Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Carl Levin’

The State of the Senate

In Senate on September 22, 2014 at 10:34 am

Much has been written about which party will control the US Senate in the next Congress and, with seven pure toss-up races on the political board, there’s plenty of room for conjecture on both sides of the ideological aisle.

Let’s take a look at the aggregate Senate campaign picture, remembering that the Republicans must retain all of the seats they currently possess (15 in this election cycle) and convert six Democratic states just to reach the minimum majority level. Democrats will maintain control if the two parties deadlock at 50-50 (including the Independents who will caucus with one party or the other). The Dems hold power in such a situation because Vice President Joe Biden (D), the constitutional Senate president, will break any tie vote in his party’s favor.

The model also assumes Republican conversion victories in three Democratic retirement seats, Montana (Sen. John Walsh), South Dakota (Sen. Tim Johnson), and West Virginia (Sen. Jay Rockefeller). A three-way contest in South Dakota could Continue reading >

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Gary Peters’ Boonstra Blunder in the Michigan Senate Race

In Senate on March 7, 2014 at 11:04 am

Things haven’t gone quite to plan for Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) in his bid to succeed retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D).

When the senator announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election early last year, Rep. Peters immediately jumped into the race and very quickly sewed up consensus party  Continue reading >

New Michigan Numbers – Senate, Gov.

In Governor, Senate on February 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The Michigan Senate race is in flux. When Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced his retirement early last year, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) very quickly solidified himself as the consensus Democratic candidate with the help of the outgoing incumbent and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-9). The early maneuverings provided the Detroit congressman a favorite’s aura for the general election.

Initially, during Levin’s retirement announcement period, Republicans were making no secret of their inability to recruit a contender who they could proclaim as a top-flight candidate. When former two-term Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land came forward, the state and national party leaders continued to search for someone they felt would be stronger. Now, a fourth consecutive poll has forecast Land to be holding a small edge over Rep. Peters, thereby justifying the GOP’s renewed interest in making the Wolverine State a top Senatorial target.

According to the Michigan-based EPIC-MRA  Continue reading >

Will Senate Cliffhangers Yield a Republican Majority in 2014?

In Senate on January 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

With the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee now distributing fundraising materials quoting MSNBC as saying that the Republicans “now have the advantage” in capturing the Senate majority this year, it’s a good time to examine the total national picture.

Recent polling does suggest that the Republicans have greatly improved their chances of converting the six Democratic seats they need to claim majority status. In fact, GOP candidates are now either leading or within the margin of error in nine states, while maintaining a slight advantage in their own two competitive seats (Kentucky and Georgia).

Isolating the various states, we begin with the three open Democratic seats from places that have generally yielded a Republican voting pattern since 2000. Currently, the Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia  Continue reading >

Polls Show Tightening in Michigan, Louisiana

In Senate on November 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

Michigan

Late last week, local Michigan pollster Denno Research released the results of their new poll in conjunction with Lambert, Edwards & Associates, also a Michigan-based firm (Nov. 12-14; 600 registered Michigan voters). They again detect a statistical tie for the state’s impending open US Senate race, projecting Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to a mere 37-36 percent advantage.

This past July, Denno (July 23-24; 600 registered Michigan voters) contradicted most conventional political analyses. They reported then that the two major party candidates had fallen into a 39-39 percent tie. EPIC MRA, another Detroit area survey research firm, later published confirming numbers (Sept. 7-10; 600 registered Michigan voters; 38-37 percent Democratic edge). Up until that time, Peters was a presumed solid favorite over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R).

This race is already becoming more competitive than was once believed likely,  Continue reading >

New Michigan Numbers Raise Questions

In Polling, Senate on September 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

A new EPIC-MRA poll (Sept. 7-10; 600 registered Michigan voters) places Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and potential Republican senatorial nominee Terri Lynn Land in an improved political position just as next year’s active campaign cycle is beginning. But, the poll’s methodology may contain a flaw. The sampling universe is arguably skewed slightly toward the GOP.

The survey’s ballot test posts Gov. Snyder to a 44-36 percent lead over former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), a net seven-point swing in the incumbent’s favor since the last EPIC-MRA poll was conducted in May.

For the Senate race, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), the presumed Democratic nominee, is staked to only a one-point 38-37 percent edge over Land. In EPIC’s May poll, the firm tested Peters against Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) who, at that time, was considering entering the race. The result found the Democratic congressman leading his Republican colleague 37-30 percent. The current EPIC findings are very similar to a late July Denno Research poll that plotted the two candidates – Peters and Land – in a 39 percent deadlock.

The study, however, may not accurately reflect the proper composition of the Michigan electorate. Generally a state that leans Democrat, the sampling universe constructed for this particular survey is comprised of 39 percent self-identified Democrats, 36 percent who affiliate with the Republicans, and 25 percent either saying they are independent or named a minor party with which they associate. Michigan voters do not register as political party members, so it is difficult to ascertain an accurate total of each party’s loyalists. But, considering the electorate has supported President Obama twice with percentage splits of 54-45 percent (2012) and 57-41 percent (2008), it is reasonable to argue that EPIC’s Democratic share is low.

