Posted by Shadi Matar on March 04, 2016 in Blog
AAI compiles a weekly roundup of election news tracking key races across the country as well as legislation that will impact voting rights ahead of the 2016 elections. For AAI’s coverage of presidential candidates and races, make sure to check out our profiles over at #YallaVote’s Election Central. And for more state specific information, head over to our election map and click on your state. You can read previous editions of our 2016 Election News Roundup right here at its headquarters.
Patrick Murphy Scores Presidential Endorsement in Tight Florida Race
President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have thrown their support behind Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) in a tightly contested Democrat race for the open Florida Senate seat. If Democrats win that Senate seat it would be a major defeat for the Republican leaning state, so division on the Democratic primary race has been viewed as detrimental to the overall Party effort to beat their Republican opponent in November. In an official statement, President Obama said he is “Proud to endorse Congressman Patrick Murphy for United States Senate, Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next Senator”. In a sign of how serious Democrats are about winning that seat, Vice President Biden is set to begin campaigning with Murphy in Florida at the end the month. Murphy’s opponent Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is currently leading Murphy in the primary race by a sizable 10 points. However, 45% of voters have said they are still undecided. This is another blow to Grayson’s campaign as Harry Reid also said that Grayson should drop out of the race. Read more about Florida here
Kasich Banking on Michigan
Ohio Governor and GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich began a week long campaign tour of Michigan in the hopes of having a good showing in the swing state's primary on March 8th. Even though Ohio is Kasich’s must win state, many feel that Ohio’s proximity to Michigan Kasich has a fighting chance at winning the state despite poor showings in most primaries thus far. Gov. Kasich is also expected to comment on the continuing pressure Michigan lawmakers are putting on Governor Rick Snyder to resign. Snyder has been facing criticism about his administration’s handling of the Flint water crisis dating back to 2014. Michigan House Minority Leader Tim Greimel and Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon have both called on Snyder to resign over the incident. This issue will no doubt be an important issue as Kasich tours the Great Lake State. Read more about Michigan here
Virginia Sees Strong Republican Turnout on Super Tuesday
On Super Tuesday, voters from thirteen states and one American territory went to the polls to pick their choice for President. While turnout was expectedly higher than in the non-presidential primaries of 2014, some states were caught off guard by just how many people came out to vote. Republican voters in Virginia came out to vote at quadruple the rate that they normally do, with well over one million Republican voters participating in the primary election. There was even an increased Republican turnout in Arlington County, a reliable Democratic area, and election officials had to order more Republican ballots. On the other side, the turnout amongst Democrats did not surpass the participation numbers from 2008, except for one state, Colorado, where Democrats increased their turnout by 1,000 voters. Read more about Virginia here.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Endorses Trump, Faces Backlash at Home
On February 10th, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suspended his campaign for President after his poor performance in the New Hampshire primary, where he was expected to do well. Nearly two weeks after Christie dropped out, he shocked nearly everyone when he endorsed current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and began campaigning alongside Trump across many states. Just a few days later, on Wednesday, six New Jersey Newspapers ran scathing editorials about Christie’s endorsement of Trump, calling for his resignation as Governor. In the editorial by Asbury Park Press, they suggested that if Christie does not resign, New Jersey voters should begin a recall effort. Their frustration was evident throughout the piece: “And we’re fed up with his continuing travel out of state on New Jersey’s dime, stumping for Trump, after finally abandoning his own presidential campaign.” Read more about New Jersey here.
O’Malley Endorses Braddock Mayor John Fetterman for PA Senate
Pennsylvania’s Senate race is one of the most competitive races in 2016. On the Republican side, incumbent Senator Pat Toomey has upwards of $10 million cash on hand. The Democrats challenging him are: Joe Sestak, a former Congressman (D, VA-7) who has been campaigning since loosing against Toomey in the 2010 Senatorial race; Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff to current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf; and, current Braddock Mayor, John Fetterman. Ion a surprise announcement on Monday, former Maryland Governor and failed presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley, endorsed Fetterman – whose candidacy is considered a long shot - for Senate in an email to his supporters. O’Malley praised Fetterman for taking on issues that resonated with him and that he has also fought for himself, “As Mayor of Braddock, PA for more than ten years, he's taken on the kinds of issues that are now at the forefront of the American conscience: income inequality, green jobs, access to healthcare and gun violence, to name just a few.” Fetterman faces an uphill battle: lacking widespread name recognition throughout the state and only having about $130,000 cash on hand. Read more about Pennsylvania here.