Chicken Fried Politics

HIGHLIGHTS

ANALYSIS: POLL FINDS SOFT SOUTHERN SUPPORT FOR TRUMP; MINORITY VOTERS MAY BE REASON

southern states smWhen it comes to wondering which way Southern states might fall in this year’s presidential election, conventional wisdom holds that, outside of a few states along the Atlantic seaboard, Donald Trump should have no worries. A paucity of public polling in most of the South also means that we have no way to know if this conventional wisdom is wise. But now, the Washington Post and Survey Monkey have come along with poll that found that in eight of the 14 Southern states, Trump’s lead over Hillary Clinton was only in the single digits, including such rock-ribbed GOP states as Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. And his unpopularity among minority voters may be what’s driving these numbers. (Posted September 13)

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TWO CONSERVATIVE SOUTHERN PAPERS BOLT FROM TRUMP; CLINTON GETS NOD IN DALLAS

white-house-chase

Two major Southern newspapers that are normally stalwartly Republican on their editorial pages have broken with the party for the first time in decades in refusing to endorse Donald Trump for president. The Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first time Texas’s largest newspaper has endorsed a Democrat since 1940. The Richmond Times-Dispatch endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson, ending a string of GOP presidential endorsements stretching back to 1980. The Morning News editorial board not only endorsed Clinton, it also ran a scathing editorial calling Trump unqualified to be president and urging readers not to vote for him. (Posted September 7)

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RUBIO, MURPHY TO FACE OFF IN SENATE RACE; WASSERMAN SCHULTZ IN, CORRINE BROWN OUT

Rubio

Rubio

Murphy

Murphy

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio handily won renomination in Florida’s Republican primary and will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in a race that will help determine which party controls the Senate. Rubio took 72 percent in the August 30 vote, easily defeating businessman Carlos Beruff, who garnered just 18 percent. On the Democratic side, Murphy was the clear winner, taking 60 percent of the vote, compared to just 18 percent for his main challenger, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Down the ballot, Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz  defeated Tim Canova, a Bernie Sanders ally critical of her tenure as chair of the Democratic National Committee. However, another veteran Democrat, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, lost after her indictment on federal corruption charges. (Posted August 31)

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POLL: CLINTON OPENS UP LEAD OVER TRUMP IN FLORIDA; MARCO RUBIO AHEAD IN U.S. SENATE RACE

white-house-chaseBuoyed by a 50-point margin among minority voters, Democrat Hillary Clinton has opened up a comfortable lead in the key swing state of Florida, according to a Monmouth University survey released August 16. Clinton was the choice of 48 percent of likely voters, compared to 39 percent for Republican Donald Trump, 6 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 1 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Clinton’s lead was outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. In the U.S. Senate race, the poll showed Rubio outperforming Trump and leading both of his possible Democratic opponents. (Posted August 17)

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NEW POLL SHOWS GEORGIA IS IN PLAY IN A PRESIDENTIAL RACE FOR FIRST TIME IN A GENERATION

white-house-chaseThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released August 6 put Democrat Hillary Clinton at 41 percent to 38 percent for Republican Donald Trump, 11 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points, which put Clinton and Trump in a statistical tie. The poll also found that 58 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of both Clinton and Trump. The last Democrat to carry Georgia was Clinton’s husband, Bill, in 1992, when he squeaked by President George W. Bush in a three-way race with independent Ross Perot. Mitt Romney won by 8 points in 2012. (Posted August 8)

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U.S. SENATOR TIM KAINE MAKES VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBUT WITH BITING ATTACK ON DONALD TRUMP

Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine

Kaine, the only Southerner on a major party ticket this year, made his national debut as a vice presidential candidate in a July 27 speech to the Democratic National Convention in which he derided Trump as not only trustworthy but as a threat to the Republic. “Our nation, it is just too great to put in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew,” Kaine said. He also offered effusive praise of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying she was ready to step into the White House because of her faith, heart and experience. (Posted July 28)

