Tags: Special Elections

Happy Election Day, Missouri’s Eighth District!


Happy Election Day, Missouri’s eighth congressional district. In today’s special House election, Republican Jason Smith takes on Democrat Steve Hodges. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

About a month after winning reelection, Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri’s heavily Republican eighth congressional district announced she would become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Under Missouri law, there are no special primaries; the county parties selected their nominees.

A bit about Smith:

Representative Smith is committed to community involvement and is a member in the following organizations: National Rifle Association, Salem, Steelville and Cuba Chambers of Commerce, Missouri Bar, Farm Bureau, state board member of the Missouri Community Betterment Association, past President and current board member of the Salem FFA Alumni Association, and past board member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Additionally, he attends his home church, Grace Community Church of Salem, faithfully as a committed member and serves as a Sunday school teacher for the youth.

In a fact that will make a lot of us feel old, he was born the year Ronald Reagan won the presidency.

The district scores a R+8 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index, and includes Cape Girardeau, Rush Limbaugh’s boyhood hometown.

Tags: Jason Smith , Steve Hodges , Special Elections

GOP Candidate Hits IRS Scandals in Special House Election


The remaining active House special election this year* occurs June 4, in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, where Republican Jason Smith is going up against Democrat Steve Hodges; both are state legislators. Smith has the wind at his back in this heavily-Republican district.

Smith is releasing a new ad hitting a lot of familiar notes — the IRS scandals show the Obama administration is abusing its power, and his rival, Hodges, amounts to a vote for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

This R+13 district should be fertile ground for this sort of message.

* Adam Bonin of Daily Kos reminds me that Jo Bonner’s departure creates a special House election in the coming months in Alabama, and if Ed Markey wins the special Senate election in Massachusetts, that will set up another special House election.

Tags: Jason Smith , Steve Hodges , Special Elections

Should Gabriel Gomez Be a Priority for National GOP Groups?


How much should national Republicans invest in the effort to elect Gabriel Gomez in Massachusetts’s special Senate election June 25?

Some evidence — such as this poll commissioned by the Gomez campaign — points to an extremely competitive race:

The May 5–7 poll of 800 likely special-election voters by OnMessage, Inc., a Republican political consulting firm, found [Democrat Ed] Markey leading [Republican Gabriel] Gomez 46 percent to 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. According to an OnMessage polling memo, respondents “were stratified by county based on previous election results to reflect historic voter trends.”

On the other hand, WBUR had Markey up by 8 among likely voters with leaners (46 percent to 38 percent) and Suffolk put Markey up 52 percent to 35 percent.

Even an incompetent Markey campaign will still enjoy the advantage of running in a heavily Democratic state, and Gomez’s task will be supremely difficult if he doesn’t get significant financial support from national Republicans and conservatives. Right now, national Republican and conservative groups are weighing that decision.

The NRSC is debuting a new web video, pointing out that Markey was caught up in the notorious House Bank scandal 20 years ago and consistently voted to increase his own salary.

As a Massachusetts Republican, Gomez is not a down-the-line conservative by any stretch. Massachusetts talk-radio host Michael Graham deems Gomez unsupportable because of the candidate’s past support for Barack Obama. Gomez says he wants to close “the gun-show loophole” and also says he’s pro-life but “Roe v Wade is settled law. Politicians spend way too much time on divisive issues that are already decided and far too little time on fixing our economy.” He supports same-sex marriage. He backs a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants with no criminal record.

On the other hand, Gomez says he backs a secure border, supports the Keystone pipeline, and says Obamacare is “ignoring or compounding the underlying costs of health care.” Plus he has a sterling background for a senator: graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, platoon leader in the Navy SEALs, MBA from Harvard Business School and successful entrepreneur and Little League coach. He’ll be a vote for Mitch McConnell to be Senate majority leader instead of Harry Reid. And if the party wants to do better among Hispanics, why not make a solid effort to elect the third Latino Republican senator, as Gomez is a son of Colombian immigrants?

The new revelations of the Benghazi hearings and the IRS scandal probably energized the GOP base. The coming months or year may feel a lot like the political environment of 2009 and 2010.

