Senate Election 2012
Earlier this week, I noted that an internal poll from Ted Cruz’s campaign showed him with a 9-point lead over David Dewhurst in the runoff for the GOP’s nod in the United States Senate race in Texas. Internal polls, while valuable to a campaign, tend to overstate performance of a candidate. So while it was a good sign for Cruz, there was still some healthy skepticism.
But a new survey in the race from Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that Cruz does indeed lead Dewhurst, though by 5 points — a smaller lead than the internal, though outside of the margin of error, ahead of the July 31st runoff (emphasis mine):
PPP’s first poll of the Texas Senate runoff finds Ted Cruz with a surprising 49-44 lead and a much more enthusiastic cadre of supporters than former front runner David Dewhurst.
Cruz’s lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz’s chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with ‘somewhat excited’ voters and 50-36 with those who say they are ‘not that excited.’ The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
In a post yesterday, I noted that, even though he had a sizable polling advantage, Tommy Thompson could soon face a problem due to his support of ObamaCare thanks to renewed focus on the law. Unfortunately, I hit “publish” before I saw the results of the latest survey out of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling. According the results, that polling advantage isn’t just gone, Thompson now trails Eric Hovde, a businessman from Madison:
Businessman Eric Hovde (R) has surged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the state’s crowded Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling.
Hovde leads Thompson by 31 to 29 percent, with former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) pulling 15 percent support and Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald at 9 percent.
Recent polling has shown Hovde gaining traction, but this is the first poll, including Hovde’s own, that shows him with a lead over the well-known former governor. Hovde’s numbers have been boosted in large part by the more than $3 million he’s spent on television advertising — Thompson hasn’t been on the air nearly that much, and Neumann’s first ad debuted Tuesday.
While most hotly contested primaries are over or soon coming to end, the battle for the Wisconsin Republican Senate nomination is a race that could get interesting before voters head to the polls on August 14th. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is currently leading the pack, which includes Mark Neumann, a former Congressman backed by conservative groups.
But now that the recall election is over and with conservatives fired up by the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in the ObamaCare case, Thompson is coming under a fresh round of fire for his past support of the health care law:
President Barack Obama sought to head off a conservative rebellion on health care three years ago, pointedly declaring that some Republicans were rising above partisanship by calling for comprehensive reforms.
Including, he said, “Republican Tommy Thompson.”
Those 2009 comments have come back to bite Thompson in his Wisconsin Republican Senate primary in which his conservative opponents are trying to make him the first real political victim of the landmark Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. The Wisconsin attacks will test the continued potency of the issue among GOP base voters and may offer a measure of whether the tea party still has the power in Republican primaries to purge more moderate candidates in swing states.
Thompson’s campaign rivals are plotting a fresh round of attacks, some of which revolve around his past health care comments, in order to tear down his comfortable lead in the polls.
On Friday, Ted Cruz, a conservative running for United States Senate in Texas, released the results of an internal poll showing that he has a 9-point lead over David Dewhurst just a few weeks out from the July 31st runoff:
Ted Cruz led Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by 9 points in a recent internal poll conducted for the former Texas solicitor general’s campaign, a Cruz source has confirmed.
From the earliest days of the race to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Dewhurst has been the frontrunner. But in this survey, 49 percent of respondents said they would vote for Cruz. Forty percent supported Dewhurst, and 11 percent were undecided.
The poll surveyed 750 likely Republican runoff voters June 24-26 with a 3.6-point margin of error. Cruz had 96 percent name identification among those voters and Dewhurst had 98 percent name identification.
Sixty percent of those surveyed viewed Cruz favorably, with 21 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of him. Dewhurst had an almost identical favorability rating, 59 percent, while 30 percent viewed him unfavorably.
Unsurprisingly, Dewhurst’s campaign says that there internal polling shows him with a “comfortable advantage” over Cruz. Dewhurst, who took 47% of the vote in the May primary, has also received some support from Republicans in the Texas Senate, which he, as the state’s Lt. Governor, oversees. The Republican Senators are taking issue with attacks by Cruz on Dewhurst’s record.
The Club for Growth announced $500,000 in ad buys yesterday in Arizona against Wil Cardon, who is challenging Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in the Republican primary for United States Senate. The move, which is a bit of a surprise, comes on the heels of a recent poll showing that Flake may be vulnerable in the race, according to The Hill:
The Club for Growth will drop a half million dollars on ads attacking Wil Cardon, the real estate mogul challenging Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in the GOP primary for Arizona’s open Senate seat.
The deep-pocketed group will air two 15-second television ads — plus a 60-second radio ad — dubbing Cardon an impostor for claiming to be a conservative. The ads will air on broadcast and cable stations across the state.
The hefty investment by the fiscally conservative outside group signals a changing dynamic in the race for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) seat. Until recently, Flake was considered the prohibitive front-runner in the primary, and few Republicans thought Cardon, who has never held elected office, could mount a viable challenge to the six-term congressman.
Though polls showed David Dewhurst edging close to the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, Ted Cruz, who has been backed by grassroots conservative and Tea Party groups, managed to extend the Senate race in Texas last night:
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst failed to capture the 50 percent necessary to win the Republican nomination Tuesday, forcing him into an unpredictable nine week run-off campaign with former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite who garnered the blessing of conservative luminaries such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sen. Jim DeMint.
