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Updated Polling

June 14th

Wisconsin (96 Delegates) 

Clay 29.8% 

LeClavers 47.1% 

 

New York (291 Delegates) 

Clay 37.5% 

LeClavers 38.4% 

 

Connecticut (71 Delegates) 

Clay 39.4% 

LeClavers 35.4% 

 

Deleware (31 Delegates) 

Clay 39.4% 

LeClavers 36.8% 

 

Maryland (118 Delegates) 

Clay 33.6% 

LeClavers 40.2% 

 

Pennsylvania (210 Delegates) 

Clay 38.9% 

LeClavers 38.5% 

 

Rhode Island (33 Delegates) 

Clay 38.8% 

LeClavers 38.1% 

 

June 15th

Indiana (92 Delegates) 

Clay 51.1% 

LeClavers 30.3% 

 

Nebraska (30 Delegates) 

Clay 41.4% 

LeClavers 36.2% 

 

West Virginia (37 Delegates) 

Clay 41.2% 

LeClavers 33.4% 

 

Oregon (74 Delegates) 

Clay 32.9% 

LeClavers 46.1% 

 

Washington (118 Delegates) 

Clay 37.4% 

LeClavers 40.1% 

 

June 16th

California (548 Delegates) 

Clay 36.9% 

LeClavers 39.4% 

 

Montana (27 Delegates) 

Clay 40.1% 

LeClavers 35.0% 

 

New Jersey (142 Delegates) 

Clay 36.8% 

LeClavers 38.3% 

 

New Mexico (43 Delegates) 

Clay 36.3% 

LeClavers 41.7% 

 

South Dakota (25 Delegates) 

Clay 39.4% 

LeClavers 35.3% 

 

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LeClavers Sweeps the Big States, Extends Delegate Lead 

The Clay campaign shifted into a very dark, fear-driven strategy in these later races. The stump speech was well written in terms of rhetoric, holding that negative theme in it, but lacked much in terms of specific across the several policies that were discussed. The reliance on language, not on a plan, left a lot of people without much excitement for the campaign. In fact, the negativity strategy largely depressed LeClavers turnout more so than it encouraged Democrats to rush to the polls for him. The speech was fine, but the tone was a big miss for a lot of Democrats who aren't generally motivated by fear as much as conservatives or independents. The Storm stump was again mildly successful, drawing clear lines between the two candidates. The Radio advertisement, however, was not successful. While the substance was fine, it's impact was very low due to the lack of LeClavers ever giving that quote (it was in his platform, but never said directly by the campaign). Because of that, a penalty was assessed against the ad. The other issue was that several of the states it was played in do not rely heavily on manufacturing, and have a strong culture of foreign trade in their industries. 

 

LeClavers' first stump focused too much on past accomplishments, and not strongly enough on the promises of another four years. Again, the strongest distinction with his opponent was on education, in a state with the most powerful teachers unions in the country and a very active public school system. The changes made between the two stumps across PA and NY were good, changing the focus from immigration to worker's rights. A smart move given Pennsylvania's communities. Both of the Vice President's surrogates need work, as they seem to aim for catch phrases rather than for advocating for another four years. And more importantly, cursing about another Senator was seen as a major gaffe that might have done more harm than good. With the slow rollout of campaign offices and infrastructure, the LeClavers ground game sent the campaign towards multiple victories tonight. For the first time in a long time, the infrastructure advantage went with LeClavers. The billboard was functional, but far from the most effective ad.It tried to cover too much, rather than having a cohesive issue or message. 

 

These elections turned out more lopsided than they should have at first glance. This was because the placement of resources by Clay was not the most successful, leaving LeClavers with several easy wins in big states. Spending a stump speech, a limited resource, in a state you were down 20% in was a massive tactical error. Ultimately, the Wall Street question in less diverse states gave Clay a better floor, but the way the speeches, ads, and infrastructure broke down allowed LeClavers to win most of the independents in the big states. 

 

Wisconsin (96 Delegates) 

Clay 38.7% (37 delegates) 

LeClavers 61.3% (59 delegates) 

 

New York (291 Delegates) 

Clay 45.1% (131 delegates) 

LeClavers 54.9% (160 delegates) 

 

Connecticut (71 Delegates) 

Clay 55.2% (39 delegates) 

LeClavers 44.8% (32 delegates) 

 

Deleware (31 Delegates) 

Clay 53.4% (17 delegates) 

LeClavers 46.6% (14 delegates) 

 

Maryland (118 Delegates) 

Clay 45.5% (54 delegates) 

LeClavers 54.5% (64 delegates) 

  

Pennsylvania (210 Delegates) 

Clay 47.3% (99 delegates) 

LeClavers 52.7% (111 delegates) 

 

Rhode Island (33 Delegates) 

Clay 51.6% (17 delegates) 

LeClavers 48.4% (16 delegates) 

 

Current Delegate Total

Clay - 1,741 Delegates 

LeClavers - 1,883 Delegates 

(Magic Number - 2381 Delegates

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Clay and LeClavers Look ahead to California

((I'm not giving a review of these races as the campaigns largely looked past them anyway.))

 

Indiana (92 Delegates) 

Clay 62.3% (57 delegates) 

LeClavers 37.7% (35 delegates) 

 

Nebraska (30 Delegates) 

Clay 55.1% (17 delegates) 

LeClavers 44.9% (13 delegates) 

 

West Virginia (37 Delegates) 

Clay 56.4% (21 delegates) 

LeClavers 43.6% (16 delegates) 

 

Oregon (74 Delegates) 

Clay 41.6% (31 delegates) 

LeClavers 58.4% (43 delegates) 

 

Washington (118 Delegates) 

Clay 45.2% (53 delegates) 

LeClavers 54.8% (65 delegates) 

 

Current Delegate Total

Clay - 1,920 Delegates 

LeClavers - 2,055 Delegates 

(Magic Number - 2381 Delegates

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2016 United States Senate Election Polling (Primary Round)

 

 

Nevada

 

State Senator Ana Maria Kimball ® - 43%

Congressman Damon Storm (D) - 39%

Undecided - 18%

 

Analysis: This race, between State Senator and resort entrepreneur Ana Maria Kimball and Congressman Damon Storm, shows a slight Republican advantage early on.

 

Kimball came out of the gates strong with a well-crafted, detailed, and ideologically consistent platform as well as taking advantage of the primary round to hit the trail and introduce herself to voters across the state and enlisting the help of Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora as a surrogate. Her early strengths are a strong appeal to independent voters as well as the moderates and mainstream voters in her own party, however the more conservative faction of her party seem far from convinced with her strong moderate streak on a number of issues but particularly immigration policy where her rhetoric seems to place her pretty close to the positions of her Democratic opponent. Going forward, she will likely have to find a way to better energize the conservative base who far from assured to show up in November with the Republican nominee for President having very similar base problems.

 

Congressman Storm’s platform left many somewhat cold. Much of it is lacking in specifics, the grammar and structure could have used a good proofread, and ideologically he often to seems to fall to the left of the state as a whole such as his promotion of carbon taxes, lifting the payroll tax cap and unwavering support for large-scale public school expansion. Storm will need to do a fair amount of work convincing independent voters he be able to work as a problem solver rather than just a rank-and-file vote for Senate Democrats.

 

 

 

Wisconsin

 

Senator Doug Hill ® - 44%

Lt. Governor Randy Gonzalez (D) - 38%

Undecided: 18%

 

Analysis: In this race between Senator and ASFAJ Committee Chairman Doug Hill and Wisconsin’s Lt. Governor begins with solid, but far from insurmountable, advantage for the incumbent as he seeks another term.

 

Senator Doug Hill has proven to be moderately popular in his home state as somebody who has tried to keep his nose down from partisan and interparty squabbles and focus on his legislative duties, although this has also resulted in him not being near as well known as most incumbent Senators are. His platform was fairly well crafted and balanced, though it is pretty barebones. He seems to follow pretty well within the mainstream of his party with a few clear moderate streaks on issues such as immigration, but also with touches on issues such as “school choice to energize parts of his base. Voters, however, would have liked to hear more about his opinions on foreign and military policy given his legislative focus on it and his claim that he himself will “negotiate” trade deals with foreign nations was found somewhat bizarre and was criticized by many. In addition, with Wisconsin already being a Right-to-Work state, most are rather ambivalent about his support of national Right-to-Work efforts.

 

Lt. Governor Gonzalez’s platform was not particularly well received. There were numerous grammatical errors, redundant phrases, odd capitalization choices, and other such problems that show the Lt. Governor could really use some editing help. As to the actual substance, there are enough areas that put him firmly in-line with the more progressive wing of the party to get some of his base excited, but the amount of actual detail he puts into his stances varies wildly. His “all of the above” approach to education reform could have some appeal to independent and moderate voters, but he shouldn’t expect any teachers unions to be throwing their support behind him anytime soon. All told, it is likely going to take a strong effort and lot more attention to detail for Gonzalez to close the gap going forward, but it is far from decided.

 

 

 

Georgia

 

Noah Holmgren ® - 39%

Pierce Nova (D) - 36%

Unsure - 25%

 

Analysis: While Georgia has strongly favored Republicans over the past couple of decades, the 2014 Senate race showed that given the right electoral circumstances, a Democrat can certainly still succeed in this light red state. It is too early in the process to really say who has the advantage, although most prognosticators would still give a GOP edge.

 

Congressman and filmmaker Noah Holmgren is not well known throughout the state, and with no platform and only an announcement speech light on actual policy to go off of, his support right now is primarily on the basis of his party affiliation in a state which leans rightward.

 

Congressman Pierce Nova has been a little bit more out there in public and has released a public platform. His platform, however, was riddled with grammatical errors, formatting errors, etc. Likewise, it is very light on actual policy specifics and heavy on rhetoric, and does very little to differentiate him from the national Democratic Party and sell himself to independents or undecideds.

 

 

 

Connecticut

 

State Senator Andrew Parsons (D) - 44%

State Senator John Freeman ® - 37%

Unsure - 19%

 

Analysis: In this battle between two State Senators in this Democratic-leaning but wealthy state, Democrat Andrew Parsons clearly has the early edge.

 

Andrew Parsons released a platform which was well crafted and thought out, and although it seems to put him in the more progressive wing of his party in a blue-leaning state known for often electing those with ties to the financial industry and a moderate streak on financial issues, it was generally well received. He might need to work in the general election to convince independents and moderates that he is capable of representing their interests in the US Senate, but has had a pretty good launch.

