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Period Ending July 1, 2016

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


National Polls: A plethora of presidential polls are being released into the political domain. Virtually all show Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in the national popular vote. The latest survey, however, from Rasmussen Reports (6/28-29; 1,000 US registered voters via automated phone calls), puts Trump ahead 43-39% with 12% designated as “other.” But, the Rasmussen poll is balanced by the new Ipsos/Reuters data (6/25-29; 1,247 via Internet) that gives Clinton a 42-32% advantage with 14% in the “neither/other” category. In the last 10 presidential national research studies, from 10 different national pollsters, Clinton’s average lead is 5.7 points. So far, the results are typical for a Democratic and Republican presumptive nominee at this early point in the general election cycle. In the modern political era, the Democratic nominee always opens with a lead and the Republican closes as the campaign matures.

State Polls: Public Policy Polling (PPP) and Evolving Strategies (ES) for the Ballotpedia website began a study of the key states, understanding that it is the state votes in relation to the Electoral College that will elect the president and not the national popular vote. The PPP numbers suggest that Donald Trump is within two to four points of Ms. Clinton in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and New Hampshire, while leading by four in Arizona. ES finds Clinton in much better position in each of those states, and particularly in Pennsylvania where their margin suggests a 14-point Clinton advantage. ES polled in more states, and the results reveal similar major Clinton leads in places such as Florida and North Carolina.


Arizona: Public Policy Polling ran a series of surveys in several key US Senate states, all during the June 22-23 period. In Arizona, 691 registered voters participated and the result produced a familiar conclusion. According to this cell sample, Sen. John McCain (R) would lead Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), 42-40%. The finding is consistent with other recent polls.

Colorado: The Centennial State primary produced a Republican general election opponent for Sen. Michael Bennet (D). The GOP winner is the same person who won the official party endorsement in the nominating convention held earlier in the year: El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. The Republicans have had a difficult time in this contest since the beginning of the campaign and now have a nominee who will likely be deficient in raising money. Through the pre-primary financial disclosure period, Glenn raised only $156,711. Despite Colorado’s swing nature, Sen. Bennet begins the general election as a heavy favorite for re-election.

Florida: A new Survey USA poll (6/25-27; 1,678 FL registered voters; 618 likely Democratic primary voters; 555 likely Republican primary voters) finds Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18) tied at 43%. In the respective primary battles, Rubio has a huge 63-11-10% lead over businessman Carlos Beruff and public safety employee Dwight Young. For the Democrats, Rep. Murphy brandishes a 30-21% margin over fellow Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL-9). If Grayson were the general election candidate, Sen. Rubio’s would claim a 44-40% advantage.

Iowa: Continuing with the PPP polling series, in a survey of 897 Hawkeye State voters, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) has a 46-39% advantage over Democratic nominee Patty Judge, the state’s former Lt. Governor. Sen. Grassley, who has never won re-election with less than 64% of the vote in his five re-elections, is beginning to falter this year largely because of his role in the Supreme Court hearing situation. Even so, his standing isn’t likely to get much worse.

New Hampshire: The PPP latest version (578 NH registered voters) again finds Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) in a virtual tie, as they have been for the better part of a year. The PPP data gives Hassan a two-point lead, 44-42%. Usually, the results point to a slight Ayotte edge.

Ohio: In another race that has been within a handful of points in every election poll of this election cycle, the PPP spread (708 OH registered voters) gives Sen. Rob Portman (R) a slight 40-39% lead over former Gov. Ted Strickland (D). The presidential race will likely influence this contest, so we can expect a close affair until at least the campaign’s final few days.

Pennsylvania: A recent Quinnipiac University poll posted Sen. Pat Toomey (R) to one of his larger leads of this cycle, a 49-40% spread. But the new PPP survey (6/22-23; 980 PA registered voters) finds a much tighter affair. According to these survey sample respondents, Toomey’s margin over Democratic nominee Katie McGinty is only 40-39%. This is another campaign that will likely go down to the wire.

Wisconsin: The final PPP survey (843 WI registered voters) again finds former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) holding a substantial advantage. The results project Feingold to hold a large 50-37% spread over first-term Sen. Ron Johnson (R). Clearly, Wisconsin is a strong Democratic conversion opportunity.


CA-32: It’s hard to believe that 23 days after the June 7 primary, counting is still not complete. In the 32nd District, still with an untold number of ballots remaining, state Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D) has moved into second place, opening a 699-vote margin over Republican Gordon Fisher. The winner, now probably Hernandez in what will be a double Democratic general election, challenges veteran Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk).

