2010 Downticket Statewide Races Rundown

What follows is a state-by-state rundown of the results of downticket statewide races in 2010.  The universe of races covered is defined by those that appear on www.thegreenpapers.com.  

The trends were similar to the overall trends, with Democrats showing strength in the Northeast and the West Coast, with emerging pockets of blue in the Mountain West/Southwest.  Republicans dominated the South and the redder areas of the Midwest and Mountain West, and also had success in some of the blue/swingy areas of the upper Midwest, particularly in Ohio, where they flipped all three Democratic-held downticket statewide seats.  Republicans also ran the table in swing states like Colorado, Florida, and Michigan.  Meanwhile, Minnesota was an oasis of blue, with Dems taking all of the statewide offices, including of course the Governor’s mansion.

True Blue

California – Democrats ran the table (6 for 6), easily defeating incumbent Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado and easily taking the open Insurance Commissioner seat left by Steve Poizner.

Connecticut – Democrats ran the table (4 for 4), as they did in 2006.

Delaware – No change, with Democrats still holding 3 of 4 seats.  Republican Auditor Tom Wagner narrowly held on.

Maryland – Democrats ran the table (2 for 2), as they did in 2006.

Massachusetts – Democrats ran the table (4 for 4), as they did in 2006.

Minnesota – Democrats ran the table (3 for 3), as they did in 2006.

Nevada – All incumbents held, with Democrats continuing to hold 4 of 5 seats.

New Mexico – Static, with Democrats still holding 4 of 5 seats.  The Democrats flipped the open Public Lands Commissioner seat left by Pat Lyons, while Republicans defeated incumbent Secretary of State Mary Herrera.

New York – Democrats ran the table (2 for 2), as they did in 2006.

Oregon – The only election was the special election for Treasurer, which the Democrats held.

Rhode Island – Democrats ran the table (4 for 4), as they did in 2006.

Mixed Nuts

Arkansas – Republicans only contested 3 of 6 seats, and flipped all three of them.  They took the open Lieutenant Governor seat left by Bill Halter, the open Secretary of State seat left by Charlie Daniels, and the open Land Commissioner seat left by John Thurston.  Incumbent Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, incumbent Treasurer Martha Shoffner, and outgoing Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, who ran for the open Auditor seat, all ran without Republican opposition.  Ominously, none of them managed to top 70% of the vote.

Illinois – Republicans now hold 2 of 4 seats, flipping the open Treasurer seat left by Alexi Giannoulias and the open Comptroller seat left by Dan Hynes.

Iowa – Republicans now hold 3 of 5 seats after defeating incumbent Secretary of State Michael Mauro.

Vermont – All seats held, leaving Democrats with 3 of 5 seats.  Republicans held the open seat for Lieutenant Governor left by Brian Dubie and Republican Auditor Tom Salmon held on.

Wisconsin – Republicans now hold 2 of 3 seats after defeating incumbent Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass.

The Redder the Better

Alabama – Republicans ran the table (6 for 6), narrowly defeating incumbent Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom and easily flipping the open Ag Commissioner seat left by Ron Sparks.

Arizona – Republicans ran the table (5 for 5), narrowly flipping the open Attorney General seat left by Terry Goddard.

Colorado – Republicans ran the table (3 for 3), defeating incumbent Secretary of State Bernie Bueschler and incumbent Treasurer Cary Kennedy.

Florida – Republicans ran the table (3 for 3), easily flipping the open Chief Financial Officer seat left by Alex Sink.

Georgia – Republicans ran the table (7 for 7), flipping the open Attorney General seat left by Thurbert Baker, the open Ag Commissioner seat left by Tommy Irvin, and the open Labor Commissioner seat left by Mike Thurmond.

Idaho – Republicans ran the table, (6 for 6), as they did in 2006.

Indiana – Republicans ran the table (3 for 3), as they did in 2006.

Kansas – Republicans ran the table (4 for 4), defeating incumbent Secretary of State Chris Biggs, incumbent Attorney General Steve Six, and incumbent Treasurer Dennis McKinney.

Louisiana – The only election was the special election for Lieutenant Governor, which the Republicans held.

Michigan – Republicans ran the table (2 for 2), as they did in 2006.

Missouri – The only election was for Auditor, where Republicans defeated incumbent Auditor Susan Montee.

Nebraska – Republicans ran the table (4 for 4), as they did in 2006.

North Dakota – Republicans ran the table (5 for 5), as they did in 2006.

