IL-12), who won a 52-43 percent victory over former lieutenant governor nominee Jason Plummer (R), has already drawn a significant challenger for his first re-election.
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House Re-Set

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.

Toss-Ups

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.

The Leans

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 >

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