News from the Votemaster
With the end of voting in Alaska yesterday, there are no more primaries left in competitive states, except maybe New Hampshire, where Scott Brown is the strong favorite to be the Republican nominee. It hardly matters who wins the upcoming Republican primaries in Delaware, Masschusetts, and Rhode Island on Sept. 9, since the Democratic incumbent will coast to an easy victory in November. Up until now it was impossible to track the Senate state by state because we didn't know who the key nominees were. As soon as the Alaska vote has been fully counted, we will know, so daily tracking with the interactive map will begin in a few days.
There is one key "primary" that will not happen until Nov. 4: Louisiana. Technically, the election on Nov. 4 in Louisiana is just a multiparty primary, with the top two finishers facing a runoff on Dec. 6, unless one candidate gets 50% of the vote in the primary, which seems unlikely. Probably Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) will face off in the runoff. Where possible, we will try to use polling data for the runoff and ignore the other primary candidates, since none of them have a chance to make the runoff. It is entirely possible that control of the Senate will hinge on the Dec. 6 runoff, in which case all television programming in the state of Louisiana will be preempted for 5 weeks in favor of bitter attack ads 24/7.
One point is worth mentioning now. There are special elections in Oklahoma (due to the impending retirement of Sen. Tom Coburn to fight cancer), South Carolina (due to the resignation of Jim DeMint to run the Heritage Foundation), and Hawaii (due to the death of long-time senator Daniel Inouye). Unfortunately, the software that runs this site was designed assuming there is only one Senate election per state per cycle. This idea permeates the software from top to bottom and is impossible to change without rewriting all of it, which is a tremendous amount of work. The simplest (most cowardly?) way to deal with this is just to track the regular elections in Oklahoma and South Carolina and assume that Republicans James Lankford and Tim Scott, respectively, will win their special elections. Both of these are deep red states where Democrats rarely win statewide races. In Hawaii, there is only one Senate race, so although it is technically a special election to fill out Inouye's term, it will be tracked as though it were a regular election.
The South Carolina special election is an interesting case in a way. When DeMint resigned from the Senate, the Indian-American governor, Nimrata "Nikki" Haley, appointed a black congressman, Tim Scott, to his seat, which is why he faces a special election this year. The Democrats could have nominated a white man to oppose him with the slogan "Vote for the white guy." Given South Carolina's history, this might have worked. But they didn't. Instead they nominated a black woman whose only political experience is being a member of the Richland County Council. As a consequence, race cancels out and there is no way an unknown political neophyte is going to beat a sitting senator, even an appointed one, so we feel confident that simply counting this race as a Republican win will not affect the battle for control of the Senate. If circumstances change, this will be reevaluated. With an Indian-American governor and a black senator for certain, South Carolina may have finally made a break with its racist past.
Fortunately, the software was designed to handle third-party candidates and in two states there are significant third-party candidates. In North Carolina, Libertarian Sean Haugh is running against Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and state house speaker Thom Tillis (R). Haugh could draw enough votes from Tillis to tip the election to Hagan, so his score is worth watching. In South Dakota, former three-term U.S. senator Larry Pressler wants his old job back. While former governor Mike Rounds (R) is the favorite over Democrat Rick Weiland, Pressler is so well known in the state, that he could be a factor. There are also third-party challenges in many other races, but invariably they poll well early in the race and fizzle on election day, so we won't bother following them unless one suddenly emerges as a major factor. Also, pollsters rarely include them in the list of choices given to respondents, so there is little data about them.
As an aside, photos of all the Democratic and Republican Senate candidates and descriptions of all the races (also the special elections) are available on the Senate candidates page. A link to it is given on the blue above the map. It will be updated whenever circumstances change.
With 80% of the precincts reporting, former state attorney general and former natural resources commissioner Dan Sullivan is primed to win the Republican nomination. He has 40% of the vote to 32% for tea party activist and Sarah Palin endorsee Joe Miller, and 25% for Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R-AK). Although 20% of the votes and all the absentee ballots are yet to be counted, the Associated Press has called the race for Sullivan, the establishment favorite. He will face Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) in November.
