Wednesday, June 28, 2006

MS - Fleming Wins Now Faces Mississippi Icon

Mississippi State Representative Erik Fleming won the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in a stunning fashion last night. With 99.9% of the vote counted Rep. Fleming beat businessman Bill Bowlin with 65% of the vote (

Rep. Fleming's win in the run-off election positions him to take on longtime Mississippi Senator Trent Lott in the November general election. Senator Lott will be bidding for his fourth term in the United States Senate and the former Majority Leader will have all the clout Washington incumbents receive including a massive war chest.

Mr. Fleming seems up to the challenge and said on a recent interview on Ascent Live! (listen to the interview that "Mississippi is ready for a change" and that he will cover the entire state to make that change.

We shall see.

Monday, June 26, 2006

MD - Duncan Simms Ticket Out of the Race

Up until Thursday there were two African Americans Democrats running for Lieutenant Governor of the commonwealth of Maryland. Delegate Anthony Brown is the runningmate of Baltimore Mayor and favorite Martin O'Malley and former Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart Simms was tapped by underdog Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan.

However, on Thursday County Executive Duncan dropped out of the race citing illness and ending his and Simms run for Governor and Lt. Governor.

Duncan who said he recently had been diagnosed with clinical depression said withdrawing from the race was best for him and his family.

The O'Malley Brown ticket, which had been leading in the polls, face nominally opposition in the September primary and can now grid for the tough general election ahead where they will face incumbent Bob Erhlich who has yet to name a runningmate.

Four years Gov. Erhlich shocked many and choose Michael Steele for the post and made Steele the first African American to win statewide in Maryland. Lt. Governor Steele is now a GOP candidate for the United States Senator from Maryland (

Sunday, June 25, 2006

TN - Things Getting Ugly Early in Tennessee

Most expected the open Senate race in Tennessee to be very competitive and extremely hard fought. So far that has been the case with tight poll numbers for the Republican primary and for the general election which will include Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (

Rep. Ford seems ready for the difficulty of this senate campaign, and we suspect he is ready for the potential racism that greets any African American running for federal office especially in the south as Ford is looking to become the first African American US Senator from the south since Reconstruction.

While Ford was ready to deal with the issue of race, he has been saying the issues and problems in Washington, DC have not been caused by people who look like me, we doubt he was ready for attacks on his personal interests and taste.

The national GOP has posted a website called to poke fun at Ford who according to the websites' links likes to go to Starbucks, stay in nice hotels and eat in upscale restaurants which puts him out of touch with the average Tennessean, as if Tennessee doesn't have Starbucks, nice hotels and upscale restaurants.

The point of course is obvious that the young, single Memphis Congressman who likes to attend parties and attend fundraisers with Hollywood stars is out of step with Tennessee values, whatever they may be. The site also tries to paint Ford, a glaring moderate, as a liberal eager to emulate liberal icon Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and also mentions how much he pays for his suits.

While it is not a surprise the website appeared it is somewhat surprising that it appeared so early. The Republican primary is a tough contest between two former members of Congress and the mayor of Chattanooga and Congressman Ford is bascially unopposed on the Democratic side allowing him to begin his general election campaign months before the August 3rd primay.

So maybe the GOP is beginning to panic a little as the primary gets tougher and Ford's poll numbers remain competitive ( Whatever the reason the Republicans felt it necessary to start the personal attacks in the spring before the November election and before the party has even selected a nominee.

If things are starting this early hold on tight, this is going to be a rough and tumble campaign.

Friday, June 23, 2006

PA - Swann Campaign Appears Stalled

When Lynn Swann first announced his intentions to run for Governor of Pennsylvania there was a noted buzz across the country. A Hall of Fame performer in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a republican, a first time candidate without the weight of a record to defend he appeared a great candidate to take on what some saw as a vulnerable incumbent governor.

Mr. Swann enjoyed a quick start and even led in early polls over Governor Ed Rendell. However, it seems like the campaign has lost steam and the most recent Quinnipiac Poll shows Governor Rendell leading the the GOP nominee by 24 points and topping 50% in the survey (click here to see the poll results

What may be the most disturbing for the Swann campaign are the favorable/unfavorable numbers. While 44% of the people questioned had a favorable of impression of Gov. Rendell (compared to 22% unfavorable) Mr. Swann was seen favorably by only 23% of those polled.