 

John Freeman’s platform, however, landed with something of a dud. Many of his planks are vague and/or rather toothless, and his decision to focus on Right-to-Work legislation was a miscalculation although it may help with rallying the more conservative parts of the state to his cause. He has made attempts to emphasize points of moderation such supporting marijuana decriminalization and his pro-choice views on abortion, however the latter was undercut considerably by also support cutting off government support for Planned Parenthood which is a position that has little support in this state. He’ll have to improve his efforts considerably to close the gap and convince voters he’s the right choice for Connecticut.

 

 

Oregon

 

Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne - 46%

Dr. Eden Silver - 38%

Unsure: 16%

 

Analysis: Facing lackluster approval ratings at home and a being a divisive figure nationally, Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne is seeking re-election against finance consultant and think tank founder Dr. Eden Silver.

 

Minority Leader Clayborne’s platform pretty consistently toes closely to liberal orthodoxy throughout, but is well written, incredibly detailed, and does a good job promoting legislative accomplishments. While his approvals at home aren’t great, his polling is helped tremendously by the increasingly Democratic lean of Oregon, the power of incumbency, and the promise of national influence for the state offered by his prominent position. However, he is not particularly popular with independent voters and remains a divisive figure, so he will need to going to need to keep plugging away if he’s going to maintain or extend his lead.

 

Dr. Eden Silver delivered a platform which was well written, and reasonably detailed on policy, but remains pretty strongly conservative across the board which really doesn’t play all that well in a blue-leaning state where most viable statewide Republican candidates tend to have prominent moderate streaks or at least fall more towards the center than the national party. While her platform will do quite a bit to energize her conservative base and would likely have strong appeal in the state’s rural region, there is very little there to offer moderates or all but the most right-leaning of independent voters. She will have to work overtime if she wants to close the gap with the powerful but not terribly popular Minority Leader.

 

 

Illinois

 

Dutch Savage - 42%

State Senator Genevieve Washburn - 37%

Unsure: 21%

 

Guest Analysis from Anderson (and additions by Ben):

The greatest note from this primary round is that the Savage campaign seems to be speaking to Illinois, while the Washburn campaign is giving a national Republican message. Because of this, a platform that spoke specifically of Illinois' issues, and of the Democrats not running a candidate, a lot of wary liberals are quickly finding the Savage campaign.

 

Again, Savage spoke directly to Illinois' experience in both his platform and his Stump, getting significantly higher marks than Washburn's stump and platform. This was because she spoke of only one issue on the trail, and her platform tends to much more conservative than the state as a whole outside of her immigration stances and a call for science-based sexual education. The one area where Washburn had a clear advantage was in the talking points, in which the quality and specificity were certainly good. Savage's were surprisingly below par compared to the rest of his round.

 

The higher-than-usual undecideds in this race include a lot of Democrats who don't know what to expect from Savage, his campaign persona or his radio one. The other piece are Williams supporters who are not ready to jump into bed with Washburn. But undecideds are predominantly liberals or outright political moderates. Williams' unpopularity, Savage's stronger focus on the state's internal issues like corruption and the state budget, and the natural liberalness of the state give him a key advantage.

 

 

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LeClavers Wins Democratic Primary 

This campaign has been a continued story of missed opportunities for both sides. At several points in this election, both LeClavers and Clay have had chances to bury their opponent and simply missed it, thereby giving their opponent new life. And these last primaries were no different. The outcome was less about a dominating performance, and more about a missed opportunity by the challenger. 

 

Clay prioritized both the California and New Jersey primaries, smartly, in an attempt to rack up wins in the two big states. He also spent for advertising in New Mexico. Clay's stump, delivered twice in California, started off strong with a popular liberal issue like student loan debt. However, he hurt himself by dedicating a large portion of the speech to immigration. It's not that immigration is a bad policy, but it is one where Clay doesn't seem to have much substance to combat LeClavers' obvious strength on the issue. The speech, across the board, isn't very specific, as it includes almost no concrete examples of policy to back up the rhetoric. His announces Vice President, Senator Storm, gave two surrogates. The one in New Jersey was a solid speech but much like Clay's it lacked specificity. The other, in California, was much stronger. Clay ran two ads, and neither performed particularly well. A large TV buy in New Jersey ended up being largely just fluff, lacking any specifics and focusing largely on broad values statements. Another TV ad in New Mexico may have completely backfired, by putting in people's minds immigration issues as they head to the polls, an area where LeClavers has a solid lead. The big flaw with both of these ads is bringing up issues that Clay simply isn't the favorite among Democratic voters on. By priming voters to think about the minimum wage or Latinx issues, voters are wondering why your name is attached to it as it makes them consider issues they prefer LeClavers on. 

 

The LeClavers campaign dedicated nearly its entire campaign to winning California, knowing that Clay couldn't win without it. LeClavers also invested in a small GOTV effort in New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota, allowing him to cheaply keep those contests close and shrink the window for his opponent. In California, the rally turned out to be moderately successful. Senator Gonzalez's speech opening up the event was on an issue that matters a lot to the California community, although the speech was far from ideal. However, draping LeClavers in the lore of the Statue of Liberty is a good strategy. The Vice President's speech was better than the last he gave on the trail, focusing this time on giving a broad introduction on a big issue, though light on specifics and almost entirely rhetoric. Finally, LeClavers speech at the rally took a hard turn toward the general election, though remaining focused on attacking Clay for being too conservative on issues like the education. The speech was fine, but it needs a more cohesive narrative to be successful, and it needs more clarity on what the next four years bring under your presidency. LeClavers invested in another stump speech in California as well. Finally, the Vice President and the SmL gave independent surrogates in California that were both solid. Clayborne's surrogate was easily the strongest of the surrogates for LeClavers. Finally, LeClavers ran a massive TV ad in California on immigration that drew a distinct line between the President and Clay. The ad focused on the humanitarian concerns of DAPA, a good move in a Democratic primary. The LeClavers campaign played it safe, did little that was daring and little that was risky, and it was a strategy that ultimately paid off. 

 

With all that said, President LeClavers barely held off a tough primary challenge from Jackson Clay, despite being the incumbent. Thanks to a series of miscues from both sides, this campaign went to the last battle. 

 

California (548 Delegates) 

Clay 46.4% (254 Delegates)

LeClavers 53.6% (294 Delegates)

 

Montana (27 Delegates) 

Clay 52.3% (14 Delegates)

LeClavers 47.7% (13 Delegates)

 

New Jersey (142 Delegates) 

Clay 52.9% (75 Delegates)

LeClavers 47.1% (67 Delegates)

 

New Mexico (43 Delegates) 

Clay 49.5% (21 Delegates)

LeClavers 50.5% (22 Delegates)

 

South Dakota (25 Delegates) 

Clay 50.8% (13 Delegates)

LeClavers 49.2% (12 Delegates)

 

Current Delegate Total

Clay - 2,297 Delegates 

LeClavers - 2,463 Delegates 

(Magic Number - 2381 Delegates

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GE Early Polling 

MoE 3

 

 

2dBjd.png

Within 3% = Grey

3-8% = Lean

>8% = Safe

 

National 

LeClavers (D) 43.4%

Moreno (R) 44.4% 

 

Arizona 

LeClavers (D) 41.8%

Moreno (R) 46.7%

 

Colorado

LeClavers (D) 44.8% 

Moreno (R) 44.3% 

 

Connecticut 

LeClavers (D) 47.1%

Moreno (R) 41.8% 

 

Deleware 

LeClavers (D) 46.7%

Moreno (R) 42.3%

 

Florida 

LeClavers (D) 44.2%

Moreno (R) 46.1%

 

Georgia

LeClavers (D) 42.7%

Moreno (R) 45.9%

 

Indiana 

LeClavers (D) 40.4%

Moreno (R) 48.1%

 

Iowa

LeClavers (D) 47.1%

Moreno (R) 43.5%

 

Maine

LeClavers (D) 44.7%

Moreno (R) 44.9%

 

Michigan 

LeClavers (D) 45.1%

Moreno (R) 44.3%

 

Minnesota

LeClavers (D) 46.8%

Moreno (R) 43.8%

 

Missouri 

LeClavers (D) 42.9%

Moreno (R) 47.5%

 

Nevada  

LeClavers (D) 44.3%

Moreno (R) 44.4%

 

New Hampshire

LeClavers (D) 45.3%

Moreno (R) 44.8%

 

New Jersey

LeClavers (D) 48.1% 

Moreno (R) 40.4%

 

New Mexico

LeClavers (D) 47.3%

Moreno (R) 45.0%

 

North Carolina 

LeClavers (D) 43.7%

Moreno (R) 45.1%

 

Ohio 

LeClavers (D) 44.4% 

Moreno (R) 46.1%

 

Oregon 

LeClavers (D) 48.4% 

Moreno (R) 43.1%

 

Pennsylvania

LeClavers (D) 44.6%

Moreno (R) 45.4%

 

South Carolina 

LeClavers (D) 42.1%

Moreno (R) 48.3%

 

Tennessee 

LeClavers (D) 42.5%

Moreno (R) 45.7%

 

Virginia 

LeClavers (D) 45.1%

Moreno (R) 44.8%

 

Wisconsin 

LeClavers (D) 47.7%

Moreno (R) 41.4% 

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R1 Analysis: Bennett Fails to Campaign, Moreno's Reputation Under Fire

The LeClavers campaign made a serious tactical error by leaving the Vice President completely out of the campaign, as it failed to capitalize on ten appearances for the VP. The campaign also entirely forgot to provide talking points. These both dropped the opportunities to make impacts, but one particularly strong speech from LeClavers and some very good surrogates made up for it. The President's first stump scored very well for the states it was sent to: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and Minnesota. By focusing on major cities in each state, which have higher-than-average low-income earners, the discussion of education and minimum wages leading to social mobility was heard by more people affected by it. The speech also included a good flow, though the early attacks on Moreno did not match the theme of the entire speech. LeClavers' second stump, given across five very different states, has far less specificity, though it retains the larger narrative that was so effective in the first. Both speeches maintained a pinpoint focus on the economy, a key issue for the majority of Americans. The surrogate from Matthew Williams (D-FL), given across the state of Florida, brought the issue of education to the forefront. A broader speech would have been more successful, and the speech itself was not flawless. However, sending the Senate to his home state was a smart idea. The Storm (D-NY) surrogate was much more useful, as it hits on key policy differences from the two candidates; not on what they promise, but on their actions. The speech, given in five swing states, turned out to be very effective for a surrogate. The LeClavers campaign narrowed its focus to only a few issues, namely immigration, economics, and education. These seem to be 3 bell-weather issues for this election, but expanding the scope into a more complete agenda is going to be necessary in later rounds. 