Finally, if Markey were to win narrowly, would even that result reinforce the notion that the political environment has tilted in favor of the GOP? Republicans shocked the opposition by winning in South Carolina’s special election, and should have a breeze in a Missouri House special election. The New Jersey governor’s race doesn’t look competitive, and Cuccinelli is off to the better start in Virginia. Undoubtedly, the GOP’s campaign committees would love to enter 2014 having swept every competitive special election.

Tags: Gabriel Gomez , Ed Markey , Special Elections

What Can 955 Votes Get You? A GOP House Nomination!


So, how many votes does it take to win a Republican primary in a special House election in a district that includes a portion of Chicago and its southern suburbs when there’s a snowstorm?

955 votes.

Congratulations, Paul McKinley.

The winner of the Democratic primary, Robin Kelly, had 30,799 votes.

Meet the Democratic nominee:

After Robin Kelly lost a 2010 bid for state treasurer, the office’s chief investigator alleged she violated ethics laws by improperly reporting time off from her taxpayer-funded job as chief of staff to then-Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Tribune has learned.

Kelly, now a top contender in Tuesday’s special Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District race to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr., was at the center of an investigation by the treasurer’s executive inspector general into whether timekeeping violations took place as she campaigned for treasurer, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.

Executive Inspector General David Wells recommended that Kelly be disciplined, according to a letter from Giannoulias. The punishment that Wells recommended was not made public, but Giannoulias said no action would be taken against Kelly because she had already resigned from state government.

Meet the Republican nominee, discussing his philosophy of “street repentance” from his conviction and incarceration for robbery:

McKinley finished with about 500 votes more than former Rep. Mel Reynolds. His message has been against the Chicago machine; he offers a brief “Machine 101″ talk that refers to “Rahm ‘Caliglius’ Emanuel” (presumably comparing him to Caligula).

Tags: Chicago , Paul McKinley , Robin Kelly , Special Elections

Bloomberg’s Big Spending in an Illinois House Primary


Former Democratic representative Debbie Halvorson, who is running in the extremely crowded primary in the special election in Illinois’s second congressional district, tells

There’s a commercial that everybody knows about, that runs, I think every seven minutes. The mayor of New York (Michael Bloomberg), Mr. Nanny State himself, is trying to come into Illinois and buy himself a seat, and I feel it’s backfired on him. Because, everywhere I go now, I’m swarmed by many many people who are saying “you’ve got my vote.”

Halvorson is A-rated by the NRA and opposes an assault-weapons ban. The Independence USA political action committee, which is controlled by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, is running the ad, which doesn’t endorse anyone; it just tells people to vote against Halvorson.

This is a Democratic primary with 16 candidates, and most of the highest-profile contenders are liberal, inner-city, black cogs of the Chicago political machine — in a district that stretches out to the southern suburbs. With about 15 of the Democrats competing for the same group of voters, Halvorson could well end up with the largest share of the vote on Primary Day.

Tags: Debbie Halvorson , Illinois , Mike Bloomberg , Special Elections

The Sweet 16 in South Carolina’s First District


Down in South Carolina, FreedomWorks will sponsor a candidate forum with all 16 Republican candidates competing in the special House election primary.

“Each candidate will have the opportunity to present opening and closing statements, with a series of questions prepared by representatives of local grassroots organizations across the District” — briefly, presumably, since they need to have time for all 16!

Candidates participating in the forum will include: Mark Sanford, Teddy Turner, Peter McCoy, Larry Grooms, Curtis Bostic, Ray Nash, Elizabeth Moffley, Shawn Pinkston, Andy Patrick, John Kuhn, Keith Blandford, Jeff King, Jonathan Hoffman, Tim Larkin, Chip Limehouse, and Ric Bryant.

The candidate forum will be held on Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m., at the Embassy Suites Hotel Convention Center in North Charleston.

The primary is March 19, with a runoff on April 2 if no one receives 50 percent; the general election is May 7.

