NY-SD7: 3rd Craig Johnson for NY State Senate TV Ad Is Up

Here’s the third Craig Johnson (D-WFP) for State Senate TV commercial.  Craig is running in a Feb 6 special election for an open New York State Senate seat in northwestern Nassau County.

Eliot Spitzer’s ad man Jimmy Siegel directed the ad; you can see Siegel’s first two ads for the Johnson campaign here and here.

In the ad, titled “How to Save,” five accountants from the Seventh Senate District take O’Connell to task for her record of raising taxes.

Be sure to read about the O’Connell audit scandal and sign up to be part of the Johnson campaign GOTV push!

6 days until Election Day!

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The ad features Certified Public Accountants Ellyn Sosin and Lenny Kreigel of New Hyde Park, Mitch Beckerman of Great Neck, Larry Greenstein of Port Washington and Accountant Stephen Goodman of Great Neck.

Here’s the full script:

TITLE: “How to Save”

Here’s what you need to know to save on taxes this year.

Maureen O’Connell voted to raise taxes and fees over 80 times–a product of the same Republican machine that almost brought Nassau County to its knees.

It might have happened, if Craig Johnson hadn’t jumped in, working with Tom Suozzi to create a remarkable financial turnaround.

Bringing Nassau back to fiscal health.

So, on February 6, you can vote for someone who raises taxes–

Or, vote for someone who will lower them.

SUPER: Vote Craig Johnson for State Senate.

Special Election, February 6th.

6 days until Election Day!

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NY-SD7: Newsday Endorses Craig Johnson for Open NY State Senate Seat

Newsday, a leading Long Island paper, has delivered a major endorsement to Craig Johnson (D-WFP).  This is a big endorsement because Newsday is widely read and respected, and it’s the only daily on Long Island, so it’ll get in the hands of the people most likely to vote on their own in the special.  Newsday boils it down to this: “Newsday endorses Johnson, who was willing to take a tough vote as a Nassau legislator and will do so again in Albany.”

Craig Johnson is running in a Feb 6 special election for an open New York State Senate seat in northwestern Nassau County.

Here’s another key quote on Craig:

“In the end, the choice should go to the candidate not with the most powerful backers – including admirable ones like Spitzer – but the one with the best skills, experience and policies. That is Johnson.”

and I thought this one on O’Connell was telling:

“[i]n 2003, this page called one of her Assembly votes on the budget a profile in cowardice and cynicism. She tried to have her cake, by overturning a veto of school-aid cuts, and eat it too, by not being willing to pay for it with an income-tax surcharge.”

6 days until Election Day!

See the press release and more endorsements at the WFP Blog.

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Speaking of Comebacks…

Since the buzz word of the House 2008 picture this week is “rematch” (what with ex-Reps. Bradley and Ryun agitating for another run), here’s something to chew on–according to the Hotline, since 1998 “there are have been nearly 200 House rematches, with just 10 (six last cycle) being successful”.  In a separate post, Hotline reports that Richard Pombo (CA-11) may be itching for a rematch against Rep. Jerry McNerney in 2008.  Josh Kraushaar notes:

By choosing to run again, GOPers are making the races a choice between candidates instead of a referendum on the incumbent’s record. That could be the best scenario the DCCC could ask for in these tough races.

And the track record for repeat attempts against the same opponent doesn’t suggest otherwise, either.

Two other rematches may be in the works, as well, according to the Hotline’s subscription-only section: unsurprisingly, former State Rep. Joe Negron (R) will take on Rep. Tim Mahoney (FL-16) once again, after falling short by 2 points in 2006 while carrying the burden of being listed as Mark Foley on the actual ballot.  Additionally, Idaho’s Larry Grant may be “leaning toward” a rematch against Bill “Brain Fade” Sali in ID-01.  Of all of these match-ups, Negron’s may prove to be the most worthwhile, as he ran an effective campaign with the deck stacked so heavily against him.  Still, with Mahoney’s self-funding capability, incumbency advantage, and moderate profile, I’d much rather be us than them.

