Election News

Fox News Finds Alabama Senate Race Tied

October 17, 2017

A new poll from Fox News finds the Alabama Senate race a dead heat. Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are both at 42%, with 11% unsure. The special election is about seven weeks out, on December 12th. The poll surveyed 801 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.5%. The full topline for the poll can be found here.

This is the first poll to show the race this competitive; the last two polls have had Moore up 8% in a state that Donald Trump won by about 28%. Whether the poll marks a shift in voter sentiment or is an outlier remains to be seen.



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Maine Senator Susan Collins to Remain in Senate

October 13, 2017

Maine Senator Susan Collins announced Friday that she will forego a run for governor of her state in 2018, and (presumably) run for reelection in 2020. The four-term moderate Republican had been considering this decision for many months.  Current governor Paul LePage cannot run again due to term limits.

If Collins had run, she could have remained in the Senate during the campaign. However, winning the race would have required her to step down. A replacement would have been named by LePage.

Without Collins, the 2018 gubernatorial race in Maine is currently seen as a toss-up.There are a total of 36 governorships to be contested next year, in addition to those in New Jersey and Virginia next month.


Moore Still Leads by 8 in Alabama Senate Race

October 12, 2017

Republican Roy Moore continues to hold an 8 point lead over Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate special election race, according to a new poll by Cygnal, an Alabama-based firm. Moore leads 49% to 41%. The 8 point margin matches that of a poll released earlier this month.

The election is in two months, on Tuesday December 12th.


Rep. Shea-Porter to Retire; One of Only 12 Dems. Holding Districts Won by Trump in '16

October 9, 2017

Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat representing New Hampshire's very competitive first congressional district, announced she will not seek reelection in 2018. The move was unexpected. According to the Boston Globe:

"Her decision is a political bombshell with national implications. At a time when Democrats are looking to win back a majority in the House, Shea-Porter is one of [only 12] Democrats holding office in a district that Republican Donald Trump won last year."

This is one one of the most competitive House districts in New England, which can be seen by looking at the results here since 2006, when Shea-Porter first ran:

While Shea-Porter is now serving her 4th term in the House, the seat has rotated between parties since 2010. Shea-Porter has faced Republican Frank Guinta in all four of those elections. Guinta earlier announced he will not run again in 2018.

2016 was the closest of those four races. Shea-Porter defeated Guinta by one point, while Donald Trump won the District over Hillary Clinton by roughly the same amount.

There are now 28 House members retiring or seeking another office in 2018. This excludes Republican Tim Murphy (PA-18) who will now resign from Congress effective October 21st.


Tennessee Rep. Blackburn Announces Bid for Senate; Gov. Bill Haslam Declines to Run

October 5, 2017

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced her bid for U.S. Senate, becoming the front-runner to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker in Tennessee. The move came just after termed-out incumbent Gov. Bill Haslam passed on a run for the office.  

Blackburn is in her 8th term. She represents a safe Republican district in west-central Tennessee, winning reelection by nearly 49 points this past November. She (or whomever emerges as the Republican nominee) will start out as a large favorite in the 2018 Senate race. The Volunteer State last elected a Democratic Senator in 1990 (former VP Al Gore).

Blackburn becomes the 28th House member to pass on reelection in 2018. Included in that are now three of Tennessee's nine Representatives.


Rep. Murphy Will Not Seek Reelection After Abortion Controversy

October 4, 2017

10/5 UPDATE: Murphy has resigned from Congress effective October 21st.

Republican Tim Murphy, in his 8th term representing southwestern Pennsylvania in the U.S. House, will not seek reelection in 2018. The pro-life congressman ran into trouble earlier this week when text messages surfaced of him urging a woman with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion

Murphy met with Republican leadership who apparently told him that he either had to resign or announce his retirement at the end of the current term.

Murphy is the 27th Member to announce they are not seeking reelection in 2018. There are 18 Republicans and 9 Democrats. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is expected to join this list in the days ahead. She is expected to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker.