Ohio – Republicans ran the table (4 for 4), defeating incumbent Attorney General Richard Cordray and incumbent Treasurer Kevin Boyce, and taking the open Secretary of State seat left by Jennifer Brunner.

Oklahoma – Republicans ran the table (8 for 8), flipping an incredible 7 seats.  They defeated incumbent Auditor Steve Burrage, incumbent Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields, and incumbent Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland.  They also took the open Lieutenant Governor seat left by Jari Askins, the open Attorney General seat left by Drew Edmondson, the open Treasurer seat left by Scott Meacham, and the open Superintendent of Education seat left by Sandy Garrett.

South Carolina – Republicans ran the table (8 for 8), flipping the open Superintendent of Education seat left by Jim Rex.

South Dakota – Republicans ran the table (5 for 5), as they did in 2006.

Texas – Republicans ran the table (6 for 6), as they did in 2006.

Wyoming – Republicans ran the table (4 for 4), as they did in 2006.

Thoughts from Netroots CA, 2010 Election

(Also at Nevada Progressive, and I have photos from Netroots CA at my Twitpic!)

OK, so I’ve had more time to process what happened. And I had a chance to talk with my old Cali friends at Netroots California last Saturday. And I came out surprisingly hopeful about our future.

While we did have some rough losses in Nevada, overall the picture here was much brighter than the rest of the country. Come on, all the incumbent statewide elected Democrats are reelected while Harry Reid won by over 5.6%! Reid outperformed almost all the public polls. What happened? How come “The Great Red Tide” that destroyed many Dems in many states east of The Rockies was barely a ripple here?

Basically, it comes down to what Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats did right. They invested in getting out the vote. They made our progressive message clear and concise AND accessible to regular voters. And they reached out to minority communities and actually IMPROVED Latin@ turnout over 2006 AND 2008!

It really comes down to this. Even in “wave elections”, “the wave” doesn’t have to be a monstrous tsunami. Good campaigns still matter. Good field still matters. And good messaging still matters. Harry Reid made all this happen and more.

Ralston explained this on Sunday.

The Reid organization’s Terminator-like single-mindedness, relentlessness and discipline turned preparation into the most satisfying victory of Reid’s career, a resurrection unthinkable most of the year by the Beltway cognoscenti. Combined with an Angle campaign that was thoroughly unprepared for the post-primary onslaught – think of a Little League batter facing Roy Halladay – that by the time the GOP nominee brought in some D.C. pros, the damage was insurmountable.

Interestingly, a similar dynamic appeared in California last Tuesday. More Latin@ voters turned out than ever before. And while Jerry Brown’s campaign (for CA Governor) didn’t exactly “strike while the iron was hot” on delivering his message or attacking Meg Whitman’s record, California unions did. And they delivered, big time!

And Barbara Boxer followed a very similar strategy to Reid’s in defining Carly Fiorina early as quite the unacceptable choice, delivering a progressive message in a practical way to attract voters (Hint: Make it real. Make it tangible. Make it about one’s pocketbook/wallet/purse.), and turning out Dem voters like crazy.

Again, it comes down to whether Democrats can field good candidates, deliver a good message, and turn out as many allied voters as possible. It worked in California and Nevada… But because the national Democratic groups failed in these categories and many other state parties were in turmoil, that’s why the results were so bad elsewhere.

Why didn’t other Senate candidates try to turn health care reform and good climate policy into winning arguments? Why didn’t other state parties invest more in good GOTV infrastructure? Why didn’t the DCCC and DSCC take a closer look at the winning arguments being made by Reid and Boxer?

That’s the challenge moving forward. President Obama needs to rethink his messaging. Democrats need to work harder on showing how good progressive policy means more and better jobs. And Democrats nationally need to look at places like Nevada and California to learn how to rebuild good, strong GOTV infrastructure. And if Obama can turn his numbers around and offer a strong and appealing progressive message that reveals the crap the GOP is truly offering and explains how to truly get our nation back on track, he can win handily again and Democrats can soon retake the House and keep the Senate.

It really comes down to that. Oh, and I had a great time in SF… 😉

But I’m hoping we have an even better time back in Vegas this weekend!

538’s pollster analysis: Rasmussen sucked

Nate’s preliminary analysis of pollsters’ performance is out.  And the headline is what we’ve all known:  Rasmussen is biased.  Up to 2009, Scotty’s bias was held in check to some degree.  Since then, he’s left it all hang out.  And it shows.  The proof is in the pudding.  (And Nate doesn’t even address Rassmussen’s 12 point final generic).