SSP Quiz: 1996 Comebacks

Alright, since you guys proved to be super-geniuses the last time we posed a trivia question, let’s try another – or two, actually:

How many Democratic incumbents who lost in 1994 attempted comebacks in 1996? And how many won?

With news that defeated incumbents like Jeb Bradley (NH-01) and Jim Ryun (KS-02) will seek rematches in 2008, this topic is obviously an important one right now.

MN-Sen: Franken Steps Closer to Running

Dailykos diarist Elruin has picked up a scoop from the Huffington Post regarding comedian and Air America host Al Franken’s future plans:

Al Franken, the best-known host of the liberal network, will announce his expected departure on his show later today, to explore a run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.

I’ve met Al Franken.  I like Al Franken.  But is he the right guy to beat Norm Coleman in 2008?  I’m not so sure about that.

KS-02: Ryun Jumps Back in the Ring

Via Hotline On Call:

Former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., confirmed this afternoon he would run again for Congress next year, and picked up early encouragement for his comeback attempt – but he still faces the possibility of a strong primary challenge. Ryun — who lost a re-election bid last November to now-Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda — said in an interview that he had been mulling another run for the House, but wanted to wait until the state GOP’s annual Kansas Days gathering this past weekend to gauge support and reveal his intentions. “I needed time to reflect on the last election and see what kind of support I had,” Ryun said.

After holding the seat since 1996 Ryun – a onetime Olympic runner — lost the state’s 2nd District to Boyda by a 51-47 percent margin last year. Ryun said he would soon be back on the campaign trail “full time,” and described his defeat as an election anomaly in a bad political year for Republicans. “There was a surge that came through,” he said. “I was on the wrong corner ad the wrong time.” Ryun, a social and fiscal conservative, demurred on the question of possible primary opposition; state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins is mulling the race. Ryun instead trained his rhetorical fire on Boyda, whom he said does not represent the “Kansas values.” Declared Ryun: “She’s not a conservative. She’s a liberal.”

If Ryun can make it through the primary against a more moderate opponent like Jenkins, the general election will be a good test of Kansas’ rehabilitation from its time spent on the precipice of mini-Taliban extremism.

2007 – Louisiana House of Representatives

National and local bloggers as well as a local political scientist, who is, in fact, a Republican operative, have already discussed the ineluctable loss of a US Congressional seat in Louisiana, and they have noted how the GOP is ready to pounce on a state Democratic Party made vulnerable by a national and political disaster.  While I will not express my disgust with the Republicans’ vacuous cynicism and the egregious opportunism of some members of the Louisiana GOP, I will focus on one remedy to this increasingly dire situation: the 2007 elections for every seat in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Louisiana House of Representatives is comprised of 105 seats.  The Democrats presently enjoy a strong majority of 60 seats in the House, while the Republicans and an Independent occupy 41 seats and one seat respectively.  3 seats are currently vacant.  This majority, however, is threatened by many factors, one of which are the term limits that have recently been imposed on all Louisiana legislators: 30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must abandon their seats in 2007.  Compounding the dilemma Louisiana Democrats will face when trying to retain all these open seats is the organization the Republican Party has already consolidated in preparation for the 2007 elections.  Republicans are “on the march in Louisiana,” crows John Maginnis, another Republican operative who poses as an objective news analyst and as a disinterested political commentator for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and other Louisiana newspapers.  While his confidence is somewhat founded, it is also premature, especially as the field for the 2007 legislative races has not yet assumed a discernable shape. 

But Maginnis and the people for whom he serves as a paid pamphleteer do have reason to be optimistic.  For out of the 60 Louisiana Democrats presently in the House, only 30 are eligible for reelection.  And even worse, four of the thirty Democratic incumbents will most probably have to stave off spirited Republican challenges for thier seats in 2007. 