 

The Moreno campaign took a different tact, by dedicated nearly all of its speeches in a couple of big states. Within his talking points, his hard right turn on immigration was very noticeable, bringing more Williams supporters into the fold but sacrificing support with many moderates. Many also noticed the shift in social security rhetoric, backing away from past promises to raise the retirement age. The other note is the aggressive "LeClavers has no plan" comments, which in many cases turned out to be patently untrue based on platform, speeches, the primary campaign, and/or the convention. These flip-flops and miscues, while endearing to certain groups, left many with a bad taste in their mouth that is earning your already robotic reputation a bit of a slimy component. In his first Stump, Moreno launched the same "LeClavers has no plan" line that understandably flopped, given the emphasis in all of these states in a well-covered primary, the emphasis on the convention held in one of the states this speech was given in, and the effort given on economic issues in the LeClavers campaign round. However, when Moreno shifts the speech to speak about his plan, the speech become far more impactful. While list-format is rarely the ideal way to explain policy in a speech, each policy is important to these states and the conservative and independent voters who will matter. The second Stump, focused on Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina, offers some good specificity in a brief section at the end of the speech. But the core of the speech is an attack on LeClavers once again for having no plan. And more importantly, it promotes a series of patently false accusations that even common conservatives know are lies, especially regarding "He has done nothing as president except issue one single executive order". The speech's focus on social security was good, but this is 100% not a winning issue for you and is merely reminding people that your plan in the primary was to cut benefits for future retirees. Sen. Merchant's first speech was target exclusive to Florida, a clearly tactical decision. The speech, despite peddling the same claims as Moreno that Floridians know are untrue after the primary battle in their state, focuses far more on the positives of the Moreno stance, although it lacks the specifics of how it will achieve what it claims. The second Stump from Merchant focused on Virginia and North Carolina, avoided the pitfall of the other speeches given and managed to provide a clear contrast between the two campaigns. It failed to truly address the future of the Moreno/Merchant administration beyond a vague claim to give the biggest tax cut in history. That is literally the only policy in the speech. The attacks work, and are good in this speech, but the alternative the Moreno/Merchant administration is offering isn't being made clear. Finally, the advertisement in Pennsylvania was a solid one that relied a lot less on policy than it did on emotion, which it did very well. I liked it, though I feel it could have more forcefully advocated in favor of Moreno at the end.

 

As a final few comments, it is always important to remember your strengths as a candidate on issues, and highlighting areas where you're not going to be popular is not a winning strategy. It may seem necessary to explain your position, but as many RL campaign managers will tell you: "If you're explaining, you're losing". Also, few states are single issue states, and certainly not the big ones. Remember to diversify across communities and issues to grow broad support. This round could have been a bloodbath in either direction if the campaigns had made smart work of their opportunity. Oh... And use ALL of your resources. 

 

** A note that convention impacts were included into this polling. 

 

Dp8B9.png

Within 3% = Grey

3-8% = Lean

>8% = Safe

National 

LeClavers (D) 45.9%

Moreno (R) 46.6% 

 

Arizona 

LeClavers (D) 42.9%

Moreno (R) 45.8%

 

Colorado

LeClavers (D) 46.1% 

Moreno (R) 44.8% 

 

Connecticut 

LeClavers (D) 48.7%

Moreno (R) 42.1% 

 

Deleware 

LeClavers (D) 47.5%

Moreno (R) 42.4%

 

Florida 

LeClavers (D) 44.9%

Moreno (R) 46.4%

 

Georgia

LeClavers (D) 43.5%

Moreno (R) 46.5%

 

Indiana (Will be deleted from this list if it remains uncontested)

LeClavers (D) 40.6%

Moreno (R) 49.8%

 

Iowa

LeClavers (D) 48.2%

Moreno (R) 44.0%

 

Maine

LeClavers (D) 45.4%

Moreno (R) 45.2%

 

Michigan 

LeClavers (D) 45.8%

Moreno (R) 45.3%

 

Minnesota

LeClavers (D) 47.7%

Moreno (R) 43.9%

 

Missouri 

LeClavers (D) 43.1%

Moreno (R) 48.6%

 

Nevada  

LeClavers (D) 45.1%

Moreno (R) 44.7%

 

New Hampshire

LeClavers (D) 46.1%

Moreno (R) 45.0%

 

New Jersey (Will be deleted from this list if it remains uncontested)

LeClavers (D) 50.1% 

Moreno (R) 41.0%

 

New Mexico

LeClavers (D) 48.0%

Moreno (R) 45.3%

 

North Carolina 

LeClavers (D) 44.4%

Moreno (R) 45.7%

 

Ohio 

LeClavers (D) 44.9% 

Moreno (R) 46.3%

 

Oregon 

LeClavers (D) 49.2% 

Moreno (R) 43.6%

 

Pennsylvania

LeClavers (D) 45.2%

Moreno (R) 46.2%

 

South Carolina 

LeClavers (D) 41.3%

Moreno (R) 48.8%

 

Tennessee 

LeClavers (D) 42.1%

Moreno (R) 46.3%

 

Virginia 

LeClavers (D) 45.6%

Moreno (R) 45.6%

 

Wisconsin 

LeClavers (D) 47.9%

Moreno (R) 41.8% 

 

http://www.270towin.com/maps/Dp8B9

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2016 United States Senate Polling: GE Round 1

 

Nevada

 

State Senator Ana Maria Kimball ® - 47%
Congressman Damon Storm (D) - 42%
Undecided - 11%

 

While undecideds continue to break off in both directions, the gap between State Senator Ana Maria Kimball and Congressman Damon Storm remains fairly static(if ever-so-slight more beneficial to the Republican) as neither candidate this round did much to evolve past their respective defining problems.

 

Ana Maria Kimball has a strong appeal with independent voters and moderates but even with a “rally the base, red meat” style surrogate from the Senate Majority Leader, the conservative base of her party remains unenthusiastic with her moderate and broadly defined (on the trail) views which is highlighted by a stump speech which touts “fixing” the ACA rather than repeal. Her infrastructure strategy has been just about what would be expected and not all that far removed from that of her opponent’s, while her campaign stop strategy could likely use a little work with a full half of her 10 campaign stops thus far having come in either Las Vegas or Reno, leading to diminishing returns each time she returns with the same stump speech and some of the rural voters that make up a core consistency for Nevada’s GOP feeling neglected. Her one ad was effective with rallying some of the unsure right-wing of her party into action, but this was largely cancelled out by independents turned off due to its harsh tone and over-the-top rhetoric like use of the term “left-wing dystopia”.

 

Congressman Damon Storm has the opposite core problem of his opponent: the early perception that he is to the left of the state as a whole remains largely unchanged as the GOP continues to hammer on it and he continues to campaign heavily on some of those very issues, giving him a fairly excited base but increasingly limited appeal to moderates and independents. His rhetoric on immigration in which he attacks his opponent for her proposal that a pathway to citizenship include paying back taxes has not been a winner with any group other than the left-leaning hispanic and progressive base he has largely locked up, and his doubling down on his refusal to consider any educational reform proposals that involve public funds going towards charter/magnet/private schools has had a similar effect in this state with a prominent libertarian/independent streak and together his campaign’s almost exclusive focus on education and immigration risk falling into the category of being a two-issue campaign, which likely isn’t a winning strategy. Congressman Storm’s infrastructure and stumping strategy are roughly what would be expected and don’t deviate much from his opponent, and his ad was reasonably well received. The slight ground he has lost is due in large part because of the sharply negative tone of his campaign, including frequently referring to her as only “Kimball” in the majority of direct mentions of her, which many see as a sign of disrespect and some have even suspected as sexist in nature.

 

 

Georgia

 

Congressman Pierce Nova (D) - 43%

Congressman Noah Holmgren ® - 41%
Unsure - 16%

 

As voters become more familiar with both candidates, this is quickly heating up into one of the closest races in the nation with two Congressmen fighting it out, the better established and defined Democrat Pierce Nova and the more obscure and vaguely understood Republican Noah Holmgren.

 

Pierce Nova has started to break from the early perception that he is a fairly national Democrat running in a conservative leaning state. He published a platform early which while not incredibly well received, was at least appreciated by the voters that they can know where he stands on a wide variety of issues. His talking points were specific and very geared towards the issues of his state and balanced relatively well, even if his full-throated endorsement of free trade (and specifically NAFTA) makes many who might consider voting for him in rural and former manufacturing-heavy communities take pause while it plays better in the suburbs. His stump speech was seen as a bit overly vague and heavy on rhetoric with only one paragraph that hits on specific policies, and but there’s some decent inspirational language and sharp but not over-the-top attack lines to rally the troops. His early fundraising advantage has resulted in slight edge in terms of outreach and campaign infrastructure, but his billboard only had a small positive effect mostly based around increasing his name rec because the average voter driving by can’t be expected to just know what “HBCU” and “Jones Act” are.

 

Noah Holmgren’s decision to forego a platform until the race was already well underway hurt him by letting his opponent get a jump on defining himself and getting his name out there (not to mention background fundraising), and when he did release one its equivocation, limited scope and moderate streaks didn’t do much to help excite his base in a state bound to see higher-than-usual Democratic turnout after a surprise win in the 2014 Senate race and African-American nominees for both President and Senate. Likewise, the lack of talking points (OOC: which is a required minimum, your campaign got a not-insignificant penalty for this) and advertisements have maintained his status as much more obscure in the eyes of the voters than his opponent. His stump speech was pretty decent, hitting some broadly popular policy points and intriguing some independents and reform-minded with his surprisingly strong rhetoric on ethics issues, but not a lot of votes are won by campaigning on DC inside-baseball stuff and the nitty gritty of the tax code (especially when a lot of the people who might be won over by the former are likely going to be turned off by promising to eliminate all regulations and taxes on small businesses, an extreme promise beyond what even most Republicans run on) so he would probably be better served with finding a message that connects more to average Georgians. His surrogate brought out a heavy hitter, but with a fairly boilerplate speech.

 

 

Connecticut

 

State Senator Andrew Parsons (D) - 60%
State Senator John Freeman ® - 27%
Unsure - 13%


Andrew Parsons spent heavily, and diversely, on infrastructure as well as a decent newspaper advertisement. John Freeman forfeited the 500k he did spend through accounting errors and resulting “legal fees”. Andrew Parsons had 5 well crafted talking points on specific issues. John Freeman had two not particularly well crafted talking points light on actual policy. Andrew Parsons had a solid stump speech which touched a variety of issues with specificity that helped define his place in the race. John Freeman didn’t post a stump speech or campaign in any city. Andrew Parsons gave a Democratic Convention speech which wasn't particularly well received. John Freeman's was seen universally as a disaster. It is safe to say that this race is effectively over.  