The 105 polls released in Senate and gubernatorial races by Rasmussen Reports and its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research, missed the final margin between the candidates by 5.8 points, a considerably higher figure than that achieved by most other pollsters. Some 13 of its polls missed by 10 or more points, including one in the Hawaii Senate race that missed the final margin between the candidates by 40 points, the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.

Moreover, Rasmussen’s polls were quite biased, overestimating the standing of the Republican candidate by almost 4 points on average. In just 12 cases, Rasmussen’s polls overestimated the margin for the Democrat by 3 or more points. But it did so for the Republican candidate in 55 cases – that is, in more than half of the polls that it issued.

If one focused solely on the final poll issued by Rasmussen Reports or Pulse Opinion Research in each state – rather than including all polls within the three-week interval – it would not have made much difference. Their average error would be 5.7 points rather than 5.8, and their average bias 3.8 points rather than 3.9.

Who did well?  Q, SUSA (in the last three weeks) and, surpisingly, YouGov:

The most accurate surveys were those issued by Quinnipiac University, which missed the final margin between the candidates by 3.3 points, and which showed little overall bias.

The next-best result was from SurveyUSA, which is among the highest-rated firms in FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rankings: it missed the margin between the candidates by 3.5 points, on average.

SurveyUSA also issued polls in a number of U.S. House races, missing the margin between the candidates by an average of 5.2 points. That is a comparatively good score: individual U.S. House races are generally quite difficult to poll, and the typical poll issued by companies other than SurveyUSA had missed the margin between the candidates by an average of 7.3 points.

In some of the house races that it polled, SurveyUSA’s results had been more Republican-leaning than those of other pollsters. But it turned out that it had the right impression in most of those races – anticipating, for instance, that the Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar could easily lose his race, as he eventually did.

YouGov, which conducts its surveys through Internet panels, also performed fairly well, missing the eventual margin by 3.5 points on average – although it confined its polling to a handful of swing races, in which polling is generally easier because of high levels of voter engagement.


Bob Bobson’s Super Extra Kick-Ass Predictions Diary 2010

Making predictions about elections is pretty fun, you could say. I've been trying to since 2006, and I haven't really improved at it at all. But this time, I'm going to put all of my calls down in one place, so that way I can't change them later and tell people I totally saw Lee Terry's/John Yarmuth's/etc SHOCKING UPSET LOSS coming.

I'm going to split these into two different scenarios, one of which I'll call the “Okay” scenario and one of which I'll call the “Great Republican Tea Avalanche of 2010” scenario, since that sounds pretty impressive. And because there's all sorts of polls floating around that probably are less accurate than the results I would get by calling people in the phone book at random. Yeah, guy who says he's 1 point behind Bennie Thompson, that's your internal I'm talking about. Anyways, even though a lot of these here polls are total garbage, I don't feel comfortable ruling out the possibility of a large Republican win.

As for the possibility of a weaker Republican win than expected, I'm defining a “good night” for the Dems purely on a selfish basis, and I wouldn't be surprised if other folks here are too. If Baron Hill, Russ Feingold, and Tom Perriello make it, I'll be happy. Come up with your own “good Dem” version, people!

Let's kick things off with the really bad one first.

