Two GOP senators join call for Bi-partisan Investigation.

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy over election results in various battleground states around the nation. This prompted a recount of votes, after many citizens and politicians called for a review. To further add to the election controversy, the CIA has released a report on suspected Russian activities affecting the recent presidential election. In this article, two key GOP senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, join Democrats Charles Schumer and Jack Reed in call for bi-partisan investigation on Russian influence of the previous election.

The beginning of the article states that this call for action came after The Washington Post reported the CIA’s “private conclusion” that Russian interference was intended to benefit Trump in the election. The Senators released a statement saying “Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American… Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks.” The article goes on to state that McCain and Graham have had difficult relationships with Trump, so this is does necessarily signal wide ranging support of the bi-partisan investigation. In the latter part of the article, opinions from Republican John Cornyn and House Speaker Paul Ryan were given. This is obviously an important matter that should be addressed, and it will be interesting to see if this will gain further support among both parties.

Governing: Senator McCain (24 hr extension)

Now that Senator McCain has comfortably won re-election in the Arizona Senate race for the 6th time in his tenure, and that the recent presidential campaign with all its glory is over, he can turn back to focusing on which issues and legislation to address. Senator McCain is, and should continue to be an effective law maker considering the experience he has gathered during his long political tenure. The election results seem to be very positive for Senator McCain this election cycle because he is now a Senior Senator in a “unified” government in the majority party. This adds up to be very promising for Republicans, like Senator McCain, if they can seize the opportunity they have been given.

Senior Senator McCain has multiple benefits at his disposal, but to be effective Volden and Wiseman (2014) list 5 habits he must possess. Due to Senator McCain’s long time in office, he has had the time to learn these habits to become much more effective in office then say, a Junior senator with little to no experience. Most of these habits have helped him stay in office too. The first habit Volden and Wiseman list is to “develop a legislative agenda rooted in personal background, previous experiences, and policy expertise.” A good example of this would be Senator McCain using his previous military background to provide expertise in veteran’s affairs, which has constantly been an issue on Senator McCain’s list. He has also sat as chairman of the Committee of Armed Services. Both these points show a clear agenda that Senator McCain has, and now that republicans hold the house and senate, Senator McCain could be extremely effective in passing legislation benefitting veterans.

The next habit Volden and Wiseman list is to develop an agenda focusing on your constituencies needs. Senator McCain has been a staunch opponent of Obamacare since the bill was made. Health care is a major issue among Arizona voters and it was one of Senator McCain’s top campaign issues. Polls show Arizonans opinions of Obamacare as highly negative, especially after the recent premium hikes. With the current status of the government, Senator McCain prove to be a big part in facilitating change in this field for the Voters of Arizona.

The next habits Volden and Wiseman list are very important when it comes to getting things done in the Senate. These habits are basically to have a wide range of allies and be able to compromise when need be. Compromising is necessary so all Americans can have legislation that benefits them, but with the current political climate, compromise might be difficult. Senator McCain has comprised a wide range of allies, and he should since he has had the time to do so. Looking at Senator McCain’s endorsements show that he does have allies around the nation and in the senate. This obviously a skill that Senator McCain has used to his advantage and this helps proves that he is definitely an effective law maker and will be effective, as always, in governing.

Who won Arizona Senate and Why

The end result of the race for Arizona senate in the 2016 was no surprise as Senator John McCain was re-elected for the fifth consecutive time. This has been a position that Senator McCain has held since 1986, and he has achieved this feat with relative ease. This poll from CNN, shows Senator McCain’s victory with 53.4% of the vote. Representative Kirkpatrick only received 41.1% of the votes casted. In this election cycle, Senator McCain’s dominant incumbent status gave him significant advantages in funding, media coverage, and endorsements from the state and national level.