Complicating this already grim predicament are the 30 open seats Democrats must try to retain, 16 of which could very well fall to the Republicans if they are not amply defended.  While two of the sixteen Republican open seats can be claimed by strong Democratic challengers, Republicans can win the House if they wage a coordinated campaign across the state.  Indeed, Democrats are only guaranteed 40 seats in the 2007 election, 13 short of the 53 needed to claim the majority of their chamber.  And even if they win all three of the vacant seats up for election on 24 FEB 2007, they will still be 10 seats short after the November 2007 runoffs.  If Louisiana Democrats and the online activists who should help them do not plan for the imminent Republican onslaught as John Maginnis describes it in advance, their ability to redraw the lines of US House seats to the advantage of Democratic incumbents after the 2010 census will be compromised.

Seats located in parishes that have voted for Democrats running for federal office statewide in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004 with incumbents unencumbered by term limits who have received little to no opposition in the last two election cycles are seats I consider guaranteed for the Democratic Party.  I also consider seats where Republicans have not competed in open seat primaries safe for the Democrats.  The maps located on this webpage will help you determine the exact location of these districts.  Seat numbers are printed in the order of Democratic strength, the weakest of which is typed last.


61 – Michael L. Jackson (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 1999

101 – Cedric L. Richmond (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

102 – Jeffrey “Jeff” J. Arnold (D), Orleans, elected 2002

63 – Avon R. Honey (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2002

100 – Austin J. Badon, Jr. (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

97 – Jean-Paul L. Morrell (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2006

87 – Terrell L. Harris (D), Jefferson Parish, elected 2005

18 – Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. (D), Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes, elected 1999

21 – John F. “Andy” Anders (D), Concordia, East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes, elected 2006

51 – Carla Blanchard Dartez (D), Assumption, St. Mary and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 1999

53 – Damon J. Baldone (D), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2001

75 – Harold L. Ritchie (D), St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, elected 2003

10 – Jean M. Doerge (D), Webster Parish, elected 1998

60 – Karen Gaudet St. Germain (D), Ascension, Assumption, Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2003

99 – Charmaine L. Marchand (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

96 – Juan A. LaFonta (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2005

91 – Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

29 – Regina Ashford Barrow (D), East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2005

93 – Karen R. Carter (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

13 – James R. “Jim” Fannin (D), Bienville, Jackson, Ouachita and Winn Parishes, elected 2003

11 – Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr. (D), Bienville, Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes, elected 2000

23 – T. Taylor Townsend (D), Natchitoches and Winn Parishes, elected 1999

38 – Kenneth Eric LaFleur (D), Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 1999

2 – Roy A. Burrell (D), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

28 – Monica H. Walker (D), Avoyelles Parish, elected 2003

56 – Gary L. Smith, Jr. (D), St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes, elected 1999

26 seats

4 Democratic and 9 Republican incumbents presently occupy seats representing competitive districts.  These incumbents have received strong competition from an opposing party in an open primary, or they were forced to engage in very competitive runoffs against a member of the opposing party during the last two election cycles.  Some Republican incumbents, especially Nita Hutter and Ernest Wooton, are considered vulnerable as a result of demographic shifts in their districts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Because Democrats may lose many of their open seats, it is to their advantage to wage vigorous challenges against Republicans who hold competitive seats in 2007, especially those Republicans who represent parishes with Democratic leanings.  Seat numbers are presented in order of Democratic strength, the weakest seat for Democrats typed last.  The lone Independent seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives is a competitive seat vulnerable to a Republican takeover.  Unfortunately, we did not run a candidate in the open primary for this seat during the 2004 special election.


