F@%k it. Dems keep the House.

What you are about to witness is equal parts political prognostication and mental health breakdown.  I am officially predicting that the Democrats will keep the House with a small but sustainable majority.  Republicans pick up 37 seats and Democrats pick up 5, leaving a net of 32.  Pick your own justification: the polls are wrong, the pundits are wrong, the scientific modelers are wrong.  You name it.  It’s all true in my world.  The real truth is that I cannot emotionally handle the Republicans winning a majority or even being within striking distance with the help of a few party switchers.  So fuck it.  The Democrats keep this mo fo.  Below is the most plausible scenario I could muster for my fantasy to become reality.  Pickups in bold:

AL-02 – Bright (D) 51, Roby (R) 49 – DCCC polling and investment very stable here.

AR-01 – Causey (D) 49, Crawford (R) 48 – DCCC has invested heavily.  Lots of persuadable Dems here.

AR-02 – Griffin (R) 56, Elliott (D) 42 – Little Rock base keeps Elliott over 40%.

AZ-01 – Gosar (R) 50, Kirkpatrick (D) 46 – Have never seen tangible evidence that Kirkpatrick can win.

AZ-05 – Mitchell (D) 49, Schweikert (R) 48 – DCCC internal showed 7-point lead.

AZ-07 – Grijalva (D) 52, McClung (R) 45 – DCCC does not appear overly concerned here.

AZ-08 – Giffords (D) 52, Kelly (R) 45 – Or here.

CA-03 – Lungren (R) 51, Bera (D) 42 – Too tough a district for this cycle.

CA-11 – McNerney (D) 52, Harmer (R) 48 – Improved upticket performance may help.

CA-20 – Costa (D) 52, Vidak (R) 47 – Tough race for Costa in the Central Valley.

CA-47 – Sanchez (D) 51, Tran (R) 43 – Demographics here very tough for Tran.

CO-03 – Salazar (D) 48, Tipton (R) 48 – Salazar holds on by the narrowest of margins.

CO-04 – Gardner (R) 50, Markey (D) 45 – Markey hanging tough despite DCCC abandonment.

CO-07 – Perlmutter (D) 51, Frazier (R) 46 – DCCC taking this challenge very seriously.

CT-04 – Himes (D) 53, Debicella (R) 47 – Obama rally should help boost Himes.

CT-05 – Murphy (D) 53, Caliguiri (R) 46 – Late DCCC spending may boost Murphy.

DE-AL – Carney (D) 54, Urquhart (R) 43 – Smooth sailing for Carney.

FL-02 – Southerland (R) 51, Boyd (D) 46 – Lots of registered Dems here to come back to Boyd.

FL-08 – Webster (R) 51, Grayson (D) 44 – Hopefully Webster will be defeated in 2012.

FL-12 – Ross (R) 44, Edwards (D) 37, Wilkinson (TP) 18 – Ross gets by on big financial advantage.

FL-22 – Klein (D) 51, West (R) 49 – West seems too crazy for the district, but could very well win.

FL-24 – Adams (R) 54, Kosmas (D) 46 – Adams another one who could be ripe for the picking in 2012.

FL-25 – Garcia (D) 48, Rivera (R) 48 – Republicans really picked a live one here.

GA-02 – Bishop (D) 53, Keown (R) 47 – Demographics of this district very tough for Keown.

GA-08 – Scott (R) 53, Marshall (D) 47 – Why didn’t either party committee really get into this one?

HI-01 – Hanabusa (D) 50, Djou (R) 49 – Djou will pull a lot of Case supporters, but not quite enough.

IA-01 – Braley (D) 53, Lange (R) 45 – Braley prevails in spite of huge outside spending.

IA-02 – Loebsack (D) 51, Miller-Meeks (R) 46 – Early voting may save Loebsack.

IA-03 – Boswell (D) 52, Zaun (R) 46 – Boswell did a great job of defining Zaun here.

ID-01 – Minnick (D) 52, Labrador (R) 44 – NRCC has ignored this one for a reason.

IL-10 – Seals (D) 53, Dold (R) 47 – If Cooks says Lean D this cycle, it’s Lean D.

IL-11 – Kinzinger (R) 54, Halvorson (D) 46 – Halvorson simply drew a very, very tough candidate.

IL-14 – Foster (D) 49, Hultgren (R) 47 – Huge DCCC spending may bail out Foster.

IL-17 – Schilling (R) 50, Hare (D) 48 – My gut tells me that huge DCCC spending cut was not a good sign.

IN-02 – Donnelly (D) 51, Walorski (R) 46 – Donnelly has run a very strong campaign.

IN-08 – Bucshon (R) 55, Van Haaften (D) 43 – Not the year for Dems to win an R+8 open seat.

IN-09 – Young (R) 49, Hill (D) 49 – Sinking feeling that Young is emerging here.

KS-03 – Yoder (R) 55, Moore (D) 43 – Still have NEVER seen a poll, but does not seem competitive.

KY-03 – Yarmuth (D) 52, Lally (R) 44 – Neither party committee has taken an interest.

KY-06 – Chandler (D) 53, Barr (R) 47 – DCCC does not seem overly concerned here.

LA-02 – Richmond (D) 58, Cao (R) 41 – Demographics impossible for Cao.

LA-03 – Landry (R) 61, Sangisetty (D) 38 – This part of Louisiana going red fast.

MA-10 – Keating (D) 46, Perry (R) 43 – Crazy how Perry hangs around here with his baggage.

MD-01 – Harris (R) 51, Kratovil (D) 47 – Amazing campaign for Kratovil, but out with the tide.

MI-01 – Benishek (R) 47, McDowell (D) 46 – Sleeper race narrowly goes to the GOP.

MI-07 – Schauer (D) 50, Walberg (R) 46 – Schauer somehow seems to be out-performing 2008.

