Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Senate Conservatives Fund’

Can Sen. Cochrane Hang Onto His Mississippi Seat?

In Polling, Senate on April 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm


Cochran Positive Ad

Mississippi polling data is now being released at a fast and furious pace. Earlier in the week, we reported about a NSON Opinion Strategies (April 2; 400 Mississippi Republican primary voters) survey that projected veteran Sen. Thad Cochran to be leading his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, by a rather soft 45-37 percent margin. Yesterday, Harper Polling (April 3-5; 570 Mississippi Republican primary voters) released results that place the senator in much stronger political position.

According to Harper, Cochran’s lead is a  Continue reading >

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An Evolving Landscape in the Oklahoma Senate Race

In Senate on January 22, 2014 at 11:48 am

UPDATE – CORRECTION: This report initially stated that the House Conservatives Fund made negative statements about Rep. Lankford, which was incorrect; it was the Senate Conservatives Fund. The information below has been updated and corrected.

The race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn (R), who is resigning his seat two years before his term ends, thus necessitating a 2014 special election, is a fast-starting campaign.

Two days ago, sophomore Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) announced his statewide candidacy. Yesterday, the Senate Conservatives Fund made negative statements about the congressman regarding his votes on the budget, the debt ceiling, and pertaining to funding the Affordable Care Act.

The SCF’s statements might be a signal that freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-1), a Tea Party favorite, will enter the campaign. The Tulsa congressman confirms he is  Continue reading >

Schizophrenic Mississippi Polling

In Polling, Senate on December 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

Simultaneous polls from two Republican polling firms arrived at very different conclusions in the budding primary challenge to veteran Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Gravis Marketing and the Human Events conservative news website teamed up to survey the Mississippi Republican electorate and found the senator to be in a virtual tie with his GOP challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. According to the data (released Dec. 18; 691 Mississippi Republican voters), both men scored 40 percent on the ballot test.

But a rival GOP survey research firm, Harper Polling (Dec. 17-18; 710 Mississippi Republican and Independent voters), finds a contrasting result. According to HP, the incumbent has a substantial 54-31 percent lead in the one-on-one pairing.

Interestingly, the members of the Human Events/Gravis polling sample that would favor Cochran over a generic Tea Party candidate (45-38 percent) actually give less  Continue reading >

Senate Conservatives Tackle McConnell

In Polling, Senate on October 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

It didn’t take long for at least one conservative organization to begin launching an air attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for his role in failing to stop the funding mechanism for the Affordable Care Act, now commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” The Senate Conservatives Fund, through its Senate Conservatives Action issue organization, originally founded by then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), has launched a $300,000 Kentucky television ad buy to claim that the five-term senator has “let us (Kentuckians) down” (above). The context directly relates to the healthcare issue.

The message is clearly intended to rile the Kentucky conservative base against Sen. McConnell to an even greater degree than previously noted. Already, investment executive Matt Bevin is actively pursuing a primary challenge against the Republican leader, a candidacy that the Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed. Early polls show McConnell to be holding an overwhelming lead over Bevin, but data posted for the general election tells a different story.

The Kentucky Senate campaign is shaping up to be one of the 2014 bellwether races, and one of two key Republican must-holds (Georgia is the other) if the party is to have any chance of gaining the majority for the next Congress.

In the general election, Democrats have  Continue reading >

McConnell Comes Out Swinging

In Senate on July 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Two days ago, hedge fund manager Matt Bevin announced his Kentucky Republican primary challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Yesterday, the senator hit the television airwaves in record post-announcement time, already launching an attack ad against his new opponent:

Obviously, McConnell is taking no chances and attempting to define Bevin in negative terms before the new candidate has the opportunity to even introduce himself to the Kentucky Republican electorate.

But, Bevin apparently saw the McConnell strategy coming because he, too, is on the air with his own attack ad against the Senate leader:

Since Bevin reportedly is independently wealthy, he should have the resources needed to mount a serious campaign, and the events this week already show that both sides mean business. Bevin clearly wants to establish himself early as a credible contender in hopes of attracting important financial support from such groups on the ideological right as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

As the senator prepares for a presumed general election battle against the Democratic Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, he wants to quickly extinguish his Republican challenger; but Bevin is sending early signals that he won’t go down quietly.