98 – Cheryl Artise Gray (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

27 – Rick L. Farrar (D), Rapides Parish, elected 1991 and 1999

22 – Billy R. Chandler (D), Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn Parishes, elected 2006

41 – Mickey James Guillory (D), Acadia, Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 2003

105 – Ernest D. Wooton (R), Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles Parishes, elected 1999, switched from D to R in 2006

54 – Loulan J. Pitre, Jr. (R), Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes, elected 1999

104 – Nita Hutter (R),  St. Bernard Parish, elected 2000

62 – Thomas H. “Tom” McVea (R), East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Livingston and St. Helena Parishes, elected 2000

35 – Brett Frank Geymann (R), Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes, elected 2003

88 – M. J. “Mert” Smiley, Jr. (R), Ascension and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

71 – Dale M. Erdey (R), Livingston Parish, elected 1999

59 – Eddie J. Lambert (R), Ascension Parish, elected 2003

52 – Gordon E. Dove, Sr. (R), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2003

31 – Donald “Mark” Don Trahan (R), Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes, elected 2003

45 – Joel C. Robideaux (I), Lafayette Parish, elected 2004

15 seats

15 incumbent Republicans who are unencumbered with lerm limits are considered safe in 2007, but every single one of these seats must be challenged.  The most Republican district is typed last. 


16 – Kay Kellogg Katz (R), Ouachita Parish, elected 1999

43 – Ernest J. Alexander (R), Lafayette Parish, elected 1999

12 – Hollis Dawns (R), Lincoln and Union Parishes, elected 2003

36 – E. “Chuck” Kleckley (R), Calcasieu Parish, elected 2005

66 – Hunter V. Greene (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2005

69 – Gary J. Beard (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2001

81 – John LaBruzzo (R), Jefferson Parish, elected 2003

6 – Mike Powell (R), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

64 – Mack A. “Bodi” White, Jr. (R), East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

89 – Timothy G. “Tim” Burns (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 2003

86 – Jim Tucker (R), Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, elected 2001

8 – Jane H. Smith (R), Bossier Parish, elected 1999

76 – A. G. Crowe (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 1999

74 – Michael G. Strain (R), St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, elected 1999

5 – Wayne Wadell (R), Caddo Parrish, elected 1997

15 seats

30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must retire in 2008, leaving 46 open seats behind them.  14 seats are safe for Democrats, while 12 are safe for Republicans.  Of the 20 open seats I consider competitive, 16 are presently held by Democrats.  The weakest of these safe Democratic seats is typed last.


95(Heaton, D) – Orleans Parish

26(Curtis, D) – Rapides Parish

44(Pierre, D) – Lafayette Parish

17(Hunter, D) – Ouachita Parish

57(Faucheux, D) – St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes

46(Durand, D) – St. Martin Parish

47(Frith, D) – Cameron and Vermilion Parishes

55(Triche, D) – Lafourche Parish

34(Guillory, D) – Calcasieu Parish

67(Dorsey, D) – East Baton Rouge Parish

39(Baudoin, D) – Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes

20(Kenney, D) – Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin and Tensas Parishes

3(Baylor, D) – Caddo Parish

58(Quezaire, D) – Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. James and St. John Parishes

14 seats

Louisiana Democrats have the tall order of defending 16 of the following 20 competitive open seats.  One Republican seat, however, can be won by a Democrat.  Emile “Peppi” Bruneau, an Orleans Parish Republican who fashions himself as a “fiscal conversative,” has occupied the 94th seat since 1974.  According to Louisiana Republican insiders, Bruneau may retire within the next month, opening the seat for a special election to be held on 31 March, the day of the election for New Orleans’s municipal judges.  Although Bruneau will endeavor to hand this seat to his son with lobbyist money from Baton Rouge, New Orleans Democrats can derail this effort and win this seat, especially as Republican voters from Lakeview have yet to return and rebuild.  Shelley Stephenson Midura, whose City Council district is similar in shape to that of Bruneau’s House district, won her seat as a Democrat during the New Orleans municipal elections last year.  If Orleans Parish Democrats can find a Democrat from Lakeview to run an aggressive grassroots campaign similar to that of Midura, we can win this seat and add to our majority.  Does former New Orleans mayoral candidate Virginia Boulet want a Louisiana House seat?  The least likely seat to be one by a Democrat is typed last.