An extremely important difference between Senator McCain and Representative Kirkpatrick was the amount of funding each candidate had during the race or, in incumbent Senator McCain’s case, before the race started. In chapter 6 of Congressional Elections, Herrnson states “Senate incumbents’ most immediate advantage at the beginning of the election cycle is the funds already in their possession.” (Herrnson, pg. 196). Senator McCain started this race with more than $2,000,000 and Representative Kirkpatrick started with nothing. However, she ended up raising $8,468,556, but it was still not enough to match Senator McCain. Representative Kirkpatrick was no pushover despite her lack of funds. A good challenger will force an incumbent to spend money. (Crowder-Meyer. Nov.14, 2016). Senator McCain spent more than $11,000,000 in this race per stats taken by OpenSecrets.

This advantage in funds was important because it allowed Senator McCain to dominate in direct communication to voters. Senator McCain aired twice as many TV ads than Representative Kirkpatrick did, and he also used other methods of direct communication such as radio ads. Radio ads tend to reach around 80% of the public by themselves. (Overby & Barth, 2006). Direct communication was key for Senator McCain because it allowed him to precisely deliver the message in the manner that he wanted it. (Hayes. 2010. Ch.4). This proves the importance of being well funded, especially in high profile races.

Another factor that hurt Representative Kirkpatrick’s campaign was her serious lack of media coverage at the state or national level. This is important because she did not receive any mediated communication to disseminate her message to voters. (Hayes, pg. 53). Various prominent national news sources, such as The Washington Post, tended only to cover the negative relationship between President-elect Trump and Senator McCain. If Representative Kirkpatrick was mentioned, it was only a secondary topic in an article than was primarily about Senator McCain. The general strategy for Representative Kirkpatrick was to negatively associate Senator McCain with Trump however, Senator McCain redacted his endorsement of Trump. There was fear that this would hurt his campaign but given Senator McCain’s high profile status, he did not need the coattail of Trump. After the votes were counted, Senator McCain received a higher percentage of votes, proportionally, than Trump did in the presidential election.

Senator McCain dominated in the category of endorsements as well. Here, a list can be found of all the endorsements of both candidates. Representative Kirkpatrick only received nine notable endorsements compared to Senator McCain’s 26. The only major national endorsement Representative Endorsement Representative Kirkpatrick received was from Planned Parenthood. Senator McCain received several major national endorsements including the U.S Chamber of Commerce, National Border Patrol, National Right to Life Committee, and the National Federation of Independent Business. Senator McCain also received multiple endorsements from state level officials. These included endorsements from the current Governor of Arizona and the Maricopa County attorney.

Senator McCain benefitted from the many advantages of an incumbent in this election. The lack of funding and low name recognition combined with the lack of media coverage and endorsements give clear indicators as to why Representative Kirkpatrick was out-matched. Senator McCain has now defended his seat in the Senate five times, he has done so quite easily. He was well funded, and his relationship with Trump controlled the headlines of media coverage which helped him in the long run. Senator McCain was also well endorsed, and he used all these advantages to successfully secure his seat in the Senate.

Open Topic: Supreme Court

This was an interesting presidential election to say the least. There are also many issues that will need to be addressed in the near-future, considering we now have a Republican controlled congress, senate, and presidency. A major issue, and one that particularly interests me, is the implications that Trump’s win will have on the Supreme Court. I found an article on The New York Time’s website that was very informative on the current and future climate of the Court. Here is a link to the article.

The beginning of this article gives two major points in consideration of the current Supreme Court. First, Justice Scalia’s vacant court seat will most likely be filled by a traditional conservative now that Trump was elected. Second, the two more liberal members of the court, Justice Ginsburg and Breyer, are fairly old meaning that Trump could possibly appoint two more members to the Court. Obviously, this would give the Supreme court a 7-2 conservative majority. As shown in the article, one conservative appointee would not have made much of a difference in recent cases such as the University of Texas’s race-conscious admissions program (4-3 vote to uphold) or the eventual striking down of restrictions on abortion also in Texas (5-3 vote to strike down). It is evident that two or even three Trump- appointed justice’s most likely would have changed these rulings. It will be interesting to see what direction the Supreme Court will head and what the repercussions will be for The United States.

