Sunday, November 17, 2013

A House Divided: Concluding Primary Season

Justice Kennedy announces retirement, cites health issues
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
7 April 2016, updated 9:51 AM EST

Longtime Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he will be retiring after 28 years of serivce on the Court. He stated that he has been honored to hold his position for so long, but that he feels that he must reitre now because his wavering health is preventing him from carrying out his position to the best of his ability. Justice Kennedy was appointed by Reagan in 1988, and although he has been generally identified as conservative, he is a frequent swing voter in court cases, making the critical decisions in cases like striking down Proposition 8 and DOMA.

The decisions now turn to President Obama to make an appointment to fill the spot, and his appointment will very likely give the Supreme Court a liberal majority of 5, something that the court has not had in decades. This will also be President Obama's fourth nomination to the Supreme Court, which is far more than most presidents tend to be able to make. Republicans in the Senate are likely to block a number of possible choices that the president might make, and some of the leadership has already stated that they will block a replacement that is "less moderate and more stiff and uncompromisingly liberal." President Obama has not yet given an indication as to what direction he is going to take beyond thanking Justice Kennedy for his service on the court.

Murkowski becomes projected Republican presidential nominee
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
15 April 2016, updated 9:51 AM EST

The Republican contest was hard fought, but as of today, we can officially project that Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has clinched the Republican nomination for president. The 29 delegates from the primary in Oregon put her comfortably over the top of the required number of 1144 delegates, effectively rendering the primary season over for the Republican Party. Campaign headquarters in Anchorage popped open a bottle of champagne and confetti when she was projected winner in Oregon, and Murkowkski made what can be considered her first general election campaign speech to supporters in Portland. She thanked all of her supporters for making her able to go "from the bottom of the pack to the nominee in a few short months." She emphasized that she will bring the true Republican Party to the table in the election, and the American voters have been disillusioned with the Republican Party because of "insensible extremists that have been running the show" as opposed to more moderate and common sense ideals.

Christie nor Cruz have conceded the race or provided an endorsement of Murkowski, but the endorsements for Murkowski from most major figures in the Republican Party have started to file in, notably President Bush and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Cruz has responded by stating that he thinks the Republican Party chose the wrong candidate, and that "by picking the weak candidate, they show that they do not want to win another election."

O'Malley wins Democratic nomination with united party support
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
18 April 2016, updated 9:51 AM EST

A big win in Washington and Oregon, followed by an endorsement from Senator Klobuchar, has effectively made Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland the Democratic nominee for president. Klobuchar stated that "it was obvious I was not going to win the nomination, and the sooner we are a united front the better." O'Malley spoke to a crowd in Tampa Bay today, speaking that "America needs a renewed push for the betterment of American society, getting people out of poverty and creating a stronger middle class." He also pushed for a strong pursuit of civil liberties, such as nationwide legalization of gay marriage and a significant stripping of the Patriot Act and its capabilities to maneuver around specific rights. The Democratic Party is absolutely united around their nominee headed into convention, which could spell a tremendous advantage for them.

ANN is prepared to give America a first look in what will very likely be our general election matchup: O'Malley and Murkowski. In preliminary polling, O'Malley holds a lead in the popular vote by 1% and a 10 point lead in the electoral vote. Murkowski is clearly more competitive in the Midwest and Northeast than Romney was, as Maine's 2nd as well as at-large, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all states that are legitimately in play for her that were not for Romney. However, O'Malley appears to be polling well in states along the eastern seaboard, such as critical swing states Virginia and North Carolina. What might critically affect the race are the VP choices that each candidate makes.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) - She is probably one of the more obvious choices, seeing that she was his main competitor in the primaries and she gracefully bowed out to allow him to clinch the nomination earlier than expected. She also has a lot of appeals O’Malley does not have, being slightly more moderate, connecting to rural voters and also to women, plus the fact that she could likely make the state of Minnesota more in the Democratic column.
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) - This is another widely thought of choice, since he was also an early endorsing primary competitor. He has little political baggage, and has a wide variety of appeals across the west. He could also very likely put Colorado, a critical swing state, in O’Malley’s collum.
Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) - He is a very strong and popular governor in the state of Massachusetts, and he would reinforce what O’Malley stands for rather well, but he does not necessarily provide any balance or any extra appeal O’Malley does not already have, aside from support of the African-American vote, which is already high.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) - Many were disappointed when she decided not to run for the presidency this year, but there is no signs that she has any slowing ambition. She is a very outspoken proponent of progressive ideas, and especially things that affect women, shown through her enormous role behind reducing the number of sexual assault cases in the military. She would likely give him a commanding percent of the female vote, but there are concerns that she could be a Ferraro 2.0, and completely overshadow O’Malley on the campaign trail.
Senator Allison Grimes (D-KY) - She is young, and a rising star in the Senate that shows much ambition. In 2014, she handily defeated the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the solid red state of Kentucky, and proceeded to become very popular in her home state. She would reinforce O’Malley’s ideas well, but many people are concerned that she does not have enough experience to handle tough issues if push comes to shove.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) - He is one of the biggest options for VP in the field because of his national presence and his ability to flip the critical swing state of Florida. Murkowski could also mend some broken links with the more conservative elements of her party, but his senate seat is up for election this year, and it would vacate a senate seat that could easily fall to the Democrats, which is something that the Republicans want to avoid.
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) - The junior senator from Arizona is relatively unknown, but he carries little political baggage and could make a very solid choice. Murkowski worked with him on a number of occasions in the Senate, and he has a very moderate voting record. He is also one of the best at Hispanic outreach in the Republican Party, which could be a tremendous asset for Murkowski.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) - Another moderate Senator, this time located in the critical swing state of Ohio. He was notable for being one of the first Republicans in Congress to come out in support for gay marriage, and he enjoys a lot of support in his home state. He could flip Ohio, but his presence could cause social conservatives to stay home, or worse, try to prop up an independent Tea Party ticket.
Fmr. Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT) - The former Utah governor has declined to run again this year, but he is far from being out of politics. He was an early endorser of Murkowski and he has appeared on the trail with her. His compassionate conservative image could help shore up the more conservative elements of her party without isolating moderates, and that could be critical to the election.
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-UT) - She is yet another senator from another swing state, but she has become more of an outspoken voice in the Senate over the past few years and has become popular in her party. She has a lot of “compassionate conservative” elements as well that do not cater to the Tea Party and do not isolate moderates, which is a bonus. A double female ticket for the GOP could do tremendous things for their election chances.