83(Alario, D) – Jefferson Parish

84(Damico, D) – Jefferson Parish

94(Bruneau, R) – Orleans Parish (may retire in time for 31March election)

19(Thompson, D) – East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and West Carroll Parishes

72(Carter, D) – East Feliciana, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana and St. Helena Parishes

103(Odinet, D) – Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes

42(Pinac, D) – Acadia and Lafayette Parishes

32(Hill, D) – Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

24(Salter, D) – DeSoto, Red River, Sabine and Vernon Parishes

70(Crane, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

14(McDonald, D) – East Caroll, Morehouse, Ouachita, West Carroll

49(Hebert, D) – Iberia and Vermilion Parishes

25(DeWitt, D) – Rapides and Vernon Parishes

50(Smith, D) – Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes

65(Kennard, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

92(Ansardi, D) – Jefferson Parish

48(Romero, D) – Iberia Parish

7(Bruce, D) – Caddo and DeSoto Parishes

30(Smith, D) – Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

73(Powell, R) – Tangipahoa Parish

20 seats

All of the following safe Republican open seats must be challenged.  The weakest Democratic opportunity is typed last.


15(Walsworth, R) – Ouachita Parish

68(Daniel, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

33(Johns, R) – Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes

82(Scalise, R) – Jefferson and Orleans Parishes

37(Moorish, R) – Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes

85(Toomy,R) – Jefferson Parish

79(Martiny, R) – Jefferson Parish

9(Montgomery, R) – Bossier Parish

80(Lancaster, R) – Jefferson Parish

78(Bowler, R) – Jefferson Parish

90(Schneider, R) – St. Tammany Parish

77(Winston, R) – St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes

20 seats

Open primaries will be held for the three vacant House seats on 24 February 2007.  2 of these vacant seats are safe Democratic seats, while one of them is a competitive seat.  Here is how the ballot for these seats will appear:

State Representative, 1st Representative District
0 of 31 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Michael Page Boyter, R –
0  0% Richard “Richie” Hollier, D –
0  0% Ruth W. Johnston, D –
0  0% “Jim” Morris, R –
0  0% Marc Weddleton, R –

State Representative, 4th Representative District
0 of 26 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Larry Ferdinand, D –
0  0% Reginald Johnson, D –
0  0% Calvin “Ben” Lester, Jr., D –
0  0% Patrick C. Williams, D –

State Representative, 40th Representative District
0 of 43 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% “Jim” Darby, D –
0  0% “Chris” Declouette, D –
0  0% Elbert Lee Guillory, D –
0  0% “Bradford” Jackson, N –
0  0% Roderick “Rod” James, D –
0  0% Ledricka Johnson, D –

The 40th district seat, located in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, is the safest Democratic seat with an election on 24 Feb, even if there is a candidate not affiliated with the Democratic Party on the ballot.  The 4th district seat in Shreveport is guaranteed for the Democrats, as only Democrats are on the open primary ballot.  But the 1st district ballot is somewhat worrisome.  Previously held by a Democrat, Rep. Hoppy Hopkins, who recently died of cancer, this is a competitive seat for Republicans: notice how they have three Republicans on the ballot.  Thankfully, we have only two Democrats on the ballot, giving us a chance to at least have one Democrat make the runoff, as Republicans will split their vote between three candidates.  Ruth Johnston, former restaurant owner and populist Justice of the Peace from Oil City, Louisiana (population 1,188), is the strongest Democratic candidate, although she does not have a website.  The other Democratic candidate, Richie Hollier, also lacks a website, and I hope Louisiana Democrats will begin to create campaign websites in the future, for some Republicans, especially those who fashion themselves as so many mindless clones of a David Vitter or a Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, already have. 