MI-09 – Peters (D) 51, Raczkowski (R) 46 – Late DCCC spending may boost Peters.

MN-01 – Walz (D) 50, Demmer (R) 44 – DCCC does not seem overly concerned here.

MN-08 – Oberstar (D) 54, Cravaack (R) 45 – Oberstar survives tough challenge.

MO-03 – Carnahan (D) 53, Martin (R) 43 – Well-funded but crazy challenger for Carnahan.

MO-04 – Skelton (D) 51, Hartzler (R) 47 – Skelton survives the political fight of his life.

MS-01 – Nunnellee (R) 50, Childers (D) 47 – Like Kratovil, out with the tide in spite of great campaign.

MS-04 – Taylor (D) 50, Palazzo (R) 48 – Hard to believe a guy who won by 50 last time is in this position.

NC-02 – Etheridge (D) 52, Ellmers (R) 45 – Neither party committee has taken an interest.

NC-07 – McIntyre (D) 53, Pantano (R) 46 – DCCC does not seem overly concerned.

NC-08 – Kissell (D) 51, Johnson (R) 47 – Nothing from the NRCC in this district.

NC-11 – Shuler (D) 53, Miller (R) 47 – DCCC does not seem overly concerned.

ND-AL – Berg (R) 51, Pomeroy (D) 49 – Pomeroy ran a great campaign, but too red a district.

NH-01 – Guinta (R) 52, Shea-Porter (D) 46 – No more rabbits to pull out of the hat for Shea-Porter.

NH-02 – Kuster (D) 49, Bass (R) 48 – Strong campaign from Kuster has won her big-time DCCC support.

NJ-03 – Adler (D) 49, Runyan (R) 48 – Difficult to imagine this district electing a dummy like Runyan.

NM-01 – Heinrich (D) 51, Barela (R) 48 – Heinrich turns back strong challenge in Dem district.

NM-02 – Pearce (R) 53, Teague (D) 47 – Teague fought a good fight, but looks to be out of it.

NV-03 – Heck (R) 49, Titus (D) 46 – NBC just moved this one to Lean R.

NY-01 – Bishop (D) 53, Altschuler (R) 46 – No spending from the DCCC here.

NY-13 – McMahon (D) 53, Grimm (R) 43 – No sign of life from Grimm.

NY-19 – Hall (D) 50, Hayworth (R) 49 – Strong top of ticket and late DCCC spending save Hall.

NY-20 – Murphy (D) 50, Gibson (R) 50 – Murphy pulls out extremely tough race.

NY-23 – Owens (D) 47, Doheny (R) 45 – Doug Hoffman saves the Dems again.

NY-24 – Arcuri (D) 52, Hanna (R) 48 – Arcuri somehow matches 2008 performance.

NY-25 – Maffei (D) 55, Buerkle (R) 45 – No recent signs of life from Buerkle.

NY-29 – Reed (R) 59, Zeller (D) 41 – No real contest from Dems here.

OH-01 – Chabot (R) 52, Driehaus (D) 44 – Chabot has been well ahead all along.

OH-06 – Wilson (D) 49, Johnson (R) 46 – Strickland running stronger may help.

OH-15 – Stivers (R) 51, Kilroy (D) 44 – DCCC never invested anything significant here.

OH-16 – Renacci (R) 50, Boccieri (D) 46 – Environment carries the day in free-spending race.

OH-18 – Gibbs (R) 49, Space (D) 48 – One of the biggest spending races in the country.

OR-05 – Schrader (D) 50, Bruun (R) 47 – Somewhere between Elway and Survey USA.

PA-03 – Kelly (R) 53, Dahlkemper (D) 46 – DCCC gave up on this weeks ago.

PA-04 – Altmire (D) 54, Rothfus (R) 45 – Altmire cruises in tough district.

PA-07 – Meehan (R) 50, Lentz (D) 50 – Huge DCCC spending makes it close, but Meehan holds on.

PA-08 – Fitzpatrick (R) 51, Murphy (D) 49 – Fitzpatrick one of the stronger Republican candidates.

PA-10 – Carney (D) 50, Marino (R) 49 – Amazing that a scoundrel like Marino is even in it.

PA-11 – Kanjorski (D) 50, Barletta (R) 50 – Survivor Kanjorski holds on once again.

PA-12 – Critz (D) 51, Burns (R) 49 – Burns may fare better with general electorate, but Critz holds on.

PA-15 – Dent (R) 54, Callahan (D) 44 – Callahan could take this seat in a better year.

RI-01 – Cicilline (D) 53, Loughlin (R) 44 – It’s friggin’ Rhode Island.

SC-05 – Mulvaney (R) 52, Spratt (D) 48 – Pundits don’t seem bullish on Spratt at all.

SD-AL – Herseth-Sandlin (D) 49, Noem (R) 49 – Noem baggage just enough for SHS to squeak by.

TN-04 – DeJarlais (R) 49, Davis (D) 48 – Trajectory looks awful for Davis.

TN-06 – Black (R) 63, Carter (D) 35 – Carter will not have to worry about Pelosi vote.

TN-08 – Fincher (R) 54, Herron (D) 45 – Wonder if Tanner would have won this.

TX-17 – Flores (R) 51, Edwards (D) 46 – Late gaffes from Flores make it semi-competitive.

TX-23 – Rodriguez (D) 50, Canseco (R) 47 – Buzz seems to be that Rodriguez has the edge.

TX-27 – Ortiz (D) 53, Farenthold (R) 43 – Farenthold lacks gravitas somewhat in those ducky pajamas.

VA-02 – Rigell (R) 50, Nye (D) 45 – Environment carries the day.

VA-05 – Hurt (R) 49, Periello (D) 46 – Will be sad to see Periello go if that is what happens.

VA-09 – Boucher (D) 52, Griffin (R) 45 – Still no spending from the DCCC here.