Tags: Andy Patrick , Chip Limehouse , Mark Sanford , South Carolina , Special Elections , Teddy Turner

Early Voting Begins . . . in Chicago Today


Today is the first day of early voting in the primaries for the special House election in Illinois second congressional district.

A small army of Democrats is running for the seat; while the district scores a D+32 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index, it does have some less heavily Democratic sections, stretching from 53rd Street on the city’s South Side through the southern suburbs of Chicago, all the way to Kankakee County.

In alphabetical order, the Democratic candidates are: Chicago alderman Anthony A. Beale, John Blyth, O. Patrick Brutus, Clifford J. Eagleton, Ernest B. Fenton, former U.S. representative Debbie Halvorson, Gregory Haynes, state senator Toi W. Hutchinson, Victor O. Jonathan, Cook County chief administrative officer Robin Kelly, Fatimah N. Muhammad, Larry D. Pickens, Charles Rayburn, former U.S. representative Mel Reynolds, Joyce W. Washington, and Anthony W. Williams.

Kelly appears to be getting significant support from the city’s Democratic establishment, with Representatives Bobby Rush and Danny Davis endorsing her Sunday.

There are five Republicans running for the seat: Lenny McAllister, Paul McKinley, Beverly E. Reid, James H. Taylor Sr., and Eric M. Wallace.

I interviewed McAllister, a syndicated radio commentator, in January.

Tags: Chicago , Lenny McAllister , Special Elections

No Primary for Missouri’s Special U.S. House Election


Meanwhile, down in Missouri, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced she would resign her seat in February to become president and CEO of the the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The replacement will be selected in a special House election, but each party’s nominee will be selected by the local party committees: “The Republican nominee will be selected by a committee of 82 GOP officials from southeastern Missouri. The Democratic nominee and any third-party candidates will be selected in a similar way under Missouri’s rules for replacing federal lawmakers who quit before their terms are over.”

Eddy Justice,  the chairman of the Republicans’ 8th Congressional District Committee, issued a statement via e-mail:

“In the upcoming months, the 8th Congressional Republican Committee will nominate a candidate to fill the Congressional Seat in Missouri’s 8th District. To this point, there have been a number of qualified individuals that have expressed interest in receiving that nomination. I have been made aware that there has also been some question about whether I would seek that position. The truth of the matter is that I do not have any interest at this time to seek this seat. As chairman of this committee, my desire is that the process we use to determine the nominee be smooth, fair and transparent. This is my focus and I will do everything in my power to make it happen.”

Erin Ragan of The Southeast Missourian complied the extensive list of local officials expressing interest in the seat:

Past challengers and Republicans in offices small and large floated their names as replacements for Emerson on Monday. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Cape Girardeau native, expressed interest, as did Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, whose last bid for office was an attempt at a U.S. Senate seat earlier this year.

State representatives Jason Smith, of Salem, Mo., along with Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Kevin Engler of Farmington, Mo., also floated their names.

Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy was mentioned as a candidate. Cape Girardeau County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Lipke said he’s going to consider putting his name up for nomination, but that he’s not ready to make that decision yet. He’ll need time to pray and consult with family, he said. Late Monday, current state Rep. Wayne Wallingford, who was elected in the August primary to succeed state Sen. Jason Crowell, said he is considering seeking the nomination.

(As many folks on the Right now, Cape Girardeau is Rush Limbaugh’s childhood hometown.)

Whoever is named the GOP nominee will have a good shot of winning the special election and representing the district for a long while. The district scores an R+15 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index and Emerson won with more than 71 percent in 2012.

Tags: Jo Ann Emerson , Missouri , Special Elections

Keeping an Eye on California’s May Special Election...


We’re a little less than two weeks away from a special House election in California.

There will be a “special primary” May 17. All candidates, both party members and independents, participate in that nonpartisan primary. If one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, that candidate is the new representative. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to a July 12 “special general election.”

At this moment, the field is crowded. Democrats running include secretary of state Debra Bowen, Los Angeles city councilwoman Janice Hahn, Mark Contreras, Mervin Evans, Loraine Goodwin, Matt Peterson, and Marcy Winograd.

