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Period Ending June 21, 2013

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

Senate

Alaska: As expected, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) officially announced his US Senate candidacy this week. If he successfully wins the Republican nomination, Mr. Treadwell will face first-term Sen. Mark Begich (D) in what should become a highly competitive race. Joe Miller, the upstart Republican who upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary thus forcing her to enter the general election as an Independent, says he will run again in 2014. Meanwhile, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (R), who had been considered a potential Senatorial contender, announced that he will run for Treadwell's vacated Lt. Governor position.

Massachusetts: New polls and ads are coming in waves from the two Senate special election candidates and their supporters as we approach the June 25th election day. The latest survey research, from the University of New Hampshire (6/11-14; 508 MA registered voters), gives Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) a 54-41% lead over businessman Gabriel Gomez (R) while McLaughlin & Associates for Americans for Progressive Action (6/17-19; 1,100 MA likely voters) arrives at a much different 47-44% split, but also in Markey's favor. The UNH polls have been flawed in the past, so their reliability is suspect. Absentee ballot requests are at a much lower level in comparison with the 2010 special Senate election. At this writing, more than 47,600 ballots have been requested prior to Tuesday's election. In 2010, the number exceeded 63,000. Mr. Markey is favored to win the contest, but with a depressed victory margin.

Michigan: As predicted, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) officially announced in an email to supporters that he will not run for his state's open US Senate race. The Congressman plans on continuing his service in the House. The general election, at this early date, looks to be between former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) and Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14). Mr. Peters will be favored.

New Jersey: A new Rasmussen Reports Senate special election survey (6/12-13; 1,000 NJ likely voters) gives Newark Mayor Cory Booker a commanding 54-11-8-5% advantage over Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6), and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, respectively. The group is running in the August 13th special Democratic primary for the purposes of replacing the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D).

North Carolina: Public Policy Polling (6/12-14; 500 NC registered voters) again tested the North Carolina electorate and found the political situation largely unchanged from their previous studies. First-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D) again produces about even job approval ratings, 41:42% positive to negative, and leads her two announced opponents in the low single-digits. Against the Speaker of the NC House of Representatives, Thom Tillis (R), Ms. Hagan leads 45-40%. Paired with relatively unknown physician Greg Brannon (R), she surprisingly has only a 44-40% advantage. Once formulated, the Tar Heel State Senate race should be among the most competitive campaigns in the country.

House

CA-3: State Assemblyman Dan Logue (R) officially announced his challenge to Rep. John Garamendi (D). Several months ago, Mr. Logue formed a congressional exploratory committee signaling his intent. Mr. Garamendi has been in California political office since his original election to the state Assembly in 1974. He has won two statewide posts, Insurance Commissioner and Lt. Governor. Elected to Congress in a 2009 special election, and re-elected in 2010, he won a much different and more Republican post-redistricting CD last November (against Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann, 54-46%).

CA-52: Survey USA completed a poll (6/10-12; 500 CA-52 registered voters) of freshman Rep. Scott Peters' (D) San Diego congressional district. Confirming an earlier Tarrance Group study, former Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Carl DeMaio (R) continues to lead the new incumbent. According to the S-USA data, DeMaio has a 48-39% advantage. Former Marine and CIA Operations Officer Kirk Jorgensen (R) is also planning to enter the race. Ex-Cognex CEO Bob Shillman (R) is a third potential challenger.

KY-6: Elizabeth Jensen (D), executive director for the non-profit organization Race for Education, announced that she will challenge freshman Rep. Andy Barr (R). Former Congressman Ben Chandler (D), who Barr unseated in 2012, is not expected to seek a re-match.

MN-1: State Rep. Mike Benson (R-Rochester) announced his intention to challenge four-term Rep. Tim Walz (D) next year. Mr. Benson was originally elected to the Minnesota House in 2008. He is the former US Postmaster for Rochester, MN, Cleveland, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. Other Republicans are expected to enter the nomination race. The 1st District has the potential of becoming competitive.

MN-6: State Sen. Jon Pederson (R-St. Cloud) has formed a federal campaign committee as a prelude to entering the open 6th Congressional District race. Already running to succeed retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) are 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer, and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah. Next year's state Republican convention will likely be the mechanism that nominates a candidate. It is possible to force a post-convention primary, but such rarely happens in Minnesota. The eventual Republican nominee will be the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Governor

Connecticut: In 2010, Democrat Dan Malloy won the closest gubernatorial race in the country, outlasting Republican Tom Foley by half a percentage point, or 6,404 votes from more than 1.1 million cast. The two are headed for a re-match in 2014, and the results might be equally as close according to a new poll. In the June Quinnipiac University survey (6/12-17; 1,154 CT registered voters), Gov. Malloy actually trails Mr. Foley 40-43%.

Florida: Quinnipiac University (6/1011-16; 1,176 FL registered voters) again surveyed the Sunshine State electorate. Though Gov. Rick Scott (R) still finds himself in negative job approval territory, 43:44%, his standing has greatly improved. Despite the uptick in his political fortunes, however, he continues to trail two major potential challengers. Paired with Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, Mr. Scott trails 37-47%. Should Sen. Bill Nelson (D) decide to run, an unlikely prospect, Scott finds himself lagging behind by a similar 38-48% deficit. Obviously, Florida continues to be a prime Democratic conversion opportunity.

Illinois: A We Ask America poll (6/13; 1,322 IL registered voters via automated interviews) tested the proposed three-way Democratic primary involving Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and former US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley. According to the results, Ms. Madigan would lead the primary race 32-22-21% over Messrs. Daley and Quinn, respectively. In a hypothetical one-on-one trial heat, the Attorney General would hold a 44-33% advantage over the Governor. If Messrs. Quinn and Daley were in a head-to-head contest, the challenger would cling to a 38-37% edge. Ms. Madigan is not an announced candidate. Mr. Daley has formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee. Though Gov. Quinn trails in all polling configurations, his numbers have substantially improved from earlier studies.

Massachusetts: A Democratic candidate stepped forward this week and officially announced for what will be an open race for Governor. Donald Berwick was appointed by President Obama as a regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Failing to win Senate confirmation, Mr. Berwick served via a recess appointment until resigning. He now joins healthcare executive Joe Avellone as one of only two formal Democratic gubernatorial contenders, but several more including state Treasuer Steve Grossman and possibly Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA-7) are expected to enter the campaign. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is not running for a third term.

New York: Siena College's Research Institute released the results of their latest New York political survey (6/9-13; 804 NY registered voters). The study tested Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) popularity and though they detected a fall-off in support for the state chief executive, his ratings remain strong. His job approval score is 58:35% favorable to unfavorable. On the re-elect question, 52% of those polled say they would vote for the Governor regardless of who runs against him, while 41% would prefer someone else. Mr. Cuomo appears safe for re-election.

Texas: The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune periodical again partnered to conduct a survey of the Lone Star State's political climate (5/31-6/9; 1,200 TX registered voters). This is another university poll that typically experiences reliability issues, however. The long ten-day sampling period again suggests that the survey methodology is lacking. In any event, the results reveal Gov. Rick Perry to be in strong position should he again seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He would lead Attorney General Greg Abbott 45-19% if the two ran against each other. Though Abbot makes no secret about wanting to run for higher office, it is unlikely that he would challenge Mr. Perry if the Governor decides to run for a fourth full-term. He is already the longest-serving Governor in Texas history. Mr. Perry said this week that he will announce his re-election decision before July 1st.