VA-11 – Connolly (D) 51, Fimian (R) 47 – Huge spending in DC by the DCCC saves the day.

WA-02 – Larsen (D) 52, Koster (R) 47 – Larsen seems to have taken control somewhat.

WA-03 – Heck (D) 50, Herrera (R) 50 – Lazy Herrera deserves to lose as much as anyone.

WA-08 – Reichert (R) 54, DelBene (D) 45 – Slightly larger than typical win for Reichert.

WI-03 – Kind (D) 52, Kapanke (R) 46 – Party committees just starting to spend here.

WI-07 – Duffy (R) 50, Lassa (D) 47 – Duffy has been ahead all along here.

WI-08 – Ribble (R) 53, Kagen (D) 47 – Ribble has been ahead in every poll I have seen.

WV-01 – Oliviero (D) 51, McKinley (R) 49 – Manchin turnaround helps Oliviero.

SSP Daily Digest: 10/29 (Afternoon Edition)

FL-Sen: File this under half a year too late and a few million dollars too short. Charlie Crist, as quietly as possible through an advisor making a leak to the Wall Street Journal, says he’d caucus with the Democrats if elected. If he’d said that many months ago, he would have probably had a clearer shot consolidating the Democratic vote and turning it into a two-man race. This comes shortly after a day of conflicting reports on whether or not Bill Clinton tried to get Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race, as recently as last week. Clinton and Meek have offered partial rebuttals, but at any rate, it’s kind of a non-story at this point with only a few days left.

LA-Sen: Too bad there isn’t time left in the cycle to turn this into an ad: David Vitter’s verbal gymnastics at the last debate as to direct questions as to whether or not he actually broke the law when he was engaging in “very serious sin,” apparently for pay. The short answer is, of course, yes (assuming that his involvement with a prostitution ring occurred in Washington DC and not Reno).

NV-Sen: Those of you following Jon Ralston’s tweets of the early voting in Nevada with bated breath probably already know this, but thanks to the movement of the mobile voting booths into some Dem-friendly areas, Democrats have actually pulled into the lead (at least by party registration) among early voters, up by 20,000 in Clark County.

CO-Gov: My first question was why Tom Tancredo would even bother running for office if he felt this way, but then I remembered that he’s running for an executive position this time, not a legislative one. Apparently he’s a believer in a strong executive. Very, very, very strong.

There is a sort of an elitist idea that seeps into the head of a lot of people who get elected. And they begin to think of themselves as, really, there for only one purpose and that is to make laws. And why would you make laws?

IL-Gov: Oooops, ad buy fail. A round of Bill Brady ads were pulled from the air on Thursday because the appropriate television stations didn’t get paid first. It appears to have been a “glitch” (their words) rather than a cash flow problem, though, nothing that a Fed-Exed check won’t fix: the ads will resume running tonight.

PA-Gov: Ah, nice to see that a Republican briefly acknowledge that the fewer people vote, the better Republicans do. Tom Corbett, at a Philadelphia appearance, said that he wanted to keep Democratic participation down, saying “we want to make sure that they don’t get 50 percent.”

OH-13: Sensing a pattern here? A second woman is coming forward to accuse Tom Ganley of sexual harassment. She filed a police report stating that in 2005, while in the middle of a car transaction, Ganley groped her and later propositioned her. This race, despite Ganley’s money, is seeming increasingly like one of the House Dems’ lesser worries.

RGA: I’m not sure what you can do with $6.5 million in half a week, but the RGA is determined to find out. They put that much money into four governor’s races in some of the nation’s largest states: Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and (interestingly, since they haven’t sweated this one before) Pennsylvania. (While the other three are for TV ads, in Florida it’s for GOTV… seemingly something that Rick Scott forgot to purchase.)

Election night: This may be the most shocking news of all today, for the obsessive number crunchers among us. This will be the first election where the powers that be (mostly the AP) will be doing away with precinct reporting. Instead of giving specific numbers of precincts in, they’ll be expressing it as “percentage of expected vote.” The change in longstanding tradition has mostly to do with the increasing prevalence of mail-in votes and early votes, best seen with some locales dumping all their early votes all at once and calling it one precinct, messing with people like us who build complicated models ahead of time.


IL-Sen: Mark Kirk’s last ad calls Alexi Giannoulias “too immature” for the Senate (um, has he actually seen the Senate in action?)

NV-Sen: Obama! Fear! Tyranny! Aaaghh! And apparently the Carmina Burana playing the background! (Sharron Angle’s closing statement, in other words)

WI-Sen: Russ Feingold puts on a plaid shirt and faces the camera, touting his accomplishments and newspaper endorsements

TX-Gov: Bill White also rolls out his newspaper endorsements, as well as lobbing “career politician” at Rick Perry one last time

MN-06: Taryl Clark’s last ad is a look at real people with real problems in the 6th, and the myriad ways Michele Bachmann blew them off


CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 49%, Meg Whitman (R) 45%

CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 47%, Dan Maes (R) 5%, Tom Tancredo (C) 42%

KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 41%, Rand Paul (R) 53%

MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 46%, Charlie Baker (R) 44%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%

OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 53%, Jim Huffman (R) 42%

PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 50%

YouGov: The English pollster is out with a slew of polls; the numbers seem very plausible, but they’re conducted over the Internet (probably using at least some sort of rigor, but that alone is enough for relegation to the end of the digest)

CA: Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%; Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 45%

FL: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 41%; Kendrick Meek (D) 18%, Marco Rubio (R) 42%, Charlie Crist (I) 31%

NY: Andrew Cuomo (D) 57%, Carl Paladino (R) 27%; Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 57%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%; Charles Schumer (D-inc) 59%, Jay Townsend (R) 35%

OH: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 45%, John Kasich (R) 48%; Lee Fisher (D) 40%, Rob Portman (R) 53%

PA: Dan Onorato (D) 41%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%; Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 50%

Michigan Elections Breakdown

I’ve not written any diaries of my own since joining the site earlier this year, but after reading hoosierdems’s excellent analysis of Indiana earlier this week, I thought I’d give it a go. Here I’ll analyze each of the races in Michigan this year, including a short prediction for the State House, State Senate, Supreme Court and ballot initiatives.

