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Posts in "Kansas"
October 21, 2014
Republicans have the wind at their backs this year. But not every GOP nominee is taking advantage of that dynamic. As usual, some candidates are under-performing, proving once again that candidates and the campaigns they choose to run actually matter.
That should come as no surprise to anyone who watched Republican Senate nominees Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana implode in 2012 or Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell and Colorado Republican Ken Buck lose in 2010.
But this year, the problem children are not candidates foisted on the party by the Club for Growth or tea party groups. This cycle, the problem is a handful of candidates favored by most in the Republican “establishment.” They looked like strong nominees (some even like slam dunks) a year before Election Day, but they haven’t acted that way.
October 3, 2014
I’m not certain how long a trend has to exist before it earns the status of an immutable political “law,” but three longtime truths are threatened this election cycle. Will all of them fall in November?
Trend #1: One party holds the Pennsylvania governorship for eight years and then loses the office to the other party.
You need to go back to World War II to find a time when Pennsylvania didn’t alternate its top elected office between the two major parties every eight years. Full story
September 24, 2014
With just weeks to go before Election Day, the fight for the Senate is coming down to a handful of states, and two of them are very familiar to the chairmen of the two Senate campaign committees.
Kansas Republican Jerry Moran and Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet are trying to avoid becoming the first senate campaign committee chairmen to have a home state colleague defeated in the last four decades.
At the beginning of the cycle, both Colorado and Kansas were rated as Safe for their respective parties. Even as recently as seven months ago, the two states were not mentioned in any serious conversation about the fight for the Senate. NRSC Chairman Moran was focused on expanding GOP opportunities across the country while Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bennet was focused on bringing back the Democrats’ majority by shoring up a trail of incumbents in the South and Alaska.
But a lot has changed, and the fight for the Senate has hit home for both chairmen. Full story
September 23, 2014
With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.
Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they need to win only one of the Democratic states if they hold the only GOP seat at serious risk.
While things could still change — and national polls continue to show an environment that may produce a substantial GOP wave in the House and Senate — the Senate battle has boiled down to two reliably red states and three swing states.
September 4, 2014
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts survived a competitive Republican primary, but it looks like his toughest race is still to come. Democrat Chad Taylor dropped out of the race Wednesday, leaving independent Greg Orman as the senator’s main challenger and completely changing the math of the race.
A spectacular confluence of events has built the credible scenario that a Republican could lose a Senate race in Kansas. Roberts is a longtime incumbent who doesn’t live in or regularly return to his home state. He faces a credible and well-funded independent candidate who is striking all the right tones in his message and doesn’t have a legislative record to be picked apart. And GOP Gov. Sam Brownback has fanned the flames of a longtime civil war in the state that is rallying some Republicans against establishment figures within their own party.
For a little bit of a review, the Republican primary was the senator’s first real race in decades. Roberts needed outside help to ramp up his campaign operation to get to something even close to a 21st century effort. And even though physician Milton Wolf ended up being a flawed challenger and he failed to rally the biggest, anti-establishment outside groups to his cause, Roberts still only won, 48 percent to 41 percent, in the Aug. 5 primary.
But what might have been more stunning than the result was what Roberts’ longtime campaign manager Leroy Towns told The Wichita Eagle after the race was over. “He went back home for two days or three to rest. I think he’s going to come back here the first of next week,” said Towns, referencing Roberts’ home in Virginia. Towns’ comments seemed tone-deaf considering Roberts was dogged by residency questions throughout the race up to that point, and the general election was not completely certain with the threat of a well-funded independent candidate. Full story
August 25, 2014
There aren’t many competitive races in the Plains States, but the region features some critical contests that could signal how well Republicans and Democrats are faring across the country.
A trio of races dropped off the regional top five list since last summer. The South Dakota Senate race is a likely Republican takeover and not worth watching at this point. Neither is the Nebraska Senate race after former Bush administration official Ben Sasse won the Republican primary. And Iowa’s 1st District is a long shot for Republicans.
Here are the top five races to watch in the Plains States: Full story
August 6, 2014
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is vulnerable, but how close is he to losing re-election?
Democrats reveled in the governor’s underwhelming performance in Tuesday’s GOP primary, when the incumbent received 63 percent against a candidate who wasn’t running much of a campaign. But we knew Brownback was in trouble before last night.
During his first term, Brownback has fanned the flames of the intraparty battle between conservatives and moderates going on for at least a couple of decades. And his economic plan has gone over like a set of rock-climbing gear in Topeka.
But it remains to be seen how vulnerable Brownback will end up being. Full story
April 16, 2014
When I read today’s New York Times piece, “Sebelius Said to Weigh Run for Kansas Senate Seat,” I had two very different reactions.
First, I figured that national Democrats had to be encouraged that former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a once-popular two-term governor of Kansas, would be considering a Senate run this year.
After all, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor has been in the race for a mere six weeks, and there is little reason to believe that he can throw much of a scare into Sen. Pat Roberts in the fall, assuming, of course, that Roberts wins re-nomination on August 5.
Sebelius has name recognition, demonstrated electoral appeal and fundraising potential, so her candidacy would give Democrats a shot in the arm.
After that, I quickly came to my senses. Full story
February 4, 2014
Is Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at risk of losing re-election in a state Mitt Romney carried with 60 percent? An automated poll showing the GOP governor behind, a Democratic challenger who raised $1 million, and a group of moderate Republicans threatening to oppose Brownback have some people calling Kansas a sleeper race for 2014. But how vulnerable is he really?
State House Minority Leader Paul Davis, the likely Democratic nominee, looks like a credible contender. He has quickly consolidated the Democratic base while Brownback still has some work to do in rallying Republicans. Until that happens, we’re changing the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.
A just-released Republican poll showed the governor leading Davis 42 percent to 31 percent. Brownback also had 45 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable ratings. The survey of likely voters was conducted on Jan. 29 by WPA Opinion Research.
You can read a more complete analysis of the race in “What’s the Matter with Brownback” ($), in the latest edition of the Rothenberg Political Report.
Updated 3:52pm to clarify the difference between the automated survey from last year and the new GOP poll from this year.
July 12, 2013
The Hawkeye State dominates the list of competitive races in the Plains. After the region hosted the high-profile North Dakota and Missouri Senate races in 2012, its trio of Senate races this cycle are likely to see action in the primaries — but not in November.
Here are the top five races to watch in the Plains states:
South Dakota Senate. Gov. Mike Rounds is the front-runner for the GOP nomination and the general election. His new primary challenger, state Sen. Larry Rhoden, does not fundamentally change the race, even if he runs as a conservative alternative to Rounds. Meanwhile, former House candidate Rick Weiland is running on the Democratic side, but his own party’s leadership is openly unhappy with their prospects if he is the nominee. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Republican. Full story