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Period Ending May 2, 2014

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This weekly roundup of election news and notes is compiled for Thompson Coburn by the The Ellis Insight.

Senate

Arkansas: Public Policy Polling’s new survey (4/25-27; 840 AR registered voters) reverses the recent trend yielding a multi-point advantage for Sen. Mark Pryor (D). The firm’s latest data indicates that the Senator’s lead has dropped to a single point, 43-42%, over Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4). Based upon the patterns established throughout the previous year, there is little question that this race will remain tight throughout the remainder of the election cycle.

Georgia: For the first time, a poll is detecting clear separation in the Republican Senatorial primary. According to a new Survey USA poll (4/24-27; 501 GA likely Republican primary voters), former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, cousin to former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), leads the group with 26%. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1) follows at 20%; trailing is former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who registers 15%, while Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) attracts 13 percent. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) is now well behind with just six percent. But two other polls show a closer race. Insider Advantage (4/27-29; 737 GA Republican primary voters) posts Purdue to a 22-21-17-14-12% over Handel, Kingston, Broun, and Gingrey, respectively. McLaughlin & Associates, for the Kingston campaign, projects their client to be leading with 20% of the vote. In this latter survey, Mr. Perdue was second with 17%, followed by Ms. Handel (14%) and Rep. Gingrey (13%), while Congressman Broun drops well behind with only eight percent. The eventual Republican nominee will oppose consensus Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D).

North Carolina: Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R) is making his move to win the Republican nomination outright (attracting 40%) in the May 6th primary election. According to a new Public Policy Polling survey (4/26-28; 694 NC likely Republican primary voters), Tillis exceeds the percentage he needs to secure victory. The state legislative leader scores 46% support in this poll. Physician Greg Brannon is next with 20%, while Charlotte pastor Mark Harris is third at 11 percent. The winner challenges Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in the general election. If no candidate reaches the 40% plateau, the top two finishers will advance to a July 15th run-off election.

House

CA-7: Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA-3), attempting a comeback after voluntarily leaving office after the 2004 election, released the results of his internal Tarrance & Associates poll (4/22-24; 350 CA-7 registered voters). The data forecasts that freshman Rep. Ami Bera (D) and he will advance to the general election. Mr. Bera holds a substantial 43-24% lead over the ex-Congressman, but Mr. Ose is well ahead of the other two Republicans in the Sacramento County congressional race: former congressional aide Igor Birman (8%), and 2012 US Senate nominee Elizabeth Emken (6%). The latter moved to this area last year in order to run for the 7th District seat.

NY-11: Rep. Michael Grimm (R), a former FBI agent, was indicted on 20 charges relating to his former business interest in a local New York City restaurant. Because the indictment came after the New York candidate filing deadline had expired, the GOP will not have an opportunity to replace Grimm on the ballot. The effects of the media coverage surrounding the indictment makes NYC City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D) the new favorite to win the Staten Island-Brooklyn CD.

Utah: The Utah nominating party conventions convened last week, and all four US House races are now set for November. In the 1st District, Rep. Rob Bishop (R) will face businesswoman and Army veteran Donna McAleer (D). Freshman Rep. Chris Stewart (R) won his renomination with the closest margin of any congressional incumbent (68%), but he advances to the general, nonetheless. The Congressman’s 2nd District opponent will be state Sen. Luz Robles (D). Third District Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) runs for a fourth term. Software engineer Brian Wonnacott (D) will oppose him in November. In the open 4th District (Rep. Jim Matheson (D) retiring), 2012 Republican nominee Mia Love, the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, swept to a 78% convention victory. Her Democratic opponent will be Doug Owens (D), son of former Rep. Wayne Owens (D). Republicans are prohibitive favorites in all four contests.

VA-10: State Delegate Barbara Comstock scored a “firehouse” primary win as more than 13,000 voters filed into only ten polling places throughout the expansive district on April 26th. Comstock scored an outright majority with 53.9% of the vote, including a 91% showing in her home Fairfax County polling place. Delegate Bob Marshall was second with 28%. The remaining four candidates finished in single-digits. Supervisor John Foust was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Comstock begins the general election with a decided edge, but the seat could become competitive if the Democrats can create a national wave election.

Governor

Florida: The tight race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, a former Republican Governor, is beginning to see-saw. Gravis Marketing released their new survey of the Sunshine State electorate (4/23-25; 907 FL registered voters) that posts the Governor to the slightest of leads against former Gov. Charlie Crist (D). Gravis calls the race 44-43% in favor of Gov. Scott.

Iowa: The second poll in two weeks is showing long-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R) falling into a close race with state Sen. Jack Hatch (D). The new Vox Populi polling firm led by Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney (R), surveyed 600 Iowa voters during the April 22-24 period. The results give the Governor a 41-36% advantage over Hatch. When “leaners” are included Mr. Branstad’s lead shrinks to only 45-43 percent.

Kansas: Rasmussen Reports tested the Maine electorate (4/23-25; 830 ME registered voters) and projects that Gov. Paul LePage (R) has fought back to even ground versus Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME-2). RR forecasts that Lepage and Michaud are tied at 40%, with Independent Attorney Eliot Cutler, the second place finisher in 2010, posting eleven percent. Though Gov. LePage’s approval numbers are not particularly strong, the three-way candidate format gives the incumbent a better chance of retaining his position.

Kansas: Survey USA returns to the Ohio electoral field (4/24-28; 618 OH likely voters) and finds Gov. John Kasich (R) re-assuming a double-digit lead over Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D). S-USA projects the Governor to a solid 46-36% lead, his strongest showing in several weeks.

Kansas: Muhlenberg College just released their survey (4/28-30; 417 PA Democratic primary voters) of Democratic gubernatorial voters for the upcoming May 20th primary. As he has virtually all year, businessman Tom Wolf continues to lead the field by a substantial margin. Muhlenberg forecasts Wolf to be holding a 38-13-11% lead over Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13) and state Treasurer Rob McCord. The winner, presumably Wolf, will challenge Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in November. Mr. Corbett appears to be the most vulnerable state chief executive standing for re-election in 2014.