WARNING: This diary will be long, so if you’re looking for brevity, it may not be for you. Also, standard disclaimer that I have dogs in a couple of these fights; friends are managing Rob Steele’s campaign and volunteering for many other candidates, as well as working for the Michigan Republican Party. I will do my best not to let this color my analysis, however.

I’ll begin with the biggest-ticket races, and by far the most boring of the cycle.


Republican businessman Rick Snyder managed to survive a 5-way Republican primary to challenge populist Dem and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the general election. Bernero upset the more establishment choice, House Speaker Andy Dillon in the Democratic primary himself. Since then, however, he has struggled to raise money (only $2 million raised for the cycle compared to Snyder’s $11 million), and to move beyond his base of progressive Dems and union activists. In no survey has he trailed by less than 12 points, and he consistently loses all regions of the state to Snyder (including Lansing-based Mid-Michigan) except for the city of Detroit. In the crucial Wayne-Oakland-Macomb tri-county area, Snyder leads by about 10. Though likely the most boring, this race could have the most far-reaching effects downticket; if depressed Dems stay home rather than vote for a likely loser in Bernero, it could be a bad night for Dems all over in Michigan.

Final Prediction: 58-41 Snyder


Because Lieutenant Governor is elected on the gubernatorial ticket, the next race in Michigan is for Attorney General. Here establishment Republican former Congressman (and MI Ag Secretary, and judge, and everything else under the sun) Bill Schuette won the GOP nomination at the Republican convention, albeit by a smaller margin than many expected after a Tea Party revolt nearly pushed Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop over the top. In a closely contested Democratic convention vote, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton edged trial lawyer and Wayne State Regent Richard Bernstein. Bernstein dropped out thereafter and decided not to contest the nomination (Democratic conventions aren’t binding in MI).

This race has also been fairly boring: Democrats have attacked Schuette for allegedly being in the pocket of corporations and for being bad on the environment, while Republicans have attacked Leyton for allegedly being soft on crime. Pretty standard AG campaign. Leyton has suffered from some of the same money problems as other statewide Dems, and has been for the most part unable to respond effectively to TV ads by the Michigan Republican Party and others. Because of name recognition, money, a GOP year and Leyton’s association with the city of Flint, Schuette will win this in a walk.

Final Prediction: 56-43 Schuette


The race to replace outgoing GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land initially seemed to be the most interesting of the top-tier races. A slew of generic Republicans lined up to face the hard-working Democratic nominee Jocelyn Benson. Benson, a Wayne State University law professor and Jennifer Brunner disciple, had been campaigning for nearly a year before the Dem convention, hitting just about every county and local Democratic party in Michigan. She faced only token opposition at the convention and cruised to the nomination.

The outlines of this race only began to emerge after Oakland County Clerk and 2006 LG nominee Ruth Johnson got into the Republican race late, making her the most visible and well-known candidate. She ultimately prevailed at the convention on the 2nd or 3rd ballot (depending on whom you ask).

Though Benson has run a spirited campaign, and comes off much better on TV (her debate with Johnson on Tim Skubick’s On the Record was uncomfortable to watch), she hasn’t been able to shake either the D next to her name or the attacks leveled on her by Republican groups. Though this race has the potential to close in the last week if Benson uses some of her 500k on TV time in Metro Detroit, she likely won’t be able to overcome Johnson this year. Look for her to run for something in 2012 or 2014. For now, Johnson wins comfortably.

Final Prediction: 54-45 Johnson

MI-Supreme Court

The dynamics of the Supreme Court races got very interesting this year when Elizabeth Weaver, the Republican-appointed swing justice on the otherwise 3-3 Court(often siding with the Democrats) cut a deal with Gov. Jennifer Granholm to retire in exchange for Granholm to appoint a judge from Northern Michigan. Weaver had had a falling out with other Republicans on the Court, particularly Robert Young. In exchange for Weaver’s retirement, Granholm appointed now-Justice Alton Davis, who will be running along with Oakland Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford-Morris as the Democratic candidates for the cycle’s two seats. Republicans re-nominated Robert Young for the seat he currently holds, and put up Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mary Beth Kelly for the seat currently held by Davis. All public polling has shown the two Republicans leading the races by 5-10 point margins, and the Republicans have had the benefit of strong TV advertising on their behalf. The two Democrats have had trouble raising money, for their part, and have only been able to afford sparse TV advertising. Give the advantage in this race to the Republicans.

Final Prediction: Robert Young retained, Mary Beth Kelly elected

This would result in a 4-3 Republican court, from a 4-3 Democratic SC now.

Congressional Races


This race appears to have tightened somewhat in recent weeks, with Democratic State Rep. Gary McDowell within single digits of Republican nominee Dan Benishek, a heart surgeon. Benishek beat out Republican State Senator Jason Allen by a very small margin in the September primary.

There is also a conservative independent in the race,Glenn Wilson, who seems to be drawing more votes from Benishek than McDowell (a point echoed by his former campaign manager, who quit for this reason). Wilson has been unable to use much of the $2 million he had hoped to dump into the race for campaign finance reasons, but has perhaps been buoyed by Democratic psy-ops. In recent weeks, the State Democratic Central Committee has sent mailers to Republican-oriented voters with messages like “Glenn Wilson has a dangerous plan to shrink size and scope of government,” obviously designed to move conservative support to Wilson.