Christie endorses Murkowski, but Cruz still holds back
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
21 April 2016, updated 9:51 AM EST

Senator Ted Cruz made his feelings about Murkowski’s nomination well known in an interview today, stating that “she leads the Republican Party in the wrong direction.” After Murkowski clinched a majority of delegates on April 15, Cruz or Christie reserved their endorsements. Christie gave out his endorsement only yesterday, stating that “he will hold no grudges” and that “the party needs to unite behind the kind of ideas that should lead us. It has been speculated that he threw his support merely to prevent a Cruz challenge, as the governor has made it well known that he prefers Murkowski to Cruz. He also stated that he is not willing to accept the vice presidential nomination.

On the other hand, Cruz has still refused to endorse his party’s supposed nominee. He stated that he has many reservations about her electability, and that she represents a very muddled idea of conservatism. He has called on her to “choose somebody who can display true conservative values” as her vice presidential choice if she wants his support and by extension that of the Tea Party caucus. He did not provide a solid answer when questioned about whether or not an independent Tea Party ticket is a possibility, stating that “the ticket does not represent what we stand for right now.” Murkowski has not made any further comments on her VP choice since this interview.

Obama nominates Paul Watford to be Kennedy’s successor
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
29 April 2016, updated 9:51 AM EST

President Obama announced that he will be nominating Ninth Circuit judge Paul Watford to fill the seat of the retiring Justice Kennedy. The president announced this at a press conference earlier today at the White House, where he introduced Watford as his nominee. The president stated that he chose him because of  “vigor, yet experience that will allow him to continue Justice Kennedy’s legacy.”  Minority Leader John Cornyn has already stated that Senate Republicans will be blocking his nomination because he did not fit the bill of moderate that they wanted to fill his seat. The Senate will hold an initial vote on confirming Watford’s nomination in a week.

O’Malley picks Klobuchar as vice presidential nominee
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
3 May 2016, updated1:46 PM EST

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Martin O’Malley announced today that he would be nominating former competitor and Senator Amy Klobuchar as his vice presidential nominee. In a rally in Minneapolis, he stated that “there was no better choice than the stronghearted Senator from Minnesota who could connect with Americans better than the rest of us.” She stated that she was “honored to receive the vice presidential nomination, and that she hopes to help take the Democratic Party to victory in November. O’Malley, has received a small boost from this announcement of 1% and Minnesota has flipped from toss up to Democratic lean.

On the other side of the field, Murkowski has been keeping busy trying to repair the image of the Republican Party as a united one, while trying to find a vice presidential nominee that will help to actually unite the party. Some people who have publicly expressed interest in being the VP are Congressman Tim Huelskamp and Governor Bobby Jindal. The only thing that Murkowski has stated is that she will have a short list within two weeks time. The GOP is at a significant disadvantage at the moment due to lack of unity, which the Democratic Party is displaying a significant amount of.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A House Divided: March Primaries

O’Malley wins slight edge in Democratic Super Tuesday contests
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
1 March 2016, updated 6:53 PM EST

Martin O’Malley has expanded his lead in the Democratic field of candidates through today’s Super Tuesday contests. O’Malley won a majority of the contests today, which were in his strong areas of the South and Northeast. Klobuchar won the big prize of Texas and Udall kept his campaign afloat through a narrow victory in Oklahoma. Udall has stated that he would like to keep his campaign running because he believes that he has the best ideas and appeal to keep the Democratic Party in the White House. O’Malley made a statement to supporters in Portland today, stating that he hopes to keep his campaign going strong to get a “real progressive” representing the party. The current delegate allotment is as follows:

Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland: 312 delegates
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: 287 delegates
Senator Mark Udall of Colorado: 162 delegates
Governor Deval Patrick: 14 delegates (pledged to O’Malley)
Fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont: 0 delegates