Great Republican Tea Avalanche of 2010


Rep. Pickups

  • AL-2
  • AZ-1 (Rogue dentist is a pretty great phrase, I wish I had business cards that said that)
  • AZ-5
  • AR-1
  • AR-2
  • CA-11
  • CO-3
  • CO-4
  • FL-2
  • FL-8 (Whatever. I never liked Grayson anyways. He should have formed a caucus with Dan Boren.)
  • FL-22
  • FL-24
  • GA-2
  • GA-8
  • ID-1 (PVI is not destiny, but Walt Minnick shouldn't make it in this kind of scenario)
  • IL-11
  • IL-14
  • IL-17
  • IN-2 (Joe Donnelly should be losing but seems to be ahead; he's screwed in a major wave)
  • IN-8
  • IN-9 (I can only expect Mike Sodrel to switch parties and campaign for the Dem nom in 2012)
  • KS-3
  • IA-2
  • KY-6 (John Yarmuth will be pretty lonely)
  • LA-3
  • MD-1
  • MA-10 (I hesitate to add this one even if it's a good election for the Republicans; Scott Brown or not, I think their strength in MA is exaggerated)
  • MI-1 (Dan Benishek and Larry Bucshon are the go-to guys for a Republican rebuttal if Pres. Obama gives any more speeches about healthcare)
  • MI-7
  • MS-1 (Even the power of Travis Childers' mustache cannot repel firepower of this magnitude)
  • MS-4 (Gene Taylor gets more time to work on figuring out the many differences between chocolate milk and oil slicks)
  • NV-3 (Regardless of the result in WA-3, it's possible at least some voters will be Giving Congress Heck)
  • NH-1
  • NH-2
  • NJ-3 (Jon Runyan's first two policy priorities: donkeys for all homeowners and doing something about that awful Dred Scott stuff)
  • NM-2
  • NY-19 (something something Not Still the One joke something something)
  • NY-20
  • NY-23 (Congressman-elect Doug Hoffman! Oh, wait, never mind)
  • NY-29
  • NC-8
  • NC-11 (Heh heh, just kidding)
  • ND-AL (Earl Pomeroy isn't Barack Mason Pelosi, unfortunately, nobody cares)
  • OH-1
  • OH-6
  • OH-15
  • OH-16
  • OH-18 (Hell of a meltdown in Ohio)
  • OK-2 (Look, if we lose the House, the least the Republicans could do in return is take out Dan Boren. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants him on our dodgeball team.) 
  • PA-3
  • PA-7 (We'll get this one back if it's a loss this time around)
  • PA-8 
  • PA-10
  • PA-11
  • SC-5
  • SD-AL
  • TN-4 (God damn it, this is getting depressing)
  • TN-6
  • TN-8 (Saving grace: user andgarden won't have to eat his/her shoes)
  • TX-17 (Even in my “Okay” version, Edwards won't make it; but I think this is going to be surprisingly close)
  • TX-23
  • VA-2 (Who cares? Everyone just wants to know what happens to Perriello, am I right?)
  • VA-5 (Win or lose, Tom will be back.)
  • WA-3 (See NV-3)
  • WI-7 (Edit: Forgot to put this one in initially.)
  • WI-8 (Reid Ribble. I hate alliteration.) 
  • WV-1

Dem. Pickups

  • DE-AL
  • IL-10 (WAA polls: funny, or the funniest thing ever? I don't know.)
  • LA-02 (Joe Cao should consider becoming a Democrat, or at least pulling a Linc Chafee)


Rep. Pickups

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana (Dan Coats replaces Bob Bennett in the Senate Boring Old Republican Dudes Club)
  • Nevada (I don't even)
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

Hilarious Comic Interlude You Won't Understand If You Don't Understand the Significance of the Phrase “I wonder what's for dinner?”

Russ Feingold: My friends, this peace is what all true incumbents strive for.

National Democrats: I just wonder what the Republicans are up to! 

DSCC: Senator Feingold, Ron Johnson and his minions have seized your Senate seat!

Russ Feingold: Hmm…?

Gubernatorial Elections

Rep. Pickups

  • Florida (Thugs and criminals!)
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • New Mexico
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Dem. Pickups

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota

Ind. Pickups

  • Rhode Island

Hey, kids, wasn't that fun? Well, not really. This next one is kind of good though. If you consider slightly less major House losses 'good', that is. 

Average Republican Wave of 2010 (Okay Scenario)


Rep. Pickups

  • AZ-1
  • AR-2
  • CO-4
  • FL-2
  • FL-8 (Grayson wouldn't be here if not for “Taliban Dan”)
  • FL-24
  • GA-8 (Marshall's just in a bad district)
  • IL-11
  • IL-17 (Peculiar that I think Bill Foster over in the 14th has a better chance than Phil Hare)
  • IN-8 (Even Dr. Steve Brule could probably win here this year as a Republican. For your health!)
  • IN-9 (If Hill does win, whoever vandalized hoosierdem's lawn signs is going to be PISSED.)
  • KS-3
  • LA-3
  • MD-1 (Kratovil still has a chance, albeit small. Remarkable.)
  • MI-1
  • MS-1
  • NV-3 (Going to be close, but even if Reid wins I'm not sure about Titus)
  • NH-1
  • NH-2 (Hesitated for a long time on this one, but I just don't think Kuster pulls this off)
  • NJ-3 (I wish it was goats instead of donkeys. Goats are cooler. You're not cool, Jon Runyan.)
  • NM-2
  • NY-19
  • NY-29
  • NC-8 (Kissell is too wobbly for his own good. If he does lose, he's one headache we won't have to deal with again.)
  • ND-AL
  • OH-01
  • OH-15
  • OH-18
  • PA-03
  • PA-07 (Hard call. A lot depends on the Senate outcome; if Sestak outperforms the polls, Lentz might pull this off.)
  • PA-08 (Surprised by Murphy's sudden collapse… too surprised, in fact. Not sure about the polling here.)
  • PA-10  
  • PA-11 (If Paul Kanjorski manages once again to return from the dead, Lou Barletta should probably just give up on this whole politics thing and find something else to do with his time.)
  • SC-5
  • TN-6
  • TN-8
  • TX-17 (I think this will be close, as I said earlier; Flores has had a lot of missteps in the past month)
  • TX-23
  • VA-2
  • VA-5
  • WA-3 (Possible to see an upset here. Just very unlikely.)
  • WI-7
  • WI-8