Still, the most recent polls give Benishek a small lead, while McDowell has not led this year. Notably, surveys show Benishek winning by a nearly 10-point margin in the Lower Peninsula and carrying places like Alpena (where his signs are everywhere). This is important, because counterintuitively, most of the votes in this district are actually cast in the LP. If Benishek maintains this and continues to run close in the UP, where he has a solid base in the west (McDowell’s is in the east), he’ll win.

Final Prediction Benishek 46-44-9


This is Michigan’s most conservative district, at R+7. Though Democrats made gains here in 2008, this was largely a result of elevated African American and Hispanic turnout in Muskegon and elsewhere, coupled with McCain’s abandonment of the state. Congressman Pete Hoekstra retired this year to run unsuccessfully for Governor, leading to a crowded Republican primary to replace him. In the end, State Rep. Bill Huizenga beat out Tea Party favorite Bill Cooper and others to emerge as the GOP candidate. He faces Democrat Fred Johnson in the general election. Though Johnson is a credible enough candidate, this race will not be competitive, especially with the Tea Party so active in Western and Northern Michigan this year.

Final Prediction: Huizenga 60-40


Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers retired from Grand Rapids-based MI-03 this year, leaving the seat up for grabs. Republican State Rep. Justin Amash beat out Sen. Bill Hardiman and two other establishment candidates to win the GOP primary, while the Democrats nominated attorney Pat Miles. Though some have speculated that Amash is too far to the right of the district that elected moderate GOPer Ehlers, this race won’t be competitive. Ehlers endorsed Amash shortly after the primary, and he has been aided by the Club for Growth and others in his bid. Public polling places Amash ahead by 9-10, his internals have him up 19. Splitting the difference, his lead is probably in the 12-14 range. Miles has been plagued by poor name recognition and mediocre fundraising, and will need to hope for astronomical African-American turnout in Grand Rapids to keep this close. Miles will likely show up in other races soon, however. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run for a State Senate seat in the area and win soon.

Final Prediction Amash 54-44


This district winds its way from Traverse City in the north, down through Mount Pleasant to Owosso. It’s GOP Rep. Dave Camp country, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. His opponent is Some Dude Jerry Campbell.

Final Prediction Camp 63-35


Democratic Rep. Dale Kildee’s district takes in the plurality-black city of Saginaw and majority-black Flint. Though some Republicans in the state want to dream that this seat is “in play,” Kildee is safe against Some Dude John Kupiec.

Final Prediction Kildee 59-39


Though this district is actually pretty evenly split (R+0 PVI), with ubermajority-black Benton Harbor and heavily-Dem Kalamazoo, it’s also quite rural. Moderate Republican Rep. Fred Upton has held the district for a long time, and survived a Tea Party primary challenge from former State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk this year. He’ll cruise to re-election over 2008 retread Don Cooney.

Final Prediction Upton 54-43


Oh, how I’ve come to hate this race. In 2008, Mark Schauer beat Tim Walberg by a slim margin to take this seat for Democrats. He went on to vote for the stimulus, cap and trade, and the health-care bill, which should have left him dead in the water in this moderately Republican district. But read on, me hearties.

The trouble began brewing in the Republican primary. A political newcomer, attorney and veteran Brian Rooney challenged Walberg for the right to take on Schauer. Rooney, while still a conservative, came off as much more moderate, likable, and truly sane than Walberg. Rooney raised money on par with Walberg and had a strong campaign team, but simply couldn’t overcome the name recognition and Club for Growth advantages that Walberg had built in. He lost, and lost badly. Thus 2008 loser and general dickwad Tim Walberg will be the Republican nominee against Schauer again this year, making what should be a sure thing much closer.

Why, you ask? Because Walberg pissed off many Republicans in the district by primarying and beating former Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz. While ordinarily this would have been an upgrade (Schwarz was out in left field even on economic issues), the sleazy way Walberg beat him in the primary, combined with inflammatory and generally dumb statements in the general election (and in office) turned many against him. He barely beat organic farmer and liberal doormat Sharon Renier in 2006, then lost in ’08. Now the GOP decides to run him again.

Meanwhile, Schauer has built a truly formidable campaign machine. He has 35 people working full-time on his re-election plus volunteers; Walberg has 2 and volunteers. Schauer has spent $2.2 million bucks in addition to money from the DCCC, SEIU, AFSCME, Sierra Club and LCV. Walberg has been forced to depend heavily on the NRCC and the Club for Growth because he’s raised little (state Republicans shut their wallets after he won the primary). Democrats want Schauer in the leadership if he wins and gets a more favorable district, and he’s running the campaign to do it. Public polls give Schauer a small but serviceable lead; Walberg’s internals have him with a comical double-digit advantage. Walberg will also be hurt by the fake Tea Party candidate on the ballot, giving him a further obstacle to overcome (as if he couldn’t create more himself). This one will come down to the wire on Nov. 2, but I’m not optimistic for my team.

Final Prediction: Schauer 49-47


Republican Rep. Mike Rogers scared off Democrat Kande Ngalamulume, and was left without a serious opponent. Not sure if Democrat Lance Enderle managed to get on the ballot after all, but it won’t matter.

Final Prediction: Rogers by a bunch


Another race I’m pissed off about. None of the marquee Oakland County candidates decided to take on freshman Democrat Gary Peters (Sheriff Mike Bouchard was so certain of his gubernatorial chaces, and Majority Leader Mike Bishop just knew he’d be the next AG). Peters won this seat over corrupt old GOP bastard Joe Knollenberg in 2008 (even I didn’t vote for Joe that year, I went Libertarian), and like Schauer, he also voted for just about all major Dem legislation in this swing district. In the end, Republicans nominated former State Rep. and veteran Rocky Raczkowski to challenge Peters. Though polling has shown varying leads for each candidate, the race will likely be very close. Peters has to hope for major turnout in plurality-black Pontiac, while Raczkowski needs the Tea Party voters that put him over the top in the primary to turn out in droves (and Snyder’s coattails here won’t hurt either). I think Peters pulls it out here, but only just; if Snyder depresses Dem turnout, he could be a casualty.