Cruz wins big in GOP Super Tuesday contests
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
6 March 2016, updated 6:10 PM EST

The true impact of the split of the moderate vote has reared its head today. Cruz took a number of winner take all contests, giving him an enormous delegate lead, while Murkowski and Christie remain neck and neck, but far behind. Senator Paul gave Murkowski a crucial edge after he endorsed her and gave up his big prize of 35 delegates to her. Cruz made a speech to supporters in Salt Lake City, where the crowd was extremely energized by his performance in the primaries. He told supporters that “the Republican Party finally understands that they can not nominate a weak candidate again” and that “he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.” Christie and Murkowski have both expressed what they feel the dangers of a Cruz candidacy would be, and they have both called on each other to drop out to end the split of the moderate vote. The current delegate counts are as follows:

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 394 delegates
Senator Lisa Murkowski Alaska: 211 delegates
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 207 delegates
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky: 35 delegates (pledged to Murkowski)
Fmr. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania: 4 delegates (pledged to Cruz)
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: 0 delegates


Udall suspends campaign, endorses O’Malley
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
7 March 2016, updated 8:52 PM EST

Senator Mark Udall announced today that he is suspending his presidential campaign, and he has decided to endorse O’Malley for the Democratic nomination. In his speech in Denver, Colorado, he stated that he ran a “strong campaign, but simply did not have the momentum to make it.” He wants the Democratic party to rally around O’Malley in order for the party to look stronger looking towards the general election. Udall was able to pull a victory in Oklahoma on Super Tuesday, but he remained very far behind O’Malley and Klobuchar.

At this point in the Democratic contest, O’Malley appears to be pulling a greater lead over even Klobuchar. It is still a decent distance away from the finish line, but this race is not too close. O’Malley has continued campaigning, and he has spoke of uniting the party and has largely moved past attacks on other Democrats. He has been attempting to create an advantage for the Democrats over the Republicans, as the GOP is still embroiled in a three way war.

Murkowski pulls out enormous lead, Christie falls out of contest
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
1 April 2016, updated 2:07 PM EST

Over the course of March, we have seen yet another enormous shift in the Republican contest. Super Tuesday might have been overwhelmingly for Cruz, but the rest of March has had a very strong showing for Murkowski. The Republican Party decided to host a post-Super Tuesday debate in order to make a more decisive primary fight, and this debate overwhelmingly favored Murkowski. The Alaskan senator tore Cruz down on his “weak” stances on social ideas as well as tearing Christie down on his record as Governor, stating that he has the personality, but nothing to back it up. Also, there were allegations that came out questioning Christie’s credibility over an FBI investigation of his lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno, which hurt his polling and allowed Murkowski to take much of his Northeastern Republican base under her wing. Her dominance in the debates has certainly helped her performance this month, as she was able to flip big winner take all states such as Pennsylvania and New York.

Murkowski has brought herself just short of the number of delegates needed for victory, and although Cruz remains competitive, it becomes decently likely that Murkowski can clinch the nomination. Christie is effectively out at this point, but he has stated that he refuses to drop out at this point, and likely wants to take the nomination to convention in an attempt to win it. Murkowski and Cruz have attempted to shore up voters and repair the broken view of the Republican Party by taking cross country campaigns and rallies. Below is the current map and delegate counts as of now. An important note is that North Dakota and Tennessee were incorrectly projected for Cruz on Super Tuesday, but after full counts they actually went for Murkowski.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: 1146 delegates
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 856 delegates
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 276 delegates
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky: 35 delegates (pledged to Murkowski)
Fmr. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania: 4 delegates (pledged to Cruz)
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: 0 delegates


O’Malley pulls ahead in March contests
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
2 April 2016, updated 6:10 AM EST

Governor O’Malley has continued to reinforce his lead in the Democratic contests through the March contests. O’Malley has won the vast majority of the big contests in the South and Northeast, while the only big contest Klobuchar was able to take was Illinois. Even though the Democratic field is more united behind O’Malley, he is far from having as commanding of a delegate lead as Murkowski because of the fact that the Democratic Party does not allow winner take all primaries. There is little doubt that he will pass that threshold however, with big contests that he is polling favorably in, such as California and Washington coming up shortly that should make things more definitive. Here is the primary map and current delegate counts as of today below:

Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland: 868 delegates
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: 398 delegates
Senator Mark Udall of Colorado: 162 delegates (pledged to O’Malley)
Governor Deval Patrick: 14 delegates (pledged to O’Malley)
Fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont: 0 delegates

Monday, November 11, 2013

A House Divided: Campaign to Super Tuesday

Cruz: This is the end of the road for non-conservative candidates
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
7 February 2016, updated 6:50 PM EST

In an interview today, Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz stated that the Republican Party “can only go in a conservative direction” with its nomination process. He claims that recent infighting in the moderate faction of the GOP between the establishment Christie and upstart Murkowski is a sign that a moderate candidate will only create more issues that prevent the party from ascending to the White House. The senator’s allegations are based off of a recent debate, held after Florida, that pitted Christie and Murkowski against each other in an argument over who had the better record. Murkowski claimed that as Governor, Christie did little to help New Jersey while she had a record that showed she was willing to compromise in the Senate. Christie came back by saying that Murkowski would not be “tough enough” to get real work done in Congress and that his executive experience in New Jersey is more applicable than experience as a Senator.