Beating Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Morris in the first distrcit race on 27 FEB will be difficult, even if “Psycho Santa” is tarring the Republican brand with his eccentric marijuana rights platform .  Given the shape of this first district race, I hope you understand why I am so worried about 2007:  Republicans are fielding their best candidates for competitive seats, and Louisiana Democrats believe they can retain their fragile majorities without advanced infrastructure or Internet outreach.  This must change immeidately, and I plan on contacting Chris Whittington at the Louisiana Democratic Party office in Baton Rouge about this problem. 

Although I plan to contact local officials, I also plan to write the DLCC.  We can retain our majority in the Louisiana House of Representatives, but it will take some money, some time and some effort at recruitment.  It will have its dividends, however, as we will control redistrcting in 2010 after setting an overly confident Louisiana GOP to rout.  What better way to prepare Louisiana to vote for a Democratic Presidential candidate than to humiliate their state GOP party organization in a year when they expect to sweep legislative and executive offices throughout the state?

Expect a diary on LA-HD104 once Emile “Peppi” Bruneau’s retirement is confirmed.  This is a race Democrats can and must win before the October 2007 showdown.  And because the netroots was already involved in New Orleans politics with Karen Carter’s bid to oust Bill Jefferson, I imagine a residual infrastructure still exists in order to support this important effort.


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NY-SD7: Why a Local Race in New York Matters to You!

Caveat: this excellent post was written by MBNYC. I’m posting it with his permission.

There have been a number of diaries posted here recently about a special election (and a related fundraiser/blograiser) scheduled to take place in New York’s Seventh Senatorial District on February 6th. The contenders are Craig Johnson, the Democrat, and Maureen O’Connell, a Republican. A Democratic win in this election is considered predictive of whether the state Senate will flip to the Democrats for the first time, essentially, since 1932. The state Senate, which Theodore Roosevelt quipped was ‘constitutionally Republican’, is colloquially known here as ‘the place where good legislation goes to die’.

More after the jump….

The question that must present itself to people outside of New York State is this: what stake, if any, does someone in California or Michigan (for example) have in this race, and why should it matter to you that the Democrat wins?

There are several strategic reasons why this race is important, and why netroots interest and participation in the effort to elect Craig Johnson is critical.

New York Matters

New York State, the third-largest in the Union, matters. It matters because this state is the seat of a disproportionate share of Fortune 500 companies, who are subject – as former attorney general, and now governor, Eliot Spitzer proved – to the regulatory reach of our state government. The laws passed by the New York State legislature directly affect how your bank handles your money, your retirement funds, your college savings account. These laws also affect the nation’s largest media companies, insurers, law firms, advertising agencies, hedge funds, mutual funds, and the glittering crown jewel at the heart of it all, the New York Stock Exchange. If you’re interested in a Progressive economic framework, this race matters to you, because the policies made here will very likely affect how you work, what you watch, and what you buy.

Eliot Spitzer Matters

New York’s new governor, Eliot Spitzer, is one of the bright shining stars of the new Progressive movement. Governor Spitzer’s stated goal, the one that he won 69% of the vote with, is the Progressive reform of New York State. There is a national component to that, one that Eliot raised during the campaign: just as the New Deal began here, New York can again serve as a huge Progressive laboratory to demonstrate to the rest of the country that Progressive government works. It’s worth noting that New York is the largest state with a Democratic governor, and that Republicans at the national level have a vested interest in seeing Eliot fail. Successful Progressive reform in New York is the greatest long-term strategic challenge to conservative dominance of the basic discussion of what government can do and should do. If you’re interested in that discussion, this race matters to you.

