2010 Elections, May 28 edition (June primary preview)
Latest News – Filing Deadlines
This week has seen Congressional filing close in four states (Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming). There were no last minute retirements, and one Republican (Doug Lamborn of Colorado) was unopposed. That means that so far candidate filing has concluded in 35 states containing 338 (out of 435) House races and 23 (out of 36) Senate races this fall. We also know at this point that 31 incumbents (27 Republicans and 4 Democrats) will not face major party opposition.
Next month, seven more states will conclude their Congressional filings. June 1 is the deadline for Alaska and Massachusetts. The following week, filing closes in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Washington. After that, it will be relatively quiet on the Congressional filing front until Rhode Island’s June 30 filing deadline. The remaining eight states will see their Congressional filings conclude in July; in fact, July 7-9 will be the filing window in Louisiana for federal and local offices.
Latest News – Retirements
There have been no recent retirement announcements since Mark Souder’s abrupt retirement announcement on May 18. So far, 42 House members (22 Republicans and 20 Democrats) are retiring, while 13 Senators (7 Republicans and 6 Democrats) are retiring. This number is actually not that much different than the 1994 totals, when 51 House members (30 Democrats and 21 Republicans) and 9 Senators (6 Democrats and 3 Republicans) retired in that election cycle. The reason we are comparing these totals are because the 1994 GOP landslide was aided by the volume of Democratic retirements that year.
Latest News – Upcoming Special Elections
This Saturday in Louisiana there will be two all Democrat runoff elections for the state House in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. In Baton Rouge, Dalton Honore and Metro Councilman “Bones” Addison will face each other, while in New Orleans, former newscaster Helena Moreno faces housing advocate James Perry.
The New Orleans race is a perfect example of runoff campaigns having a different tenor than the primary. After the May 1 primary, we believed that James Perry, who is African-American, was in the driver’s seat on the basis of his 35% showing in predominately white precincts and his second place finish in the predominately black precincts (another black candidate ran first). However, Moreno recently released documents showing Perry had numerous parking and traffic violations, including driving without insurance and a valid driver’s license. Perry retaliated by bringing up an accident in which Moreno was involved, with allegations of her receiving preferential treatment. The big question is whether the parking violations will hurt Perry in the white community; despite blacks having a 51-40% voter registration edge, the electorate in the low turnout May 1 primary was 61-33% white. Additionally, the candidate who ran first in the black precincts has since endorsed Moreno. Based on the early voting that just concluded last week, it appears that the low primary turnout will be even lower on the holiday weekend. Not only is early voting in the runoff 7% lower than the primary, but runoff early voting has been 61-35% white, while blacks had a 49-45% plurality with those who early voted in the primary.
Latest News – Primaries
This past Tuesday, Idaho became the 12th state to hold its primaries. The anti establishment sentiment that has manifested itself in many of the previous primaries held nicked two Republican incumbents and a Republican candidate – 12 year Congressional incumbent Mike Simpson and Governor Butch Otter were both renominated with less than 60% of the vote. Representative Simpson’s problem was that he voted for TARP, while Governor Otter supported an increase in the gasoline tax. The Washington Establishment was further embarrassed when its favorite, Vaughn Ward, went down to defeat 39-48% after committing a series of gaffes that included plagiarizing parts of President Obama’s 2004 convention speech, claiming that Puerto Rico was a country in a televised debate, and not voting in the 2008 Presidential election because “he forgot to send in his absentee ballot.”
The extent of anti incumbent feelings will further be tested with a series of upcoming primaries in June. Next Tuesday June 1, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico will hold primaries. We are particularly interested in two races: (1) in northern Mississippi, FOX news commentator Angela McGlowan is an African-American female (and one of 32 black Republicans) who is seeking the Republican nomination in a House race; (2) across the state line in northern Alabama, the question is whether party switcher Parker Griffith will survive the GOP primary. His race has the potential for being another “David vs Goliath” race because while he has collected endorsements from House Republicans, the Minutemen, and the NRA, his two primary opponents claim the support of Tea Partiers and local Republicans. In the words of a local Republican strategist, “ …I believe Griffith is in trouble. He’s just not catching on in the Republican ranks at all. People find him dishonest. They just don’t trust him….”
Tuesday June 8 will be the next primary “Super Tuesday”, as 10 states (California, Iowa. Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia) hold primaries, one state (Arkansas) has a runoff, and one state (Georgia) has an all Republican Congressional special election. We are watching the following races:
Arkansas– Blanche Lincoln is in the fight of her political life against Lt Gov Bill Halter. In the primary, she barely led in a three person race 45-43%. In the runoff, she has begun to move to the left in an attempt to shore up her base, although the balance power was held by a third party candidate who favored Ron Paul and who plans to vote Republican in November. However, the eventual winner of the runoff faces Republican Congressman John Boozman, who already has a huge head start against either Democrat, with 60-33% (over Halter) and 66-28% (over Lincoln) leads.
California and Iowa are interesting because the party primaries in those states involve former governors seeking their old offices. Jerry Brown (he served from 1975-1983 and ran for President in 1992) is running in the Democratic primary, while in Iowa, Terry Branstad (who served from 1983-1999) is similarly seeking a comeback in the Republican primary. Both are odds on favorites for their primaries. We’re also following a House race in Los Angeles: 18 year incumbent Jane Harman is getting a primary challenge that is being funded by liberal groups angry at Rep. Harman for her support of the Iraq war and her record on homeland security issues. Her challenger also ran in 2006 against Rep Harman and received 38% of the primary vote.
In South Carolina an Indian-American named Nikki Haley is seeking the Republican nomination, while incumbent Congressman Bob Inglis is fighting allegations in his primary that he is insufficiently conservative.
Meanwhile, in Nevada, embattled 24 year incumbent Harry Reid will finally learn which of three Republicans he will face in November. And its embattled Republican Governor, Jim Gibbons, may actually be the first incumbent governor of the election cycle to lose his own primary. Curiously, Harry Reid’s son is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor.
After “Super Tuesday”, the political front will be quiet for two weeks. On June 22, North Carolina will hold its runoff elections, where Democrats will ultimately decide who its Senate nominee will be. On the same day is the Utah primary. Republicans will have a Senate primary to decide the GOP nominee to replace 18 year incumbent Bob Bennett, who didn’t even get enough party support to make it onto the primary ballot. In Salt Lake City, the state’s lone Democratic House member (Jim Matheson) faces primary opposition and may possibly be the 4th or 5th incumbent (depending on the outcome of the Arkansas Senate runoff) to be defeated.