 

 

Oregon

 

Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne - 52%
Dr. Eden Silver - 42%
Unsure: 6%


 

Even with soft approval ratings and a divisive personality, a Democratic Senate Minority Leader was always going to be a tough person to beat with his many powerful connections, long list of accomplishments, and sizable warchest. As he controls the airwaves and newspaper pages across the state and builds a formidable infrastructure and organization, his opponent Dr. Eden Silver has struggled to keep up.

 

Lewis Clayborne may not be the most popular guy around (as one particularly effective and humourous TV ad of his openly plays off of), but his campaign has hammered home two overarching themes with solid results aided by a seemingly endless stream of campaign funds: he gets things done in Washington and his opponent is too conservative for the state. His talking points are decent, but overly wordy and largely play to his base rather than reach out to undecideds. His stump speech was passionate, does a good job expressing his viewpoint and his accomplishments but again is largely preaching to the choir and limits its appeal independents and moderates. He has built probably the most formidable infrastructure of any Senate campaign in the country, complete with solid but sometimes overly broad outreach and GOTV efforts. OOC:there’s just so many ads here and I got other campaigns to grade, so I’m just going to give the gist of my grading notes for each:

 

Quote

 

Billboard 1:

 

Doesn’t really say much, Clayborne isn’t lacking for name recognition, not particularly effective.

 

Billboard 2:

 

Much more effective than the first, highlighting Eden Silver’s conservatism is a lot more effective with independents and undecideds than promoting your own liberalism thus far.

 

Newspaper 1:

 

Your strength when talking about yourself is always your accomplishments, so this was fairly effective.

 

Internet Ad:

 

Good targeting specifics, descriptive, about as effective as most internet ads will get.

 

Radio Ad 1:

 

Scattered, you try to fit too many issues into one ad to the detriment of each of them.

 

TV Ad 1:

 

The use of humor to take ownership of your public perception is creative, effective, and actually somewhat endearing to the voters unsure of you personally even if they like where you stand on the issues.

 

TV Ad 2:

 

Once again, trying to stuff too many unlike issues into one ad.

 

TV Ad 3:

 

Also jumps around on issues, but that works somewhat better when trying to define your opponent rather than yourself.

 


 

Dr. Eden Silver has continued to see her longshot campaign slip further away, while part of this is no fault of her own due to being at a massive more than 3-1 spending disadvantage (though more attempts at fundraising would have helped in that regard), even has her initial polling was weak and she gets hammered hard by her opponent about her conservative views on a variety of issues, she has doubled down on many of them. From promoting national right-to-work legislation in one of the few states where RtW has never been accomplished or proven terribly popular, to her calls to dismantle the EPA and attacks on the DoE, to her strong support of the second amendment, the narrative on her being too right-wing for Oregon by her opponent stick because she openly promotes some of the biggest issues that take her out of the mainstream of the state’s voters. Her base largely loves her, though some were turned off by her roundly criticized moment in the spotlight in the final night of Republican National Convention, but her appeal has largely been confined to the conservative rural parts of the state and not much in this round beyond some minor lip service to immigration reform is likely to change that. Her stump speech was decent, but more effective at rallying independents when railing against Clayborne than when promoting her own beliefs. Her surrogate speech from John Moreno was solid, but with recent Presidential polling showing his own numbers slipping in Oregon (and about even with Silver's own), it was more helpful at convincing more moderate Republicans to stick with Silver than anything else. Your ad was moderately effective, while the quote on the billboards was too vague to have much success beyond raising name rec.

 

 

Illinois

 

Mr. Dutch Savage (I) - 45%

State Senator Genevieve Washburn (R) - 40% *OOC Note: Polling penalty was applied after grading for being posted significantly past the deadline*

Undecided - 15%

 

Guest Analysis from Anderson:

 

Both campaigns touched on a few issues, joining together to call for massive infrastructure investment and clean up corruption. However, the two campaigns had very different approaches on other issues they both touched on. While Washburn is promoting a policy of a points-based immigration system, something that plays much better in the suburbs, Savage has pitched an expanded immigration system for farmers that has gone over well in the rural areas of the state. While Washburn is pitching school choice, Savage dedicated the introduction of his stump speech to trashing the policy. On the economy, Washburn is advocating for a very popular tax cut while Savage is pressing for a labor-based approach with expanded worker's rights and a higher minimum wage. These policy moments really defined both campaigns, and are drawing stronger distinctions between the two. 

 

In terms of the individual campaigns, Washburn made some significant improvements in her Stump speech, and the very good Moreno surrogate locked in a lot of conservative voters. However, it also locked in some Democrats for Savage who were still flinching over the independent's run by leaving you without the perception of independence from the national GOP. That could spell trouble in a blue state. Washburn's talking points were somewhat weaker this round than last, although still received good marks. However, with both the Stump speech and the talking points, Washburn needs to focus the race on Illinois. So far, your strongest issue is on taxes because it is the only issue that you have even tried to make about the state's internal issues. Finally, the advertisement was fine but lacked a significant impact because it was very bland in its use of both language and the state's individuality. That same ad could be run in 50 states with no changes, and it shows. It's also true that Illinois is generally not a doom-and-gloom state when it comes to the national economy (just the local one), so the opening tone wasn't a great fit. 

 

For Savage, his campaign actually did somewhat worse this round than last. His stump read poorly, was disjointed, and the introduction appeared too personal. A smoother, cohesive speech would be far more effective. However, the stump wasn't all bad, as the substance left you as the only candidates addressing the needs of farmers, gave you clear independent appeal with an appeal for lower taxes, touched on energy, and put the infrastructure debate into a framing that was more personal and prideful for Illinoisans. Talking points were your strong suit this round, as they were focused, individual to the state, and most importantly reflected largely popular opinions across the state. 

 

Savage has a stronger infrastructure than Washburn at the moment, though the two are closely comparable. However, Washburn's GOTV effort is stronger. Washburn had the edge this round, but also hurt herself with the effort to lock in GOP voters so forcefully and thereby scaring independents. The shrinking margin is a product of the national attention Washburn had from her convention address. However, we are quickly running out of conservatives in the undecided column, leaving Savage a clear advantage with those uncommitted in the race. 

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House Round 1 Results

The parties targeted five of the same states, making the best way to grade this by going state-by-state.
As a note for all races and all talking points: Specificity is important. Talking points are for laying out your agenda and your achievements. Not vague promises. 

 

Arizona - Both parties rolled out different talking points that hit on several key issues. Republicans campaigned on lower taxes, strict borders, and healthcare premiums. Two of those three are widely popular, but the strict border policy is not a popular one in most border states that gain huge financial benefits from cross-border trade and movement that would impacted. Democrats dedicated two talking points to education, and another on the border. Democrats suffered from issues of overly vague talking points, but came down on the popular side of the issues at least. Arizona comes out as a slight Democratic edge. 

 

California - Republicans focused their talking points on Veterans and on school choice. Combined with outreach spending, Republicans did make inroads among veterans. But school choice is a painfully unpopular position in much of California due to the strength of the teachers unions and the high quality of public education in comparison to the rest of the country. Democrats touched primarily on economic issues, with talking points on infrastructure jobs, tying education to the technology industry that is across California, and the minimum wage. Democrats still need more specifics, especially on infrastructure. But this is another case where a GOP talking point that is wildly off the state's ideals hurt them. In addition, Californians do not consider the VA a top tier issue compared to the economy or education. So the Dems made significant gains here. 

 

Florida - Only Democrats targeted Florida, speaking about infrastructure spending, healthcare and education spending. The Pre-K component definitely was a winner, as it is a specific victory to champion in a state with a lot of younger parents. Again, the infrastructure point needs more specificity, and the choice of issues should probably be reconsidered. But overall, a useful trio. 

 

Illinois - Republicans argued for protectionist trade, criticized corrupt Democrats, and focused on school choice. Meanwhile, Democrats campaigned on labor rights, rural broadband, and infrastructure. The criticism of corrupt and inept democrats certainly hits on a statewide level, exciting Republicans. And protectionist trade is a broad issue that has a variety of opinions among the voting base. Even school choice has a place in Illinois, as it has been a pet issue of the right in that state. Democrats have a state-wide strength in Illinois based largely on Chicago and unions, and they hit two big issues there while making inroads in rural communities. This round was largely a tie between the two, although different districts will shift based on the content of each message. 

 

Iowa - Only Republicans campaigned in Iowa, focusing on the Right-to-Life, tax breaks for farmers (and cap gains? Not really farmer-centric, so seemed out of place), and protectionist trade policies. These are all popular issues in Iowa. 

 

Michigan - Democrats only, who spoke about infrastructure (vague!), raising the minimum wage, and education via universal pre-K. These are interesting choices, though framing minimum wage in a very liberal social-justice way worked well with the far left and with African Americans. These are good, not great, talking points. If the infrastructure point was more specific, it would be a home run. 

 

Minnesota - Only Republicans campaigned here, choosing national right-to-work, healthcare reform, and infrastructure investment. The odd point about infrastructure, that your standard-bearer opposed it, hurts that talking point. And Minnesota is known for their incredibly strong labor movement (the DF-LP is one of the most powerful political groups in the state), so the right-to-work point have hardened your opponents as much as they've helped you. These were a mixed bag, because the issues don't really fit the state and did almost nothing for independents or moderates. 

 

New Jersey - Republicans targeted healthcare (vague), school choice, and removing regulation. Most republicans in NJ are anti-regulation, as are many independents and moderates, making it a good topic for the state. School choice, not so much, as NJ has big-time teachers unions and the 2nd-best school system in the country. Meanwhile, Democrats focused on education improvements like Universal Pre-K, on labor rights, and on infrastructure (less vague!). The Pre-K spending went well, but the state isn't a big education focused state. Infrastructure is a top issue for NJ, especially economically. So that was a good choice. These talking points break out roughly even. 

 

New York - Republicans here campaigned on tax relief for the middle class and small businesses (no specifics), on agricultural grants and tax breaks (no specifics), and on infrastructure investment. These are good talking points, although they need to be more specific. Infrastructure is a big issue to the NY economy, so that is a winning issue. Democrats campaigned on a $15 minimum wage, on education, and on immigration reform. NY has a lot of immigrants, so its generally popular to make the system work better. More importantly, the minimum wage is another big issue. Both sides did well, but there is a distinct edge for Democrats here. 

 

The above analysis does not include any penalties. Due to the penalty given for the late Republican round, there was a pretty big shift towards Democrats in the House, thereby giving them hope for retaining the House. Further, the Senate and POTUS races have impacted these as well, especially in states with player election activity. 

