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Politics, Law and Policy Blog

Bipartisan policy insights and political intelligence

Election Update: Senate and Governors Races*

Posted in Elections

Senate:

Some see Republican chances of taking the Senate as increasing likely, but the outcome is still unclear.

In Colorado, a recent PPP (D) poll has Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by three percentage points. See recent news updates and analysis here and here.

In Kentucky, a recent Western Kentucky Univ.* poll has Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) leading Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) by  three percentage points. See recent news update here and here.

In Louisiana, a recent WAFB/FOX8/Raycom poll has Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) leading Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in the state’s November 4 primary, but trailing Rep. Cassidy should the race end up in a run off. See here for further analysis of this tight race for an important Senate seat.

Governors:

In Colorado, a recent PPP (D) poll has Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Bob Beauprez (R) in a tie. The divide appears to be mirrored in the state’s fracking debate as well.

In Michigan, a recent Mitchell Research* poll has Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading Mark Schauer (D) by two percentage points. See recent news update here.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.

Stefan Passantino Quoted in Marketplace

Posted in Campaign Finance, Elections, Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in the Marketplace article, “Some consultants see a payday in super PACs.”

Some consultants see a payday in super PACs

A super PAC is sometimes born out of a strong sense of mission – maybe its founder cares about gun control or education reform. But other times, says Stefan Passantino, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge, “part of that mission is to create a client for their own consulting firm.”

Political consultants can create super PACs or political nonprofits to raise money, Passantino says, and then they can use that money to pay themselves.

Click here to read the full article.

2014 Election Update: October 20, 2014

Posted in Elections


With the 2014 Midterm elections now just two weeks away, new polling data* and analyses continue to flood the airways.

With the battle for the Senate hanging in the air, the outcome remains unclear. Pundits are already looking at the ramifications.

Statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver gives Republicans a sixty percent chance at taking the Senate, but with Democratic gains in Georgia, South Dakota, and Kansas, the outcome is far from certain.

In the race for Governorships, campaign spending has overtaken Senate campaign spending. See this breakdown of the top races, including vulnerable incumbents.

MLA will continue to bring our readers updates on the tight races over the next few weeks leading up to election day on November 4th.

We encourage you to follow and engage with us online on our Politics, Law and Policy Blog and on Twitter where we will be providing ongoing election updates.

And now, it’s back to the tight races!

Click here for this week’s edition of our 2014 Election Update.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments.

This week, CMS announced a new effort to encourage current Federally-facilitated Marketplace enrollees to go back to the exchange, update their information and actively pick a health plan while staff for Connect for Health Colorado detailed plans to make the SHOP more appealing to small businesses.

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up  is our weekly look at developments affecting health care at the federal and state levels.

This week, Republican staff on the Senate Budget Committee released a report estimating that the ACA will increase the federal budget deficit, while a Kaiser Family Foundation brief examined changes in state Medicaid spending and enrollment in expansion and non-expansion states for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

Election Update: Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts*

Posted in Elections

In Colorado:

In the state’s toss up Senate race, a new Quinnipiac poll has challenger Cory Gardner (R) leading incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D) by six percentage points, referencing the impact independent, and male vs. female voters. The candidates met in debate last night, touching on Ebola, the economy, and healthcare.

In Georgia:

In the state’s toss up open seat Senate race, a new WRBL/Ledger-Enquirer/PMB poll has Michelle Nunn (D) leading David Perdue (R) by a single percentage point. With talk of a potential run-off on the rise, Georgia is gaining national attention for this race.

In Massachusetts:

In the state’s toss up open seat Governors race, a new Rasmussen Reports poll has Charlie Baker (R) leading Martha Coakley (D) by two percentage points. As both candidates continue to refine their message, pundits offer analysis on questions about gender gaps and base voters.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.

Election Update: Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin*

Posted in Elections

In Iowa:

In the state’s toss up open seat Senate race, a new Quinnipiac poll has Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) by two percentage points and stating its findings being based on “independent voters likely shift to the Democratic column.” Quinnipiac’s previous September poll had Ernst leading by six points. Sobering news also about the plane crash involving Libertarian candidate Dr. Douglas Butzier.