On the upside of those numbers only 14% had an unfavorable impression of Mr. Swann and 50% of those asked had never heard of him. That 50% and low unfavorable rating may be the key to him making this a race and jump starting his stagnant campaign.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MI - Butler Trailing in GOP Primary

Pastor and former Detroit City Councilman Keith Butler has picked up support in his bid to become the United States Senator from Michigan, but still trails in his party's primary according to a Strategic Vision poll concluded on June 18 (

Rev. Butler finds himself behind Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard by 5 points, however, nearly a quarter of voters are undecided in the Republican primary to be held on August 8. The five point deficit is half of what he faced a month ago in another Strategic Vision survey.

If Rev. Butler is successful in his party's primary he faces a monumental task in knocking of Michigan incumbent Debbie Stabenow, whom he's trailed by an average of 21.6% over the last three months in a variety of polls.

MA- Patrick Opens Up Primary Lead

In a race that few people seem to be discussing former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval Patrick has opened up a 5 point lead in his primary campaign to be Massachusetts' Governor ( .

The Survey USA poll was done on June 19th and had state Attorney General Tom Reilly running second with businessman and former Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieli coming in distant third.

Deval Patrick has built a razor thin lead over AG Reilly over the last three months in Survey USA polls and also holds a mid-sized lead over presumptive GOP candidate current Lt. Governor Kerry Healey. But first things first Mr. Patrick must win the democratic primary on August 8.

Monday, June 19, 2006

MI - Poll Shows Affirmative Action Ban Too Close to Call

A ballot proposal facing fall voters in Michigan that would ban Affirmative Action in higher education admissions and government contracts is in a dead heat. A June 9 poll conducted by EPIC-MRA for Detroit News and WXYZ-TV showed that 43% of those surveyed favored the ban and 42% opposed the measure. 15% remain undecided with a margin of error of 4%.

The one point margin probably heartens opponents since similar polls over the last two years saw the measure with a commanding 40 point led and most pundits feel that ballot initiatives must have dominant leads going into the fall when support for any measure usually wanes.

This particular measure had a much larger lead and support (nearly 70% at times) until major public institutions began to come out against it in recent months. Religious groups, labor, businesses and civic organizations began to voice their opposition and speak about the importance of Affirmative Action.

Supporters of the measure, including the infamous California businessman Ward Connerly who has spearheaded efforts like this across the country, say the ban will ensure equal treatment for all.

With a tight battle for Governor and US Senate, and other measures like whether there should be an increase in funding for K-16 education and whether life begins at conception, turnout will be high which will surely impact the Affirmative Action question.

Source: Detroit News, June 14, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

TN-Ford Closes the Gap

In his bid to become the first African American United States Senator from the deep south since Reconstruction, Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. must be buoyed by a poll released by Zogby International on June 12( .

In match ups with each of the three Republican candidates Ford closed the gaps that were seen in a Rasmussen Reports poll done on May 1 (

In the Zogby survey Ford is in a dead heat with one candidate and trailing the other two. But each the deficits is within the margin of error:

Ford 42%
Bob Corker 46%
Other 2%
Undecided 10%

Ford 41%
Van Hilleary 43%
Other 4%
Undecided 13%

Ford 42%
Ed Bryant 42%
Other 2%
Undecided 14%

Ford also enjoyed decent favorable/unfavorable numbers in the poll. 51% of those questioned had at least a somewhat favorable opinion of him compared to 31% with an unfavorable inclination.

The journey is certainly uphill, the GOP candidates don't top 19% in the unfavorable question and the state hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990 with Al Gore, but the numbers give the moderate Democrat from Memphis hope.

Newark-Completion of the Mandate

A little over a month ago one of our "Key Black Race(s) of the Moment" was the bitter election for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

Once vanquished challenger Cory Booker took on the two decade reign of "Mayor for Life" Sharpe James. While James declined to run for a sixth term and engage in a re-match with Booker, his surrogate and Deputy Mayor and State Senator Ronald Rice did make the race only to be smoked by Booker.