 

See Round 1 Tab of Spreadsheet for updated seat breakdowns. 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CvI4PiN6h35Ujdm2PwrsDuulThRlhPqRtl-E_cmGGlw/edit?usp=sharing

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Map Clarifies, Expands, As Presidential Race Continues Into October

Several states have become non-competitive as we head into the final leg of the 2016 Presidential race, as the campaigns have begun to laser focus on the remaining few states. This round, the two campaigns each provided a full round, including surrogates. With Moreno spending more money than LeClavers, and the 


The Moreno campaign has begun to establish its path to 270, as it focuses largely on the Big Four states: Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The campaign's talking points were a mixed bag. It's hard to attack someone for a failure to lead bipartisanly while making a clearly stabbing partisan attack. The Jobs and Tax relief points had a lot of crossover appeal, while the Obamacare talking point was a major bone for the base. The Michigan advertisement was solid, at least on messaging, though it lacked much substance. However, as I timed it, it ran nearly 40 seconds to read out loud and was thus given a penalty. In his first stump speech, Moreno hits hard in the rust belt on the economy and leadership. The speech is perhaps too personal in its attacks on LeClavers, though the messaging is largely unrebuffed by any Democrat not named Lewis Clayborne. The policy-side needs some work, too, as it remains painfully vague across nearly every issue included in it. In his second stump speech, Moreno instead focuses on Virginia, with a brief stop in Florida and Colorado. The speech tries very hard to create a personal bond between Moreno's story of his grandfather and mother and the crowd, but it comes off as very stiff and forced. The speech includes the same attack line on the President as the other speech, drawing a nearly personal level of attack regarding his dedication to the country and referring to him as "visionless ineptitude and arrogant". The line works for many in the base, but remains largely seen as too personal by moderates and independents. This speech is also largely devoid of policy, as it remains almost entirely focused on personal attacks rather than on refuting the President's positions on issues. And since the speeches both focus so much on process, it isn't a huge motivating issue until their lives are directly affected. The campaign appears to be ceding the policy debate entirely to Democrats by trying to rally the base with a more attack-driven campaign. Merchant's first stump was given entirely in Florida, and focused on Social Security. But as I said in the last round, it isn't a popular position to raise the retirement age. And given the debate performance, people understand Moreno's position and argument but still disagree that changing the retirement plans for people in their 40s and 50s is the right answer. The second Merchant stump, given in the Rust Belt, was finally the first good speech. It remains vague, but it focuses on policy disagreements on the economy, highlights a big time tax cut promise, and hits on healthcare so the base remains happy. Needs more specifics, but it is the best stump of the four GOP speeches. The Davis surrogate was very good at advocating for a line between the two candidates that made Moreno look favorable, although it is still trapped in a process debate rather than a policy one. The DuBois surrogate was good, though a little hokey about Ron-the-Trucker. Overall, the round was overly focused on process, not policy, and it gives the distinct impression that Moreno would prefer a government shutdown over a CR. It's an odd choice to dedicate a whole round to the errors of the Continuing Resolution, and one that didn't really connect with a lot of issues voters. But partisans loved it. 

 

With Bennett finally joining the Wilder campaign on the trail, the campaign appeared to finally shrug off its issues with sluggish starts. The LeClavers talking points focused largely on bills he has signed into law, which were largely not advocated for by the WH, such as the rural internet investment. It also hits strong on education, especially with funding and debt relief. The best lines were the powerful condemnation of Moreno's Social Security plan and championing his many infrastructure bills that Moreno didn't support. The advertisement in Pennsylvania is brutal, attacking Moreno on Social Security more, alongside the ad in NC/VA/GA. The ads are both a bit too long, so they lost impact, but were strong attack ads focused on policy. The second ad needed substance on what LeClavers plans to do differently.  The first LeClavers stump focused heavily on economics, given across Michigan and Pennsylvania. Good use of specific policy, and good positive campaigning over what the President will do. However, there are several unforced errors, such as people working "four full time jobs", which just sounds preposterous. It also appears much to willing to admit the administrations own mistakes and shortcomings, making it difficult to be enthusiastic when the candidate it telling you he has already failed to this point. The second stump is even better, giving a lot more to the Progressive base and moving away from moderates some. It strikes a good balance, though the choices of state may not have been the best for a speech that highlights college students, African Americans, and Women a great deal. Bennett, finally attending the campaign, gave a very odd and meme-worthy speech in his first stump. With lines like "Folks, turns out the natural world is pretty cool", the VP made himself to be a bit of an oddball that has issues connecting with people. It's vain attempts to apply nicknames like "Micro Minded Moreno" missed the mark entirely. The speech has some specific policy, such as on green energy, but the style is simply odd. The second stump was better, though it was very non-specific on information. But at least it shed all of the odd phrasing and personal attack nicknames. The Clayborne surrogate was an A+, as it paints both Republicans as extremists on key issues. The Williams surrogate was a little short, and should have been focused more in his home state for higher impact, but it did draw a clear line on education for moderates and liberals to get on board with. Overall, LeClavers was brought down by his VP but had a strong round on policy. 

 

The election cycle has been defined by a few issues thanks to the campaigns: Social Security, the Budget, the Economy, Education, and Immigration. Not all of these are winners for each campaign, and so avoiding talking about losing issues is as much about winning as convincing people is. 

 

*Polling includes Debate Impact*

 

BRog7.png

Within 2% = Grey

2-6% = Lean

>6% = Safe

 

While Moreno has a lead in several swing states, they are all slim. If the election were to be held with these poll numbers, Moreno would win 136 electoral votes by 2% or less, allowing him to win the Electoral College. But while he has focused heavily in the Big Four, he has allowed two key states in his flank, AZ and GA, to each have their leads erased completely. LeClavers, for all of his moves to keep the map open to him, has ground to make up in several states, especially now that he has lost his lead in Michigan.

The next round will be just as much about strategy as it is about good maps. 

 

National 

LeClavers (D) 46.2%

Moreno (R) 45.8% 

 

Arizona 

LeClavers (D) 45.1%

Moreno (R) 46.1%

 

Colorado

LeClavers (D) 46.4% 

Moreno (R) 45.3% 

 

Florida 

LeClavers (D) 46.2%

Moreno (R) 46.5%

 

Georgia

LeClavers (D) 46.0%

Moreno (R) 46.9%

 

Iowa

LeClavers (D) 48.8%

Moreno (R) 44.8%

 

Maine

LeClavers (D) 46.1%

Moreno (R) 46.0%

 

Maine 1st Congressional District 

LeClavers (D) 49.4%

Moreno (R) 44.3%

 

Michigan 

LeClavers (D) 46.2%

Moreno (R) 46.5%

 

Minnesota

LeClavers (D) 48.5%

Moreno (R) 44.3%

 

Nevada  

LeClavers (D) 46.3%

Moreno (R) 45.6%

 

New Hampshire

LeClavers (D) 46.4%

Moreno (R) 46.1%

 

New Mexico

LeClavers (D) 48.8%

Moreno (R) 45.6%

 

North Carolina 

LeClavers (D) 45.7%

Moreno (R) 46.1%

 

Ohio 

LeClavers (D) 45.5% 

Moreno (R) 46.8%

 

Pennsylvania

LeClavers (D) 46.3%

Moreno (R) 46.9%

 

Tennessee 

LeClavers (D) 42.6%

Moreno (R) 47.1%

 

Virginia 

LeClavers (D) 46.6%

Moreno (R) 46.2%

 

http://www.270towin.com/maps/BRog7

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2020 Vision: Early Profiles of Potential Candidates

P20170614JB-0303-2-1920x720.jpg

 

Beginning this Friday and continuing over the course of this week, RealClearPolitics will be releasing a daily profile of potential 2020 presidential candidates. Our profiles will consist of expert analysis, sit down interviews, and quotes from both colleagues and the candidates themselves. With campaign announcements less than a year off, the early jostling and positioning has already begun. RCP brings you this series of profiles, starting with the Democrats on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, followed by the Republicans on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and next Friday. Today, we give you our overall analysis of the Democratic Party's chances and our first profile.

 

The Impending Civil War

The Progressive-Blue Dog Divide Emerges in the Democratic Party

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     It was only a year ago that the Democratic Party was riding high off their victory in the presidential election. With their electoral map expanding to the south, losses in the Midwest appeared meaningless and of diminishing concern. For the first time since 1992, Georgia turned blue as the Democrats held Virginia and recaptured North Carolina. But a year later, the emergence of the Blue Dog Democrats appears to have been met with firm resistance from the progressive wing of the party. Today, the Democratic Party appears divided between the third-way ‘New Democrats’ of the south and the traditional progressive voters on the coasts and cities of the country. “The current dichotomy within the Democratic Party is serious. Albeit unlikely, it would not completely surprise me if 2020 feels like 1968 with a clash of the more moderate elements of the party and the vocal activist base,” said Larry J. Sabato in a recent interview. “You have Senator Jackson Clay and President Baudin potentially running from the center. Meanwhile, you have progressive darlings Osiris Storm and Senator Kamaka N. Nikolao representing a more diverse base of traditional liberals and minorities.The early teaser trailer for the 2020 Democratic primaries appears to already be promising us plenty of drama to look forward to.”

 

For our first individual of consideration and examination, we decided to sit down and discuss U.S. Senator Osiris Storm. 

 

 

Democratic Profile #001: OSIRIS STORM

U.S. Senator from New York

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Current Position: U.S. Senator from New York

Age in 2020: 49

 

Analysis: Having already served as White House Chief of Staff and now sitting as the United States Senator from New York, Osiris Storm brings the most experience of his potential adversaries to the table. But that is not what matters most to his base of supporters who have rallied around him for the numerous stands he’s taken on matters of civil rights, education reform, and criminal justice reform. Storm has already won over the passionate support of many left wing activists, young people, and minorities; hugely important demographics for the Democratic primaries. If anyone has a remote shot at replicating Barack Obama’s success at turning out the black and Latino vote in 2008, it may very well be Osiris Storm. What’s more, despite his notorious left-leaning views, Senator Storm has shown the capacity to reach across the aisle on reforming the education system and fighting recidivism and mass incarceration.

 

However, for as much as the progressive wing of his party loves him and how well he has worked with Republicans, there may be an army of enemies standing in his way. Described by one anonymous former colleague as a “self-serving son of a b*tch”, Osiris Storm has drawn the ire of many in his party for his past opposition to confirming Senator Marc Baudin as vice president. Another colleague of his criticized him for choosing to endorse Jackson Clay in the 2016 primaries instead of his old boss Harrison LeClavers who he had previously served as Chief of Staff. Furthermore, Storm's experience may not be a positive for him in the end. "Storm has White House experience, which is unique among 2020 hopefuls. But it may be more of a drag than a help going forward,” added Ben Anderson, RCP political guru.