The Netroots Matter

Kos wrote a book on Crashing the Gate. In this state, the gates have been crashed. To put it very bluntly: not very many bloggers can call the Chair of their local state party whenever they see fit, or the Executive Director, and get those calls taken. I can. So can Lipris, so can NYBri. The point here is not to brag about influence, but to make a very simple observation: the New York State Democratic Party is listening to us, to you, and paying attention to our, your concerns. Your support is critical to making something work that’s never been tried before: an alliance between the established party, the grassroots, and the netroots. What’s happening in New York is unprecedented in scope and depth and, for want of a better term, intimacy. New York has a thriving local blogging scene, it should be mentioned, pioneered first on Liza Sabater’s The Daily Gotham, an infrastructure which is fully involved in this effort. If you believe in the transformative power of the Progressive netroots and grassroots, you have a stake in this alliance, and a stake in this fight.

The Issues Agenda Matters

Maureen O’Connell is one of those republicans that seem to pop up in unexpected places; on the one hand, they affect ‘moderation’, on the other, their voting record skews hard to the right. In her case, she’s strongly anti-choice, going so far as to vote for legislation that would jail abortion providers, a position which is deeply alien in this state. Unsurprisingly, she’s proven unwilling to debate on choice (or, for that matter, workers’ rights, also an area in which she’s anything but moderate). Her web site mentions neither issue. Considering that New York has the most liberal laws in the entire nation safeguarding a woman’s right to choose, making this a destination state for women constrained in their reproductive freedom elsewhere, if you care about a woman’s right to choose, this is your fight.

You Matter

We – myself, NYBri, Lipris, Liza, all the other New York Kossacks involved here, Eliot Spitzer, the New York blogs, the state party, the grassroots, everybody – want you involved in this fight. We’re asking for your support, not just because we need it, but because we want you on board. We want you to be able to go to your own state party, your own Democratic representatives, and say “This is happening in New York, and it works. Why not here?”

The state Dems, the grassroots, and the netroots are conducting several ambitious efforts to get Craig Johnson elected. If you’re in New York, your help is needed on the ground. Details are here and here.

If you’re outside of New York, you can take part in something very exciting that we’ve all put together: A blograiser for Craig Johnson we’re calling Raise New York. Modeled on NYBri’s own blograiser (in itself a sign of how things have changed in New York), the basic idea is to bring the fundraising power of the netroots to bear to elect Craig Johnson, who would, by the by, be NYBri’s colleague when the latter gets elected next year, and he will be.

Even if you can’t physically be there on February 1st, you can still take part, because we’re going to liveblog the thing on Dailykos, on The Albany Project, and on my own blog, The Daily Gotham. A special treat: it looks like that will be Eliot’s first direct engagement with the netroots, because he’s going to be there. We’re going to make this the most networked, most open, most on event we can, and get all those social networks we have here in New York – including ten of the top one hundred bloggers – into one physical or virtual space.

So here’s the closer: we need your help, because this is your fight, too, no matter where you live. Can we count on you?


MI-09: Is Knollenberg the Next Pombo?

The general election contest featured a clear contrast between Jerry McNerney, a wind energy executive vs. Richard Pombo, the zealous defender of oil companies.

  Up until 2006, Pombo was considered invulnerable by political analysts who thought the concept of a liberal Democrat beating a Republican in a largely rural district was absurd. There was one major difference between the 2004 race where Pombo received 61% of the vote and the 2006 election. In 2006, the  Sierra Club spent $400,000 on TV ads blanketing the district and the League of Conservation Voters tossed in additional funds for radio and TV ads (Ebell 2006). The group that played the largest role in Pombo’s demise was Defenders of Wildlife, which created a two pronged attack: one front involved television attacks on Pombo and the other front featured an aggressive voter outreach.

Defenders of Wildlife created a website called “Pombo in their pocket,” which portrayed the congressman as an out of touch legislator who was more concerned with lobbyists than with his own constituents. They also bought a 30 foot RV which trailed the Congressman throughout the district – passing out literature to interested voters (Eilperin 2006).

  To the surprise of many political observers, including some in the environmental community, on November 7th 2006, Jerry McNerney defeated Rep. Richard Pombo by a  53%-47% margin.

What about Knollenberg?