Mayor-Elect Booker won 70% of the vote on May 9 and three of his "Team Booker" City Council candidates also won.

Yesterday was the runoff for the remaining six spots on the Newark City Council. The Mayor-Elect campaigned hard for the last six seats, saying he needed a council to embrace the changes on which he campaigned.

The city responded to the call for change and gave all six of the "Team Booker" candidates victories. A result that means on July 1 when the Mayor-Elect and City Council are sworn into office the city will be seeing the biggest shift in political power in 36 years.

In 1970 Newark saw a similar transformation when Kenneth Gibson became the city's first African American Mayor.

Last nights results were also a landmark moment for Latinos in Newark as three Hispanics will now serve on the Council for the first time.

With the elections now over, it is time for "Team Booker" to make good on the promises of increasing economic opportunity, improving education, lowering crime and reconstructing the city's battered image. No small feat even for a Mayor with an overwhelming mandate and a handpicked Council.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

OH-Blackwell Still Trailing

Ohio GOP gubernatorial nominee Kenneth Blackwell still trails Democrat standard-bearer Ted Strickland.

In a recent Survey USA poll Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell finds himself down by 16 points trailing Congressman Ted Strickland 53% to 37%. The spread is basically identical (with some slippage) to what Mr. Blackwell has been facing. Using a three month trend, based on recent Rasmussen Polls, the Secretary of State has seen himself down by 14 points on average (

The only poll that showed Mr. Blackwell within 10 points was a Ohio Poll/University of Cincinnati survey released on May 25th which had him nipping at the Congressman's heels by 6 points.

Pardon the Interruption...Senator Clinton Is Not Invincible...

We have not engaged in the unbelievably premature talk about the 2008 presidential election (until now).

Our eyes have been firmly fixed on the critical mid-term elections that are less than five months away. The mid-term this year is as important and fascinating as we have seen in a decade. It could result in a sea change in American politics or further solidify (or hang on to) the majority the GOP began in the last critical mid-term election in 1994.

However, a recent Des Moines Register poll about who Dems would support in the (unjustified) first in the nation caucuses in January of '08 did caught our attention.

Former First Lady and current junior Senator from New York Hillary Clinton has been without question the front runner for the Democrat nomination. The darling of Clintonites (who would love to recapture the magic of President Clinton) and the mainstream media (who would love nothing more than a Clinton- John McCain or Rudy Giuliani or Condoleezza Rice race) , Senator Clinton has seemingly been anointed relegating other candidates to David like status to her Goliath.

But not so fast say Iowa Democrats giving a known name a stone. In a poll released recently by the Des Moines Register Senator Clinton places a surprising second to the last election's glamour candidate John Edwards.

Mr. Edwards, the Dems last Vice Presidential nominee, leads all candidates with 30%. Mrs. Clinton was second with 26% and the Democrats last standard-bearer and Edwards' running mate in 2004 John Kerry was a distant third with 12%.

Interesting numbers but plenty of time, plenty of time, plenty of time to see if they mean anything.

Now back to our current and more important programming...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Big Primary Night

Last night saw an incumbent under the gun win easily, a relative unknown post a surprising first in a United States Senate race in the deep south and a blast from the past win again.

Yesterday had 14 African Americans involved in primaries across the country,, the most yet on any given primary day.

In our "Key Black Race of the Moment" Mississippi State Representative Erik Fleming stunned political pundits and raced away from three other opponents to win the Democratic primary for the United States Senate by 20 percentage points over his nearest rival. Despite that commanding performance Rep. Fleming couldn't crest the magical 50% and will be in a run-off against businessman Bill Bowlin on June 27th.

Rep. Fleming rolled to the top in part because of the tremendous turnout for the well publicized and personal primary in Mississippi's second Congressional district.