 

When contacted and asked about his potential candidacy in 2020, his office was surprisingly candid about his interest in running. "Senator Storm has been exploring his options and is currently giving a lot of thought of running for Presidency in 2020,” replied his press secretary. “He believes that there are a lot of changes that need to made in the White House, and is leaning toward running in 2020.”

When asked further about opinion of Harrison LeClavers prior to his resignation, Senator Storm himself personally commented: “As I strongly support many of the executive orders  President LeClavers has made during his first term, I am not very happy with his performance so far. I do not believe he has matched up to his full potential so far in the second term, but I am optimistic that this may just be a minor bump  and that he will be full of energy pass midterms"

 

Overall, Osiris Storm presents a unique and youthful pitch to progressives. He has the passionate support of minorities and progressive voters, but has entrenched opponents surrounding him. “He reminds me a bit of Bobby Kennedy back in 1968. If the entire election came down to the black, Latino, and young vote, he’d win in a landslide. But it may be very hard for him to win over the party establishment and Blue Dog voters,” said Larry J. Sabato. 

Regardless, Osiris Storm is a major player that everyone should watch over the next two years.

 

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2020 Vision: Early Profiles of Potential Candidates

Democratic Profile #002: JACKSON CLAY

U.S. Senator from Indiana

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      If only a couple hundred delegates swung in his favor a year and a half ago, we may discussing President Jackson Clay’s chances for reelection. Yet even with his narrow defeat in the 2016 Democratic primaries, Senator Jackson Clay of Indiana remains in prime territory to mount a second bid for the White House in 2020. The godfather of the Blue Dog movement, Jackson Clay is the voice of the Democratic Party’s southern bloc that helped propel Harrison LeClavers to victory last November. Most analysts agree that President LeClavers would have been at a debilitating disadvantage, running against the center-right Republican John Moreno, had Jackson Clay not set aside the divisions of the primary and rallied hard for the president in the general election. And now, while there are many obstacles or question marks on his path ahead, there is no doubt that Jackson Clay is going to be a major power player for several reasons.

 

First and foremost, even though President Baudin was scooped up from the Blue Dog Caucus by then-President LeClavers to be his appointee for the vice presidency, he does not command a fraction of Blue Dog reverence or respect that Jackson Clay receives. Jackson Clay and Marc Baudin may be similarly aligned in terms of their political beliefs and generic ideologies, but only Jackson Clay can tug on the emotional heartstrings of southern Democrats so effectively. He almost upset an incumbent president thanks to their fervor. There is a real possibility that the Blue Dog base may grow disenchanted with President Marc Baudin come 2020, a potentiality made more likely in light of the news that President Baudin will appoint a pro-choice vice president. If President Baudin loses his core Blue Dog constituency, there is a high chance he will be forced to step aside and allow new faces duke it out in the primary which would open a massive door for Jackson Clay to run.

 

So let’s speculate two different scenarios. The first being a primary without President Baudin and where Senator Clay squares off with Senator Osiris Storm. Unlike in 2016 where his name recognition understandably paled in comparison to President LeClavers, Jackson Clay would quite possibly have the upper hand in terms of recognizability. He’d also already have an established network of fundraisers and backers, not to mention the experience of already running four years previously. It would be the progressive, Senator Storm, who might possibly be running at a disadvantage in terms of organizational development and name recognition. However, there is one major question that would likely dog the Clay campaign: will there be Blue Dog fatigue? While an essential demographic to the general election strategy of the Democrats, they are still a rather new phenomenon in the grander scheme of Democratic Party politics. Will the activist base on the left, consisting of women, minorities, and labor, rebel against the Third Way liberals in a similar fashion to the rejection of Tony Blair and the “New Labour” agenda in 2007?

As for the second scenario, what if President Baudin were to jump into the race and faceoff against a field including Clay and Osiris Storm? “If we see a three way fight for the Democratic nomination between Baudin, Clay, and Storm, I think we’d likely see Baudin and Clay cannibalize each other and give Osiris Storm the nomination. The same would go if only Baudin or Clay got in the race and Storm had to fend off another progressive like Senator Kamaka N. Nikolao,” said Larry J. Sabato.

 

Ultimately, Jackson Clay is the dominant Blue Dog figure looming over the 2020 Democratic primaries. He is to be feared by both President Baudin and the opposing progressive forces within their party. He came within a stones throw of winning the 2016 nomination, and 2020 may very well be the year that Jackson Clay ascends to the presidency.

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2020 Vision: Early Profiles of Potential Candidates

Democratic Profile #003: KAMAKA N. NIKOLAO

U.S. Senator from Hawaii

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No president or vice president has ever come from the 49th or 50th states admitted to the union. But Hawaii does have a shot at landing one of their own in the Oval Office. Honolulu may be 4,000 miles away from D.C., but their Senator Kamaka Nikolao may be closer to the presidency than most think. Although not a dominant public figure on stage of political theater, Nikolao has earned the trust and support of progressives and is well liked in most circles of the Democratic Party. Today, we examine Senator Nikolao and his chances for the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.

 

When examining the landscape of the Democratic Party’s internal politics, Senator Nikolao clearly lands on the progressive wing of the DNC. Although not as visible or well known as Senator Osiris Storm, his liberal credentials are unimpeachable in terms of his voting record and public stances. If Nikolao decides to run in 2020, he will undoubtedly be campaigning from a position on the left and will be jostling with Senator Osiris Storm for votes from the activist base. And while it is unlikely that he would begin as the frontrunner, Nikolao may have fewer bombshells or tripwires lying in his path than Senator Storm. For instance, while Storm will undoubtedly face skepticism for his controversial decision to endorse Blue Dog Democrat Jackson Clay in 2016 instead of his former progressive boss, President LeClavers, Nikolao has a clean slate in that regard and can pillory the New York Senator for his past allegiances. Furthermore, Nikolao may have far fewer enemies within Democratic leadership than Storm. “People either hate Storm with a passion or love Storm with fierce loyalty,” said one former Democratic colleague. “But with Nikolao, there is near universal respect, if not love or disgust. If Storm is your five alarm bowl of chili with ghost pepper hot sauce, then Nikolao is the chicken noodle soup in the kitchen. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone hates it. But there is more universal acceptance and support.”

 

However, that is not to say that Senator Kamaka Nikolao is without his warts. While other potential candidates like Storm and Senator Jackson Clay have been dominating the airwaves for months, Senator Nikolao has been very quiet in comparison. While it may help keep his name clean of partisan battles, it does set him at a severe disadvantage for the starting gate should his relative silence continue up until the point of announcing a campaign. “Name recognition is everything, which is why you see so many politicians visit states like Iowa and New Hampshire, attend CPAC and Netroots, and push their message and agenda out there,” said Larry J. Sabato. “If Nikolao is going to entertain a run for the White House in 2020, now is the time to start stumping for fellow Democrats and using his press office as a stepladder towards greater notoriety and recognition.”

Also, Nikolao would enter the race at a supreme geographical disadvantage. While Senator Storm hails from the delegate rich state of New York and Senator Clay owns the south and portions of the midwest, Senator Nikolao’s home state of Hawaii would provide virtually no advantage for the young politician in a primary. As a matter of fact, one could even argue it would be a disadvantage as both Alaska and Hawaii are in many ways their own countries. Sarah Palin’s emergence on the national stage in 2008 displayed perfectly the numerous differences between mainland Americans and citizens who call the 49th and 50th states their home. It could be extremely difficult for Senator Nikolao, who grew up on the sandy, sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii, to connect with the blue-collar factory workers and rural voters in states like Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

 

All that being said, however, Nikolao is a real possibility to win the Democratic nomination in 2020. His clearest path to the nomination would likely come in the path of a four way race of President Baudin, Senator Storm, Senator Clay, and Senator Nikolao. While all three of his opponents are controvrsial in their own unique regard, Nikolao could separate himself as the clear consensus candidate an someone who can unite the party. In many ways, a 2020 Nikolao campaign might take a similar pathway to the nomination that another former president took. Warren Harding arrived at the 1920 Republican National Convention as a dark-horse, but ended up winning in light of the severe discontentment with the frontrunners and the desire for an acceptable candidate. And Nikolao, without question, already has a better resume than the one-term Senator Harding had amassed at the time. By the time 2020 has rolled around, the only acceptable option with a shot of receiving the full support of the party just might by Kamaka Nikolao. “It’s still early, but keep an eye on this guy,” said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. “He’s not a frontrunner at the moment, but he may very well be the one carrying the banner of the Democratic Party come August, 2020.”

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2020 Vision: Early Profiles of Potential Candidates

Democratic Profile #003: MARC BAUDIN

U.S. Senator Vice President President of the United States

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No incumbent president has ever started with worse positioning heading into a potential primary campaign than Marc Baudin. While economic indicators and foreign news do not indicate electoral disaster, the stark ideological differences and controversies between President Baudin and the Democratic Party have handicapped him. While the primary is still two years away, President Baudin begins at a supreme disadvantage relative to most other incumbents. Today, we will look at why President Baudin is already in trouble and how he may potentially be able to rise and seize the mantle of leadership in the Democratic Party to become the nominee in 2020.

 

No story has dominated the political airwaves more over the last few months or better symbolized the divisions within the Democratic Party than the debate over then-President Harrison LeClavers’ nomination of Marc Baudin for the vice presidency. It split the Senate, but more worrisome exposed ruptures in the fabric of the Democratic Party. While most Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats expressed support for the confirmation of Marc Baudin, the progressive wing of the Senate came out in force to oppose the Ohio Senator on the grounds of his staunch pro-life views among other issues. Among those who expressed alarm at Baudin’s nomination was progressive powerhouse Osiris Storm who poses perhaps the greatest threat to the president’s renomination in 2020. It is undeniable that Baudin’s confirmation passed without the endorsement or even tepid support of the liberal base of the Democratic Party and he has a mountain to climb in terms of gaining their trust. “The progressive base does not like him or trust him,” said Larry J. Sabato. “Not even Jimmy Carter was viewed this skeptically by the left during his administration.”

