Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Radioactive: Running Mates and Party Conventions


Paul, one of the three people who could become his party's nominee, has announced at a rally in Charleston today that Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley would be his running mate. Not many were surprised by his decision since they were both members of the Tea Party Caucus in the Senate, but it was surprising that he did in fact make a decision. With Ayotte having stated that she is making a shortlist for her decision, this will be one of the few times where a party enters a convention with more than one fully formed ticket.

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Today at a rally in Las Vegas, Republican presidential nominee Kelly Ayotte announced that former governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman would be her running mate and Vice President candidate, which completes the competing GOP ticket. Some Tea Party Republicans are very unhappy with her choice due to Huntsman being somewhat more liberal than the rest of the party with on some issues. However, many critics are calling her choice of a moderate a smart choice, and are looking at her record of focusing more on Americas 'bread and butter' issues over social ones, trying to avoid what many people consider to be one of the pitfalls of the 2012 Romney/Ryan campaign. She also balanced out one of her weaknesses, which is a lack of dealing with foreign relations, which is one of Biden's strong points, by making Huntsman he running mate. This also makes history by being the first election where not only one, but both major tickets (not to mention both GOP tickets currently running) for president and vice president all have a woman. Here are the current electoral projections based on the two most likely races:








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In a last minute announcement, Jeb Bush has suspended his campaign for president and endorsed the Ayotte/Huntsman ticket for the nomination, which gives her a delegate majority. Bush stated that he had significant ambitions to become his party's nominee, but that in the end, it was more important to him to have party unity in order for the Republicans to have a better chance to beat Biden in the election. Paul has stated that he respects Bush's decision and that he will not be attempting to run for president with a seperate Paul/Haley ticket. The Ayotte/Huntsman campaign celebrated today at a rally in Atlanta, stating that they were “ready to face whatever Biden and Gillibrand could throw at us.”
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The Democratic National convention, held in Phoenix, Arizona, was quite a popular television event. Over 50 million people watched it, which was quite significant viewership for any convention. Among the most notable speakers on day one were Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who gave a resounding speech about gun control measures that were pioneered in his own state, and Second Lady Jill Biden. Most people who attended the convention said that Jill Biden gave nearly as an electrifying speech as First Lady Michelle Obama did during the 2012 DNC. Many people were surprised by this, considering how she was became more resigned from politics and public speaking after the 2012 election season. The second day of speeches was dominated by the speaker who officially nominated Biden to candidacy for President, which was current President Obama. He said in his address to the convention that he felt like electing Ayotte will undo everything he has worked towards in his two terms as president.

The third and final day of speeches saw Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her husband Jonathan Gillibrand speak and accept the nomination for Vice President candidacy. In her acceptance speech, she highlighted women's equality and "keeping the drive for change so that she fights hard for as Senator." The final speaker was Vice President Biden, who accepted his party's nomination for candidacy. In his acceptance speech, he highlighted the fact that he wants to pursue the same policies of the current administration with more vigor and a renewed drive for change. One note about this ticket that makes it historic is not only the fact that it is the first woman Democratic VP nominee, but the fact that both people on the ticket are Roman Catholic. Post convention poll boosts for the Democratic Party were major with a majority showing a three percent boost for the Biden/Gillibrand ticket.
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The Republican National Convention was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania between August 26 and 28. It garnered around 45 million views, which is just under the amount of views the DNC received. The first day of speeches was highlighted by Ayotte's husband Joseph and Jeb Bush, who was the keynote speaker. He called for the GOP to reconsider its hard line stance on many issues and to reach out to voter of all walks of life. The second day of speeches was highlighted by vice presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. His speech was rather foreign policy heavy, highlighting how the Ayotte/Huntsman administration wanted to handle current “sore spots” like Egypt, Israel, Iran, and North Korea. This was when the first ballot was held, which Senator Ayotte has received a majority vote on, which meant the GOP will avoid the hassle that is a brokered convention that plagued them as a likely possibility during the early summer months.
The third and final day of speeches was highlighted by none other than presidential candidate Kelly Ayotte. In her acceptance speech, she emphasized the need to return to traditional American values and to fix the economy and strengthen it after 8 years of Democratic Party policy. Her speech rallied much of the former Paul support base to support her in order to get rid of any bitterness they had over her clinching the nomination over him. Post convention polls show Ayotte/Huntsman with a small boost, and the current electoral map has West Virginia, which was previously put in the unlikely position of swing state, is now a GOP lean state with 54% polling in for Ayotte.

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