Dem. Pickups

  • DE-AL
  • FL-25 (Rivera sucks that much)
  • HI-1
  • IL-10
  • LA-02

I'm pretty bad at math, but I think this means the Republicans actually fall just short of taking the House. Maybe that means I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't know, but my gut is to go with this list. If I'm wrong, well, I'm some guy from Southern Indiana that raises chickens and thinks loud noises are funny; I have no dignity, let alone credibility or reputation to risk.


Rep. Pickups

  • Arkansas
  • Illinois (I don't know how this one turns out, but I'm leaning Kirk. Both of these candidates are awful.)
  • Indiana
  • North Dakota (If McAdams wins in Alaska, he and John Hoeven…mustache joke… something..)
  • Pennsylvania (Sestak gives a scare, but not a big enough one)
  • Wisconsin

Special Commentary: Dem HOLDS

  • Colorado (Very close. Gut call says Bennet, he has to like that EV advantage PPP showed.)
  • Nevada (If Jon Ralston is wrong, a lot of people are going to look like idiots. I already look like one, though, so I'm NOT SCARED.

Gubernatorial Elections

Rep. Pickups

  • Illinois
  • Iowa (Branstad gets to be a kingmaker two years from now! Or something! Sarah Palin! Breathless primary coverage! POINTLESS NOISE!)
  • Kansas
  • New Mexico
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennesseee (Basil Marceaux.com. What could have been..?)
  • Wisconsin (I blame Jim Doyle.)
  • Wyoming

Dem. Pickups

  • California (California! Uber alles! California uber alles! The funny thing is, Jerry Brown never was President, soon or otherwise.)
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Florida (Nervous about this one? So am I!)
  • Minnesota 
  • Vermont (edit)

Ind. Pickups

  • Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee does what he wants. If you need instructions on how to be an independent, check out the enclosed instruction book.)

 I'm hoping I'm wrong and we win all of these. That'd be alright. Or some of them, I'd settle for that too. Feel free to post any thoughts or disparaging comments about my stab at predicting the future; this is my first try, so I'd appreciate the feedback.

 Also, I made sure not to forget WY-GOV, but there's probably some obvious race somewhere I forgot to add instead. 

Predictions: 56, 8, 7.5



TN 6

LA 3

NY 29

AR 2

MS 1

OH 1

TX 17

KS 3

FL 24

OH 15

FL 2

IN 8

TN 8

IL 11

CO 4

PA 3

FL 8

OH 16

VA 2

MD 1

MI 1

VA 5

WI 8

AR 1

WI 7


NH 1

NM 2

SC 5

GA 8

IL 14

AZ 5

AL 2

AZ 1

WA 3

PA 7

PA 8

IN 9

NY 23


CA 11

CO 3

NJ 3

TN 4

MS 4

NY 20

PA 10

WV 1

NC 7

NH 2

NV 3

NY 19

IL 17

NC 8

FL 22

OH 18

NC 2

CT 4

NM 1

CT 5


LA 2


IL 10

HI 1





















New Mexico









1/2 R loss — I

Rhode Island

Net loss of 7.5.

Whereas I hit a new bottom in my House and Senate predictions

Tonight I am coming to grips with what I think is the emerging reality of what we face on November 2nd, and it’s a little uglier than what I previously envisioned.

