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Political Roundup — June 21, 2024

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Debate Decisions: Kennedy Out; Stein Files Complaint 

CNN, the host of the June 27 presidential debate, has announced that Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Green Party nominee Jill Stein have failed to qualify for the national forum. 

Neither candidate was able to reach 15% support in a series of major polls — the key criterion for participation. 

Mr. Kennedy believes he still should be included and will attempt to qualify for the second debate, to be scheduled for later in the year.  

For her part, Ms. Stein is filing a complaint against CNN with the Federal Election Commission, disputing the debate criteria as a violation of her rights as a candidate for federal office.

Kennedy: Nevada Ballot Status in Jeopardy 

The Nevada Democratic Party is reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit in state court arguing that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. should be removed from the state's general election ballot. The party contends that Mr. Kennedy does not qualify under Nevada law as an Independent because he remains a registered Democrat. It remains to be seen if this lawsuit will gain legs.



New Mexico: Heinrich Up by 7 in New Poll 

A new survey by Public Policy Polling projects that two-term Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) holds a seven-point lead over Republican Nella Domenici, 47-40%.  

Signs are increasing that New Mexico could become more competitive, both in the presidential and Senatorial contests. With the GOP performing better among the state's plurality-Hispanic population, it appears possible for Republicans to gain ground in New Mexico's general election. 

While it would not now be particularly surprising to see closer election results in November, Republicans are still a long way from winning, either at the Presidential or Senatorial level, in the Land of Enchantment.

Emerson College: Releases Series of Senate Polls 

Yesterday, Emerson College, in conjunction with The Hill, released the results of a series of polls from six states where Democratic Senatorial candidates are ahead — Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

While testing the Senate races in the five most competitive states (excluding Minnesota), Emerson also asked voters their preference for President. In all five domains, within the same polling samples that produced Democratic leaders in each Senate campaign, former President Trump simultaneously posted an advantage over President Biden.  Thus, we are already seeing the seeds of an unusually large degree of ticket-splitting beginning to develop.

According to the Emerson numbers, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) leads 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R), 45-41%. 

Looking at the Michigan results, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) tops former Congressman Mike Rogers (R), 43-39%. 

In Nevada, Sen. Jackie Rosen (D) enjoys the largest lead of any key swing state — topping Afghan War veteran Sam Brown, 50-38%. 

Moving east, the Emerson numbers show Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) with a 47-41% edge over challenger Dave McCormick (R). 

And, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), while still leading, sees her margin over Republican Eric Hovde dropping to just 46-44%.  

In addition to converting the open West Virginia seat, Republicans would have to turn around one of the aforementioned races, or score a victory in three tight-race states that Emerson College didn't survey — Maryland, Montana or Ohio — in order to secure an outright Senate majority.

Jim Ellis is a 35-year veteran of politics at the state and national levels. He has served ss executive director for two national political action committees, as well as a consultant to the three national Republican Party organizations in DC, the National Federation of Independent Business, and various national conservative groups.

Born and raised in Sacramento, California, he earned a B. A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Jim raised his daughter, Jacqueline, alone after his wife died following a tragic car accident. He helped establish the Joan Ellis Victims Assistance Network in Rochester, NH. Jim also is a member of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association, which officiates high school games throughout the region.

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