In Polling, Presidential campaign on February 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm
A new poll provides us an early clue about how spoiler candidates could force the Republican nomination into an open convention.
TargetPoint Consulting (Jan. 30-Feb. 3; 400 SC Republican primary voters) finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the GOP pack of candidates in a preliminary poll, finishing one point ahead of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in their new survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters. Both just barely top the double-digit mark (Walker 12 percent; Graham 11 percent), but still fare better than the other candidates including ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee (10 percent), who finished second in the 2008 South Carolina primary, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent).
Though the difference among the candidates is negligible, the fact that Bush cannot break away from single-digits is significant. A recent Iowa poll (Selzer & Company for the Des Moines Register) also projected Gov. Walker leading with Bush similarly mired in the middle of the pack. These poll results provide further evidence that the Republican nomination battle is wide open.
Sen. Graham has been publicly toying with the idea of entering the presidential race and promises a decision by the middle of this year. Aside from this poll of his home state electorate, he hasn’t even registered in surveys conducted in other Continue reading >
In Election Analysis, House, Polling, Senate on June 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm
More is being learned about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R) primary election loss in Virginia’s 7th CD. As is true for almost all political outcomes, there is more than one answer to explain this result and, not surprisingly, multiple elements contributed to the final conclusion.
While the immigration issue seems to be taking top billing as the principal reason for Cantor losing, in reality, it likely only played a secondary role. The fact that challenger and victor David Brat used the issue to his advantage – characterizing Cantor as supporting amnesty for illegal aliens – certainly helped color the Majority Leader in a negative light, but such a radical final electoral result cannot simply be explained as an extreme reaction to a controversial issue.
Contrast this outcome with that of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R) campaign in South Carolina. Graham was more identified with the immigration reform issue, and hails from a more conservative domain than Cantor’s central Virginia congressional district. Yet, the senator won a surprisingly large re-nomination victory on the same Continue reading >
In Election Analysis on June 11, 2014 at 11:30 am
The irony of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) losing his primary election last night when several hundred miles to the south Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), long known for his trouble within the Republican base, would defeat a field of six opponents with 56 percent of the vote, must be acknowledged. Even as late as yesterday, most people would not have believed such a predicted outcome. Yet, it happened.
Cantor lost for varying reasons. First, his perceived position of supporting amnesty as part of the immigration issue proved a lightning rod against him within the conservative base.
Second, the majority of his central Virginia Republican electorate clearly believed he is part of the problem in Washington.
Third, the campaign strategy of attacking opponent David Brat as a liberal clearly backfired and was ill-advised. It is unlikely that painting someone who hails from the Tea Party as a “liberal” would carry any credence with a voter who pays attention. Knowing that the turnout would be low – and it was, 65,000-plus GOP voters – a Continue reading >
In Election Analysis on June 9, 2014 at 11:31 am
Tomorrow’s Virginia primary is decision day for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Republican primary challenge. Conservative college professor David Brat has raised over $200,000 with minimal outside support for his effort to dislodge the sitting incumbent, but he is very likely to meet the same fate as the others who have challenged the national Republican leaders.
Earlier in the primary season, senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY; 60 percent of the vote) and John Cornyn (R-TX; 59 percent) were renominated against challengers from the right, as was House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8; 69 percent).
Rep. Cantor is outspending Brat by more than a 20:1 ratio, and has taken a surprisingly active and negative track in this campaign. His strategy is an interesting one in that he is attempting to deflect a hard right offensive by portraying Brat as being insufficiently conservative. Naturally, Brat makes the same argument against Cantor. Continue reading >
In Election Analysis on April 2, 2014 at 10:06 am
Candidate filing deadlines have now passed in three more states, Virginia, South Carolina, and Colorado, meaning that official candidates exist in 29 states. The Colorado candidate list will become final in the next few days.
In the Senate race, Sen. Mark Warner (D) has drawn four opponents, including former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie. Delegates will meet in convention to choose the nominee, which will be Gillespie.
In House races, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Randy Forbes (R-VA-4), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9), all have no major party opponent in the general election. Minor primary or Independent candidates do await the incumbents, however.
Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), Continue reading >
In Mayor, Polling, Senate on September 12, 2013 at 10:25 am
Sen. Lindsey Graham
A new poll shows South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) dropping below majority support in his battle for renomination in next year’s Republican senatorial primary. Graham, running for a third six-year term, is opposed by three Republicans, only one of whom has been elected to any office. The poll, however, possesses a significant methodological flaw, which could cast doubt upon the results.
The survey, from Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone Communications (Aug. 25; 500 South Carolina Republican voters; released Sept. 5) posts Sen. Graham to a 42-13-10-7 percent lead over state Sen. Lee Bright, businesswoman Nancy Mace – the first female graduate from The Citadel – and businessman and former 3rd Congressional District candidate Richard Cash, respectively.
While Graham clearly has a large cumulative lead over his opponents, this study projects him far away from reaching the 50 percent mark necessary for clinching the party nomination without a run-off election.
Under South Carolina law, such run-off elections are generally held only two weeks after the primary vote. Considering that the 2010 federal MOVE Act requires a 45-day period for military and overseas voters to receive and return their ballots, it is conceivable that a court could force the state to schedule a longer time between elections, just as judges in at least New York, Texas, and Georgia have done. Should the run-off be rescheduled to create a longer election cycle, the conventional wisdom is such a change may help a potential Graham head-to-head challenger because the individual will have some time to raise the Continue reading >
In Election Analysis on August 2, 2013 at 10:33 am
Sen. Lindsey Graham
The long-expected Republican primary challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham is now coming to fruition. A candidate emerged yesterday who has an interesting background. It remains to be seen if she has the political wherewithal to compete with the veteran senator, however.
Nancy Mace is the first female graduate of The Citadel. Born into a military family, her father is a retired Army general. She announced her challenge to the senator late this week, joining Greenville area businessman and former 3rd District congressional candidate Richard Cash in the nomination race. State Sen. Lee Bright, coming from the Ron and Rand Paul wing of the Republican Party, says he will soon follow suit.
Can any of the three beat Lindsey Graham? While it’s clearly a long shot, the senator does have some obvious vulnerabilities. First and foremost, as any casual political observer understands, Graham is to the left of the South Carolina Republican electorate and has taken some unpopular stands in the state, such as his leadership efforts in the area of immigration reform.
Secondly, though a crowded field usually helps an embattled incumbent, South Carolina does have a run-off law, meaning it could become harder to capture a majority in a split vote primary situation. If someone is strong enough to deny the senator an outright primary victory, the scenario would then be drawn to upset him in the secondary election.
Third, while none of his opponents has significant name ID, they are all substantial individuals, and if one or more can prove they possess fundraising ability, outside conservative groups are ready to come to their aid if Graham begins to falter.
Continue reading >