Ads and voter targeting

Ad use between Senator McCain and Representative Kirkpatrick has been very beneficial because clear stances on substantive issues have been given and obvious targeting of one specific voter group is shown. There are five major methods to broadcast ads to a wide variety of audiences, and these five methods consist of broadcast TV, cable, radio advertising, online advertising, and newspaper advertising. (Crowder-Meyer, November 2, 2016). Broadcast TV and radio ads seem to be the most prevalent in the race between Senator McCain and Representative Kirkpatrick. After visiting multiple sites, it seems Representative Kirkpatrick has not taken advantage of radio advertising however, the incumbent Senator McCain has. This could prove as an advantageous move Senator McCain because radio ads are heard by about 80 percent of the public. (Overby & Barth. 2006. “Radio Advertising in American Political Campaigns: The Persistence, Importance, and Effects of Narrowcasting” American Politics Research.).

Senator McCain has aired twice as many TV ads as his competitor, Representative Kirkpatrick. Here, a compiled list of ads aired by both candidates is shown. After categorizing the TV ads, McCain has produced two attack ads, seven issue based ads, and one particularly important ad title “Por Arizona”. Senator McCain’s issue based ads focus largely on national and state security for Arizona, the effects of Obamacare, and Economic security also on the national and state level. A couple of the ads were sponsored by others such as “Fighter” which was sponsored by the U.S chamber of Commerce or the ad showing Border Patrol endorsing Senator McCain. Aside from Senator McCain’s two attack ads, which attacked Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on Obamacare, the issue based ads seemed to stern but optimistic for the future. Senator McCain just released a radio attack ad focusing on Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on Obamacare as well. There is significant mentioning of leadership in association to the issues Senator McCain brings up in these ads, and ads titled “Protect” or “Fighter” depict Senator McCain as a candidate that will fight for the well-being of Arizona. Patriotism and McCain’s military association was shown by background images in almost every ad as well.

Representative Kirkpatrick is lacking in TV and radio ads aired. This might have stemmed from falling behind in funding to Senator McCain as well. Representative has only aired 5 ads, all of which were TV ads. These can be viewed here. Two of the three attack ads strategically played on the negative relationship between Trump and Senator McCain. Representative Kirkpatrick’s issue based ads leave her looking more moderate than strictly democratic. In these ads, she proposed term limits in Congress and moderate stances on medicare and privatizing social security. “Campaigns by challengers are the most likely to target voters who identify with the opposing party.” (Herrnson, pg. 213).This could be an attempt to target moderate republican voters to help swing the election.

Interestingly, both candidates aired an ad completely in Spanish. Senator McCain aired an ad titled “Por Arizona” and Representative Kirkpatrick aired more of an attack ad in Spanish titled “Pensabamos que Sabiamos”. Both candidates are clearly targeting the Hispanic voter constituency. Depending on which poll is used, the race for Arizona’s senate seat is close or no competition. If there is a high turnout among latino voters, the effect could very well swing the election in favor of either candidate.

Media Coverage in Arizona

While there is no significant amount of substantive media coverage for either candidate, it is evident that there is a clear agenda set for national news outlets such as The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. Representative Kirkpatrick has virtually no national media coverage unless she is generally mentioned in an article specifically about Senator McCain. Specifically, this agenda is Senator McCain’s status after the “Trump dilemma” that many republicans around the nation are facing. Here, it is highlighted that McCain’s denouncing of Trump could have negative effects on his campaign. On page 57 of Parties and the Media by Hayes, he mentions the idea of the “agenda setting effect” and how agenda setting is a “important antecedent to priming”. The political discourse of Trump’s effect on all republicans running for election, or re-election, show how national media outlets’ have primed the conflict between McCain and Trump.

As briefly stated before, Representative Kirkpatrick is not receiving adequate national news coverage. Low amounts of national news coverage most likely come from her low name recognition at the national level, as well as the state level. This has also been overshadowed by McCain’s views on Trump and Clinton’s increasing campaign efforts shown in an article in The Washington Post. Representative Kirkpatrick is not being mentioned much among the top articles in The New York Times either, unless mentioned with Senator McCain. While this has not changed the current course of the race, it has left Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on many popular national issues like abortion or immigration unknown. Local and state news sources have been positively better for media coverage on substantial information on both Representative Kirkpatrick and Senator McCain. They also proved to be useful in identifying the primed issues of the state of Arizona.