Cruz claim that it splits the party is rather accurate based on polling data. Cruz holds a plurality of support in the overall GOP at the moment with 38%. Murkowski has 29%, and Christie has 27% with Paul in last place with 6%. The self proclaimed moderates that vote for Murkowski and Christie, however, make up a bloc of 56% of voters. All signs in this party’s contest show that it will be a very long a divisive presidential primary season.

- February 7, 2016 -

Today, Murkowski has really reaffirmed her status as a frontrunner in this race through victories in the Minnesota and Colorado contests. She has shown herself to be very popular in the West and Midwest, and these victories help confirm this. However, Cruz took Missouri by a fairly comfortable margin. Murkowski has a fair amount more delegates than Christie, and his campaign is largely on damage control.

HUNTSMAN: A lot of the right things have been said already. Christie is the third wheel right now and something major has to happen if he wants to get himself back in the top spot. Murkowski was really successful in displaying as Christie having all of the charisma and none of the substance, while she has shown herself to have all of that, along with a no nonsense but still somewhat pragmatic attitude. She is looking like the one to beat.

- February 13, 2016 -

On the much quieter Democratic side of the contests, O'Malley has won the South Carolina contest by a fairly comfortable margin. O'Malley has polled very well among African-Americans in the primaries since Governor Patrick's exit and this is very likely one of the major elements that contributed to his victory.

HUNTSMAN: Being the Governor of Maryland certainly helps with picking up the African-American vote. He knows what they need and a lot of the social programs he implemented in Maryland were aimed at helping them specifically. If he becomes the nominee, I would expect him to have a lot more clout in the south than President Obama did in 2008 and 2012, even with the monolithic black vote.

- February 16, 2016 -

O'Malley rounds out his victory in South Carolina a few days ago with a victory in North Carolina today. This victory was just as strong as the one in South Carolina, and not very much of a surprise considering that polling indicated this exact thing occurring.

HUNTSMAN: I really don't have much to say about North Carolina than I already said about its southern counterpart. North Carolina was the only swing state that went for Romney in 2012, and North Carolina is very likely to be in play this year, especially if O'Malley is the nominee.

- February 23, 2016 -

The Governor of Maryland continues to have very strong showings in the Democratic contests. He wins the Arizona and Michigan contests today, although it is important to note that Klobuchar only trailed him by 4% in Michigan. At this point, O'Malley has created a solid delegate lead, but Klobuchar could catch up easily through a victory in a big contest.

HUNTSMAN: These contests are the final ones before Super Tuesday for the Democrats. Super Tuesday, from what we can see now, will be far from a deciding match for this party. Klobuchar has a lead in Texas, which is an enormous delegate grab and could easily put her above O'Malley. There is also the element of Udall, who could realistically take away enough delegates from either to prevent a breakthrough from either. However, this does not appear to be headed to convention in any stretch of imagination.

- February 28, 2016 -

ANN can bring you some more intriguing news, this time with the Republican Party. Christie has secured a two percent margin of victory over Murkowski in Michigan, while Cruz made a less exciting victory in Arizona. This is likely the fuel that Chrstie's campaign needs to keep going. It was looking like he was finished for a week or so, but that might not be so. Christie is still far behind in the delegate count, but Michigan is a decently sized prize that can propel hm back in the nomination race.

HUNTSMAN: A Christie breakthrough was largely unexpected at this point. I think that Michgan, with a balance of rural and urban atmospheres most closely associated with the northeast, and felt the most relateable with a northeastern moderate over an Alaskan maverick or a Texan conservative. A Christie victory in this state shows is that he could still win state in the Northeast, including New York, or possibly even California. A key lesson to learn from these Republican primaries is that nobody should underestimate the underdog, from the rise of Murkowski to Christie fighting back.

Looking to Super Tuesday: what needs to happen?
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
28 February 2016, updated 9:19 AM EST

Super Tuesday, one of the most important days in the primary season is coming up quickly. Sometimes it can be the day to decide races, but this year, the Democratic and Republican field is so closely locked that it appears unlikely a breakthrough will be made. Here are the Republican side of the races:

Senator Lisa Murkowski Alaska: 132 delegates
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 128 delegates
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 117 delegates
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky: 35 delegates (unpledged)
Fmr. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania: 4 delegates (pledged to Cruz)
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: 0 delegates

Senator Murkowski has pulled a lead due to victories in some big winner take all contests, but Cruz is only a meager 4 delegates behind and Christie only 9 behind Cruz. Senator Paul, who ended his bid after Missouri, has not endorsed a candidate yet, and therefore his delegates are unpledged. His delegates could end up making the difference, and it is likely he will go for Murkowski or Cruz, as he has a very long history of disagreement with Christie. Anybody could feasibly pull ahead on Super Tuesday.

Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland: 145 delegates
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: 132 delegates
Senator Mark Udall of Colorado: 88 delegates
Governor Deval Patrick: 14 delegates (pledged to O’Malley)
Fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont: 0 delegates

Governor O’Malley holds a slim lead in the Democratic field. Overall, this race is shaping up to be a very close two way race. If Udall wants to have a legitimate shot at the nomination, he is going to have to pull out some big victories tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A House Divided: The Field Thins (January 21 - February 6, 2016)

- January 21, 2016 -

As widely predicted, Senator Ted Cruz won a healthy victory in South Carolina. The state GOP has a history of supporting strong conservative candidates, and with this victory, Cruz remains well in lead in delegate count. A noticeable surprise is that Murkowski, finishing in third place, beat Christie by two percent. Murkowski continues to put a dent into many of the candidates previous plans.

HUNTSMAN: Murkowski is getting all of the attention right now, but we can't forget about Rand Paul. He has consistently polled high and finished in third or second in the primaries so far. Even though she is rising, he is still up there, and garnering support.

- Febuary 2, 2016 -

The first big surprise this primary season is a huge win for Senator Udall in the form of a victory in his home state of Colorado and the neighboring state of Utah. Senator Klobuchar was projected to win Colorado and Utah earlier on in the season, but Udall still remains competitive in the state due to his good debate performance, which has culminated in a significant, but not quite massive victories. Klobuchar still swept the contest in Minnesota while O'Malley had a slim victory in Missouri

HUNTSMAN: The Democratic field is shaping up to be just as divided as the Republican one appeared to be. Anybody who can win the third contest has a solid chance to win the nomination generally, but I still have a hard time picturing Udall as the winner, as his appeal is mostly in states with few delegates in the west, and O'Malley and Klobuchar take the lions share of public attention. Klobuchar has big leads in Texas and Illinois while O'Malley leads in California and New York, all big contests that are virtually not up for grabs.

Patrick, Santorum suspend presidential campaigns
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
3 February 2016, updated 3:13 PM EST

After disappointing showings in the past few primaries and caucuses, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania have chosen to suspend their respective presidential campaigns. Santorum stated that he is dissapointed by the past few showings, and that he will not run for president again, but that he does not wish to continue splitting the conservative vote. He gave his endorsement to Senator Cruz, saying that he is the best man and the strongest candidate to carry the party and bring it back to its roots.

Patrick stated that it is clear he does not have enough support for the nomination, so he has chosen to drop out for the sake of party unity. He endorsed O'Malley for the Democratic nomination, giving him an important boost in what has been a close fight between Klobuchar and O'Malley for the top spot in most contests. At this point in the primaries, the fields for both parties are being slimmed down quickly and we are seeing the big players emerge. The Democratic field is down to three, while the Republicans still have four that all have a competitive chance at their parties nomination.

Sandoval competitive with Reid, but other Senate Republicans vulnerable
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
4 February 2016, updated 6:50 PM EST

Former Governor Brian Sandoval announced his challenge for Reid's senate seat around two months ago, and at this point, he is far ahead of all competitors and very likely to win the primary. Right now, he is polling 47% to 49%, which is much closer than any of Senator Reid's margins of victory have been so far. Sandoval has made a lot of inroads with the Hispanic community in Nevada, which is one of the few Republicans that have been able to do so on this scale. This is digging into Reid's base and putting his seat in danger.

Although the Republicans are competitive in Nevada, they are losing a number of other Senate races. Senator Kirk is retiring after his term is up next year, and Illinois is naturally more favorable to the Democrats. Congressman Schock is likely to win his party's primary, but he is facing an uphill climb against. Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are both polling behind their respective Democratic challengers, which puts the Republican Party in a very tough spot and unlikely to meet their strong performance in the 2014 elections. 

7 out of 8 of the seats polling as tossup have Republican incumbents

- January 31, 2016 -

After a very tedious day counting votes, ANN can finally project that Murkowski will pull a very narrow win in the Florida contest. She is only around 1,000 votes ahead of Cruz at this point. Florida is the first big delegate grab in the primary season for the Republican Party, and Murkowski was not the favorite to win this contest until recently, where it came a toss up. A few minutes ago, Murkowski state to a group of supporters in Tampa Bay that she is pleased to see how much support has been shown for her, and that she hopes that the rest of her party will recognize her as the person to lead the Republican Party into the White House. Christie's campaign has taken some massive hits due to her success, and he is going to have to come back fighting if he wants to regain his spot.

HUNTSMAN: This really shows the power a good grassroots campaign. She started with 'the rest' in the bottom of the pack that stared up to the power duo of Christie and Cruz, but through a lot of positive campaigning, emphasis on her record as a compromiser, and massive power in debates, she climbed to the top and made this race a three way fight. This one will go down to the wire, and this race will likely end up defining the Republican Party for the next few years.

- January 31, 2016 -

Today, Senator Murkowski has put herself in a very good place with victories in Nevada and Maine that solidifies her breakthrough in Florida. Even though she has shown herself to have a strong following, Christie came in a close second in Maine and Cruz a close second in Nevada.

HUNTSMAN: Even though it has been exciting to see Murkowski rise, it has only made the GOP field more contentious. Paul might drop out, but Christie is absolutely holding on. Somebody is going to have to make a breakthrough if they want to avoid a brokered convention.