Poll: Moore Leads Jones by 8 in Alabama Senate Race

October 3, 2017

Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 8 points in Alabama's upcoming U.S. Senate special election, a new poll finds. The vote, to be held December 12th, is to elect a replacement for former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat earlier this year to become U.S. Attorney General. Moore became the Republican nominee by defeating incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a party runoff last Tuesday.

This topline result is similar to the first post-runoff poll released late last week. That survey gave Moore a 5 point margin over Jones.

The New York Times provides a nice overview of the party dynamics of the unfolding campaign, which has echoes of the Georgia U.S. House special election from earlier this year.

“It’s a very tricky pass for national Democrats,” said David Axelrod, the Democratic strategist and former adviser to President Barack Obama. “Jones is a very, very good candidate, but Alabama is a very, very tough state, maybe the toughest state. And you want to avoid the trap that you fell into in Georgia by building expectations for a race that’s going to be difficult to win.” 

Recent statewide elections highlight the long odds facing Jones: The last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate election in Alabama was Richard Shelby, who was reelected to a 2nd term in 1992. Shelby, now in his 6th term, switched to the Republican party in 1994. The state has also voted Republican in the past 10 presidential races, with that party's nominee winning by more than 20 points in the most recent four elections. The last Democrat to win here was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

The winner of the special election will face the voters again in November, 2020, coinciding with the next presidential election.


Senate: Sinema to Challenge Flake in Arizona; Blackburn Likely to Run in Tennessee

September 29, 2017

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) announced she will run for U.S. Senate in 2018. This gives the party a high-profile candidate in their efforts to unseat incumbent Republican Jeff Flake. While Arizona hasn't had a Democratic Senator in over 20 years, next year's race is expected to be highly competitive. The Democratic nominee may even be favored if Flake loses a primary to former State Senator Kelli Ward. A recent poll by GBA Strategies showed him losing to Ward by a 58-31% margin.  

Flake's national visibility was raised earlier this summer with the publication of his book "Conscience of a Conservative", which harshly critiqued President Trump and his own party. Needless to say, this hasn't helped his standing with Arizona Republicans. The GBA Strategies poll gave Flake just a 25% approval rating among Republican primary voters in the state.

In her first run at U.S. Senate, Ward lost the Republican primary to Sen. John McCain in 2016. 

Sinema becomes the 26th House member to pass on running for reelection to the House in 2018. The next such announcement is likely to come from Tennessee, where Republican Marsha Blackburn is likely to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker. 

The Arizona Senate race is currently considered a toss-up, while Tennessee is very likely to remain in Republican hands.


Roy Moore Wins Alabama Runoff, Defeating Incumbent Supported by Trump

September 26, 2017

Roy Moore has defeated Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama's Republican Senate runoff.  With 53% of the vote in, Moore leads by about 13.5%, and has been declared the winner by the Associated Press.

The vote as of this writing (about 9:45 Eastern Time on Tuesday night) is below; click or tap the image to see the latest vote:

 

Strange was supported by the Republican establishment, including President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell. However, polls continually showed Moore ahead, with the most recent ones all showing him up by double digits. Those polls appear to have been validtated by tonight's results.

Moore will face the Democratic nominee Doug Jones, in the special general election on December 12th. The winner will complete the term of former Senator Jeff Sessions, now U.S. Attorney General. The seat is next up for election in 2020.


Bob Corker Not Seeking Reelection to Senate in 2018

September 26, 2017

Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee will not seek reelection to a third term next year, he announced Tuesday afternoon. Corker is the first incumbent in the 2018 Senate election cycle to announce his retirement.

 

Looking ahead to 2018, most of the action may be in the Republican primary, as the seat is likely to stay in Republican hands. Trump won here by 26 points last November. While we don't know who will run yet, Kyle Kondik of Sabato's Crystal Ball made an interesting point about the race on the Republican side:

The Tennessee primary for Federal and state offices is scheduled for August 2, 2018.



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