The most helpful media coverage in the state or local category can be found here at AZ central’s website or here at Tucson.com. There is a surprising deviance in the local media coverage from the usual issues set by national mainstream media that usually mentions Trump or Clinton. We know that priming is the defining of issues used to evaluate candidates. (Crowder-Meyer, October 21, 2016). Various articles on AZ central show that the major issues primed by the media are popular nationally as well. The top three issues seemed to be on minimum wage reform, education funding, and “Obamacare”. More importantly, local news outlets have covered events such as the recent debate between Representative Kirkpatrick and Senator McCain. There is one issue dealing with McCain that is very interesting on a national scale. McCain issued a statement basically saying that he would oppose any supreme court nominee suggested by Clinton. This has caused a stir among local media outlets in Arizona and could potentially become a nationally covered issue if more republicans follow suit.

It may be true that Representative Kirkpatrick has received a few advantages in media coverage on a national scale, but it is mostly due to the current climate of the presidential election. Locally, the coverage is equal but she is still far behind the long-time incumbent Senator McCain whose name recognition and incumbent status outshine the challenger greatly. It will take a lot more to sway the loyal coalition of support that Senator McCain has acquired throughout 6 terms of office, but with Clinton focusing efforts on Arizona, many changes could still occur.

Campaign Finance: Arizona

As the senate race in Arizona moves along, it has become quite evident that, financially, Representative Kirkpatrick had a tall task in trying to out fund raise incumbent Senator McCain. As we know from chapter 6 in “Congressional Elections.” (The Campaign for Resources), incumbents obtain many key benefits throughout their terms in office. This is very noticeable in this particular race considering Sen. McCain has raised over 12 million dollars, while Rep. Kirkpatrick has only raised close to six million dollars. However, Kirkpatrick has obviously gained a large portion of support since she started the race with 0 dollars of beginning cash on hand versus Sen. McCain’s $2,019,177.

On page 200 of Herrnson’s chapter, he states “Incumbents typically begin the election season with more money in the bank than challengers, and they also start fundraising much earlier.” As stated earlier, McCain had a two-million-dollar head start, which proves to be very difficult to overcome for Kirkpatrick seeing as she is still close to seven million dollars behind. Viewing the percentage breakdowns on OpenSecrets, Kirkpatrick has actually raised more funds than the incumbent senator among small contributions, but not enough to cover the separation between large contributions for her and large contributions for McCain. The difference in this category is roughly four million dollars in favor of McCain, which is no surprise due to his long time incumbency status. More specifically, large contributions make up 59 percent of McCain’s funding while only 6 percent came from small contributions which is much smaller than the average 15 percent mention in Herrnson’s reading. (Pg. 194, Congressional Elections). Small contributors make up 31 percent of Kirkpatrick’s campaign funding which is much larger than the previously mentioned average. McCain beginning this race with more than 2-million-dollar advantage over Kirkpatrick gives him the advantage of focusing on large contributors because he does not really need the small contributions.

Senator McCain boast a variety of corporations that have funded him, but his PAC donations are typical of an incumbent. Herrnson states “Incumbents also enjoy advantages when soliciting dollars from individuals and groups motivated by ideology or by emotionally charged issues.” (Congressional Elections, Pg. 200). This proven by McCain’s PAC contributors which is topped by business PACs at $1,270,181 then seconded by ideological PACs at $466,293. Kirkpatrick comes in with much lower numbers than McCain, but her funds are much more evenly distributed among PACs in labor, business, and ideology.

To summarize the financial side of this particular race, it is a classic example of incumbent superiority to a new challenger. McCain is doing much better in this field mainly due to his experience, and other incumbent benefits such as started his campaign millions of dollars ahead. This has not been an even match up for Kirkpatrick since the beginning but she has made a strong effort being able to raise more than five million dollars. Herrnson states “… incumbents raise more money than challengers, and they collect significantly more funds from PACs and individuals interested in directly influencing the legislative process.” (Congressional Elections, Pg. 200). McCain appeals more to interest of these large contributors due to his incumbency status and it will hard for Kirkpatrick to sway these donors as we draw closer to the election.