- February 6, 2016 -

Senator Klobuchar has made another victory today, this time in the state of Nevada. It was a relatively expected victory based on earlier polling, but her margin of victory is higher than expected. O'Malley took second place and Udall took third place as usual, but Udall has been scoring higher after his wins in the Utah and Colorado contests.

HUNTSMAN: Sure, Udall might be doing well, but I don't know if he has a serious chance at securing the nomination at this point. He will likely continue to take small amounts of delegates away from the close race between O'Malley and Klobuchar. At least the Democratic field is slightly more united at this point than the Republican field.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A New Era of Liberty - Chapter 1 (NaNoWriMo)


One could watch the Rockies in the snow on a cold winter day forever and feel content. The snow fell in light, fluffy flakes that gathered like whiffs of cotton on a windowsill and far off on the mountains, it gathered into white sheets that accented the signature flatirons that one could see from Boulder. It would be hard for any sane man to leave this lovely city, wrapped up in a blanket with some hot cocoa and the blinds open, watching the snow fall. However, this was no ordinary man.

The first thing that stood out was his hair. It was a deep brown that matched the tone of the mountains, and made a slight wave when it got just a little too long. Just below his hair was a stark contrast of eyes the blue of the Colorado sky on a famously cloudless day. These eyes burned with a passion and vigor usually reserved for a warrior in battle. His skin, even though he was white, had a slight tan to the outside that came from the days of running cross country that still carry onto his 36 year old self. There was no sign of age, and he acted as if he could be 18 for all eternity. This man was Senator Chris Keaton of the Democratic Party.

Chris took a glance at the clock to his bedside, and sighed. 6:00 AM was displayed, and the sun poked out from the east. Today was the day. The shower was quick, and he put his suit and bright green tie on even quicker. Waiting for him downstairs was a protein smoothie and granola bar, neatly prepared for him by his wife. She sported a matching green dress, and shoulder blade length blonde hair that was neatly curled.

“Good luck honey.” She smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek.

He took his smoothie and smirked in return. “Its not luck, its the Force.”

She laughed and gave him a light shove on the shoulder. “You know what I mean.”

He casually walked over to the coat closet. Sitting there was his formal coat, but hiding behind it was his high school letterman jacket. He took a nice long glance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade patch, and allowed memories of the time to return. At the time, he was more than happy to get a second of national airtime. He had experienced plenty more now.

“Still thinking about that parade?” his wife asked.

Chris gave a slight shrug, paired with a smile. “It is good inspiration.”

“Don’t be nervous! I have told you before, the people love you as Senator and they will continue to.” She took his hand and opened the door, allowing the snow chilled air to rush into the door and strike him to his senses. They stepped onto the sidewalk and began the stride towards his signature red Jeep Wrangler, a car that he had wanted ever since he could remember. Snow covered the windshield, but that issue was quickly rectified after entering the car and turning on the heat. With the engine softly beating, the couple took the U turn towards their future.

It was not a long drive to City Square, located right in the heart of the historic Pearl Street mall. A small group of dedicated supporters was huddled closely, holding signs that read Bradford for Senate. Those signs would be different in a matter of minutes. He stepped out of the car and greeted a very excited crowd, literally warmed by his presence.

“Thank you for braving the elements to come out and support me today. I have been honored to serve as your Senator for four years so far. I have fought to get America into the twenty first century by investing in clean energy, and I hope that we can wean ourselves entirely off of foreign oil. I have fought to make sure our gay brothers and sisters get the equal rights they deserve. I fought to make America into a country that every single citizen can be proud of.”

The crowd cheered, very much in support of his statements.

“I also know that I have not agreed with President Roberts on a lot of issues. Under his administration, we continue to become embroiled in more conflicts in the Middle East. Under his administration, America continues to needlessly incarcerate people into prison cities instead of helping them become fully functioning members of society. To quote the wise JFK, we must unite as one if we wish to solve the problems that plague this world! This, my friends, is why I, Chris Bradford, have decided to run for the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States. Support me now, and please continue to support me into Primary day six months from now! I know I can beat the President, and get diplomacy and respect for all fellow citizens of America and the world back in the White House!”

The crowd responded with quite the electric cheer, at least as much of one as the small group of people could produce. After a quick handshake with his eager supporters in the crowd, he got back in his car.

“And so it begins.”

“Excuse me Mr. President.” Chief of Staff Abby Huntsman entered the Oval Office as the president poured over briefings from the generals fighting on the front in Kurdistan.

“Yes Abby?” The president replied with a labored sigh.

“I just wanted to let you know that Senator Keaton announced his plans to run for President.”

Roberts smiled slightly before shaking her comment off. “He is no legitimate challenge to me. He’s not even Christian, right? Deist, or something odd like that?”

“That’s true. I would not underestimate anybody though. You should have learned that after deciding that Saddam Hussein was going to be easy to take down.”

“Don’t get sassy with me Ms. Huntsman.” He gave her a nod to the head, and a smile shortly preceded.”By the way, remember that we have a press conference to attend to in thirty minutes.”

“It’s all planned, Mr. President.” She smiled, nodded and left the room.

