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So I’ve decided to make the Election News Dump a weekly feature and every Friday night, expect it to be posted here. I felt the best way to utilize this feature that focuses on races that may not be worth a full article was to make it an end-of-the-week recap instead of an irregular feature.
Well now that you can set your calendars to when this feature is up, let’s take a look at the week that was in politics!
Wyoming: Liz Cheney Has A Ways To Go
After the news that Liz Cheney, daughter of former (feels so great saying that) Vice President Dick Cheney, would primary longtime Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming; Public Policy Polling decided to test out the race. If you are a supporter of Liz Cheney, well this news wasn’t exactly good as she trails Enzi by a 26% to 54% margin.
Now in some cases, with this much time left, it wouldn’t be that bad of a place to be in. For example Marco Rubio trailed then-Governor Charlie Crist by a large margin before eventually forcing Crist out of the primary (and the party). But in Cheney’s case, this is a kiss of death as 45% of Wyoming Republicans believe she would be a better fit running for Senator in Virginia as opposed to Wyoming. Almost a majority of Wyoming Republicans think Cheney is a carpetbagger which is a very poor place to begin a nascent campaign.
But Democrats shouldn’t get their hopes up too much as former Governor Dave Freudenthal (who remains quite popular in the state) still trails Enzi by a 23-point margin in a hypothetical general election matchup. Freudenthal does edge out Cheney by three points but I can’t envision a scenario in which he takes the bait. I’m of the belief though that if you want to compete anywhere, you must put a decent challenger up there so maybe the Democrats convince him or Gary Trauner to try to start something.
Delaware: Hey, Remember Her?
She may not be a witch, but she is considering another campaign for Senate! That’s right Christine O’Donnell, the candidate who essentially ruined the Republican Party’s chances of winning a Senate seat in 2010, is stirring the pot by hinting that she could challenge Chris Coons in a rematch of the previous campaign.
O’Donnell who is a Tea Party firebrand and perennial candidate does have legitimate reasons though for not wanting to run. Her father had two heart surgeries in the past year and her mother just came off a year of chemotherapy. In all seriousness, our best wishes to both of her parents because that sounds like a really tough thing to go through.
Delaware Republicans might not have much of a chance of unseating Coons, who could very well become a leader in the Senate due to his age (49 years old) and Delaware being a very dark blue state. However with tight legislative races, its best for the party to not have a controversial candidate at the top.
Nebraska: Republican field begins to form
Freshman Senator Mike Johanns is retiring after only one term in the Senate and this race has been rather under-the-radar. Thanks to Nebraska being dark red, its widely assumed that whoever comes out of the Republican primary will win the general. Ben Sasse, president of Midland University, will throw his hat into the primary that includes State Treasurer Shane Osborn and attorney Bart McLeay.
Sasse will also likely be joined by 2006 nominee Pete Ricketts.
Illinois: Dick Durbin Gets A Challenger
Dick Durbin is long thought to be one of the safest incumbents thanks to his large war chest, his position in Senate leadership (the #2 ranking Democrat) and Illinois being a safe haven for Democrats.
Businessman Doug Truax wants to change that up though and has announced his candidacy. Truax is co-founder of Veritas Risk Services and will likely be able to self-fund as he fits the bill of a rich one-man corporation. Still, this seat is sapphire-blue if that’s such a thing.
Massachusetts: Ed Markey Beats Scott Brown In Early Poll
A lot has happened over the past few weeks and it was easy to overlook the news that Ed Markey became the newest member of the U.S. Senate as the elected replacement of Sec. of State John Kerry (Mo Cowan was a placeholder in between). Markey will likely be safe in the progressive bastion of Massachusetts but Markey is already up by 5 points against former Senator Scott Brown. Brown is more favorable but it should be noted that Markey just got out of a contested Senate race so his favorability ratings will likely go up to a normal rating soon enough.
Markey is a very good addition to the Senate by the way, a bit of news I have yet to comment on. He’s a staunch progressive and will likely join Elizabeth Warren to be one of the best 1-2 combinations in the Senate today.
Hawaii: Brian Schatz Gets Big Endorsement
Brian Schatz, appointed to the Senate seat that was vacated following the death of longtime Sen. Daniel Inouye by Governor Neil Abercrombie. Well that didn’t go over well with some of the Hawaii establishment as it was well-known that Inouye hoped that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa would be his replacement.
With Schatz and Hanabusa both entered for next year’s Democratic primary, the stakes are pretty high. The winner of this contest will easily cruise in the general and Schatz might’ve gotten a shot in the arm as Al Gore endorsed the progressive Schatz. Schatz could be one of the leading voices on climate change in the Senate and I would support his candidacy over the more moderate Hanabusa. But I do believe the Senate needs more diversity and Hanabusa is solid on some issues but is basically a “New Democrat”.
Keep your eye on this race that has been overlooked though.
Pollitics Today’s Coverage of 2014 races
White House 2016
PPP released a new national poll and it shows great news for supporters of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Paul leads nationally with 16% and is followed by Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie who are tied at 13%. Rounding out the field is Ted Cruz at 12%, Marco Rubio at 10%, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal at 4% and Susana Martinez at 2%.
Cruz’s popularity amongst very conservative voters has him where he is and Paul seems to still be bathing in the limelight following his filibuster earlier in the year. Marco Rubio suffers the biggest fall as he at one point was nearing 20% but likely thanks to his work on a proposed immigration bill he drops to 10%.
There will be a lot of volatility in this race but I guess right now we can consider Rand Paul one of the big favorites on the Republican side.
For the Democrats, Hillary still dominates the field as she hits 52% and is 40 percentage points higher than Joe Biden (who earlier trailed by 50% and 46%). Elizabeth Warren comes in third with 6%, followed by Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker at 5% and 3% respectively. Brian Schweitzer, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley and Mark Warner don’t crack 2%.
Predictably Biden leads the field without Hillary at 34% and is followed by Warren at 13%, Andrew Cuomo at 10%, Booker at 4%, Gillibrand at 3%, O’Malley at 3% and Schweitzer and Warner at 2%.
Without the pair, the field becomes much more vague as Warren leads with 20%, Cuomo at 11%, Booker at 8%, Gillibrand at 5%, Schweitzer at 4%, Warner at 3% and O’Malley at 2%. Someone else/Not sure wins with 47% of the vote in that scenario in which I think the only likely challengers would be Cuomo, Warner and O’Malley.
In the hypothetical head-to-head matchups, Hillary still leads the field but she is now only up by one against Christie, two against Ryan, three points against Bush and five points against Rubio. Rand Paul trails by 8% which as PPP notes, is proof that the favorite Republican candidate is the worst general election candidate.
What race are you watching? Feel free to comment!