That is not to say that President Baudin has not already tried to mend fences with the left, but so far it has come across as superficial and received a lukewarm response from the progressive inner-circles of the Democratic Party. A C-SPAN report, prior to Senator Brink’s nomination for the vice presidency, revealing that Baudin would tap a pro-choice vice president was met with some mockery. “This president thinks we can be bought off with a second-in-command puppet. We won’t be fooled,” declared Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

 

If Baudin elects to run for a full four year term in 2020, he will need to get to work now building a progressive record. Most pundits and analysts agree that it is probably a pointless fight trying to win over the pro-choice vote. “There is next to nothing that President Baudin can do to convince the Lena Dunhams of the world to back him in 2020. They’re not deciding between Baudin and someone else. They’re deciding between Osiris Storm and Kamaka Nikolau,” said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. “However,” he added, “there does remain the labor unions, the midwesterners, the Blue Dogs, rural Americans, and emerging southern Democrats out there. There is a clear array of constituencies for the president to piece together for a 2020 run and win. It’s going to take a ton of work both in the legislature and in the media circles. But I see a path forward to victory.”

Baudin, hailing from the Midwest, would potentially have an advantage at making inroads with the powerful labor unions and their base of voters in delegate rich states like Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. He also would have a solid leg to stand on in the south with Blue Dogs. Assuming Senator Jackson Clay of Indiana decides not to run in 2020 or loses his senate seat in 2018, Baudin would be the Blue Dog favorite and have a firm hold on their support relative to Storm or Nikolao. Furthermore, President Baudin has as good of a shot as anyone at winning over rural voters in states like Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, and the Dakotas.

“I highly doubt that Baudin would enter 2020 with a lead in primary states like California, New York, and Massachusetts. But if he came in there with possession over the midwest, south, and heartland, he’d be in a good position to hang onto the White House,” said Larry J. Sabato. “Again, a lot of this is hypothetical and there a million ways this outcome does not happen. Baudin is not remotely in this position yet. But there is a path forward for him to get there.”

 

It will be interesting to observe President Baudin’s political maneuvering in the coming months. By next January, it is very likely that we will know where #48 is a serious contender or a lame duck to be replaced. All of D.C. will keep its eyes on our young new president as the pieces fall into place for the next presidential election.

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2020 Vision: Early Profiles of Potential Candidates

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GOP: Wide Open Spaces

Plenty of New Faces for High Stakes Nomination; No Clear Frontrunner

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      The White House may be in a prime position to switch hands in 2020. After five presidents in just ten years (Obama, Stevenson, Kline, LeClavers, Baudin), the American people are growing tired of the constant turnover. The emerging divisions in the Democratic Party could result in its most costly primary battle since Kennedy-Carter in the 1980s. And the #SendThemBack movement appears to have fizzled out and lost its relevancy after giving the GOP and 2016 nominee John Moreno a litany of headaches in the last primary. Most of the factors and indicators suggest 2020 has the potential to be a historic year for the Republican Party. But with no clear frontrunner and a perception of partisanship handicapping the Senate and House GOP, the Republicans are far from being in the ideal position to exploit the Democratic dysfunction and infighting. There is a deep field of unique candidates available, all of them new with no carryover candidates from the 2016 primary, but none of whom have taken a commanding lead or presence in the party. Each brings their own strengths as well as a litany of weaknesses. It's a wide open field for the Republican presidential primary in 2020; anyone's ballgame for the honors to take back the White House. 

 

 

Republican Profile #001: DIEGO ZAMORA

U.S. Senator from New Mexico

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If the Republicans are looking to shed their growing reputation of partisanship, there may be no better choice than Senator Diego Zamora. One of the most surprising moments of the 115th Congress was Senator Zamora and progressive lion Osiris Storm proposing a bipartisan education reform proposal. He has been one of the few Republicans who has not appeared as an ideologue over the last few months and is quickly accumulating support and respect from the center-right and moderate elements of the electorate that are disenchanted with the hardline conservatives within the GOP. However, while Diego Zamora may be the ideal general election candidate in terms of appealing to an electorate weary of the divisiveness, he faces a gauntlet of hurdles and obstacles in his path to winning the nomination in 2020.

 

First and foremost, Diego Zamora is not popular among the Tea Party and activist base. One could argue he is even more unpopular with that crowd than Moreno in 2016 or even Mitt Romney in 2012. Many leftover members of the #SendThemBack movement and the Tea Party caucus blame then-Senate Majority Leader Zamora’s leadership as the reason for the party losing the Senate and the presidency in the last election. “We don’t need another blue-state Republican elitist as our nominee,” said Sarah Palin during a Facebook Live session. “Zamora is just another cooky moderate without a spine.”

Furthermore, one could argue that Zamora begins at an even greater disadvantage than Moreno or Romney. While Moreno and Romney were certainly closer to the center than their respective opponents (Williams in 2016, Santorum and Gingrich in 2012), both boasted unique advantages in their campaigns that appear to have evaded Zamora to this point. Moreno benefited from the Williams campaign repeatedly shooting itself in the foot while Romney benefited from a conservative base that could not coalesce around a candidate for more than a few weeks at a time, bouncing around between Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and ulimately Santorum. If Zamora runs, there may be more than enough space for two or even three conservatives to credibly challenge him. “Moreno and Romney were not hardline conservatives, but they were both acceptable  enough to pigeonhole their conservative opponents. Zamora does not appear to have that advantage.”

Finally, for a party exhausted with losing after three straight losses in presidential contests, it may turn its nose at a senator who many (fairly or unfairly) hold responsible for losing the Senate. “It may be inaccurate or unjust to lay all the blame at Senator Zamora’s feet for the GOP losing the Senate in 2016, but it’s a prevalent  opinion among many Republicans,” said Larry J. Sabato.

 

So how can Diego Zamora shed the negative perceptions and seize the crown in 2020? For how complex of a problem it may be, there could be a very simple answer. “To be completely honest, if Zamora dominates the debate and wins Iowa and New Hampshire, it would immediately cast Zamora in a new light as a conservative fighter who can win,” said Nate Silver. “Remember, both Romney and Moreno struggled with the first few primary states. Although incredibly difficult, if Zamora were to begin campaigning now, secure Iowa and New Hampshire, and shore up his conservative credibility in the debates and townhalls, he could immediately vault himself into a commanding position in 2020.”

However, perhaps a more plausible and likely path forward for Zamora would be to begin building a legislative body of record that can satisfy the majority of conservatives, earn the trust of the corporate donor base and build a financial warchest through their support, and force the conservative wing of the party in a long drawn out primary battle. “If there is one thing that the Tea Party and the right has failed to do over the last ten years is demonstrate the capacity to nominate a credible conservative challenger who can last more than fifteen minutes of fame,” said Larry J. Sabato. “If I’m Diego Zamora, I prepare for a longhaul campaign and dare the right to find a candidate capable of going the distance. That is how I would go about running in 2020.”

 

If Diego Zamora can ultimately capture the Republican nomination, he may pose the best chance in the general election to recapture the White House. The Democratic Party is substantially weaker right now than they were in 2016. The turnover has taken its toll. And they’re bordering on civil war. Moreno came close last time. This cycle may the year and Zamora may be the guy to carry them across the finish line. But before he can get there, he must face a daunting array of challenges and obstacles that could block him reaching his goal.

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2018 Early Polling

((These were conducted largely on the evening of 8/21. Events today are not accounted for))

House Of Representatives
Democrats 34% (203 seats) 
Republicans 38% (232 seats) 

 

Indiana
Sen. Jackson Clay (D)* 40% 
Rep. Patricia Royce (R) 34%

 

Jackson Clay is a big name who has a harder race in front of him than you might consider for a leader in either caucus. Clay has been the target of national Republican attacks, and that is exactly what challenger Patricia Royce has shown as well, lambasting Clay in her announcement speech as a flip-flopper, a liberal, as ambitious. And Royce has signaled that her campaign is going to focus on economic issues like taxes and coal jobs. Clay has an overly broad platform that appears to be looking forward to 2020 and fail to provide his campaign with any specific direction, but it seems somewhat reactionary to the many callouts by Royce. Regardless, Clay is well liked as a moderate Democrat in his state, but the demographics appear to put him in a very precarious situation. Regardless, his early place on the campaign trail championing both victories and promises, and a significant advantage in name recognition, have given him an early lead despite the surprisingly high number of undecideds. 


New Mexico
Mayor Susana Diaz -Garcia (D) 39% 
AG Santiago Gutierrez
 (R) 41% 

 

Attorney General Gutierrez faces down with Santa Fe Mayor Diaz-Garcia in this matchup, which gives an early name-recognition advantage to Gutierrez. The NM AG has already hit the campaign trail, though the decision to focus his stump speech on immigration is an odd choice. With so many Hispanics and moderates in the state, the harder-line immigration decision landed on deaf areas for some, though it certainly excited the rural base in places like Sandoval county. The Gutierrez platform is very wide-ranging, hitting on a number of key issues for the libertarian-leaning population. However, it lacks a lot of specifics that will need to be explained on the campaign trail. Mayor Diaz-Garcia also has a fairly broad platform, defending MediChoice, advocating for clean energy, and promoting an E-Verify immigration system, among other issues. Some of these are going to be unpopular issues in the Land of Enchantment, and it remains to be seen how they play on the campaign trail. This race needs more campaigning from both candidates, as the race hasn't been defined and both sides are in a good place to push for a win. 


Ohio
AG Marcel Valentine Baudin (D) 38% 

Businessman John Miller (R) 39% 
 

The son of President Baudin versus the businessman. Republicans were excited for the chance to target this seat, especially with Marc Baudin in the White House and having lost incumbent advantage. But Marcel has proven to pitch himself to a more conservative electorate quite well. If one didn't know any better, they would say Attorney General Baudin's platform of free trade, of less government in schools, of curbing bureaucracy, and cutting taxes was a Republican. However, the dedication to an expanded Medicare-for-All system and the emphasis on unions have also endeared Baudin to the working class here. His platform is far from invulnerable however, as he faces some clearly problematic positions in a state that is known for being more rural than similar like Pennsylvania. Miller, on the other hand, appears to have carved out his place as the jobs candidate. His focus on protectionist trade policies, illegal immigration, traditional values, and repealing Obamacare have placed him firmly to the Right of Baudin and have placed him in a great position for a Republican victory. Ohio is not an easy state to campaign in, as the regional differences radically change preferences across the state, so the two campaigns have begun slowly as they determine where to emphasize their different strengths. 


Florida
Rep. Alessandro Nova (D) 38% 

Rep. Gordon Pierce (R) 35% 

 

Two US Congressmen square off for the seat held by Bill Nelson, and the race is beginning very slowly. Despite being a traditional target for big spending and big attention, neither campaign has been active on the early campaign trail and only Rep. Nova has put out a platform. The Nova platform includes an emphasis on universal healthcare, clean energy, Social security, and school vouchers. The platform is a bit of a mixed bag of popularity, but simply having one gives him an early advantage. This campaign will get a lot clearer once the campaigns hit the trail across Florida. 