Final Prediction: Peters 49-48


It’s Candice Miller, yo. Northern Macomb is strongly GOP, while the Thumb can be swingy, but is culturally very conservative. Miller will romp over Demcratic fireman Henry Yanez.

Final Prediction Miller by a bunch


Thad McCotter‘s an odd, odd dude. I’ve met him a few times, and the way he speaks (all the time) leaves you with the impression that he’s just disgusted by everything. Still, this GOP rep isn’t being seriously challenged this year after surviving in 2010. Luckily for him, State Sen. Glenn Anderson and State Rep. Marc Corriveau didn’t decide to go for the promotion in this Western Wayne County district. He’ll beat Democrat and teacher Natalie Mosher in a walk.

Final Prediction McCotter 58-40


New Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin currently holds this solidly Dem district. Anchored by majority-black Southfield, it also takes in the most Democratic parts of Macomb County, like Warren and Sterling Heights. Levin will have no trouble with Republican insurance agent Don Volaric.

Final Prediction: Levin 61-36


This Detroit and Grosse Pointes district ousted Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the primary in favor of State Sen. Hansen Clarke. Clark will win the general, and will no doubt provide better representation for the city than another Kilpatrick. Clarke beats Grosse Pointe businessman John Hauler, no sweat.

Final Prediction: Clarke 75-25


John Conyers’ wife, a former Detroit City Councilwoman, is currently in jail on bribery charges. He also misses many, many important votes, and he has been chastised for using staffers to do menial chores for him. But this is Detroit; corruption is part of the game and people love Conyers for some reason. In a just world he’d lose, but in reality, Conyers stomps Republican businessman Don Ukrainec.

Final Prediction: Conyers by I can’t count that high


Democratic Congressman John Dingell is old. Like, really old. And a guy named John Dingell has held this seat since before your momma and your momma’s momma were born (depending on your age, very possibly true). He’s also facing a very strong challenge this year from Republican doctor Rob Steele (sounds like a Bond villain). Yet this district is anchored in the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor and Downriver Detroit. Though Steele is running the campaign of his life, and comes off much better on television, in person and in debates, he won’t be able to overcome the partisan lean of this district. Some polling to the contrary aside, Dingell wins by single digits.

Final Prediction: Dingell 53-46

So after this cycle, we end up with an 8-7 Republican congressional delegation, from an 8-7 Dem one now.

State Senate

I won’t go through these races in detail, but the GOP currently holds a 21-17 advantage in the State Senate. Based on candidates, polling and the year, I think they expand this to about 24-13. The Dems lost probably their best pickup opportunity when State Rep. Robert Jones, the Dem candidate for a Kalamazoo-based Senate seat, died unexpectedly of cancer. His replacement will probably be unable to overcome the advantage this leaves his Republican opponent, Tonya Schuitmaker with.

State House

Republicans need 12 seats for a tie here, and 13 to take back the 110-member State House. I think there are two possible scenarios for the House: if turnout is about average and Dems come out in spite of the bloodbath at the top of the ticket, they’ll maintain a 2 or 3 seat majority in the House. If turnout is lower or simply more skewed in favor of Republicans and against incumbents, Republicans take the House by a couple of seats. This one remains up in the air, though I think the massive spending by the RGA and the cash-rich Michigan Republican Party bodes well for Rs.

Ballot Initiatives

Proposal 1 (Constitutional Convention)

This is just about the only bipartisan initiative on the ballot ever. Both progressive and conservative, Chamber and unions alike oppose a new convention. They’ll get their wish.

Final Prediction: NO 60-40

Proposal 2 (Ban felons from political office)

Public support for this proposal regularly polls in the 70s. It’s a lock

Final Prediction: YES 80-20

These are, based on the polling, news and what inside information I’m able to get, the best projections I can make for now. What do you guys think?

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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WA-Sen: Two Polls Show Tighter Race

Univ. of Washington for KPLU (10/18-28, likely voters, 10/5-14 in parentheses):

Patty Murray (D): 51 (50)

Dino Rossi (R): 45 (42)

Undecided: 6 (8)

(MoE: ±4%)

SurveyUSA for KING (10/24-27, likely voters, 10/11-14 in parentheses):

Patty Murray (D): 47 (50)

Dino Rossi (R): 47 (47)

Undecided: 6 (3)

(MoE: ±3.8%)

Two new polls out today both show tightening, of either two or three points in the last two weeks, in the Washington Senate race. This race has become increasingly pivotal in the last few weeks as well… quite literally, in that Nate Silver calls it the Senate’s entire pivot point for control — where, in the simulations he runs where the GOP gets a 10-seat pickup, Washington is most frequently the last race across the line. (Of course, it’s worth considering that as West Virginia seems to be getting better for Joe Manchin, there are increasing chances that Dems could lose Washington and keep the majority regardless of the Washington outcome, which is why overall odds of keeping the Senate are still hovering near 90%.)

What the closing of the gap means is quite debatable, though, depending on what method you use. For the Univ. of Washington, it’s still a Murray victory, as she’s already over 50 (at a point when, presumably, most people have sent in their ballots); her 8-point lead is down to 6. (They also find the reverse-enthusiasm-gap that seems unique in Washington, finding only a 4-pt edge among RVs.)