With 95 percent of the vote in, Dewhurst was leading the second-place Cruz, 45 percent to 34 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert trailed in third place with 13 percent and former football star and ESPN commentator Craig James barely managed 4 percent of the vote.
Dewhurst, the front-running former CIA agent worth an estimated $200 million, was widely expected to end the night as the leading vote-getter so the result is a win in itself for the insurgent Cruz, who was badly outspent and suffered from far lower name recognition in the nation’s second-most populous state.
The outcome marks the third victory for anti-establishment GOP Senate candidates in as many weeks. Earlier this month, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock upended 36-year Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana, and state Sen. Deb Fischer upset two better-known candidates in Nebraska.
Facing perhaps the biggest fight of his political career, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) managed to get to endorsements last year from prominent conservative talk show hosts, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. The hope was that the 35-year Senator could build up enough support to avoid a primary challenger from the right.
Political pressure kept Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) from running, but State Sen. Dan Liljenquist managed to push Hatch into a primary last month after the latter was unable to gain enough support at the Utah GOP convention. Hatch knows he has an advantage, which is why he’s been avoiding debates with Liljenquist — a point Glenn Beck brought up recently on his show, offering to host a forum for the two.
Based on what I’ve heard from friends in DC, they’re managing expectations, choosing instead to focus their efforts on Ted Cruz in Texas and elsewhere. This may have been brought home yesterday when Sarah Palin endorsed Hatch over Liljenquist:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is facing a Tea Party challenge from former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R).
“I want him to win. I join Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and other conservatives who would like to see Mr. Balanced Budget return to Washington,” Palin said on Fox News on Tuesday night. “He wants to apply that common-sense economic principle of balanced-budget fiscal responsibility, and I want to see him reelected.”
Polls in Texas have recently showed that Ted Cruz, who is being supported by conservative and Tea Party groups, is closing in on David Dewhurst, the establishment pick in the race to fill the seat being left open by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX). But a new poll from the University of Texas shows that Dewhurst’s lead over Cruz is now in single-digits and headed to a runoff:
If the 2012 Texas Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate were held today, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst would fall short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff election, according to a University of Texas at Austin/Texas Tribune poll.
When asked whom they would support if the 2012 Texas Republican primary election for U.S. Senator were held today, 40 percent of GOP primary voters named Dewhurst, followed by Cruz at 28 percent, and former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert at 15 percent. The leading candidate would need at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election on July 31.
Dewhurst’s lead was even narrower among likely voters, leading Cruz 40 to 31 percent, with Leppert polling at 17 percent. Likely voters are defined by the survey as those who indicate an interest in politics and report voting in most elections (274 respondents in the survey sample said they intended to vote in the GOP primary and were also identified as likely voters).
Daron Shaw, professor of Government at The University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the poll, said Cruz has been able to position himself to the right of the lieutenant governor for a May 29 Republican primary where that’s a big advantage — and he’s done that in a year in which insurgent candidates have been scoring big wins against establishment Republicans.
We noted yesterday that, after a win over Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) on Tuesday, the Club for Growth was preparing to spend $1 million in Texas trying to take down David Dewhurst, hoping that it will boost the campaign of Ted Cruz, who is backed by the Club and other grassroots and Tea Party groups. But things in the Lone Star State were ramped up a bit yesterday thanks to a pair of endorsements for Cruz from Sarah Palin and Ron Paul.
Palin’s endorsment, given her standing in the conservative movement, is obviously more high profile and is being touted heavily by Cruz, both in fundraising letters and on ads on the web (I’ve already seen it several times):
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, have endorsed another Senate candidate in a contested Republican primary: former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz.
Cruz told supporters in an email that he sought her support via a letter.
“We’re proud to join conservatives in Texas and throughout the nation in supporting your campaign to become the next Senator from the Lone Star State,” Palin wrote back.
“Your conservative principles, passionate defense of our Constitution and our free market system come at a time when these cornerstones of our freedom and prosperity are under attack,” she added. “Our shared goal isn’t just to change the majority in control of the Senate, but to assure principled conservatives like you are there to fight for us.”
Still celebrating Richard Mourdock’s primary victory over Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), the Club for Growth is turning its attention to the increasingly interesting Republican Senate race in Texas, where they’ve just dropped $1 million to knock David Dewhurst from his pedestal as frontrunner:
Fresh off its big defeat of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the fiscally conservative Club for Growth is pivoting to Texas’s open Senate race, launching a $1 million ad buy against Texas Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst (R).
The group is backing former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R), a Tea Party favorite, in the race. Dewhurst has led Cruz in the polls but needs 50 percent to avoid a runoff, and recent polls indicate Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (R) are likely to keep him below that marker. Recent polls have also shown Cruz with some momentum in the race.
The primary is May 29, and the runoff, if necessary, will be a month later.
The group’s first ad, which is running on broadcast and cable in Austin, Houston and Dallas, slams “moderate tax-raising David Dewhurst.”
As noted in the article above (and here as well), Cruz is picking up some steam, though he is still behind by double-digits with the primary just a little more than two weeks away. But with the Club hopes, with the ad below, that Cruz will be boosted by exposing Dewhurst’s record: