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Updated:
Sat. Aug 30, 2014
Senate
Republicans 51
Democrats 47
Independents 2
GOP +6
House
Republicans 232
Democrats 202
DEM +1
Governors
Republicans 28
Democrats 22
DEM +1
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November 4, 2014

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posted by Scott Elliott at 11:59am 09/01/14 :: link
Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue have held the title CEO, but in very different circumstances.  In their race for the open seat Georgia Senate election, both are trying to cast the other in a bad light because of their former executive position.  The Telegraph from Macon, GA notes their respective strategies.
Both candidates are political newcomers who see their business backgrounds as key to wooing independent voters in a race that has garnered national attention as Republicans seek control of the Senate.  The candidates also see an opportunity in attacking their opponent's business record as they look to the general election.
Nunn highlights her position's philanthropic efforts.
"David and I do have different real world experiences," Nunn said at a recent candidate forum. "I have an experience that has been about lifting people up over the last 26 years, building and growing organizations and getting things done for the people of Georgia in a collaborative way, a proven way of working across differences and party lines."
While Perdue touts his past experience dealing with the practical issues involved in running a private sector business and improving economic prospects.
"My issue isn't so much how she ran that organization," Perdue said. "It's just that that leadership does not prepare you, in my mind, to deal with issues we have in a free-enterprise system. I want to focus on why my background is more appropriate to lead in the Senate in regard to bringing economic and free-enterprise solutions to fix the problems that we have with the economy today."
This race continues to be a close battle - one of just two featuring seats currently held by Republicans (the Kentucky Senate race is the other).  Election Projection rates the contest a Weak GOP Hold with Perdue ahead at the moment by 2.8 points.
posted by Scott Elliott at 3:29pm 08/30/14 :: link
This actually makes sense.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown is calling on Congress to "immediately" pass legislation that would strip homegrown terrorists of their American citizenship.

Brown's request comes following a Washington Times report indicating that as many as 300 Americans are fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

"One of the greatest threats facing the homeland today is the mayhem that will happen when hundreds of American ISIS fighters return to the United States to spread their terror here," Brown said. "Their goal is to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and plant a flag at the White House, and mass killing is their means for achieving that goal... We need to keep our country safe by stopping these American ISIS fighters from re-entering the country."

Throwing your lot in with a group who has openly vowed to shed the blood of Americans should absolutely render your U.S. citizenship null and void.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:45pm 08/29/14 :: link
This one comes as a surprise to me.  The Boston Globe has released a poll showing Republican Charlie Baker ahead of Democrat Martha Coakley in the race for Massachusetts Governor.  This is just one poll and Massachusetts remains extremely liberal.  However, this race might be worth keeping a close eye on.  The primaries here aren't until September 9 - the final day of the 2014 primary season - but Coakley and Baker are heavily favored to prevail.

Point to note: Coakley was Scott Brown's opponent when he surprised the nation in January, 2010 by winning the open Senate seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and ushering in the Republican wave that year.  Perhaps she's headed toward a similar defeat in November.  Again, it's way too early to make any such predictions - especially in a state like Massachusetts.

Look for updated numbers this evening after I publish today's Election Projection.  Coakley will still be projected to win, but the race looks much closer than previously calculated.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:11pm 08/29/14 :: link
Scott Walker, tried and true political survivor, faces yet another stiff challenge in the 2014 Wisconsin governor election.  You may remember Walker's unprecedented electoral feat back in 2010 when he survived a gubernatorial recall election.

His political opponents are more resolved than ever to unseat the Republican in this bluish battleground state, and recent polling data indicates they have a decent chance of succeeding.  This week's survey published by Marquette University gives the incumbent 47%, two points less than his Democratic opponent, educator Mary Burke.  Rasmussen's poll from earlier this month put Walker one point ahead of Burke, but the average of the two pushes Burke into the lead and gives her a projected Weak DEM Gain in the race.

This flip is the second for Democrats in today's governor projections and brings the projected tally to 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats.  These numbers represent a net 1-seat gain for the blue team.