On the other hand, in the 2010 mid-term election, Snyder carried the state 58-40 percent under a much lower voter participation factor (in 2008, five million people cast ballots; in 2010, the total turnout was only 3.2 million). Therefore, considering that we are soon headed into another mid-term election, the partisan spread of just over three points could, in fact, be close to accurate for such a projected turnout model.

The Candidates

Though the Democratic leadership has  Continue reading >

Camp Says No in Michigan; Brown for President?

In Governor, Presidential campaign, Senate on August 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

Michigan

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4), after flirting with running for his state’s open Senate seat, again says that he will remain in his current position so he can continue leading his committee’s tax relief efforts.

Back in March, when veteran US Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek a seventh term next year, Camp immediately declined to run statewide. Last month, however, the congressman appeared to come full circle by publicly indicating that he was reconsidering his previous decision to remain in the House.

His move gave national and local Republicans reason to begin upgrading their chances to defeat Detroit Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14), who already appears to be the Democrats’ consensus candidate. Virtually all political analysts gave Camp higher marks as a Michigan Senate candidate than ex-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), partly due to his ability to amass funds as Ways & Means Committee chairman.

Now, Camp has yet again re-reconsidered his position and invokes his initial decision to forgo a statewide run. He again said, over the weekend, that he wants to remain in his current position to concentrate on tax relief legislation. The northern Michigan representative will continue to chair the committee until the end of this current Congress. Under party rules, his allotted service will then end.

The Republicans need six seats to wrest Senate control away from the Democrats, and the open Michigan contest is an important one if they are to achieve such a goal.

Today, it appears highly likely that GOP candidates will capture open Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana, leaving them with three more conversion victories to obtain, assuming the three aforementioned states do come through. Realistically, even with Michigan included as a target, there are only six more seats where competition is likely to occur, assuming the GOP holds their own potentially vulnerable positions in Georgia and Kentucky. A lesser Michigan Republican challenge obviously reduces their chances of gaining the majority.

Brown in Iowa
 Continue reading >

Camp Considers Michigan Senate Race

In Senate on August 1, 2013 at 10:01 am
Rep. Dave Camp

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-4)

House Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) confirms that he has made an about-face and is seriously considering running for Michigan’s open US Senate seat. Back in March when Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Rep. Camp immediately declined to run statewide, preferring to concentrate on his duties in the House and driving tax reform proposals.

Now, the 11-term representative himself, as well as several people close to him, acknowledge that there is a distinct possibility he may oppose consensus 2014 Democratic candidate Gary Peters, a fellow Michigan congressman, for Levin’s seat.

Currently, former two-term Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is the only announced significant Republican candidate. Her response to the pending Camp candidacy was a bit unusual and spread speculation that she might withdraw in favor of the north-central state congressman. Land stated, in non-committal fashion, that she will “wait to see what happens” when asked if she would oppose Camp in a Republican senatorial primary.

So far, most political observers view Land as a weak candidate despite her winning two previous statewide campaigns. She has made no significant strides on the fundraising circuit. On the other hand, Camp, with over $3 million in his political account, has a perch to raise whatever he needs to run a competitive Wolverine State campaign. The race instantly becomes more interesting and aggressively fought if he were to become a candidate.

For his part, Rep. Peters (D-MI-14) has raised $1.42 million for the year, and reports just under $1.8 million cash-on-hand. Michigan normally trends Democratic, so Peters is thought to have the advantage in a normal election year, but we have to turn the clock back only three years to see a major Republican landslide sweep, so a GOP Senate victory certainly must be considered a viable possibility.

In order to compete for the majority, the Republicans must put more seats in play, and enticing a strong candidate such as Rep. Camp into the race would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal. It remains to be seen just how serious his considerations are, but if he were to run the open Michigan Senate race would become a top tier campaign.

Michigan’s Rogers Won’t Run for Senate

In Senate on June 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

It had been presumed for the past several weeks that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8), widely believed to be the Republicans’ best potential US Senate candidate, would not run and he clarified his status on Friday afternoon in an email to supporters. In his message, Rogers said, “I have determined that the best way for me to continue to have a direct impact for my constituents and the nation is to remain in the House of Representatives. For me, the significance and depth of the impact I can make on my constituent’s behalf far outweighs the perceived importance of any title I might hold.”

With that, the congressman made clear his intent to remain as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a position of even greater importance with the revelations about the National Security Agency conducting warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

The GOP is now left with former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land to run against presumed Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters (MI-14), in the open Senate seat campaign. Sen. Carl Levin (D) is retiring after what will be 36 years in office at the end of his current term. Based upon Michigan voting history, Peters and the Democrats will start the campaign in the favorite’s position. But, the Wolverine State has been known to swing Republican from time to time, particularly in mid-term elections as it did in 2010 when the GOP swept the ballot from top to bottom, so the Senate race does have the potential to become competitive.

Land was twice elected Secretary of State, winning her elections with 55 and 56 percent of the statewide vote in 2002 and 2006, respectively. She was not eligible to seek re-election in 2010.

Peters was first elected to Congress in 2008, defeating veteran GOP Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI-9). He won a close re-election (50-47 percent) in the Republican landslide year of 2010, and then, in 2012, won election to a Detroit city congressional seat defeating a Democratic incumbent in the primary after his Oakland County CD became a reapportionment casualty. Prior to his election to Congress, Peters served as the state’s lottery commissioner and in the Michigan Senate.

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