Bevin attacks McConnell from the right, questioning the quality of his leadership and claiming that the 30-year senatorial veteran  Continue reading >

Fischer Surges to Win Nebraska Primary

In Polling, Senate on May 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

font size=”2″>It seemed like a 20-plus point swing in less than 10 days was too much to possibly be true, but the We Ask America poll that detected Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer moving ahead of Attorney General Jon Bruning in the Republican Senatorial primary proved accurate. Despite leading all the way until the very end of the campaign, Bruning fell to Fischer 41-36 percent, with 19 percent going to state Treasurer Don Stenberg.

The victorious state legislator will now face former senator Bob Kerrey, who won the Democratic primary with 81 percent of the vote. Both will vie for the right to replace retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D) in November.

Once again, conservative outside groups and individual Super PAC backers were able to bring down a front-runner who they deemed unacceptable. Yet, this election campaign is different. In the 2010 and early 2012 primary elections, in places like Nevada, Colorado, Alaska and Indiana, the incumbent or perceived favored candidate failed because they were to the left of the preferred candidate; but not last night in Nebraska.

Clearly the onslaught of ads aimed at perceived front-runner Bruning, probably totaling over $1 million in a small media market state, took their toll against him. The killer attack point was the charge he gained ownership in companies that he regulated in his official position and, as a result, became personally wealthy. With all sides pounding Bruning, the issue stuck, though he vehemently argued that all of his actions were completely legitimate.

And with Fischer gaining the endorsements of Sarah Palin, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1) and former governor Kay Orr, she got the credibility she needed not only to overcome Bruning, but also Stenberg, as well. Stenberg, a perennial candidate who won a statewide election in 2010, attracted the support of Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, which accounted for more than $700,000 of the outside money infused into the race. The Senate Conservatives goal was to boost Stenberg ahead of Bruning. While we now know that Bruning fell, Stenberg moved little.

Democrats will now make the argument that since the GOP early favorite again failed their party is now in better shape to make a run in the general election. Clearly, with former senator Kerrey as their official nominee, they have a credible candidate. But, in actuality, because the ethical issues dogging Bruning proved lethal to him, the attorney general coming through this campaign, damaged, and limping across the finish line with a close win would have been the least favorable position for Republicans. Now, with the most conservative nominee in this most conservative of states, Kerrey and the Democrats no longer have the issues they had against Bruning.

Oregon and Idaho also held congressional primaries last night, and the results produced no surprises as all incumbents easily won their renomination contests.

A Wild Ending Looms in the Nebraska Senate Race

In Polling, Senate on May 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

The Nebraska Republican Senate race, culminating in a primary vote tonight, has exploded in its final days. At issue is whether Attorney General Jon Bruning, the undisputed leader in the race up until this past weekend, will hold on for victory, or will state Sen. Deb Fischer nip him at the finish line. Fischer – aided by endorsements from Sarah Palin, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1), former governor Kay Orr, and an outside expenditure of more than $200,000 from TD Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs baseball team owner Joe Ricketts – has forged into the lead according to one political poll. The We Ask America automated survey (May 13; 1,109 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters) shows the state legislator now ahead of Bruning 39-34 percent. Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg, despite receiving as much as $700,000 in outside spending from Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, continues to lag behind at 18 percent.

It is hard to know if the poll is reliable. Fischer has moved an aggregate 21 points since May 6, according to consecutive We Ask America polls. This seems like too great a swing in too short a period. Even the WAA published analysis concedes as much. Additionally, this fully automated poll was conducted on the Mother’s Day holiday, further skewing the results. Plus, We Ask America’s recent track record isn’t too strong. A week before the Illinois primary, WAA projected 16th District Rep. Don Manzullo to be holding about a half-point lead (42.6-42.2 percent) over fellow Rep. Adam Kinzinger in their incumbent Republican pairing battle. Kinzinger won going away, 54-46 percent.

It is clear that the Nebraska trends are moving toward Fischer and away from Bruning. Whether or not this break is too late will be answered in just a few hours.