Kay Hagan was one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators coming into this election cycle, and Republicans sensed a great opportunity to take a seat away from the Democrats. Yet Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee, hasn’t been able to take advantage and pull ahead. In fact, Hagan has managed to maintain a small but steady lead – including in a new poll by Marist/NBC News that has her leading 44-40%, and a Yougov poll that shows her with a 46-45% lead (when include “leaners”). Hagan had a negative public approval rating in July, with 40% approving and 50% disapproving, and although that has improved somewhat for her, she’s still in negative territory. She’s been helped a lot by mistakes from Tillis. The speaker of the state House of Representatives has had subpar fundraising – caused in part by a summer spent distracted with problems in the state legislature. The legislature itself is pretty unpopular, so being a member of it doesn’t help Tillis. There is still a month left, so we’ll see if Tillis can close the gap before election day.
A new poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Gregg Abbott leading Wendy Davis 51%-40% in the race for Texas governor. There’s still a month to go but it looks like Texas will remain solidly Republican this round. Abbott has been working to win more Hispanic voters this cycle, so we’ll see how that plays out. The GOP will probably need to start attracting more minorities, especially Hispanics, in the future to maintain control of Texas and give them a better chance at winning other states including potential swing states like Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada.
Davis is best known for filibustering late-term abortion restrictions in the Texas legislature, which propelled her into a star on the left. In the typical procedure that she defended, the abortionist reaches into the uterus with a long toothed clamp, grasps body parts of the developing fetus and literally rips them off and out of the uterus, finishing with the head which is crushed before pulling it out. How a person can vehemently defend such barbaric actions and be hailed for it is beyond me. She deserves to be absolutely crushed in this election, and I wish Abbott the best in this last month.
A recent poll by Gravis Marketing in Montana showed Paul Ryan beating Hillary Clinton by 14 points – 51% to 37%. That’s to be expected in a red state, though Montana sometimes teases Democrats with close polls during the race, and McCain won with less than 3% of the vote in 2008. Jeb Bush and Rand Paul also beat Hillary, but by 9% and 8%, respectively.
Is it possible Ryan will be the strongest GOP candidate in 2016? It is way too early to quote the polls as gospel, but Ryan has name-recognition, smarts, policy chops, and youthful good looks in his favor. Both sides, if they’re honest, respect his policy acumen. He has won reelection several times pretty easily in his relatively purple district, showing that he can win voters.
Another recent Gravis poll, this one in Iowa, showed Ryan and Jeb both tied with Clinton. If accurate, this would be pretty impressive in such a purple state that Obama won twice. The national average at RealClearPolitics shows Ryan within single digits against Hillary. It would be nice to see polls including other candidates like Marco Rubio and Scott Walker as well.
What do you think?
In 2011-2012, the Republican candidates for President were rather weak, leading to a feeling of dissatisfaction among many Republicans as they surveyed the field. Mitt Romney had his ardent supporters, but many people who ended up supporting him recognized his weaknesses but simply felt he was better than his opponents in the race. The list of GOP candidates who may run looks quite a bit better than the list of candidates who ran in 2012, but what if a lot of them decide not to run? Will a lot of people be underwhelmed again next year as they try to decide who to support? For me personally, here are some groups of candidates that I’d love, and others that I’d be underwhelmed with.
Worst case first. If these are the candidates, I’d feel pretty underwhelmed:
Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Peter King, Rick Santorum.
Unfortunately, the above scenario is entirely possible. The establishment would probably coalesce around Chris Christie, who probably doesn’t have as many flaws as Romney did, but like Romney, will have trouble uniting the base and the establishment. The conservative grassroots could split 4 ways between Paul, Perry, Cruz, and maybe Carson, depending on how much they value experience in government. It’s not clear to me which one would be the biggest threat to Christie. But all of these guys are flawed – some (or maybe all) with electability issues, some with various scandals or investigations into their conduct that they could be tarred with (particularly Perry and Christie), some with peculiar/kooky views and statements (particularly Carson, but also Paul); none of them look very likely to unite the base and establishment better than Romney did, except maybe Perry.
I’m expecting Christie, Paul, Cruz, and Santorum to run for sure. Probably also King, but that’s inconsequential; he has no shot.
Here are the candidates that I would love to see in the contest:
Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Kelly Ayotte, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence.
It’s highly unlikely that all of them would run, especially with Christie and the others already in the race. But if two or three of them would run, I would be quite delighted with the choices. I really hope at least one of them runs.
Here are some names that I am not sure how I feel about:
Mike Huckabee (I like him, but can he raise money and can he unite the party, outside of just social conservatives?); Jeb Bush (Impressive record, but can the base forgive him for supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and Common Core? Plus, is the public ready for another Bush?) John Kasich (on his way to an easy reelection, but can he distinguish himself other than that? I don’t really have a feel on how well he connects with voters or how good his record is); Scott Walker (is he too polarizing to be very electable on a national level?)
Here is my list of some of the top 2014 GOP campaign ads so far. But keep in mind that this is a subjective list. Some of them reportedly played a large part in helping a candidate win a primary or take the lead in polls, but I have not tried to objectively measure how much they helped, nor am I sure how one would do that.
Squeal (Joni Ernst, Senate candidate in Iowa)
Although all the GOP candidates talked about cutting spending, Ernst made it memorable. This helped her stand out and win her primary.
Home (Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky)
McConnell is already leading, but this touching new ad may help him close the deal with Kentucky voters.
Already Fighting for Oklahoma (James Lankford, Senate candidate in Oklahoma)
This ad helped inoculate Lankford, a member of the House of Representatives, against charges that he is a Washington insider by turning his House membership into a positive.
Has My Back (Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina)
Haley has a number of effective ads touting her record, but this touching ad is probably the best.
Nice Guy (Cory Gardner, Senate candidate in Colorado)
This ad was so effective, Democrats immediately tried to decry it as a nasty attack on Udall’s family.
Coach (Mike McFadden, Senate candidate in Minnesota)
McFadden is probably fighting a lost cause against Al Franken, but this was an interesting and rather memorable ad.
Anthem (Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin)
Walker kicked off his reelection campaign with this ad touting his record.