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:34pm 08/27/14 :: link
Yesterday, Republicans in Arizona settled on state Treasurer Doug Ducey to face Democrat Fred DuVal in the battle to replace term-limited Governor Jan Brewer (R).  Before the primary, Election Projection carried a preliminary projection of Mod GOP Hold for this race.  Now that the nominees are known, I've calculated an "official" projection that is based on actual polling data.

The only two polls I have found testing a Ducey-DuVal matchup are from early in the year.  Nevertheless, they are what I have to go on, so they'll have to do until other polls are conducted.  For the time being, the projection calculations land this race in Weak DEM Gain territory with DuVal projected to win by 1.5%.  My hunch is that DuVal's lead will last just long enough for a couple more polls to be released.  Despite Arizona's bright blue color on EP's 2014 governor election map, I view this race as Ducey's to lose.

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:04pm 08/27/14 :: link
Democrat John Barrow, congressman from Georgia's conservative 12th District, has made a career out of surviving close election battles.  This year his task will be no different.  Facing him is Republican nominee Rick Allen.  While they don't claim the same party, their first TV ads seem to tout their common foe - President Obama.

Allen's first ad attacks the President directly, without mentioning Barrow.

"Look at the mess Obama's made," Allen says.  "Veterans dying, ignored by the VA.  The crisis on our border.  His government can't even run a health-care website." The Augusta Republican goes on to say, "Yet, not a single bureaucrat's been fired and the career politicians are letting the president get away with it."
On the other side, Barrow does little to help out Obama.  Instead of a positive message about the President, his first ad takes exception to the administration's policies and questions Obama's leadership.
Barrow's newest ad, which began airing Thursday, shows the congressman at the Port of Savannah as he talks of battling the White House to help jumpstart a $706 million expansion of the port's busy shipping channel.

"When the Obama administration didn't put the funding to deepen the port in their budget, I took them on," Barrow says in the ad.  "And this year, we finally got it done."
[ ... ]
In remarks on the House floor, Barrow urged Obama "to lead, follow, or get out of the way."

Given the President's chronic poor approval numbers, many Democrats will be forced to run away from him this election campaign.  In a conservative district like GA-12, that tact will be especially important for Barrow.

Election Projection currently sees the incumbent retaining the seat with a Mod DEM Hold projection rating.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:35pm 08/26/14 :: link
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen took exception to Scott Brown's answer to a question on climate change at the GOP primary forum in New Hampshire on Saturday.  Brown is the likely GOP primary winner and thus Shaheen's likely general election opponent.
At a debate over the weekend, New Hampshire US Senate hopeful Scott Brown weighed in on climate change, later prompting a sharp response from Jeanne Shaheen, the senator he is hoping to unseat.

During the lightning round of a GOP primary forum on Saturday, the moderator asked: "Do you believe that the theory of manmade climate change has been scientifically proven?"

[] Brown said, "uh, no."

On Monday, Shaheen responded to a news story about Brown’s answer.  "Scott Brown is wrong.  Climate change is very real, and here in New Hampshire we are already seeing consequences," she said in a statement.

At this point, 2 weeks away from New Hampshire's September 9 primary, Shaheen is projected to keep the seat in Democratic hands.  The preliminary rating here at Election Projection is Strong DEM Hold.  That will likely change after the primaries are over and the official, poll-driven numbers are calculated.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:07pm 08/26/14 :: link
Last summer, the House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in an attempt to ban nationwide abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  The Democratic-led Senate has yet to bring the measure to a vote.  Pro-life groups have trained their criticism for the lack of a Senate vote on vulnerable Senate Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina.
The Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life of America, Family Research Council Action, and Concerned Women for America are launching a multi-state "Summer of life" tour this week that will take aim at Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and aim to bring awareness to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would curb abortions after 5 months.
All three are locked in tough re-election battles.  Election Projection currently numbers the Arkansas Senate and North Carolina Senate elections among six projected GOP takeovers on the 2014 Senate map.  The Colorado Senate election is a close one as well, currently listed as a Weak DEM Hold.
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:44pm 08/26/14 :: link
The strongest GOP challenger emerged victorious from last week's Senate primary battle in Alaska.  Dan Sullivan, former Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner, triumphed by eight points over his nearest Republican opponent.  Surprisingly, the runner-up was not Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell as primary polls had predicted.  Instead, Joe Miller, who famously defeated Senator Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary only to lose to her write-in campaign in the general election, came in second.

