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


Alaska: Anchorage-based Hays Research conducted a tracking poll of the Alaska Senate race (8/14; 388 AK registered voters) and found Sen. Mark Begich (D) to be holding a 50-39% lead over Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R). This is an improvement for Begich over the last publicly released survey, a Public Policy Polling study (July) that posted the Senator to only a four-point, 44-40%, advantage.

Montana: As a probable prelude to Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) entering the Senate race, former state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton (R) has abandoned his campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D) and will run for what he believes will be the open at-large House seat. Mr. Stapleton indicated that Rep. Daines will soon announce his Senate campaign.

West Virginia: A new but potentially unreliable poll was conducted in the Mountaineer State, testing the open US Senate race. According to the R.L. Repass & Partners survey (8/15-22; 400 WV registered voters), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2) leads Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant 45-40%. Rep. Capito is an official candidate; Ms. Tennant is not but may soon enter. The poll is skewed because the eight-day sampling period is too long and the respondent composition of college graduates and people earning more than $50,000 far exceed the state benchmarks. Both of these factors likely help the Democratic candidate. Currently, the Democrats have fielded no strong candidate against Rep. Capito. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) is retiring.


CA-7: Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA-3), who served three terms from 1999-2005, announced that he will challenge freshman Rep. Ami Bera (D) next year. Ose pledged only to serve six years, hence the reason for his original retirement. Mr. Bera ousted incumbent Rep. Dan Lungren (R) in 2012 with 52% of the vote. The district may be more favorable to a Republican challenger in the mid-term election year. Also in the race is Elizabeth Emken, the 2012 US Senate nominee. Igor Birman, chief of staff to neighboring Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA-4) also announced his candidacy this week.

CA-52: In what should result in becoming a top tier challenge race, Republican Carl DeMaio announced that he will remain in the congressional race, thus bypassing the opportunity to enter the special San Diego mayoral election soon to be scheduled. Mr. DeMaio lost a 48-52% campaign to now-resigned Mayor Bob Filner (D) last November. Two early polls project DeMaio to a significant lead over freshman Democratic incumbent Scott Peters.

ME-2: Last week, we reported that former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin (R) entered the race to replace outgoing Rep. Mike Michaud (D). This week, former state Senate President Kevin Raye (R) who has twice run unsuccessfully against Michaud, albeit ten years apart, announced that he will again run for Congress in 2014. Mr. Raye came close in 2002, losing 48-52%, but garnered only 40% against Michaud last year. Upon his announcement, state Rep. Alex Willette (R) said that he will drop out of the congressional race. State House Majority Leader Josh Tardy, another person said to be considering the federal campaign, now says he will not enter the contest. The open seat race has competitive potential, though the eventual Democratic nominee will begin in the favorite's position.

MI-11: Prominent Farmington Hills attorney David Trott announced a serious primary challenge to freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio. Trott comes into the race with strong support from the local GOP establishment. This will be a highly competitive campaign.

NH-1: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) has drawn a prospective opponent for 2014. State Rep. Pam Tucker (R) says she will run for Congress if ex-US Rep. Frank Guinta (R) does not. Guinta defeated Shea-Porter in 2010, but lost to her last November. He has not ruled out a run for Senate or again for the House. The 1st District, which has defeated three incumbents since 2006, inclusive, is obviously a highly competitive seat.

NH-2: Former state Senator and Iraq War veteran Gary Lambert (R) announced a challenge to freshman Rep. Annie Kuster (D) in the state's western congressional district. Of the Granite State's two districts this seat is the more Democratic, but both have flipped three times since 2006. Therefore, all New Hampshire incumbent challenges must be regarded as competitive.

NM-2: Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne Lara (D) announced that she will challenge five-term Rep. Steve Pearce (R) next year in the state's southern congressional district. Mr. Pearce was first elected in 2002 and served three terms. He vacated the district to run unsuccessfully for Senate in 2008, before returning to the House in 2010. He was re-elected to a fifth non-consecutive term last year with 59% of the vote.

OH-10: In another reversal of candidacy businessman Russ Gottesman (D), who announced that he would challenge six-term Rep. Mike Turner (R) in June, will already end his fledgling campaign. Two years ago, Rep. Turner was placed in a Republican pairing with then-Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH-7) because the state lost two congressional seats through reapportionment. Rather than run an intra-party campaign against another incumbent, Mr. Austria chose to retire. Rep. Turner went onto win a 59-37% victory in last November's general election. He is in strong position to win another term in 2014.