For SurveyUSA, it drops her into a tie, though. There are a couple odd things with the SurveyUSA poll, though; first, it’s strange that undecideds would shoot up in the closing stages of the race, particularly since the state SoS office reports that a majority of ballots have been sent in. Maybe those who haven’t sent ballots yet are still trying to decide; it’s hard to gauge, SUSA doesn’t include the vote breakdown among people who have already voted, which is an odd choice since they’ve done that in some other races, and it’s even more relevant in the (almost) all-mail-in Washington. Also (h/t to Taniel for pointing this out), there’s a steep dropoff in the Dem/GOP makeup of this sample from the last sample from two weeks ago: 33D-29R today, versus 36D-27R before. There’s no party registration in Washington so this is just self-identification, but it’s an abrupt switch.

One other consideration is the cellphone user gap, which has seemed particularly pronounced in Washington of all states (as seen by the wide split between live-calling Elway, UW, and CNN/Time, vs. auto-dialing SurveyUSA, Rasmussen, and PPP). I’m not a fan of mindlessly applying corrective formulas to poll data, but Nate’s most recent post on the “house effects” generated by the different categories of pollsters may be instructive here: all robocallers have an R+2.0 lean, while live polls have a D+0.7 lean (although that may have to do simply with the sheer weight on the R-side of the spectrum brought by Rasmussen’s massive volume of polling). In particular, SUSA has the most pronounced house effect this year, of R+4.0, even more than Rasmussen at R+2.1.

One major caveat, though: SurveyUSA used a live-caller overlay on this particular poll, and find that while the cellphone users they reached did tend to lean Democratic, it doesn’t matter much for the final totals. They’d done this once before on a Washington poll over summer, and come to much the same conclusion. That seemed odd at the time and still does, as it would tend to contrast with recent Pew research that showed a 5-point difference between cellphone-inclusive and non-cellphone samples in the generic ballot. With that in mind, I’ll leave it to you just how much special sauce you want to add to make sense of the results… or you can just average them out to 3, which is pretty close to where Murray’s leaked internals (+4) from a few days ago put the race.

AK-Sen: Murkowski Leads Big (In Friendly Poll), Miller 2nd

Hellenthal for Alaskans Standing Together (10/25-27, likely voters):

Scott McAdams (D): 23

Joe Miller (R): 29

“Lisa Murkowski, as a write-in”: 44

Undecided: 5

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Here’s one more data point from Alaska, a race that’s impossible to poll but where pollsters are still trying their darndest. I don’t know if I’d trust this poll (sponsored by Alaskans Standing Together, a group that supports Lisa Murkowski, and taken by a local pollster with whom I’m not familiar… by the way, how can a state as small as Alaska support what seems like so many local pollsters?) any more than I’d trust yesterday’s Hays Research poll, but they show the same thing: Murkowski opening up a pretty big lead over Joe Miller and Scott McAdams, both of whom are mired in the 20s. The big caveat here, of course, is this poll uses some prompting, although it does also mention that one would have to write Murkowski in. This new poll shows Miller similarly toxic, with 33/62 favorables (including 46% “very negative”). McAdams’ main problem, by contrast, is lack of name rec: 7% of respondents asked “Who?” when his name was read.

Also on the Alaska front, there’s still the issue of the printed list of write-in candidates that will be available at polling stations, which the Alaska Supreme Court has basically OK’d, although another hearing will be held today. However, the state was swamped with dozens of people signing up as write-in candidates, apparently in an attempt to bury Murkowski’s name and make it harder to find (this was urged by a local conservative radio talk show host). Here’s a link to the list as it stands: the list is in alphabetical order (and I assume that’s how it’ll be presented at polling places), meaning that anyone with basic familiarity with the letter “M” should be able to operate it without too much trouble. The only names on the list that seem poised to generate any trouble are “Lee Hamerski,” and “Lisa M. Lackey.” (Somehow I gotta wonder if that second one is even real; it’s a little too convenient. At least I.P. Freeleigh didn’t sign up.)

Finally, McAdams and Murkowski are both out with last-minute TV ads that are worth a watch. McAdams goes negative against Murkowski for going Washington, while Murkowski (probably guided by the poll above) still seems to see Miller as the bigger threat, and goes after him for his hired goons’ detainment of a reporter.

SSP Daily Digests: 10/29 (Morning Edition)

Hope your index fingers are rested up, because you’re going to have to do some intense clicking today.

  • CA-Gov
  • CO-Gov
  • CT-Sen
  • CT-Gov (PDF)
  • CT-01
  • CT-02
  • CT-03
  • DE-Sen
  • FL-25
  • GA-08
  • IN-02
  • KY-Sen (Braun)
  • KY-Sen (SUSA)
  • MD-Sen
  • ME-Gov (PDF)
  • MI-Gov
  • MI-07
  • MN-Gov
  • NC-02
  • ND-AL
  • NJ-12 (PDF)
  • NY-23 (PDF)
  • PA-Sen
  • PA-Gov
  • PA-10
  • PA-11
  • RI-Gov
  • RI-01
  • VA-05
  • OH-Sen: Game Over

    Lee Fisher mails it in (the rest of his campaign cash, that is):

    As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported  yesterday, Fisher — the Democratic nominee for Senate — decided to turn what little campaign cash he has left — $100,000 — over to the state Democratic Party for general GOTV efforts.

    Two weeks ago, “Fisher’s campaign for U.S. Senate was down to $308,631 in its bank account,” the paper reported. “Sums like that don’t last long and replenishing it is a challenge when a candidate lags in the polls.”

    Though Fisher has promised “he is not abandoning the campaign or giving up” against former Rep. Rob Portman (R), the Columbus Dispatch reports that the move by Fisher “essentially drained his campaign treasury.”

    This is the end. My only friend, the end…

    As miserable a race as this was for Team Blue despite such great hopes when George Voinovich announced his retirement, at least Fisher is using what little change he has left for a good cause. There are some retiring Democrats who refuse to do the same!

