Political Analysis - May 6, 2016

Political Forecast & Review - May 6, 2016


The Republican presidential nomination race is now over as Donald Trump (R) overwhelmed his opponents in Indiana to claim what appears to be a backdoor winner-take-all bonanza of delegates.  The prodigious result forced Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) to the political sidelines, meaning Trump will now become the nominee with a first ballot victory at the Republican National Convention in July.

More will become clear as we move forward in the coming days, but Trump has an immediate opportunity window to score points against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D).  Losing the Indiana primary to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), Clinton continues to be bogged down in the Democratic nomination fight.  Trump has a key period of a month or so to capture the center by exerting pressure from the political right as Sanders is tugging her left.  How he uses this advantage may determine the final outcome.


Indiana Rep. Todd Young (R-IN-9) easily won the open Hooiser State Senate primary with a 67-33% trouncing of fellow Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN-3).  Rep. Young now faces former Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9) in a race that strongly favors the new Republican nominee.  Young unseated Hill from the 9th Congressional District in 2010, so the new statewide race is a re-match of sorts.

A new California Survey USA poll again suggests that two Democrats could advance to the general election from the June 7 jungle primary.  According to S-USA, Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) scores 28% preference followed by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) at 18%.  The closest Republican is former state Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro (R), but he has only 10%.

The new Public Policy Polling survey from the period of April 27-28 again shows a tight Ohio contest between incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R) and former Gov. Ted Strickland (D).  This time the two tie at 38%. 

In Colorado, despite the Secretary of State disqualifying several Republican contenders for US Senate, a state judge reinstated two of them.  Former state Rep. Jon Keyser (R) and businessman Robert Blaha (R) will appear on the June 28 Republican primary ballot.  They join El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (R), the only person to receive the official Republican state convention endorsement, and former Colorado State University Athletic Director Jack Graham (R).  The eventual Republican nominee will face an uphill battle against two-term Sen. Michael Bennet (D).


The May 3 Indiana primary produced new open seat contenders in the two districts where incumbents ran for the Senate.  State Sen. Jim Banks (R) won a close victory to secure the GOP nod in the Republican Ft. Wayne-anchored district, and he becomes the prohibitive general election favorite.

In the state’s southeast sector, businessman Trey Hollingsworth (R), who recently moved to the region from Tennessee, spent well over $1 million of his own money to win the GOP nomination against a local state Senator and the Indiana Attorney General.  Though the seat is reliably Republican, expect Democrats to target this district.  Their candidate, Monroe County Commissioner Shelli Yoder (D), has strong local credentials.  Considering Hollingsworth received only 1/3 of the GOP vote, and may have to content with the “carpetbagger” label, the IN-9 contest could become a Democratic sleeper race.


A Repass Polling & Strategy survey for one of the local West Virginia media outlets show a very close Democratic contest for Governor in a primary contest that will be decided on May 10. 

Businessman Jim Justice (D), portrayed as the wealthiest man in West Virginia, leads the primary race after spending heavily on media advertising.  He holds a 32-27-23% advantage over former US Attorney Booth Goodwin (D), and state Senate Minority Leader and former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Kessler (D).  The winner will face current state Senate President Bill Cole (R) in November.

Two Republicans pulled themselves out of future gubernatorial races.  In New York, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY-19) who said was leaving the House this year to concentrate on a 2018 race for Governor, now says he won’t run.  Instead, he accepted a visiting professor position at a Massachusetts college. 

Turning to the 2017 Virginia Governor’s campaign, 2013 GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli (R), who had been considering running again, says he will not.  Coming off a major position in the Cruz for President campaign, Cuccinelli said that running two tough campaigns in consecutive years would be too much.  Therefore, he will cede the gubernatorial field to former RNC chairman and US Senate nominee Ed Gillespie (R), and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1).  The Democratic nominee will be Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), in the only state that still limits its Governors to one term, is ineligible to seek re-election.