The president let out an enormous sigh and sat back with his hands clasped behind his head. The map of the situation in Kurdistan burned in his head. American forces had lost tremendous ground to Iraqi forces in the past month, and he had to explain this to the American people in a press conference. The last thing that he wanted to do was a troop surge, as that would put too many American lives in danger. However, he couldn’t leave the region entirely, as he had built a good relationship with the Kurdish people that have been fighting for independence. He made the decision to get some fresh air to try and clear his mind.

Outside of the White House, there was quite beautiful scenery. He could see the pink forest of Japanese cherry blossoms across the pond, and the green grass adjacent to the great presidential mansion was one of the most vibrant greens you could see. It would be hard to picture so much hate and corruption in such a picturesque place as this. One could not imagine this mansion burning with the Union Jack placed square in front, Americans fighting tooth and nail for their homeland. Perhaps that is why Americans feel the need to fight for other’s democracy. We have experienced it ourselves and everybody deserves to be where America can stand today.

The president thought he had a breakthrough, but it was not so. He thought how poor the American people would take that explanation, but that he had no other one to offer. Taking him out of a trance was a ever nervous secret service officer, nudging him to the fact that the press was ready to speak to him. Checking his phone, the president gave a nod to the officer. He took a deep breath as he followed him back into the White House and into the briefing room.

The cameras flashed in his eyes as soon as he stepped in the room. So many reporters had notepads, tablets, and microphones in hand, and there was something fierce in their eyes, like they were a group of hungry lions ready to pounce. The endless drone of reporters calling “Mr. President!” began as he stepped up to the podium and adjusted his microphone. He gave the hand signals for the sound to quiet down, and as the sound disappeared the void was seemingly filled with tension as they waited to pounce on his every word.

“I know that the American people deserve to know what is going on with our mission to guarantee the Kurdish people their natural rights and rights to self-determination. It has been a mission in which many noble American men and women have stepped up to the plate to show how America can truly be a force for good. The leadership in the Army, Marines, and Air Force have all told me that America is holding up, but the winds are not blowing in our favor. In any battle, we will have ups and downs, and right now is our biggest down yet.”

The reporters and their raucous call for the president to answer their questions fired up after his last statement, but he had to forcefully cut them off again. An audible breath was drawn before he proceeded to speak.

“I can promise you that this situation is not permanent. As I speak, my generals are coordinating and reviewing plans to get the right ones in action that will push back the front that the Iraqi forces have set. This fight will not be easy, it will surely be arduous. In order to make this easy as possible however, I have decided to ask Congress to approve a troop surge in order to get us to where we need to be by 2012. America has always chosen to fight for liberty across the world. We have fought on our own soil, and the struggles we have been through have made America into the bastion of liberty it is today. It is an honor that we can help other nations lift into the prosperity that liberty offers, which will make the world a better place. Thank you for being here today, I will not be answering any questions at this time.”

The prodding drone of the collective body of reporters surrounded the president until he escaped the room. The reaction to his idea was not necessarily positive, he could feel that from the energy in the room after he finished speaking. The conviction still stood in him as strong of the vision of the White House burning at the hands of the Union Jack, nearly 200 years earlier.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A House Divided: Contest in New Hampshire

Jindal drops out, endorses Murkowski for GOP nomination
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
19 November 2016, updated 3:34 PM EST

In New Orleans, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he is withdrawing his name from the Republican nomination process. He stated that he is disappointed that he has to drop out, but that it is for the good of the party. In his speech, he endorsed Senator Murkowski for the GOP nomination, citing her moderate record and what he calls her “electability and relatability.” Pundits are not surprised seeing Jindal drop out, since his 6% showing was low, but some are surprised that he chose to endorse Murkowski instead of Christie. Governor Martinez’s endorsement of Murkowski, who has quite a bit of clout even considering the fact that she declined to run for president, had a factor in Jindal’s decision.

Candidates debate in New Hampshire: Christie, Murkowski, Udall, and O’Malley come out on top
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
22 November 2015, updated 10:07 AM EST

Both parties held debates last night in New Hampshire in preparation for the New Hampshire primaries on the 26th for the Democrats and the 27th for the Republicans. On the Democratic side, Udall and O’Malley came off as the strongest candidates based on voter polling. O’Malley pushed for nationwide legalization of gay marriage as soon as possible, and presented himself as staunchly liberal on social issues. Udall presented a very strong program for clean energy implementation as well as support for greatly reducing the scope of the NDAA (which he was a strong opponent before it was passed) and the NSA. Howard Dean received some applause for presenting a very progressive platform, but he has been criticized for being idealistic and having no substance to his ideas.

On the Republican side, Christie and Murkowski were considered to be the victors by viewer polls. Senator Cruz was by far the most vocal of the candidates and took up around half of the air time. Cruz took a very hardline conservative stance on many issues, but Murkowski and Christie responded with more moderate responses and were both willing to compromise. Christie was very no-nonsense and called Cruz’s ideas “stupid” on occasion, which got him some fans, but many people thought he was irritable and had an abrasive personality. Murkowski on the other hand came off much more polite and concise with her answers. Voters polled her, by far, the most relatable of all of the candidates, and non-issue voters, if those even exist in the primary season voter base, are most likely voting for her. Every day, Murkowski is gaining more and more support, and this could turn into a three way race if she continues her momentum.

