Category Archives: Senate

Sleeper Senate Race:Louisiana

Louisiana is one of those states that does things differently than everybody else.  (Louisiana also tends to change the rules every cycle.)  This cycle, like Washington and California, everybody runs in one primary regardless of party.  However, Louisiana differs from Washington and California in two significant ways.  First, unlike Washington and California, where the primary is simply a primary and the top two advance to the general regardless of whether anybody gets a majority of the vote, the Louisiana primary is actually the general election.  Thus, if somebody gets a majority, they win the election.  It is only if nobody gets a majority that the top two advance to a run-off.  Second, because it is actually the general election and not the primary, the first round of the election is on November 8.  Because of these two features, close elections in Louisiana tend to go to the December run-off.  Thus, if the Senate comes down to Louisiana, we may not know who controls the Senate until mid-December.  Because Louisiana will be an open seat, there is a great likelihood that this race will go to a run-off.

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Primary Season

Now that the two national conventions are done, the next significant political events are primary elections across the country for offices ranging from the U.S. Senate to local offices and party committee people.  As with presidential primaries, each state legislature gets to choose the date for their primary.  Twenty states conserve money by holding their federal primary (and if they have state elections in an even year, their state offices primary) on the same date as their presidential primary.  Ten states hold their non-presidential primary in May or June.  (In addition, you have two weird states.  New York holds three separate primaries — a presidential primary in April, a federal offices primary in June, and a state primary in September.  Louisiana does not hold a separate primary, allowing all candidates to run in the general and using a run-off if nobody gets a majority.)

That leaves eighteen  states that hold their non-presidential primary in August and September.  Four states (Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington) hold their primary on August 2.  Tennessee holds its primary on August 4.   Four states (Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin) hold their primary on August 9.  Hawaii holds its primary on August 13.  Alaska and Wyoming hold their primary on August 16.  Arizona and Florida hold their primary on August 30.  Massachusetts holds its primary on September 8.  The last three states (Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) hold their primary on September 13.

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Delegate Math Week of June 6 — Part 2 (California)

As discussed in part 1, the math in both parties has been relentless.  After last night’s results in the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Greenpapers has Clinton only 85 votes short of clinching the nomination in its “soft” count.  Barring a large number of superdelegates endorsing Clinton over the next forty-eight hours, today’s primary in Puerto Rico does not have enough delegates at stake (60 total) to put Clinton over the top, but the states discussed in Part 1 (New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Montana) have more than enough delegates to put Clinton over the top.  Sanders is urging the media to remember that superdelegates can change their minds and depart from past practice by not declaring Clinton the nominee unless she wins enough pledged delegates to put her over the top (almost impossible).

With so few contests left, it is all but certain that Clinton will win the pledged delegate count.   Even the attempt to win additional delegates in the later stages of caucus states is not going well.  While the Washington Democratic Party has only posted the names of the delegates elected by the Congressional Districts (not the candidates that they are supporting), they have announced the allocation for the state-wide delegates (which is based on the breakdown of the Congressional District delegates).  Based on that allocation, Clinton won between 17 and 19 delegates at the Congressional District level (post-precinct caucus estimates had her winning 18).    In the other states that have already held first-tier caucuses, there are only 48 delegates still at stake (with Sanders having a 28-20 advantage).    (6-2 in Idaho, 7-8 in Iowa, and 15-10 in Nebraska).  Gaining more than five delegates from these states is unlikely, and adding it to the potential gain of 1 in Washington, Clinton would still have a 261 delegate lead heading into Puerto Rico.  Since for reasons discussed previously, Sanders is probably going to have a net loss of delegates between Puerto Rico and the other states on Tuesday, Sander’s outside hope of significantly closing that gap come down to California.

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Catching Up

I haven’t posted in several weeks as I ended up getting actual Influenza A (and yes, I took the vaccine). I’m not saying it was rough, but I didn’t even care that there were primaries and caucuses because I couldn’t raise my head. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll understand how low I was when I mention that for more than two weeks, I didn’t have even a sip of coffee.

There is so much to catch up on. First, Bernie is on a roll, and I have received a lot of emails and texts asking whether or not he can actually get the nomination. The answer is a full maybe. First off, those pledged delegates from the caucus states can move, as they did last Saturday as the process moves from election day to the county, district and state conventions. The split in Nevada has so far moved from 20 – 15 Clinton to 18 – 17 Clinton, but there are 8 additional delegates to allocate and the State convention in May. Maine is another state that could reallocate delegates. Will it be enough? Amazingly, it will depend on places like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and California which are normally non-starters in the primary race.

While everyone (including DCW) looks at the full delegate total, including Super Delegates, my math is a little different. Continue Reading...

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Judge Garland and the Election

Following the example of every other President since George Washington, President Obama has nominated a candidate to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  The Senate majority, in an unprecedented move, are declining to either schedule hearings (a relatively new part of the nomination process, only dating to the early part of the 20th Century) or allow the nomination to be brought up to the floor for a debate.  While there have been times that the Senate has voted down a nominee or the President has withdrawn a nominee based on objections to that individual that made it likely that the nomination would fail (or that there were not enough votes for cloture).  How this conflict plays out over the next six months depends, in part, on events outside of the control of the Senate and the White House.  In particular, it depends on whether it seems like the vacancy is becoming an election issue and the perceived likely outcome of the election (which is not the same thing as what will ultimately happen in November).

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Saturday Delegate Results

No primaries today, but we’ve got conventions and caucuses:

Update: 10: 15 pm

DC (R) Convention: 19 pledged delegates. Continue Reading...

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Supreme Court — Front and Center

Elections matter.  In 2012, President Obama won the right to nominate judges and justices to fill vacancies on the bench — both in the lower federal courts and on the Supreme Court.  In 2010 and 2014, the Republicans won the right to vote down any unacceptable nominees.

Earlier this morning, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.  In 1986, President Reagan nominated Justice Scalia to fill the Associate Justice spot that had belonged to Justice Rehnquist when President Reagan nominated Justice Rehnquist to be the new Chief Justice.  For most of his career, Justice Scalia was the intellectual leader of the ultra-conservative wing of the Supreme Court.    This vacancy — if filled during this Administration — would be the first time since 1970 that a majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court will be Democratic appointees.  This vacancy will have both short term and long term impacts on politics.

The immediate short term is that — except for a handful of issues — Justice Scalia is generally a solid vote for the “conservative” side of legal issues.  Those cases that would have been a 5-4 split in favor of the conservative side will now be a 4-4 split.  On a 4-4 split, there is no decision and the lower court opinion stands (unless the Supreme Court opts to reschedule the case for the following term).  Additionally, as it takes a favorable vote from four justices before the Supreme Court grants full briefing and argument on a case, the tradition when there is a vacancy is to hold cases that have three votes for full review.   In particular, the continued extension of “free speech” rights to make it easier for conservatives to raise money and harder for liberals to raise moneys is temporarily on hold.   The current opt-out provisions for the contraceptive mandate will probably also survive.  Any decision on the immigration policy will either favor the White House or leave it back to the lower courts to decide on the merits (the current issue before the Supreme Court only concerns a temporary injunction pending a full trial). Continue Reading...

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