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Period Ending July 24, 2015

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

President

Gov. John Kasich (R): Ohio Governor Kasich became the 16th viable Republican candidate as he officially announced his national effort at an Ohio State University auditorium. Changing Ohio to a Winner-Take-All state (66 delegates) could be a major factor in Kasich’s budding candidacy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D): The largest recorded crowd for any presidential candidate turned out to hear Sen. Sanders in Phoenix during the weekend. More than 11,000 prospective voters attended a rally to hear the Vermont Senator speak.

Polls: Public Policy Polling released a new national survey (7/20-21; 1,087 registered voters; 524 likely Republican primary voters; 496 likely Democratic primary voters) and found Donald Trump clinging to a 19-17% lead over Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and the other 15 candidates. The others in double-digits are Jeb Bush (12%), Sen. Marco Rubio (10%), and Dr. Ben Carson (10%). For the Democrats, it is Hillary Clinton with a 57-22% advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders. No other candidate reached 10 percent. In the general election, Clinton has a small lead over every individual Republican. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) fares best against the former Secretary of State and First Lady, coming within a 42-45% spread. In what should be a chilling statistic for Republicans, Donald Trump was tested as an Independent against Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Here, Clinton would claim a 43-25-23% lead over Bush and Trump, respectively. The primary sample sizes for both parties are too low to be statistically reliable.

Quinnipiac University launched a methodologically sound set of polls in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. They find Hillary Clinton, and the other Democrats, all losing to the top tier Republican candidates sans Donald Trump. The latter was not tested. In the three states, the Democratic range was only 35-41%, while the Republicans scored 41-49%.

The ABC/Washington Post poll finds Donald Trump leading the GOP field 24-13-12% over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but the sample is comprised of 1,002 “adults” with no screen for registered voters. Therefore, the reliability of such results must be downgraded.

Monmouth University surveyed the Iowa electorate (7/16-19; 452 likely IA Republican caucus attenders) in preparation for the February Iowa Caucuses, and found Gov. Scott Walker opening up a substantial lead on the GOP field. Mr. Walker scores 22% to Donald Trump’s 13%. All other candidates failed to reach the 10% threshold.

The Gravis Marketing Nevada poll conducted for the One America News Network surveyed 1,276 respondents, but also included 237 individuals in the primary segment who said they will only vote in the general election. This methodological flaw could explain Donald Trump’s larger than normal lead on the Republican side. Here, he leads Gov. Scott Walker and Dr. Ben Carson 28-15-8%.

Senate

Florida: The state Supreme Court-ordered congressional redistricting is affecting more than just the state’s US House districts. Because his 13th District is certain to be made highly Democratic, Rep. David Jolly (R-Pinellas County) announced that he will enter the open Senate race instead of seeking re-election. In the northern part of the state, for a similar reason but in the opposite party, Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) also confirms she is considering running statewide instead of seeking re-election in a congressional district that will likely become heavily Republican. Jolly joins Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Daytona) in the GOP field. Ms. Graham would find herself competing with Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) and Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) should she enter the Senate race.

Nevada: The aforementioned Gravis Marketing poll (see Polls in the presidential section) verified the Fabrizio Lee results from last week (7/7-8; 500 NV likely voters). Gravis finds Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3) leading former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) 49-36%, almost identical to Fabrizio’s 50-36% number. Also as reported last week, Public Policy Polling found a much different result. Their poll gave Masto a slight 42-41% edge. Certainly, the two landslide polls arriving at virtually the same result in the same time frame must be taken seriously.

Pennsylvania: Gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinley (D), a former gubernatorial candidate and director of the state environmental protection agency, is reportedly heading toward becoming a US Senate candidate. Democrats are public in their desire to have someone other than former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Delaware County) as their 2016 standard bearer against Sen. Pat Toomey (R). McGinley, however, fared poorly in the 2014 Governor’s primary, attracting only 7.7% of the vote and placing fourth among four candidates.

House

Florida Redistricting: The court-ordered redistricting process is scheduled to begin in a special legislative session on August 10th. The process is scheduled to conclude on August 24th. Eight of the state’s 27 districts must be redrawn, but the total map could well be affected. The end result will have a major effect upon the 2016 Florida congressional elections.

FL-13: With Rep. David Jolly (R) not seeking re-election in order to run for the Senate, former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) confirms that he will contend for the open seat assuming his home is placed in the redrawn 13th CD. This new district will likely gain the city of St. Petersburg and become a Democratic gain.

IA-1: Former state House Speaker Pat Murphy (D), who lost a surprising race to now-freshman Rep. Rod Blum (R-Dubuque) in what should be a predominantly Democratic seat, announced that he will run again next year. He must first get past Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon, however, in the Democratic primary. The 1st District is a prime Democratic conversion opportunity.

NV-3: Democrats still don’t yet have a viable candidate for this marginal open district. Both former Secretary of State Ross Miller and state Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford this week said they will not run. State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson appears to be the leading candidate to succeed Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) who is leaving the House to run for the Senate. Former statewide and congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) is also a GOP primary candidate.

UT-4: Democrat Doug Owens, who came within a surprisingly close 46-51% margin of now-freshman Rep. Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) last November, says he will return for a presidential year re-match. Owens father, the late Wayne Owens, served four non-consecutive terms in the US House from what was then the Salt Lake City seat.

Governor

Missouri: State Sen. Bob Dixon (R) joined the growing list of Missouri gubernatorial candidates. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) announced his intentions to run last week, joining former state Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway, state Sen. Mike Parson, state Rep. Bart Korman, and businessman and former US Senate candidate John Brunner. Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appears to be his party’s consensus candidate.