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Politics, Law and Policy Blog

Bipartisan policy insights and political intelligence

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.


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.

2014 Election Update

Posted in Elections

The upcoming 2014 Midterm elections are fast approaching and set to be exciting.

The battle for control of the Senate, over a dozen House seats, and Governors across the country have campaign watchers on the edge of their seats.*

Some see parallels to 2006, while others question the very accuracy of polls.

Whatever political persuasion you are, MLA will be bringing 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 blog here and on Twitter where we will be providing ongoing election updates.

And now, it’s off to the races!

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

*Polling Data/Maps Source: RealClearPolitics.com (last updated 10/12/14)

Don Sweitzer Elected to Chair IFES Board of Directors

Posted in Elections

MLA’s Don Sweitzer was elected to Chair the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Board of Directors.

IFES is fortunate to have a global and bi-partisan Board of Directors. The Board includes leaders in business, government and civil society, former and sitting U.S. Senators and Representatives, and first time African-American elected state officials. There are former U.S. and Swiss Ambassadors, presidential candidates and a former chief of state from six countries. A handful of Directors were involved with Nelson Mandela’s rise to power and some have been engaged in every U.S. presidential campaign on both sides since Kennedy-Nixon.

Don Sweitzer Profile

Gordon Giffin – Member of Council on Foreign Relations Task Force

Posted in Foreign Policy

MLA’s Gordon Giffin, who leads the firm’s Canada-U.S. practice, was a member on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Sponsored Task Force that recently released the report, North America: Time for a New Focus

As the CFR website states, the report asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.

Chaired by David H. Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general and chairman of the KKR Global Institute, and Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank Group and chairman of Goldman Sachs’s International Advisors, the Task Force is composed of a diverse and distinguished group of experts that includes former government officials, scholars, and others. The project is directed by CFR Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies Shannon K. O’Neil.

The Task Force proposes a comprehensive set of recommendations for deepening North American integration, concentrating on four pivotal areas—energy, economic competitiveness, security, and community.

Click here to read the full article on the CFR website.