Audrey Bowler ‘16 – EI Campus Communications Team
As the modern world of politics and government evolves, campaigning has become a permanent fixture in social and political culture. As potential candidates prepare for the 2016 presidential election, here’s what made headlines this week:
5.) Christie Not Going Down Without a Fight
After surviving a year haunted by Bridgegate, his state’s poor financial performance, and declining poll numbers, Chris Christie is barreling ahead with plans for a 2016 presidential run. Last week, Christie spent several days in New Hampshire, hoping that a stellar performance in the swing state will give him a chance to get back in the game.
The New Jersey governor faced daunting odds – he has been trailing behind seven other GOP candidates in New Hampshire-focused polls.
“If there is anyone on the primary ballot for whom New Hampshire means everything, it’s Chris Christie,” said Jamie Burnett, a Republican strategist who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. “It’s too early and the race is too fluid to write anyone off this early, but Chris Christie has his work cut out for him. He’s no longer in the position he was in a year ago where everyone thought he’d be the heavyweight in the race.”
Last Wednesday, Christie held two town halls in New Hampshire – the first of many, according to his staff. The governor plans to host similar events in the state on a monthly basis.
During the town halls, Christie portrayed himself as a straight-talking, policy-savvy candidate who will not shy away from telling voters the truth.
“Strong, decisive, honest leadership matters for America,” Christie said. “I will not pander, I will not flip-flop, and I’ll tell you the truth whether you like it or not.”
4.) Graham Faces Conflicted Constituents
This week, South Carolina Senator addressed rumors that he’ll be entering the 2016 race, saying that he’s “91% sure” that he’ll run for president.
“I think I got a good message, I think I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy … I’ve been a problem-solver in Washington. And I think I’ve got something to offer the party and the nation,” said Graham on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend.
Only one question remains: Can he afford it?
“I’ll make that decision in May. If I can raise the money I’ll do it” Graham said on Fox. Lately, the senator has been traveling across the country meeting with supporters to gauge interest in a possible presidential bid. Donors have already created a super PAC to back his bid. Graham has demonstrated fundraising might in the past – in 2014, he raised $11.1 million for his reelection campaign.
The senator may face a steeper uphill battle than he anticipates. Several polls focusing on the South Carolina Republican primary race show Graham trailing his would-be challengers. One poll stated that 55% of respondents wouldn’t vote for him in the GOP primary.
Graham’s more moderate views on issues like immigration reform and climate change may be turning South Carolina conservatives towards more hard-line candidates. However, the senator remains confident that his home state will support his likely presidential bid.
3.) Carson on Cruise Control
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson will announce whether he will seek the Republican presidential nomination on May 4th. According to the communications director of Carson’s presidential exploratory committee, Carson will make the announcement in his hometown of Detroit.
While Carson may be a long-shot contender for the nomination, his team believes his personal story of overcoming childhood poverty and attaining an Ivy League education will resonate with many voters. However, Carson’s ultra-conservative views may seem out of touch in Detroit, which is primarily Democratic, as well as other liberal urban areas.
Carson’s exploratory committee has been at work for almost a month, and his final decision will remain under wraps until his contract with the Washington Speakers Bureau is over in May.
2.) Clinton Cashes In
According to materials released by her campaign team, Hillary Clinton will kick off a fundraising tour in New York and Washington this week after spending time courting voters in various swing states.
The fundraisers, scheduled for April 28 and 30, will target “Hillstarters,” a campaign term used to refer to donors who have found at least ten other contributors to give $2,700 to the Clinton campaign. Prospective donors were also invited to take part in a “behind the scenes” conference call with top Clinton donors, which will be held on a weekly basis.
The efforts to engage new donors aim to make them feel like they are directly involved in the campaign. Aides are hoping to harness the extensive list of donors and contacts that the Clinton family have amassed over the last three decades.
For now, the Clinton campaign is focusing on raising money for the Democratic primary, which the team hopes will show that they are expecting to face challenges from other candidates. For now, Clinton hopes to raise $100 million for the primary – but the actual results are likely to be much higher.
1.) Rubio Comes Out Swinging
New polls released by Quinnipiac reveal that Sen. Marco Rubio is leading all Republican presidential hopefuls just two weeks after he announced his presidential campaign.
Polling shows the Senator from Florida collecting support from 15% of the Republicans polled, giving him a narrow edge over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush garnered 13% of the results.
Other recently conducted polls show Rubio performing more successfully than all other potential GOP candidates in hypothetical matchups against Hillary Clinton. In these polls, Rubio trails Clinton by only 2%.
Rubio’s supporters have taken these results as a sign that the Senator could make a strong run for the Republican nomination.
“This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenaline into a campaign,” said Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the poll. “Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton.”