In the second district incumbent Bennie Thompson faced what was suppose to be his toughest primary opponent in his 13 year career. Mississippi State Representative Chuck Espy gave the Congressman a solid fight, but in the end couldn't overcome the inherent advantage in fundraising members of Congress have and lost by a little over 26,000 votes.

In neighboring Alabama two term incumbent Artur Davis smashed political newcomer Eddison Walters in the Democratic primary in Alabama's seventh congressional district.

Congressman Davis garnered 93,266 votes and held Walters to under 10,000.

Lopsided victories where the order of the night for Davis' colleagues from California as well as Congresswomen Maxine Waters, Diane Watson and Juanita Millender-McDonald cruised to victory by an average of 69%.

As easy as primary day was for congressional incumbents two candidates for Governor came up woefully short.

In the Golden State Barbara Bencel failed in her effort to be the Democrat nominee to face Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November. In the eight person field Ms. Bencel managed an anemic 2.7% of the vote.

As low as Barbara Bencel vote total was she nearly tripled the percentage of Iowa hopeful Sal Mohamad.

In the four way race to replace outgoing Iowa Governor and presumed presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, Mr. Mohamad had amassed only one percent of the vote with 97% of the precinct counted.

Finally, while our focus this election year has been on statewide and federal office candidates we have shown interest in municipal elections (the race for Mayor of New Orleans comes to mind) and Tuesday night was no different. In the city of Oakland last night former Congressional icon Ron Dellums barely avoided a run off and was elected Mayor of the City of Oakland.

With all precincts reporting the former Congressman captured 50% of vote (the exact percentage needed to avoid a run off) to best a field of six candidates including the president of City Council.

All results can be seen at

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

MS-Blood Feud

While we tapped the Mississippi Democratic Senate primary as our "Key Race of the Moment" ( with State Senator Erik Fleming facing off today against two opponents for the right to meet incumbent Senator Trent Lott, we could have easily selected the intense primary in Mississippi's second house district.

The red-hot primary between Congressman Bennie Thompson and State Representative Chuck Espy is certainly a race to keep an eye on (

The incumbent, age 58, was selected in a special election to replace Mike Espy (Chuck's uncle) when he was named by Bill Clinton as Agriculture Secretary in 1993. Thompson defeated Henry Espy (Chuck's father) in the 1993 election and has held the seat ever since. That incestuous background has given this primary a little extra kick.

Mississippi's second district is one of nation's poorest areas and is the only congressional district that is majority African American in the Magnolia state.

The 31 year old Espy (Chuck) was expected to give Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security committee, all he could handle but has lagged behind in fundraising making it that much more difficult to knock off the incumbent.

Thompson sights the importance of seniority in Congress (he will be Chairman of the Homeland Security if the Dems take control in November) and his experience in the process as reasons to be reelected. But he has been hammered by Espy as divisive and for giving up his spot on the House Agriculture committee. The Congressman fires back that during Espy legislative career he missed countless committee meetings and that his anti-abortion stance could impact Congressional direction in the on-going debate.

Another African American, Dorothy Benford a perennial candidate, is also in the primary and another one awaits in the general election. The winner will face GOP nominee Tchula Mayor Yvonne Brown in November.

BP predicts Thompson win

Monday, June 05, 2006

MA—“Politics of Hope” wins the first round

On Saturday in Worcester, Massachusetts former Clinton appointed Devel Patrick took the first step in his journey to be Governor of the Bay State.

At the Democratic State Convention, Patrick won the top line and the party’s nomination by capturing 58% of the 4,569 delegates at the party’s soiree. However, both Attorney General Thomas Reilly and venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli also made the ballot setting up a red hot three primary scheduled for September 19th.

Mr. Patrick, the former United States Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, spoke of a “politics of hope” (click here to go to the Patrick website and read the speech to the cheering throng who gave him the days most enthusiastic response according to the Boston Globe (

The response from the party faithful wasn’t a great surprise since Mr. Patrick has led or been within a few percentage points of the lead in most polls the last couple of months and has the support of half the congressional delegation.

However, Mr. Reilly, who received 27%, boasts support from state’s legislators and Boston’s popular mayor Thomas Menino.

BP Prediction – Toss – Up