On the GOP side, declared candidates include Hermosa Beach city councilman Patrick “Kit” Bobko, Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, and Redondo Beach city attorney Mike Webb.

The GOP’s odds in this district aren’t great, but it’s still worth keeping on the radar screen. Harman’s district, as currently drawn, scores a D+12 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index, so under normal circumstances, any Republican would face a steep uphill climb. But the leading Democrats all overlap a great deal (all are more liberal than Harman, three are women, Hahn’s a key player in local politics, Bowen has been elected statewide, Winograd attracted attention challenging Harman in past primaries). A runoff seems pretty likely, and if the district’s Republicans unify around one of their options, the GOP winning one of the two runoff slots isn’t unthinkable.

Tags: Special Elections

Jack Davis, Self-Proclaimed Tea Party Candidate, Backed Obama in 2008


After witnessing disappointing defeats of Jim Tedisco and Doug Hoffman in 2009, Republicans have learned to be wary about their chances in special House elections in upstate New York. There’s yet another special election in this neck of the woods, in the state’s 26th congressional district, where Republican Chris Lee suddenly resigned after embarrassing shirtless photos and online flirtation became front-page news. There is a special election on May 24, in a district that currently scores R+6 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index.

Siena College surveyed the district and found:

In the special election for the 26th Congressional District seat, Republican Jane Corwin currently has a small lead, with the support of 36 percent of voters. Democrat Kathy Hochul is supported by 31 percent, and independent Jack Davis, running on the Tea Party line, has the support of 23 percent of voters, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely 26th CD voters released today.

A Tea Party line candidate? Yet more infighting amongst conservatives?

Not quite. Jack Davis didn’t win any Tea Party nomination. Local Tea Parties loathe him. But under New York law, any third-party candidate can create their own ballot line if they collect the necessary signatures. After hiring a “petition signature-gathering firm”, Davis declared himself the “Tea Party” candidate.

Of course, for a “Tea Party” candidate, he’s got some very un-”Tea Party” actions in his past.

He’s run for Congress three times before, all as a Democrat. He endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, and took $5,000 from Obama’s PAC. He also took $7,000 from Charlie Rangel and his PAC. He supports late-term abortions, taxpayer funding of abortions, and the Assault Weapons Ban.

How many of those 23 percent in that district currently supporting Davis know what he really stands for? How many will end up voting for him simply because they see that he’s the “Tea Party” candidate?

Tags: Jack Davis , Jane Corwin , Special Elections

California Sets Special-Election Dates


California governor Jerry Brown has set the schedule for the special House election in the 36th congressional district, where Jane Harman retired.

There will be a “special primary” May 17. All candidates, both party members and independents, participate in the nonpartisan primary. If one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, that candidate is the new representative. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to a July 12 “special general election.”

At this moment, the field is crowded. Democrats running include Secretary of State Debra Bowers, Los Angeles city councilwoman Janice Hahn, Mark Contreras, Mervin Evans, Loraine Goodwin, Matt Peterson, and Marcy Winograd.

On the GOP side, declared candidates include Hermosa Beach city councilman Patrick “Kit” Bobko, Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, and Redondo Beach city attorney Mike Webb.

Tags: Jane Harman , Special Elections

A Senate Race in West Virginia Is Supremely Unlikely


You and I look at a West Virginia state law that declares an election must be called if a vacancy occurs more than two-and-a-half years before a term expires, and note that Byrd’s term would have had two-and-a-half years left as of next week — July 3, and so we conclude, there ought to be a Senate election in 2010.

The secretary of state of West Virginia is not likely to say that today. And while we can suspect that this is merely a reflection of the DSCC’s whims, there’s at least one precedent pointing toward this, from 16 years ago: In a judicial election in 1994, a vacancy occurred on April 20, about a month before the May primary, but after the time for filing a certificate of candidacy. The state Supreme Court held that the state did not have to revise the filing deadlines or hold a special primary, and that the appointee could serve until the next general election in 1996.

And yes, the West Virginia Supreme Court is elected, and consists of four Democrats and one Republican.

Tags: Robert Byrd , Special Elections

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