    FL-Gov, FL-Sen: Sink Up In Two Polls, Crist Gains Ground

    Quinnipiac (10/18-24, likely voters, 10/6-10 in parens):

    Alex Sink (D): 45 (44)

    Rick Scott (R): 41 (45)

    Undecided: 11 (9)

    Kendrick Meek (D): 15 (22)

    Marco Rubio (R): 42 (44)

    Charlie Crist (I): 35 (30)

    Undecided: 7 (4)

    (MoE: ±3.5%)

    Quinnipiac’s latest Florida poll is their most optimistic one for Alex Sink in a while; they’ve been one of the more bearish pollsters in Florida for the last few months, and this is their first poll with a Sink lead since August. While this boost might just be chalked up to float within the margin of error, if nothing else it shows that “debategate” (in which Sink got a text message during her debate) didn’t seem to affect the dynamics of the race one way or the other.

    Even more interesting is that Charlie Crist seems to be busting a late move in the Senate race, although it’s probably still too far out of reach for him to pull it out, given the weirdness of the three-way race and the split among left-of-center votes. His five-point gain pulls him within 7 of Marco Rubio. Crist’s gain comes at Meek’s loss (down 7 since the last poll), so there might be some last-minute consolidation by Dem-leaning voters deciding that Crist is the best way to avoid the specter of Rubio. (Crist now gets 51% of Dems, while Meek gets 36% of them. Indies go 43% for Crist, 38% for Rubio, and 9% for Meek.)

    Mason-Dixon (10/25-27, likely voters, 10/4-6 in parens):

    Alex Sink (D): 46 (44)

    Rick Scott (R): 43 (40)

    Undecided: 7 (-)

    (MoE: ±3.5%)

    Mason-Dixon provides some confirmation today of Quinnipiac’s numbers with a poll taken slightly more recently, although they don’t see movement at all over the last few weeks (Sink led by 4, now by 3). Most interestingly, they find Scott’s unfavorables getting much worse: he’s now at 30/52, compared with Sink’s 49/44. It would be pretty remarkable to see anyone win with those kind of favorables, and a Scott win would obviously have a lot to do with the national climate. If there’s any doubt this is the nation’s closest major governor’s race, check out the trendlines from Pollster.com.

    SSP Daily Digest: 10/28 (Afternoon Edition)

    CO-Sen: In case there was any doubt about where Ken Buck is on abortion, new video has come out from June that he’s not only against Roe v. Wade, but against the whole concept of a right of privacy (on the usual teabagger grounds that it wasn’t explicitly laid out in the Constitution).

    PA-Sen: Although there will be a Barack Obama appearance in Philly proper this weekend, Bill Clinton is left with the task of headlining rallies around the rest of the state. Today Clinton appears on Joe Sestak’s behalf in the Philly suburbs, in Bryn Mawr and Cheyney. Clinton also appears with Dan Onorato and John Callahan in Bethlehem today.

    WV-Sen: Good news for John Raese on two different fronts. The Palm Beach architecture commission approved his plans to replace a “giant dollhouse” in the yard of his Palm Beach mansion with a glass conservatory! (Just be sure to hide all the blunt objects when Colonel Mustard comes over for a visit.) Also, it turns out he’s a +13 handicap, occasionally getting down into the high 70s, so he’s definitely got some game on the links. (Unfortunately for Raese, the reason we know this is because somebody leaked his self-reported scorecards from the golf ladder at the Everglades Club, the all-white country club in Palm Beach about which he’s stonewalled on inquiries on whether he’s a member or not.)

    HI-Gov: Credit Mufi Hannemann for good sportsmanship. In response to evidence that his supporters from the primary (who tended to skew socially conservative) were tending to break toward Duke Aiona, Hannemann recently cut a TV ad urging his backers to vote for Neil Abercrombie. The ad’s part of a $200K buy by Hawaii labor unions.

    AZ-03: It’s sounding like that PPP poll that gave him a lead wasn’t a total fluke. Whatever Jon Hulburd is seeing is enough to get him to open up his personal checkbook and hand his campaign another $250K for a final push. No specific numbers are available, but the article says that his internal polling sees him “within the margin of error.” (That’s not usually the phrasing of someone who’s leading in his internals, but maybe he still can gut it out.)

    NC-11: A handful of Democrats in tough races have said that they’d rather vote for someone other than Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, but no one has actually stepped forward until now to volunteer himself as a receptacle for Blue Dog votes. Heath Shuler, previously declared as one of the “no” votes, said he’ll do it if no one else will. There’s not telling how this gambit would work out if the Dems keep the House, or if he’ll be running for minority leader if not.

    Passages: Condolences to the friends and family of Owen Pickett, the former long-time Democratic Rep. from VA-02. Pickett, who was 80, served there from 1987 to 2001.

    SSP TV:

    CT-Sen: Linda McMahon’s closing argument is an endorsement from her daughter, celebrexecutive (that should be a word, if it isn’t) Stephanie

    LA-Sen: Assuming Charlie Melancon loses, still give him credit for using all the material at his disposal: his TV spot hits David Vitter as hard as possible, saying his taxpayer-paid salary paid for prostitutes and it’s a “sin” he represents Louisiana at all

    WV-Sen: Credit to Joe Manchin, too, for not Coakleying this one up; once he found himself in an unexpected close race, he buckled down, found messages that worked, and hammered on them, as in his final ad

    FL-22: Ron Klein goes positive with his last spot, touting endorsements from a variety of citizen groups

    NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster’s ad is a combo platter of hitting Charlie Bass on his Wall Street ways and going positive on her own job creation plans


    CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%

    CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 44%, Ken Buck (R) 48%

    FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 45%, Rick Scott (R) 48%

    GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 29%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 59%

    ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 26%, Paul LePage (R) 40%, Eliot Cutler (I) 26%

    OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 44%, John Kasich (R) 48%

    WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 47%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%

    (um, do you really want that to be your final answer on WA-Sen?)