It may be April 2017, but the 2018 midterm elections are quickly approaching and, earlier this week, Kansas Republican Ron Estes won the southern district around Wichita by just five points or roughly 8,000 votes, giving Republicans a sneak preview into the political landscape since Trump was inaugurated.
In November, Trump carried Estes’ district by 27 points and took home all six of Kansas’ electoral votes. Couple this information with the fact Kansas has not voted Democrat in a presidential election since 1964 and Estes should have won with a wider margin, but, instead, the narrow victory in the Sunflower State shows a feeling of uncertainty in the current state of politics and forecasts a tough road in 2018 for Republicans.
For candidates looking to run in 2018 as a Republican, the election of Ron Estes should serve as a case study in what could be a tough midterm election, especially those looking for a promotion from governor to senator. (*cough* Governor Rick Scott *cough*)
In less than six months, Florida Governor Rick Scott will term out and, rumor has it, he is taking aim at incumbent Senator Bill Nelson’s seat. In a recent poll, more than half of Floridians — 57 percent — approved of Scott’s performance, while a smaller number, 53 percent, approved of Nelson’s performance. Ranked 34 as most-popular governor, Scott’s edge over Nelson could be enough to oust the three-term Senator.
Like Kansas, Florida delivered a win to Trump in 2016; however, Florida is a swing state and Rick Scott will have to rely on two things, if he wants to file a change of address form and head to Washington. First, Scott will need to spend a good chunk of money for ad buys and in the social media space to paint a picture tying Bill Nelson to the rising cost of health care. Second, Governor Scott will also have to continue to double down on his jobs messaging; since being elected Florida businesses have created over 1.26 million private-sector jobs. This type of messaging will no doubt leave voters wondering, “What has Senator Nelson done lately?”
Scott will have to head into 2018 with strong approval ratings, as he may not be able to rely on Trump supporters. The close margin of the GOP victory in Kansas shows there may be a drop in the enthusiasm of Trump supporters and, if this downward trend continues, it could translate to even lower than normal voter turnout in November 2018, especially in a swing state such as Florida. Aside from a wane in excitement over Trump, if Trump continues to be as popular as a root canal, opponents will work hard to tie Scott to Trump, since Scott was a vocal supporter of the president during the 2016 election.
While Scott has not declared his candidacy, his actions across the Sunshine State tell a different story. Other polling matchups have showed Nelson with a slight edge over Scott, but if Scott’s gubernatorial reelection in 2014 showed Floridians anything, he should not be underestimated. According to my Magic 8 Ball, Governor Rick Scott’s chances of unseating three-time incumbent Bill Nelson are good. Things are just starting to heat up in Florida and the summer humidity won’t be the only thing that has Nelson sweating.
Mary Anna Mancuso, Political Strategist and Founder of PoliticalHype.com. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.
North Carolina was once thought of as a beacon of progressivism in the “New South,” thanks to moderate Democratic governors like Terry Sanford (1961-1965) and Jim Hunt (1977-1985, 1993-2001) who were tireless advocates for public education and civil rights at a time when many of their Southern peers were not. More
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Last week, the Senate passed resolution H.J. 69 which rolls back Department of the Interior (“DOI”) rules prohibiting certain hunting practices, such as killing hibernating animals and shooting bears from a plane on federally-owned national preserve land in Alaska. More
There is no Electoral College in College Station, Texas, to override the popular vote, but that still doesn’t explain the unnecessary distraction for Energy Secretary Rick Perry in what was an obvious political pitfall.
The Texas A&M University Student Government Association election made big news for two reasons. First, the eventual winner, a junior named Bobby Brooks, was the first openly-gay student body president at the school, or president-elect, anyway.
How he won, well, that’s a bit of a problem—and one that the student government, the student newspaper, the university, and, perhaps, even the state of Texas could address. But, Perry isn’t governor, anymore. He’s a U.S. cabinet secretary who is supposed to be running the nation’s energy policy.
You might call it another “oops” moment for the one-time front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, who saw his campaign fall apart when he couldn’t name the third of the three agencies he would shut down, if elected.
His rationale for calling foul on this election was his status as an alum of the university. He wrote an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle seeking to avoid the identity politics morass by stating: “When I first read that our student body had elected an openly gay man … I viewed it as a testament to the Aggie character. I was proud of our students because the election appeared to demonstrate a commitment to treating every student equally, judging on character rather than on personal characteristics. Unfortunately, a closer review appears to prove the opposite; and the Aggie administration and SGA owe us answers.”
Perry is likely correct to question the election outcome. But he’s the wrong messenger. According to news accounts, the losing student, Robert McIntosh—whose father is a Republican fundraiser—actually got more votes. Still, the point is: why on earth would the secretary of energy bother with this? It didn’t matter how much he tried to clarify himself in the op-ed, he’s been in politics long enough to know there would be a backlash.
According to news reports, the election went down like this:
McIntosh won by 750 votes. However, an election commissioner disqualified the victor for an anonymous voter intimidation complaint. The student judicial court—which is reportedly Texas A&M’s student supreme court—overturned that charge, finding insufficient evidence. So, another complaint popped up. Glow-stick-gate. Another student accused him of failing to disclose in his financial form the use of a glow stick used in a campaign video. The “high court” upheld this disqualification. So, Brooks, who came in second place, became the president-elect. He will reportedly take office on April 21.
So, on the surface anyway, it looks like this was a bit of a political lynching, with a college clique that wanted to get their guy in. But, I don’t know all the facts, so maybe not. Actually, I won’t know all the facts, because I don’t plan to investigate any further. It doesn’t really matter, not to me, and it shouldn’t to Perry.
As a freshman reporter for the College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University, I covered one rowdy student government election. It actually came down to a Hillary-like establishment candidate vs. a Trump-like anti-establishment candidate. The Herald even ran a headline for one of my stories, “New Blood, Old Guard Face Off.” In this case, the better-looking version of a Hillary candidate, who spent three years grooming herself for the job, was victorious. That’s one reason this Texas A&M story drew my attention. Perry is obviously the other reason.
Aside from being a good way for a student journalist to cut his teeth on political reporting, one thing I most recall from SGA, in general, is that no one really cared, least of all students who weren’t members. At colleges across the country, these are largely powerless organizations which, at best, send a student member on a school’s board of regents, at worse, pass meaningless resolutions that administrators ignore.
That’s why it was so patently silly for Perry to butt in. It’s not a scandal. Perry didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, it looks like he’s right. I also reject his detractors who didn’t want him running the Energy Department. If he can run Texas, a big energy state, he can certainly run the department. But, on the national stage, he could learn when to hold his fire.
Fred Lucas is a columnist for Political Storm and the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. He is the author of Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections (Stairway Press, 2016).
Facebook were pioneers in the digital space revolutionizing the way people stay connected and now they are looking to make a mark in the political arena by helping their users become better citizens. More