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Period Ending May 30, 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: Rasmussen Reports conducted a new survey of the Arkansas electorate (5/27-28; 750 AR registered voters) and found Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) reassuming the lead over Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in their seesaw political battle. According to the data, Mr. Cotton now has a slight 47-43% advantage.

Kentucky: Wenzel Strategies went into the field to poll (5/23-24; 608 KY registered voters) the Kentucky Senate race and finds results that are consistent with all other pollsters working the Bluegrass State. According to Wenzel, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) claims a slight 47-44% edge over Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee.

Michigan: Two different surveys are forecasting similar numbers in the tight US Senate race. The Glengariff Group (dates not released; 600 MI registered voters) posts Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to a 40-35% lead over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R). EPIC-MRA, polling for the Detroit media (5/17-20; 600 MI likely voters), finds a slightly better six-point 44-38% edge for Rep. Peters. This race has been polling within single digits for the better part of a year.

Oregon: Public Policy Polling (5/22-27; 956 OR registered voters) conducted the first post-primary survey of the Oregon Senate race and finds first-term incumbent Jeff Merkley (D) holding a strong position. PPP projects the Senator to have a 50-36% advantage over new Republican nominee Dr. Monica Wehby. The Senator’s job approval is 41:34% positive to negative. The Republicans believe this race can develop for them, but the road just became more difficult with Merkley jumping out to a double-digit lead.

Texas Run-off Results: Dentist David Alameel easily defeated Lyndon LaRouche follower Kesha Rogers to win the Democratic Senatorial nomination in Tuesday’s Texas statewide run-off. Mr. Alameel now challenges Sen. John Cornyn (R) in the general election.

House

HI-1: A new Merriman River Group survey for the Honolulu Civil Beat blog (5/18-19; 416 HI-1 registered voters; 259 likely Democratic primary voters) finds state Senate President Donna Kim again leading the Democratic primary in the open seat race to succeed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), who is running for the Senate. Ms. Kim tops state Rep. Mark Takai 30-24%. The remaining candidates, state Will Espero, and Honolulu city Councilmen Akaika Anderson, Stanley Chang, and Joey Manahan trail in single digits. The eventual party nominee will likely face former Rep. Charles Djou (R) and be favored in the heavily Democratic district.

KS-4: As has been speculated upon for weeks, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) formerly announced that he will challenge two-term GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo in the early August primary. Tiahrt admitted he has less than $1,000 in his campaign account and, with only two months remaining in the campaign cycle, it is evident that Pompeo will command a huge resource advantage. According to the March 31st financial disclosure filing, the Congressman possesses over $2.1 million cash-on-hand. A possible independent expenditure could be forthcoming to even the resource score, which will obviously help Tiahrt. This race will attract a great deal of political attention between now and the August 5th voting date.

MI-3: Two polls are making the rounds in the Republican primary challenge to Rep. Justin Amash. The Polling Company, surveying for the Freedom Works organization (released 5/28, sampling size not available), finds Amash leading challenger Brian Ellis 53-23%. The National Research firm, polling for the Ellis campaign (4/27-28; 400 MI-3 likely Republican primary voters), did not release the ballot test but only reported that Amash is below 50%, registering 45 percent. They also claim that Amash’s unfavorable rating is rising. According to National Research, the Congressman’s unfavorable rating among the Republican primary electorate has increased to 29% from 19% as recorded last January.

MI-14: A new poll was released this week showing former Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13), who was a late entry into this race, now assuming a lead over the field of open seat Democratic candidates. Target Insyght (5/20-22; 400 MI-14 registered voters) projects Clarke to a 32-22-8-5% over Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, state Rep. Rudy Hobbs, and educator Burgess Foster, respectively. The Michigan primary is scheduled for August 5th. The Democratic nominee will carry the seat in the general election. The 14th District is open because Rep. Gary Peters (D) is running for the Senate.

Texas Run-off Results: In the 4th District, 91 year-old Ralph Hall (R) went down to defeat meaning his congressional career will end with this Congress. He will complete 34 years as a Congressman. Mr. Hall lost 47-53% to former US Attorney John Ratcliffe. The latter will assume the safely Republican seat in the general election. In the San Antonio anchored 23rd District former CIA officer Will Hurd defeated former Rep. Quico Canseco (R). Mr. Hurd now challenges freshman Rep. Pete Gallego (D), the man who ousted Canseco in 2012. In the open 36th District, dentist Brian Babin easily defeated Harris County businessman Ben Streusand to claim the Republican nomination. Dr. Babin will win in November, and become a member of the new 114th Congress in January.

VA-8: An early May poll was just released from a candidate who just departed the crowded Democratic open seat primary field. EMC Research, polling for then-candidate Bruce Shuttleworth (5/1-5; 400 VA-8 likely Democratic primary voters) posts former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer to be leading the field with 30% of the vote. State Delegate Patrick Hope and state Sen. Adam Ebbin are second with 9% apiece, Alexandria Mayor Euille is closely trailing with 8%, and the remaining five candidates are either at or below 3 percent. The Virginia primary is June 10th. The winner of this northern Virginia district carries the seat in November.

Governor

Michigan: Two polls were released about the upcoming Governor’s race. The Glengariff Group (dates not released; 600 MI registered voters) gives incumbent Rick Snyder a 45-35% advantage over former US Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7). Snyder’s job approval ratio is 54:38% and, by a margin of 45:41%, the respondent’s believe Michigan is on the right track. EPIC-MRA conducted another of their regular media polls for the Detroit news stations and papers (5/17-20; 600 MI likely voters) forecast similar numbers. According to their results, Gov. Snyder’s lead is a comfortable 47-38% over ex-Rep. Schauer but badly, and rather surprisingly, dips on the job approval question. In a result virtually opposite that of Glengariff, Snyder’s approval ratio is a poor 41:58%.

Oregon: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) could be in a vulnerable position considering the state’s terrible Obamacare implementation performance. Literally no one was able to register for the healthcare program despite the state spending over $300 million in state and federal dollars to develop a workable system. According to the aforementioned Public Policy Polling survey (see Oregon Senate synopsis above), the Governor has an upside down 42:46% job approval rating. Against newly nominated Republican Dennis Richardson, a state Representative, the Governor holds a surprisingly strong 49-36% ballot test advantage.

Iowa: State Sen. Jack Hatch (D) released an internal survey that shows him trailing five-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R). The Global Strategy Group (5/13-15; 602 IA registered voters) gives the Governor a 47-40% lead over Sen. Hatch, the poll’s sponsor. The findings are commensurate with the other recently released public research studies.

Texas: In the Republican run-off, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst went down to a crushing defeat at the hands of state Senator and Houston radio talk show host Dan Patrick. The victory margin was a whopping 65-35% with just over 750,000 votes cast. Patrick becomes a heavy general election favorite and will almost assuredly assume what is a very powerful post in Texas state government next January.