- January 26, 2016 -

As of 7:15 PM, ANN can project that Governor O'Malley will win the New Hampshire primary. Senator Klobuchar, the victor in Iowa, is three points behind, with Governor Deval Patrick in third place and five points behind Klobuchar. Governor Dean's numbers have gone down since Iowa, which spells some very bad things for his future in this race. Here with us to make some sense of these results is our political analyst Abby Huntsman.

HUNTSMAN: I am not surprised by this result. New Hampshire was O'Malley's to win all along. However, the Colorado and Utah caucuses are next in the New Democratic schedule, where it is looking like there is a distinct possibility that Udall could make a breakthrough in both. O'Malley, if he will be his party's nominee, will have to watch this state closely come general election season, as I could see anybody in the field, aside from Senator Cruz, putting that state solidly in play.

- January 27, 2016 -

ANN feels comfortable projecting that the victor in New Hampshire will be Governor Christie. New Hampshire has been polling in his favor since the first polls were held, but Murkowski came only a percentage point behind beating him. Murkowski has risen in the ranks quickly, and the Christie camp is probably very concerned. Cruz is four points behind Murkowski, while Santorum's support base has has shrunken considerably to nine percent with many of his potential voters going for Cruz. Here with us to make some sense of these results is our political analyst Abby Huntsman.

HUNTSMAN: Of course, a Christie victory is really no surprise. He will surely put the state into play if he wins his party's nomination. However, he and Christie need to keep an eye on Murkowski. It is not likely she will win South Carolina, but Nevada is solidly in play and she could win it easily. Florida, a big delegate prize coming up, is a state where she is competitive as well. She has really come up fast and this race is quickly turning into a triopoply as opposed to the expected duopoly of the polar Christie and Cruz.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A House Divided: The Iowa Caucuses

JANUARY 18, 2016

Welcome to ANN’s coverage of the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. I am Wolf Blitzer, and I will be your host tonight. With us, we have ANN’s own Anderson Cooper and political analyst and journalist Abby Huntsman in order to give us some insight into tonights events. Later tonight, we will also have a special visit from Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you Wolf, I am happy to be here.

Tonight will have big repercussions on the rest of the season. Even though Iowa is far from being the chief decider of the presidential race, nobody can deny its impacts. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, long considered to be the front runners of the race, have been battling hard for a victory in this race. However, we cannot deny that Rand Paul and the rising star Lisa Murkowski have something to fight for in this race. On the Democratic side, the big names Martin O'Malley and Amy Klobuchar have been sparring for Iowa, but Deval Patrick and Mark Udall have still taken a significant amount of attention and voters. There is also the wildcard Howard Dean, which has the distinct possibility to affect the outcome of Iowa.

Early on in the counts, Christie and O'Malley lead. However, more westward in polling we have found more support for Klobuchar and Cruz, so these leads could be futile. Stay tuned for more.

Martin O'Malley: Let's keep representing, Iowa! #O'Malley2016
Ted Cruz: The night is early, but conservatives in Iowa will have their voices heard! #CruzForAmerica

The first race that we are prepared to call tonight is the Democratic one, and that Senator Klobuchar will be the winner with 29% of the vote at 89% reporting. Governor O’Malley is only a percentage point behind, but at this point it is near impossible for him to make up the percent deficit behind Klobuchar that he has held for most of the night.

Klobuchar was generally considered the favorite to win Iowa due to her appeal to more rural Midwestern democratic voters that O’Malley did not have. Here with us to talk about the results is Abby Huntsman, who I introduced at the beginning of the broadcast.

HUNTSMAN: Thanks Wolf. First off, I think that Klobuchar’s victory is in no way a surprise. O’Malley just did not have the person to person appeal that she has with voters in the Midwest. However, when we look forward to New Hampshire, O’Malley has the edge. However, he will have to watch for Patrick, who could have a breakthrough in New Hampshire. This boost from a victory in Iowa will help, but the race is far from decided.

And we finally have enough information from the Republican race to call a victory for Senator Cruz. Much like the Democratic race, the runner up Chris Christie only lost by a percentage point.

The race was really considered a toss up between Cruz and Christie. Both have shown themselves to occupy very different places in the party. It is also notable that Senator Murkowski passed the auspicious 15% “eligibility” line, marking a significant increase from the 9% she polled upon entry to the race. Here to make an analysis of the results in Iowa for the GOP is Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

MARTINEZ: Thanks for inviting me here tonight, Wolf. First off, I must establish that I am not all too surprised to see Cruz win in Iowa. Many Republicans are wary of another urban, Northeastern politician and can relate more easily to Cruz. However, Christie is far more in his element in New Hampshire, and it would not be hard to see him pulling a victory in New Hampshire. However, I think that we all need to watch out for Murkowski. She has a lot of the right traits for the Presidency without being tarnished by the spotlight for a long period of time, like Cruz and Christie have. If they don’t stop her now, she will become a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.

Thank you Governor. That will conclude our coverage of the 2016 Iowa caucuses. From me and all of ANN, we hope you have a good evening and will join us again.