Treadwell only managed a distant third with less than a quarter of the vote.  Miller's performance left some on the left wondering if they missed an opportunity to help the controversial maverick get the nomination.  Pre-primary polls indicate Democratic incumbent Mark Begich would have had an easy time against Miller.

But that won't be the matchup on the ballot in November.  Sullivan's name will be there, not Miller's.  And that makes the path to re-election considerably more challenging.  Right now, the Alaska Senate election is projected to go to Begich by a 4.8% margin, largely due to last month's CBS News/NYT/YouGov survey putting him comfortably ahead.  The last two polls, however, one from Public Policy Polling (Begich +4) and Rasmussen (Sullivan +2) paint a truer picture, I believe, of the race's competitiveness.

Despite Alaska's lean to the right, Begich will not be an easy target for Republicans.  The balance of power in the Senate very well could rest with the outcome on the Last Frontier.  With Sullivan as the GOP standard bearer, Republicans have their best chance at victory, and I expect this contest will become more and more exciting as Election Day approaches.

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:23pm 08/25/14 :: link
On Tuesday, the Iowa Senate election flipped from blue to red, giving Republicans a critical sixth projected takeover in the Senate.  Since no polls have been released lately, I feel an explanation is in order.

Before Tuesday's update, there was a fault in my calculations pertaining to the age of polls used.  Instead of measuring currency from the last date of the poll, I had erroneously been using the first day.  This led to the inclusion of older polls in the numbers that should not have been used.  In the case of the Iowa Senate race, correcting the error left out a Quinnpiac poll from mid-June that should have long been removed.  And since the poll showed Democrat Bruce Braley ahead by 4 over Republican Joni Ernst, removing it shifted the projected result from Braley +1.0 to Enrst +0.5.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:09am 08/21/14 :: link
This article was published on Monday, August 11 on PJMedia.com.  It has been edited for currency

A lot of focus this election season is trained on the battle for Capitol Hill.  And rightly so, with the majority in the Senate up for grabs and Democrats hoping to avoid another harmful midterm election in the House.  But there are also a host of gubernatorial battles being waged this year.  In fact, the midterm elections every four years mark a bonanza of statehouse contests.  Thirty-six of the nation's fifty states will be choosing their chief executive this November.

In 2010, the last midterm election, thirty-seven gubernatorial elections produced a staggering 17 partisan takeovers - 11 by Republicans, 5 by Democrats, and Independent Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.  Add to that count several states in which sitting governors were term-limited, decided against running for reelection or lost their primary, and you have a remarkable statistic.  Twenty-six states - over half the states in the country - welcomed a new governor in 2011.

So do we have the same kind of shakeup in store in 2014?  Probably not, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of interesting and competitive races to enjoy this year.

Here's a look at a baker's dozen of states which have at least a decent chance of electing a governor from a different party on Election Day.  I've ranked them and categorized them according to their level of vulnerability.

Easy Pickup (1 Republican)

  • 1.  Pennsylvania - Republican Tom Corbett is struggling mightily under approval ratings that make President Obama's numbers look enviable.  Former Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf is the prohibitive favorite to earn the takeover.

Lean Toward Takeover (2 Democrats)

  • 2.  Arkansas - If Democrat Governor Mike Beebe were free to run for a third term, this race would not be on this list.  As it turns out, however, he is term-limited, and the door is open for a Republican to win the statehouse this year in this ever-reddening state.  Asa Hutchinson, former congressman, is the GOP nominee.  All three polls taken recently give him leads ranging from 3 to 6 points over Democrat Mike Ross, another former congressman.
  • 3.  Hawaii - Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie had a treacherous re-election path ahead of him.  First, he had to contend with a strong primary challenge from state Senator David Ige.  Then, had he survived, he would have faced a daunting three-way race with Mufi Hannemann, former Democratic Mayor of Honolulu, siphoning off votes as an independent.  But he didn't survive that primary challenge, and now it is Ige who will have a hard time holding this seat for Democrats.  That's because the Republican nominee, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, is ahead in the polls.  Despite Hawaii's very deep blue hue, Aiona appears well-positioned to earn the governorship.