CO-5: Rep. Douglas Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) barely qualified for the ballot at the state Republican nominating convention, but he had little trouble winning re-nomination in the primary. This past Tuesday, Lamborn scored a 68-32% victory over state legislative aide Calandra Vargas. He should now be set to win a seventh term in this safely Republican district.

NY-1: The Democratic primary, as ostensibly decided last Tuesday, could go on for a while. With approximately 1,700 absentee ballots remaining to count, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (D) has only a 29 vote lead over venture capitalist Dave Calone (D). Obviously, there are enough outstanding ballots to overturn the Election Day result, so this situation will probably take several weeks to determine. The winner faces freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/Suffolk County). The 1st District is usually competitive, so the fact that the Democrats will be tied up in determining the final outcome definitely plays into Rep. Zeldin’s hands. Rate this contest as Lean Republican.

NY-3: Defeated Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D) overcame four Democratic opponents to win the open congressional primary with just 36% of the vote. Suozzi, who was elected to the Nassau County top job in 2005 and began looking at statewide office, was defeated for re-election by just over 300 votes, and then lost his bid to return four years later in a landslide. Suozzi was not the Democratic leadership’s choice, but there were too many similar Democratic candidates in the race, and no one could establish himself as the man to beat Suozzi. Republicans coalesced around state Sen. Jack Martins, who now has a strong chance to convert this marginal Long Island seat to the Republican column. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) is retiring.

NY-13: The crowded Democratic primary would serve as the election to replace Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-Harlem), who is retiring after serving 46 years in the House. The new Democratic nominee, and heir apparent to the seat, is state Sen. Adriano Espaillat who twice challenged Rep. Rangel. Sen. Espaillat placed first with 37% of the vote in the nine-candidate field. Second, with 34%, is state Assemblyman Keith Wright who has yet to concede the race, but the more than 1,200-vote margin appears too steep for any change to occur. Therefore, count on Sen. Espaillat joining the 115th Congress. The 13th is one of the safest Democratic seats in the country, so Republican nominee Robert Evans has virtually no chance of winning in November.

NY-19: The two primary favorites were easy winners in the 19th District primary. Former state Assembly Minority Leader and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso scored a 68-32% victory over businessman Andrew Heaney despite being outspent by a 50% margin. For the Democrats, law professor Zephyr Teachout, who challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left in the 2014 Democratic primary, easily claimed the congressional district nod with a 73-27% victory over her lone minor opponent. The 19th should be a Republican seat, so Mr. Faso begins the general election cycle as the favorite. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook) is retiring.

NY-22: State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R), no NRCC favorite because they believe she is too conservative for the district, won a 41-34-25% victory over businessman Steven Wells, and former Broome County legislator George Phillips. Tenney, who challenged the incumbent Republican in the 2014 election, will now face Broome County legislator Kim Myers who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The central state 22nd is a politically marginal CD that retiring three-term Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is vacating.

NY-24: As expected, former congressional aide Colleen Deacon (D) claimed the Democratic congressional nomination against two opponents. She’ll now face Syracuse Rep. John Katko (R), as he moves toward a second term. The 24th is a marginal district, but Katko will be very difficult to dislodge remembering that he scored 59% against a sitting Democratic incumbent in 2014. Deacon raised over $500,000 for the primary, but spent virtually all of it in winning the nomination. Rep. Katko has been able to bank over $1.2 million with no primary challenge.

OK-1: Despite spending over $700,000 against Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Tulsa), energy company executive Tom Atkinson (R) finished with only 16% of the vote. The result proved to be a huge re-nomination for Bridenstine who renewed his self-term limit pledge and confirmed he will not seek re-election in 2018. He may be a gubernatorial candidate, however, with Gov. Mary Fallin (R) not eligible to seek re-election, or a Senate candidate in 2020 when Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) will likely retire.

OK-2: Freshman Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville/Muskogee) also was re-nominated, but in a bit closer fashion. He topped former US Army Ranger Jarrin Jackson (R), 63-37%. Rep. Mullin also originally indicated that he would serve only three terms but seems to be hedging on that promise … and, this became an issue in the primary campaign. Rep. Mullin will have little trouble in the general election.


Utah: Gov. Gary Herbert won an easy Republican primary victory over Overstock, Inc. CEO Jonathan Johnson. The final spread was 72-28%. Gov. Herbert is a prohibitive favorite in the general election against Democrat Mike Weinholtz, a healthcare organization executive.