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FLORIDA U.S. REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ OUT AS DNC CHAIR, HECKLED AT FLORIDA CAUCUS

Wasserman Schultz

Wasserman Schultz

Under fire for leaked internal emails containing critical comments about Bernie Sanders and his campaign, Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee. She also abandoned plans to gavel in the first session of the Democratic National Convention July 25 after being heckled by Sanders supporters at a meeting of the Florida delegation. In the wake of the controversy, the DNC also decided to replace Wasserman Schultz as the permanent convention chair. A Sanders’ partisan is also putting up a primary challenge for her South Florida House seat. (Posted July 25)

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U.S. SENATE RACE IN LOUISIANA DRAWS CROWD OF 24 CANDIDATES, INCLUDING RACIST DAVID DUKE

louisiana mugWith the battle for control of the Senate potentially in the balance, a crowd of 24 candidates has qualified for Louisiana’s all-party jungle primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter. Democrats in the race include Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard, a New Orleans lawyer. Republicans running include U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany of Layfayette and John Fleming of Minden, State Treasurer John Kennedy, Joseph Cao, a former congressman from New Orleans, Rob Maness, who made a spirited but unsuccessful Tea Party-backed bid for the Senate in 2014, and Duke. (Posted July 23)

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U.S. REP. CORRINE BROWN INDICTED FOR FRAUD OVER ALLEGED MISUSE OF SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Brown

Brown

Federal prosecutors have accused Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, of conspiring with her chief of staff to convert a scholarship fund into a private slush fund used to pay for her political promotion and personal expenses. The 24-count indictment includes charges of mail and wire fraud and filing false tax returns. Brown, who pleaded not guilty, said she was “looking forward to a speedy day in court to vindicate myself.” The indictment comes as Brown is fighting a stiff primary challenge in her reconfigured district. (Posted July 9)

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A WEEK AFTER ORLANDO MASSACRE, FLORIDA U.S. HOUSE HOPEFUL RAFFLES OFF ASSAULT RIFLE

Evers

Evers

State Senator Greg Evers, a Republican running for the 1st District congressional seat, says he will give away an AR-15 to a winner chosen randomly from people who like or share posts from his campaign Facebook page. The winner will be selected on the Fourth of July. Explaining his decision to raffle off an assault rifle after a gunman wielding a similar weapon murdered 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, Evers said, “With all that’s happening in the world today, I’ve never felt stronger about the importance of the Second Amendment in protecting our homeland than I do now.” (Posted June 20)

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U.S. REP. DAVID JOLLY DROPS OUT OF FLORIDA U.S. SENATE RACE TO SEEK RE-ELECTION AGAINST CRIST

Jolly

Jolly

After struggling to gain traction in the Senate race, Jolly announced that he would instead seek re-election to his 13th District House seat, setting up a general election battle with former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Jolly opted to give up his House seat and try for the Senate after a court-ordered redrawing of the Sunshine State’s congressional map made his district more Democratic. He switched course amid speculation that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio might seek re-election after all. Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, is seeking a political comeback after two statewide losses. (Posted June 18)

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U.S. REP. RANDY FORBES LOSES VIRGINIA GOP PRIMARY AFTER PARACHUTING INTO A NEW DISTRICT

Forbes

Forbes

Forbes became the second Republican House member to fall in a primary in 2016, after his gambit of switching districts to try to preserve his seat fell short. In Virginia’s newly configured 2nd District, State Delegate Scott Taylor took 52 percent in the June 14 vote to 41 percent for Forbes, who decided to run in a the district after a court-ordered redraw of his current 4th District made it substantially more Democratic. Taylor had assailed Forbes as a carpetbagger for switching districts to save his seat. (Posted June 15)

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U.S. REP. RENEE ELLMERS BOUNCED FROM CONGRESS, ENDS CAMPAIGN WITH ‘MEAN GIRL’ REMARK

Ellmers

Ellmers

Running in a redrawn district and facing a tsunami of outside spending, Ellmers of lost her bid for a fourth term, becoming the first GOP lawmaker to fall in a primary in 2016. She was defeated by U.S. Rep. George Holding, who ran against Ellmers after a redraw of the Tar Heel State’s U.S. House map moved his district to another part of the state. Ellmers’s campaign ended on a bizarre note when a television camera captured her making a disparaging remark about a female former GOP official, who responded by calling Ellmers a “mean girl on steroids.” (Posted June 8)

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ANALYSIS: WILL VOTERS TAKE LIBERTARIAN PARTY’S TICKET SERIOUSLY?