True Toss-up (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

  • 4.  Illinois - Polls give Republican Bruce Rauner the lead here, but Governor Quinn has a history of finding a way to come out on top.  And deep blue Illinois is not the best place for a Republican, even in gubernatorial races.  Though Rauner currently leads in the polls, I'm not confident in his chances.  One reason: Polls put Republican Bill Brady almost five points ahead of Quinn in 2010.  Quinn won by 0.5%.
  • 5.  Maine - Republican Paul LePage, like Neil Abercrombie, faces a three-way race in his reelection bid this year.  But that's not unusual in a state that has given at least 20% of the gubernatorial vote to an independent in all but one election since 1994.  Democratic Congressman Michael Michaud is LePage's biggest threat, however.
  • 6.  Florida - This race is probably the most visible, anticipated and important statehouse election on this year's slate.  Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who ran for the Senate as an independent after losing the 2010 GOP Senate primary to Marco Rubio, later switched to the Democratic Party.  He is now challenging Republican Rick Scott for a ticket back to the Governor's Mansion.  In a major battleground state, this race is truly a toss-up.
  • 7.  Connecticut - Democrat Dan Malloy won the statehouse here in 2010 by less than one point over Republican Tom Foley.  One word tells why this race is on this list in 2014 - rematch.  Connecticut is a blue state to be sure, but Foley's likely nomination gives Democrats a headache in the Nutmeg State.  The latest polls put Foley in the lead, further illustrating Malloy's difficult road ahead.  This one will be close again.
  • 8.  Michigan - In 2010, Republican Rick Snyder capitalized on term-limited Governor Jennifer Granholm's poor approval ratings to score an open seat gubernatorial takeover.  Four years later, Snyder must contend with sub-par approval himself as he faces a strong challenge from former Congressman Mark Schauer.

Lean Toward Hold (4 Republicans, 1 Democrat)

  • 9.  Wisconsin - Scott Walker famously survived a recall election in 2012 by a slightly larger margin than he first gubernatorial win in 2010.  In 2014, the Republican faces another challenge in this Democratic-leaning battleground state.  Educator Mary Burke is the likely Democratic nominee.  Polls show Walker and Burke locked in a very close battle.  Two surveys were released in July.  One gave Walker a one-point lead.  The other had Burke up by the same margin.
  • 10.  Kansas - Even though it is a deep red state, Kansas has a propensity for Democratic governors.  Half of the chief executives elected here since 1966 have been Democrats.  So, it's not terribly surprising to see this race on the competitive list.  What is surprising is that Sam Brownback, who has won two senate races and the 2010 gubernatorial race by an average margin of 36 points, is the vulnerable incumbent.
  • 11.  Georgia - Republican Governor Nathan Deal hopes Georgia's conservative tilt will overcome the name recognition of his Democratic opponent Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.  Deal must also overcome the pall of scandal which clouds further his reelection prospects.  For now, he maintains the upper hand, but this race might become a full-fledged toss-up before too long.
  • 12.  Colorado - Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper enjoyed comfortable leads against a crowded Republican field throughout the primary season.  Recently, however, now that Colorado Republicans have settled on former Congressman Bob Beauprez, he has fallen back into a very close battle.
  • 13.  New Mexico - Republican Susana Martinez made history four years ago becoming the first female Hispanic governor in U.S. history.  This year, she's facing a tough reelection battle against New Mexico Attorney General Gary King.  Though she still enjoys a "Likely R" label from Charlie Cook, a recent Rasmussen poll shows her exactly tied with King, 43-43.

As things currently stand, Election Projection is projecting Republicans to pick up Arkansas, Hawaii and Illinois and Democrats to gain Florida, Maine and Pennsylvania.  That works out to a net change of zero.  However, with so many very close gubernatorial contests out there, I'm sure the map will be in constant flux between now and Election Day.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:37pm 08/18/14 :: link
The passing of this week's primaries has produced a couple of party switchers in today's Governor projection summary.  But since the parties are the beneficiaries of one switch each, the projected statehouse count remains at 29 Republicans and 21 Democrats.  Four projected pickups by Democrats are offset by the same number of projected GOP pickups.