Alaska: Democrat Byron Mallot who formerly headed the Alaska Permanent Fund – the entity that distributes oil and gas royalties to every resident of the state – announced his gubernatorial candidacy. He will oppose incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell (R).

Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) just attracted two official challengers, one Democrat and one Republican. State Sen. Connie Stokes (D), a former DeKalb County Commissioner, announced her candidacy early in the week. Likewise for state School Superintendent John Barge, who says he will attempt to deny Gov. Deal renomination. The Governor is a strong favorite to win a second term.

Illinois: Just as quickly as he announced his gubernatorial campaign, state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D) reversed course and now says that he won't run for Governor. This leaves a head-to-head Democratic primary race between embattled Gov. Pat Quinn and former US Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff Bill Daley. The primary is March 18th. Early projections yield a close Democratic nomination race and a competitive general election against the eventual Republican nominee.

Iowa: State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald (D), who had been considering launching a challenge to five-term Gov. Terry Branstad (R), has decided not to proceed. In the Democratic primary are state Sen. Jack Hatch, state Rep. Tyler Olson, and former state Rep. Bob Krause. Gov. Branstad is again favored for re-election.

Massachusetts: With former Sen. Scott Brown (R) making it clear that he is not running for Governor in 2014, former gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (R) announced that he will attempt another run, this time under open seat conditions. Mr. Baker came within a 48-42% margin of unseating incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in 2010. Mr. Patrick is not seeking a third term. The leading Democratic candidate appears to be state Treasurer Steve Grossman.

Nebraska: State Auditor Mike Foley (R), who had been quiet about his political plans for the better part of last year until the present, announced that he will become a gubernatorial candidate next year. Mr. Foley becomes the first individual who has won any statewide race to enter the contest. Gov. Dave Heineman (R) is ineligible to seek a third full term in office. The eventual Republican nominee will be favored to win the general election.

New Hampshire: State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R), who served two terms in the US House until losing to current Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-1) in 2006, says he will not challenge first term Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) next year. Bradley had been prominently mentioned in the lineup either for Senate, against incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D), or Governor but says he will not seek statewide office in 2014. He did not say whether he intends to run for re-election to his current position or whether he is considering another re-match with Rep. Shea-Porter.

Rhode Island: Faced with poor job approval numbers and an impending Democratic primary challenge, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014. Chafee was elected as the nation’s only Independent Governor in 2010, but officially joined the Democratic Party during the past several months. In an open seat situation, expect both state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Tavares to seek the Democratic nomination at a bare minimum. Both were expected to challenge Chafee. The eventual Democratic nominee will be a strong favorite to keep the state house in the party column.

Wisconsin: With his strong win in the 2012 recall election, Gov. Scott Walker (R) continues to have little in the way of Democratic opposition for 2014. This week, another potential opponent, Winnebago County (Oshkosh) Executive Mark Harris (D), made public his decision not to challenge the Governor.


Detroit: Via primary write-in votes, former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan was officially declared the first place finisher from the late August primary, recording more than 48,000 votes. He will face Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in the November run-off.

New York City: With the primaries fast approaching for the open New York City mayor's contest (September 10th), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is shaping up as the man to beat. Two new polls show him gaining strength and either breaking through, or knocking on the door of, the 40% number needed to claim outright the Democratic nomination. Siena College (8/19-28; 505 NYC registered Democrats) gives de Blasio a 32-18-17-11% lead over former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, City Council President Christine Quinn, and scandal-tainted former US Rep. Anthony Weiner. Quinnipiac University, in a survey taken much closer to the present time, (8/28-9/1; 750 NYC registered Democrats) gives de Blasio an even bigger lead: 43-20-18-7% over Thompson, Quinn, and Weiner, respectively. On the Republican side (just 101 surveyed on the Q-Poll), former NYC Transportation Authority chairman Joe Lhota leads businessman John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund chairman George McDonald 48-24-10%. Should no candidate receive 40% of the vote in the respective primaries, a run-off election will be conducted on October 1st between the top two finishers. The general election is November 5th.