By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

white-house-chaseThe Libertarian Party met over Memorial Day weekend in Orlando, deciding to invest its fortunes with two former Republican governors, Gary Johnson of New Mexico and William Weld of Massachusetts. For a third party in America, that’s an unusually high-powered pedigree. And given the deep unpopularity of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Libertarians left Florida with high hopes of a breakthrough in 2016, particularly if their ticket can get into the fall debates. But the unconventional rhetoric during the convention demonstrates how difficult it might be for the American people to take the party seriously.

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FORMER GOP GOVERNORS JOHNSON, WELD PICKED FOR LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL TICKET

Johnson

Johnson

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has won the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in Orlando, as the party hopes to ride the deep unpopularity of the Republican and Democratic nominees to a breakthrough in the fall. The delegates also grudgingly went along with Johnson’s request to nominate former Massachusetts Governor William Weld as his running mate, after Johnson made two separate pleas to delegates skeptical of Weld’s Libertarian bona fides. The ticket’s prospects will likely depend on getting into the fall debates. (Posted May 29)

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GRAND JURY MAY BE LOOKING INTO ALABAMA GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY’S ALLEGED AFFAIR

Bentley

Bentley

With rumblings of impeachment, an ethics investigation and a lawsuit all looming, Bentley may also be the subject a grand jury investigation into allegations that he may have improperly used his office to carry on an affair with Rebekah Mason, a former top aide. A letter sent to attorneys representing people involved in the probe, with the subject line “Re: Grand Jury Investigation,” says that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has appointed U.S. Attorney John Horn from Atlanta to handle the case. Bentley has denied the affair and any wrongdoing. (Posted May 29)

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VIRGINIA GOVERNOR TERRY MCAULIFFE DENIES WRONGDOING IN PROBE OF CAMPAIGN CASH

McAuliffe

McAuliffe

McAuliffe says he was shocked to discover from a news report that he is under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department over $120,000 in campaign contributions from a Chinese businessman who also gave money to the Clinton Foundation. Speaking to reporters May 24, a day after the news broke, McAuliffe insisted that contributions from the donor, Wang Wenliang, were legal. He also said the overlap in donors between his campaign and the foundation is due to his close association with the Clinton family. (Posted May 24)

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BERNIE SANDERS ENDORSES U.S. REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ’S PRIMARY CHALLENGER

Wasserman Schultz

Wasserman Schultz

Sanders and his supporters have long complained that Wasserman Schultz, in her role as chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been unfair to his presidential campaign. And now, he’s trying to exact some political revenge by endorsing her Democratic primary challenger in Florida’s 23rd District, Tim Canova. Sanders also says that if he wins the White House, he will replace her as head of the DNC. Canova has raised more than $1 million for his challenge to Wasserman Schultz, although she still maintains a fundraising advantage and has been endorsed by Barack Obama (Posted May 22)

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COOK POLITICAL REPORT DOWNGRADES TRUMP’S PROSPECTS IN FOUR SOUTHERN STATES

white-house-chaseNow that Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination, the respected Cook Political Report is shifting its projections for four large Southern states, with 73 electoral votes, toward Democrat Hillary Clinton. The more pessimistic projections for Trump are due to his “historic unpopularity with wide swaths of the electorate,” according to the report. Trump’s prospects were downgraded in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, all of which are rich in suburban swing voters Clinton is likely to target. Among the five largest Southern states, only Texas remains solidly in the GOP column. (Posted May 7)

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