Today's changes come from Wisconsin and Connecticut.  Republican incumbent Scott Walker is in a tie with Democratic nominee Mary Burke, a Madison educator, for Wisconsin's top job.  As the challenger, Burke gets the benefit of the tie due to EP's tie-breaking policy for Senate and gubernatorial races.

In Connecticut, Republican Tom Foley seems to be having a better go of it this time in his rematch with incumbent Democratic Dan Malloy - at least according to a scant number of recent polls.  The only poll taken since early May in this race is part the suspect CBS News/NYT/YouGov set from last month.  It showed Foley up by 7 points.

posted by Scott Elliott at 5:44pm 08/14/14 :: link
I haven't posted anything in a few days, but that doesn't mean that things aren't happening on the election front.  By way of a programming note, the projections here are updated six days a week, even if I don't include a write-up.  That said, I do have some catching up to do.

Hawaii Governor loses primary
Perhaps the most noteworthy event of the last week came out of Thursday's primary election in Hawaii.  Incumbent Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie, who I had projected to lose pretty badly to Republican nominee Duke Aiona, Jr., was also losing in the primary polls to Hawaii state Senator David Ige.  The polls proved accurate and Abercrombie is headed out, soundly whipped by a 2-1 margin.

Now that Abercrombie is out and Ige is in, tomorrow's update will include numbers for the Aiona-Ige matchup.  A quick look at the Hawaii governor polls shows Aiona in front of Ige as well, albeit with a smaller advantage.  So the Hawaii governor election projection should stay red on the governor map, barring a fresh poll to the contrary.

Margins of victory at a click of the mouse
I've added a new feature to the summary pages here at Election Projection.  You can now click as directed on the Senate, House and Governor summary pages to see the projected margins of victory for all the races I'm tracking.  Currently there are several Senate and gubernatorial races which haven't finalized party nominees.  Margins of victory will be added as tracking comes online for them.

Congressional generics erase recent rating changes
The aggregate congressional preference polling average moved toward the Democrats today with the release of Rasmussen's latest.  Even though Ras still gives Republicans a 1-point edge, the new poll replaced a Rasmussen survey which showed Republicans up by 4.  As a result, several of the rating changes favoring the GOP which we saw last Monday have reverted to their previous, more Democratic, level.

Primaries on top tomorrow
Three states, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin, will be holding primary elections tomorrow, and one, South Dakota, will vote in a primary runoff.  After that, there will be just nine states remaining on the primary schedule for 2014.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:46pm 08/11/14 :: link
The big election news today comes out of Big Sky country.  Interim Senator John Walsh has decided to withdraw from the 2014 Montana Senate election.  Walsh, who was appointed to the Senate after Max Baucus left the seat to become U.S. Ambassador to China back in February, cited the distraction of a plagiarism scandal as the reason for his decision.
Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he is pulling out of the Senate race because his campaign was distracted by the controversy over allegations that he plagiarized a U.S. Army War College research paper.

Walsh, a Democrat, said he decided to drop out of the race.  He had canceled campaign events this week as he and his family discussed what he would do.

His exit has the potential to turn a cakewalk into a toss-up.  Republican Steve Daines has led Walsh in the polls all along.  Election Projection's current projection give Daines a Strong GOP Gain, putting him ahead by 13.7%.

That projection is now very much in limbo.  No doubt all eyes will look to see what former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer.  My hunch is that since he didn't enter the race when Baucus stepped down, he probably won't jump in now.  However, if he did decide to run, this race would immediately become a toss-up.  If he doesn't, Democrats could still make a competitive bid to keep this seat by coaxing sitting Governor Steve Bullock to announce.

Until the dust settles, the projection will stay where it is here at EP.  But, I for one, will be waiting with great anticipation to see who steps up to face Daines.

Update:  Schweitzer was quick to decline the chance to run.  From his Twitter account:

I respectfully decline to seek the Senate nomination.  Many thanks to John Walsh & I'll support whoever the next nominee turns out to be.
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:45pm 08/07/14 :: link
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