Rep. Joe Knollenberg won reelection with just 51% of the vote against Nancy Skinner, a carpetbagger who won only 1% of the vote in the 2004 Illinois Senate Democratic primary. Knollenberg is a strong candidate to become th next Phillip Crane or George Gekas. His skills as a candidate are rusty and his district is moving Democratic. All we need is a good candidate and DCCC help.

A concerted effort by enviro groups like the LCV could help defeat. Here’s why the enviros should target him. Knollenberg is one of the leaders in the movement against raising CAFE standards. His intransigent position is slowing down effort to curb global warming. Defeating him with be good for Democrats, America and the Planet.

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Ranking the ’08 Senate races…

1. Colorado (R-Open Seat): Leans Democratic. Over the past 4 years, Colorado has shifted towards the Democrats. This Rocky Mountain State has recently added two new Democratic Congressman, a Democratic Senator and a Democratic Governor. Rep. Mark Udall’s prodigious war chest combined with the Convention boost make him the early favorite to win this seat.
2. Sen. John Sununu:  The great wave of 2006 was the largest in the last Republican bastion in the Northeast. If thew voters of New Hampshire are willing to elect Carol Shea-Porter to Congress?. The Stonybrook Farms founder could be a  formidable liberal in the nobles oblige type of Ted Kennedy and Jon Corzine.
3.  Sen. Norm Coleman :  Minnesota is a true swing state that is once again swinging Democratic after 8 years of movement towards the GOP. If R.T Rybak or Rep. McCollum runs, Coleman will lose. This race will be decided by candidate recruitment.
4. Sen. Susan Collins:  We already have a candidate, Rep. Tom Allen, but Collins is a very savvy pol who has a 70% approval rating. This race will be a test of how far left the Northeast has moved.
5. Sen. Gordon Smith: Slight GOP lean. The last Republican Senator representing a  state bordering the Pacific. Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio probably won’t run because of their newly gained power in the House. Randall Edwards could be a strong candidate for Democrats.
6.  Sen. Elizabeth Dole: Toss-up if Gov. Mike Easley runs, otherwise, this race has a solid GOP lean.
7. Easley would win 44 percent to 41 percent, according to a survey of 501 likely voters conducted Jan. 22 by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh. The difference is within the poll’s margin of sampling error of 4.3 percentage points.
8. Virginia/ Nebraska/ New Mexico, if any of the GOP incumbents in these states retire, Democrats have a good shot at picking up some of these seats.

Onto the Democrats.

1. Sen. Mary Landrieu: Leans GOP.  Mary Landrieu previous winning percentages against third tier GOP candidates were 4% and 0%, respectively. She’s always been a controversial and polarizing l figure and her aggressive courting of Republican voters has alienated traditionally Democratic African Americans.  Hurricane Katrina has displaced many of these voters and has created a skepticism of government among the remaining ones. Mayor Nagin and  Bobby Jindal will actively work to undermine her bid for reelection. If she wins, it’s because of another inexplicable GOP recruiting failure.
2. Sen. Tim Johnson. If Mike Rounds runs, it’s competitive. Otherwise, six more years for Tim Johnson.
3. Sen. Tom Harkin. If Latham runs, then this race will be closer to Harkin’s victory over Rep. Lightfoot than his victory over Rep. Ganske. If Steve King runs, expect another blowout. Either way, Harkin will put another  trophy of a Republican Congressman on his wall.

4. Sen. Mark Pryor: Likely Democratic. This race get interesting if Mike Huckabee is the nominee for the GOP.  I still think Pryor wins because of his name, his moderate views and the absence of a GOP bench in Arkansas.
5. The rest? Barring retirements, they’re all shoe-ins.

The Senate races will come down to recruiting, the strength of each party’s  national ticket, local factors and, of course, the War in Iraq.

Best scenario for Democrats : 57-41-2 Democratic Majority.

Best scenario for the GOP: 50-49-1. GOP Majority, but only if the GOP holds the Oval Office.