In Kentucky:

In big news today in the state’s Senate race, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has decided to cease any more TV advertising in the race pitting incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) against challenger and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D).

In Wisconsin:

In the state’s Governor race, a new Marquette University poll has Gov. Scott Walker (R) tied with challenger Mary Burke (D). The poll states that the tightness also stems from independent voters, while noting that divergence between men and women voters is now negligible.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.

Stefan Passantino Quoted in Pensions&Investments and the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Posted in Campaign Finance, Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in Pensions&Investments and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

Pensions&Investments: “Political groups appeal SEC pay-to-play rule”

“It is much, much more difficult for candidates to raise money from this community,” said Stefan Passantino, a partner in the Washington law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP who specializes in political law. “Money managers are already in a highly regulated area and are not looking to getting close to any lines. It’s far easier for a compliance person simply to impose a no contributions rule.”

The main argument in the case now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is whether the SEC rule violates First Amendment free speech rights by subjecting money managers to political contribution limits more stringent than federal limits. It is an argument that could likely wind up before the Supreme Court, observers say. “The rationale that the justices used to overturn the limits in McCutcheon is the very same rationale that they would use here,” said Mr. Passantino.

Click here to read the full article.

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Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Hecht accuses Olens of using AG office for campaign”

State law forbids public employees from making any contribution of time or effort to a political campaign while they are working for the state. But Stefan Passantino, a campaign finance expert with McKenna, Long and Aldridge, said one area of “overlap” is in scheduling an incumbent candidate’s appearances.

Passantino, who does work for the Georgia Republican Party but not specifically for Olens, said the public staff and the campaign have to figure out how to split the candidate’s time.

“For this reason, coordination of a schedule through a single scheduler is granted significantly more lenience than use of official staff to perform campaign functions such as research, speech writing, etc.,” he said.

Click here to read the full article. 

Election Update: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina*

Posted in Elections

In Arkansas:

In the state’s Senate race, Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Tom Cotton (R) met last night for their first debate. The two candidates, with Mr. Cotton appearing to be holding onto a narrow lead, are set for another meeting tonight for debate.

In Florida:

In the state’s Governor race, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll has Gov. Rick Scott (R) tied with challenger and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (D). The two candidates are set for their next debate on Wednesday night in a race that observers point to the potential for a Libertarian spoiler, where one in five voters are undecided.

In Kentucky:

In the state’s Senate race, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) also met last night, in their first and only debate, which saw focus on jobs and coal, among other topics. This race is one of the country’s most closely followed, and contested, with the Senate Minority Leader appearing to be clinging to a narrow lead.

In North Carolina:

In the state’s Senate race, recent data from a SurveyUSA poll has Sen. Kay Hagan (D) down by one percentage point to Thom Tillis (R). With this battleground state continuing to evidence a large amount of undecided voters, this race appears to be coming down to the wire.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.

Election Update: Georgia, Colorado*

Posted in Elections

In Georgia:

In the race for Governor and Senate, last weekend’s polling data from WSB-TV/Landmark has the candidates from both races in dead heats.

The major demographic focus has been on women and older voters, with Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter attracting a higher percentage of women voters, and David Perdue and Gov. Nathan Deal attracting a higher percentages of older voters.

In Colorado:

In the race for Governor, Monday’s High Point/SurveyUSA poll has Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) trailing, while a newer Denver Post/SurveyUSA poll has him leading challenger Bob Beauprez (R).

In the Senate race, Monday’s High Point/SurveyUSA and Denver Post/SurveyUSA polls have challenger Rep. Cory Gardner (R) leading incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D). With The Denver Post’s editorial board now endorsing Rep. Gardner, see recent analysis on Colorado races here and here.

Colorado’s 2014 election is set to be the first in which each voter in the state will receive a ballot by mail. While it is unclear how the all-mail ballot will affect turnout, both parties are implementing strategies to encourage their supporters to place their ballots in the mailbox.

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com.