Begich's victory in 2008 was partly due to good luck. His opponent, then senator Ted Stevens, was convicted of seven federal felonies just weeks before the election. Also, Alaska is a young state and some younger voters no doubt felt that electing an 86-year-old to the Senate was not quite what they had in mind. In addition, 2008 was a presidential election year, and Begich was able to ride Obama's coattails. Nevertheless, he won by only 4000 votes. This year he is on his own and will face a tough race.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) has finally conceded to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) in her attempt to unseat him in the Hawaii Democratic Senate primary. The election was marred by a tropical storm that made two precincts inaccessible, but when the storm passed, the election was held the following week there and Schatz ended up with more votes statewide than Hanabusa. Ethnic issues played a role in the election. Schatz is the favorite to win election im November to the seat to which Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed him upon the death of the previous incumbent, Daniel Inouye.
In what promises to be a bloody battle for control of the Senate, both sides are well armed. In July, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Senatorial Committee $7.7 million to $5.5 million. The Democrats have $32 million in the bank now to the Republicans' $27 million. Spending by outside groups may dwarf these amounts, however, as the parties are gradually losing control of their own campaigns.Email a link to a friend or share:
Aug16 Gov. Rick Perry Indicted for Abusing His Office
Aug16 2016 Presidential Race Already in Full Swing Under the Radar
Aug10 Schatz Holds Small Lead over Hanabusa in Hawaii Democratic Primary
Aug10 Abercrombie Defeated in Gubernatorial Primary in Hawaii
Aug10 Federal Judge Upholds North Carolina Law Restricting Voting
Aug08 Alexander Easily Defeats Tea Party Challenger in Tennessee Republican Senate Primary
Aug08 Walsh Drops out of Montana Senate Race
Aug06 Roberts Beats Tea Party Challenger in Kansas Senate Primary
Aug06 Peters and Land to Face Each Other in November in Michigan
Aug06 Rand Paul is Already Campaigning in Iowa against Hillary Clinton
Jul23 Perdue Wins Georgia Republican Senatorial Primary
Jul23 Supreme Court Will Probably Get to Rule on the ACA (Again)
Jul23 Fiery Pastor Jody Hice Wins Runoff for Broun's Seat
Jul09 2016 Republican National Convention Will Be in Cleveland
Jun25 Cochran Beats McDaniel in Mississippi
Jun25 Establishment Candidate Beauprez Wins Colorado Gubernatorial Nomination
Jun11 House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated in Primary
Jun04 Independent Gums Up the Works in Mississippi
Jun04 Joni Ernst to Face Bruce Braley in Iowa
Jun04 Independent Gums Up the Works in Mississippi
May28 Democrats Escape Disaster in Texas
May28 Republicans Court Disaster in Texas
May21 Perdue and Kingston Advance to Runoff in Georgia Senate Race
May21 McConnell Whips Bevin in Kentucky
May21 Wehby Beats Conger in Oregon
May21 Chelsea Clinton's Mother-in-law Loses in Pennsylvania
May18 How Republican is the South?
May07 Tillis Wins North Carolina Primary
May07 Boehner Renominated Easily
May07 Long View of the Senate
May07 Future Voters May Use iPads
Apr23 Summary of the Prognosticators on the 2014 Senate Races
Apr23 North Carolina Primary is Next
Apr23 Other Southern Races Tight
Apr07 Scott Brown Makes Freudian Slip
Apr07 Republican Poll Shows Landrieu Ahead in Louisiana
Mar24 Methodology Matters
Mar24 Rand Paul May Have to Make a Choice in 2016
Mar11 Version 1.0 of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries
Mar11 Tier 1 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 2 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 3 Candidates
Mar11 Hotly Contested Special Election in Florida Today to Fill GOP House Seat
Mar05 Cornyn Renominated in Texas
Mar03 Ohio Eliminates Early Voting on Sundays
Mar03 Travis Childers to Run for the Senate in Mississippi
Feb26 Primary Season Begins Next Week
Feb08 Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus in the Senate
Feb03 Christie and 2016