North Dakota
State Sen. Mark Rounds (D) 33% 
Rep. Luke Zwick (R) 42% 

 

This campaign is going to perhaps be the toughest for Democrats to hold, as Zwick has already marched out to a big lead thanks to a strong early campaign round, the natural conservatism of the state, and the strong platform he's enjoying. Zwick's platform emphasizes tax cuts, limiting government spending, expanding the Ag department, immigration reform, and has a series of values-based issues. These are widely big hits, although there are some worries he is advocating a harder-line stance on some of these issues. On the campaign trail, strong speeches from John Saunders and George Maynard helped, and Zwick himself gave a strong, uniting speech in a series of rallies. However, Zwick's speech was very light on specifics, though it did help introduce him better to the state. The problem is that we've heard very little from Rounds, and his campaign has ground it can make up quickly with a strong effort forward. But if he continues the lackluster campaign, this may prove to be a blowout. 


Missouri

Jett Storm  (D) 39% 
Jack Edwards (R) 43% 

 

This is easily the most active race, as both candidates have expansive platforms and have ran strong events. Jack Edwards is running as a fairly standard-fare conservative, having little to offer outside of traditional conservative issues like abortion and running a strongly partisan campaign already. This works in a red state, and we see it reflected in the polling. The campaign has been a lot of red meat for the Evangelicals in Missouri, who very much like Edwards. On the other side of the race, Storm has an odd mix of both liberal positions like MediChoice and the increasing college grants. However, Storm has mixed in several right-wing policies like supporting the Keystone pipeline and rural infrastructure. Both campaigns have done well to target different groups within Missouri's electorate, but the natural conservative leaning of the state favors Edwards. However, his lead is far from secure. 

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2018 Early Polling

Indiana
Sen. Jackson Clay (D)* 42% 
Rep. Patricia Royce (R) 39%

 

Patricia Royce finally arrived on the campaign trail, but her decision to wait until (Saturday) has let Clay define this race. He has hammered away hard on the economy, specifically manufacturing and NAFTA. In particular, he's done a very good job pushing a largely positive agenda that has avoided the opportunity for partisanship that would alienate a lot of conservatives. However, he's been far from without mistakes, as Storm has no love in the state, though using him in the Chicago-adjacent Gary. The President, however, was a strong surrogate who did a lot of favors in a state where his pro-life credentials really help Clay. Royce continued on the negative campaigning, limiting the gains Clay could enjoy and helping give Republicans something to grasp onto. The major component was a TV ad that criticized Clay for flip-flopping on guns and blasting his NAFTA claims. If these criticisms become more common on the campaign trail, they could really begin to shift this back to its expected averages. Royce has done well helping define her campaign now, dropping her unknown factor in the state and building a bigger base, but she needs a more constant presence on the campaign trail to overtake a Clay campaign that is largely ignoring her. 

 

New Mexico
Mayor Susana Diaz -Garcia (D) 39% 
AG Santiago Gutierrez
 (R) 47% 

 

While Royce hit the campaign trail, Diaz-Garcia has not. This is quickly becoming a bloodbath, as Gutierrez has hit hard on the economy and on veterans. I am not going to spend much time on this race... But let's be clear, the Democrats better find their candidate if they expect to compete in the Southwest. 

 

Ohio
AG Marcel Valentine Baudin (D) 41% 

Businessman John Miller (R) 45% 
 

The massive infrastructure investment from John Miller, one that will cost a lot to maintain going forward, has been huge in expanding his lead. The campaign messaging itself between the two sides has been pretty even, with perhaps a slight advantage for Attorney General Baudin in his ability to begin to woo rural Iowans with clear messaging and advertisement purchases. Miller's primary issue has been NAFTA, purchasing an ad on the issue and running it in both talking points and his stump. This is a big issue for the state, but it is leaving many conservative groups unsure about Miller. Union workers, on the other hand, are taking Miller very seriously due to Baudin's inability to speak on their issues. Instead, Baudin has been winning rural voters. Ohio is turning out very oddly, as each candidate has made headway in their opponents' traditional strengths. 

 

Florida
Rep. Alessandro Nova (D) 44% 

Rep. Gordon Pierce (R) 42% 

 

Neither campaign was very active prior to (Saturday), but the activity has done both candidates wonders. Nova's campaign focused largely on the issues that moved Florida to Democrats two years ago in President LeClavers election. Running an ad that contrasted Nova to GOP promises two years ago, on raising the retirement age and changing Social Security, has reminded voters why they went blue two years ago. Combine that with targeting to retirees, and a strong stance on local issues like Hurricane readiness has given Nova a big lead in Florida. Pierce has done well winning over Cuban-Americans living in Florida, speaking directly to their issues. However, the Castro regime has become less and less important to younger Cubans, so its impact is largely generational. The talking points from the Pierce campaign have also been very focused on local issues, such as Hurricane Muriel's impact and social issues. Both sides are running VERY good campaigns, and while they both picked up a lot of support, its been close to evenly split between the two candidates. 


North Dakota
State Sen. Mark Rounds (D) 38% 
Rep. Luke Zwick (R) 46% 

 

Sen. Rounds has arrived, running center-right on the Keystone Pipeline and agricultural issues. It was a solid move, but with a lot of ground to make up, it just hasn't done much damage. President Baudin's surrogate did help quite a bit, but the surrogate from Rounds wasn't of the same quality as his opponent. Zwick didn't miss a beat, running one of the stronger campaign rounds in the last week and focusing heavily on experience and key issues for the state. With his opponent attempting to out-maneuver him on the military, he pushed his experience as a combat veteran and remained focused on the winning issues from early in the campaign. Rounds needs to find a way to differentiate himself in this campaign, to win voters away from Zwick, and to do so naturally. It is a big ask. 


Missouri

Jett Storm  (D) 42% 
Jack Edwards (R) 45% 

Storm has taken an odd approach to this election. He has both gone Left on issues that Missouri is strongly against him, and moved right on issues that hit Missouri pocketbooks. This race has taken an odd turn in response, as the Evangelical base of Missouri, an important group for Republicans in the state, has doubled down on Edwards while many rural, working class voters are responding to Storm. In their respective campaigns, they've each developed a strong base of support that could very well carry them to a victory. For Edwards, his approach to Evangelicals and rural voters have given him a fairly commanding lead in the center of the state, and has built a lot of excitement for conservatives. On the other hand, Edwards has almost no support among many independents as he has completely ignored them, allowing a Storm campaign that leaves them somewhat uncomfortable on issues like healthcare to have free reign in his approach to finding support. To add to that, Storm is building a massive base within Saint Louis and Kansas City, two cities with strong racial histories and very prominent liberal constituencies. Both campaigns could benefit from improved messaging and a renewed focus on Missouri, but especially Storm who faces an uphill battle in a state that usually votes for Republicans. 

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2018 Senate Polling

Indiana
Sen. Jackson Clay (D)* 44% 
Rep. Patricia Royce (R) 43%

 

Both candidates are largely focused on two key issues, taking different sides. The first is Medichoice, where Royce has gone completely negative on the issue, absolutely blasting Clay on an issue that lacks much support among Hoosiers. Clay has certainly worded his defense of the Medichoice policy in a more conservative way, focusing on the benefits to prescription drug prices and the potential corruption of Royce's position. However, Hoosiers simply don't support the policy, and it could spell big trouble for the Clay campaign. The second key wedge issue on the campaign trail has been NAFTA, something that Royce avidly supports and Clay opposes. This is a huge winner for Clay. The state has not had a good experience with the NAFTA free trade agreements, and the campaign rhetoric from Clay has put a huge burden on Royce. These two campaign issues have split the race down the middle, and are going to keep Clay supporters biting their nails. 

 

New Mexico
Mayor Susana Diaz -Garcia (D) 40% 
AG Santiago Gutierrez
 (R) 54% 

 

Still no Democrat on the campaign trail. Looks like a bloodbath. 

 

Ohio
AG Marcel Valentine Baudin (D) 43% 

Businessman John Miller (R) 46% 
 

Much of what I said in the last round is still applicable, in terms of policy and quality. Baudin appears overly focused on issues that aren't central to the state, such as language education, that are not wedge issues for voters. Miller is running a fairly far-right campaign, that is simply better funded than Baudin's and has hit a chord with Ohio voters. For both campaigns, the stump speeches need some improvement in flow and content, and the lack of advertisements has really limited the way the race is shaping up. This race is far from over, as there is a lot of space for Baudin to make up ground, but the campaign is becoming more difficult for him. 

 

Florida
Rep. Alessandro Nova (D) 45% 

Rep. Gordon Pierce (R) 45% 

 

This campaign remains very tightly contested. On the one hand, Nova has blanketed the state in stump speeches and has managed to build a very widespread name recognition and focusing on Science as a method of economic growth. Weirdly, Nova also targeted Cuban Americans in response to prior runs by Pierce, and took a position that dovetailed neatly with his opponent. Pierce, on the other hand, really began to hammer away on traditional conservative issues like the Right-to-Life, gun rights, and tax cuts. This has helped him even the race out, but it leaves a lot of independents worried about his positions. Nova has more popularity among independents, but his inability to draw out a strong campaign message on issues of real importance for many Floridians has left the undecideds column fairly large. 


North Dakota
State Sen. Mark Rounds (D) 39% 
Rep. Luke Zwick (R) 49% 

 

With no new moves by the Democrat, Zwick was able to extend his lead. 


Missouri

Jett Storm  (D) 44% 
Jack Edwards (R) 46% 

This campaign is starting to take a weird turn. On the one hand, Storm has continued to struggle to connect with the state, as he's running a little too far left on some issues and it is hurting him with certain constituencies. Add to that the odd advertisement that really failed to make much impact and the widely expansive spending that is sure to have to tune down this week, and you get one of the oddest people running for office. On the flip side, you have Jack Edwards, who while running on the right side on several issues has been given several F ratings on honesty in his campaign attacks that have blatantly ignored any semblance of anything his opponent has said or done on the campaign trail. And its hurting his support among the state's independents and has steeply dropped excitement among his own supporters. On stump speeches, Edwards has a distinct advantage that has helped him maintain a lead. But both campaigns seem to be hobbling through with several self-inflicted wounds. 

*Note: I read every campaign. Coloring your opponent as an extremist or negatively is a perfectly valid strategy. But it works when you write the opponents position for them, not when they have been open and clear about their positions and you ignore them* 

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