First, the House:  I posted my diary using a rudimentary Cook-based model to “predict” a net loss of 49 seats.  Until tonight I have spent the last month in rising hope that maybe we could buck the tide just enough to keep the House by the skin of our teeth.  But further readings and taking a step back and considering the state of whatever House race polling we have, I am now surrendering once again my hope of keeping the House.  I’d hit a bottom on Labor Day weekend with all the rock-bottom generic ballot numbers that popped up around then.  But then September gave us more positive information, and things started to look better.  But going through StephenCLE’s diary tonight left me resigned.  He pegs our net losses in the mid-30s, and I count several more losses that he sees still ending up our way.  I now think also our pickups, to offset GOP gains, will be limited to the Big 4 of beating Cao and Djou and taking DE-AL and IL-10.  I don’t completely write off the possibility of one or two upsets somewhere by Garcia or Bera or Goyle or someone else, but the odds are long at this point, I think.  Garcia is our best bet, I still give him a 50-50 shot, but I suspect the bad economy tips the scale against us.  That Sink has fallen behind Scott, and Rubio has taken firm command of the Senate race, both hurt him.  All this is to say that while I have been saying the odds of a GOP takeover are “just” 55-60%, I now push those odds all the way up to 80%.

Now, the Senate:  this is where depression is kicking in more heavily tonight.  I’ve conceded for awhile 2 separate tiers of 3 seats each.  Tier I is ND, AR, and IN.  Tier II is CO, WI, and PA.  But I now am counting a couple Tier III seats, WV and IL, as losses.  Even in IL, Obama’s job approval has slipped to mere mortal levels.  Yes I see Brady has gained ground and Alexi is still in a legitimate pure tossup and it’s a Democratic state and the Chicago machine still can come through.  I don’t write off IL, nor do I write off Manchin’s chances of turning around WV.  And PPP today gave us hope in CO.  But all that said, if I have to make bottom-line predictions, I now have to call all these seats losses in a very strong anti-Democratic wave.  If we’re really going to lose more than 40 House seats, then it’s likely the Senate seats, too, will be on the higher side of what’s realistically possible rather than the lower side.  So I’m now seeing a loss of 8 Senate seats, with no takeovers.

My one Senate wildcard:  I now think our best chance of a takeover is actually AK.  The major party candidates are little-known, it’s a late-developing race, and it’s a complicated 3-way where voter preference can change quickly and unpredictably.  That contrasts to ALL other races where we’re fighting for our lives; in all other hardly-fought races, there has been a lot of heavy campaigning by both sides for a long time, and voters are pretty familiar with the candidates and just not likely to shift our way in just the last month absent some unexpected external event driving them.

It’s going to be a tough night, and I don’t write off the possibility that things could be better than this.  But I’m bracing emotionally for a depressing night.  The only positive takeaways I forsee is that still barely holding the Senate and controlling the floor is worth A LOT and nothing I take for granted, and that Obama’s reelection chances really will be enhanced by voters having gotten their pound of flesh and finally settling down.  There’s something to be said for the argument that if we hang on to both the House and Senate, we’re still tagged with all the blame for whatever follows, and voters will feel they weren’t heard by our retaining our majorities and might take it out on us even more strongly in 2012.

There really is an emerging Democratic majority, but it’s emerging slowly.  I think a lot of us let 2008 mislead us because Obama effectively accelerated, through the power of his own persona, a process of changing the electorate that otherwise would happen naturally only much more slowly.  The 2008 electorate was what we’d see in 2016 or 2020 if it wasn’t for Obama.  We might see no growth in Democratic-favoring demographic groups in the electorate in 2016, as Obama is succeeded probably (not necessarily but the odds support this) by a white male as the Democratic Presidential nominee.  For this year, we’re going to see any natural uptick in Democratic-favoring turnout from demographic change over the past 4 years offset, and perhaps more than offset, by depressed turnout from the unfavorable environment and lack of urgency among key voters.

I’m very interested in all of your thoughts on this subject.

Using Charlie Cook’s historical & current ratings to predict next month’s midterm……

I’m not one who’s provided a race-by-race breakdown to predict the House elections.  But I finally decided to come up with my own rudimentary model, with Charlie Cook’s ratings as a guide.

My model relies on Cook’s late September ratings in 2008 and 2006, both wave elections, and compares them to the most recent Cook ratings now.  Relying on late September ensures an apples-to-apples comparison.

The hardest races to forecast are the disfavored party’s tossups and “lean” races in an anti-majority party wave.  Those are the races that decide whether the House flips.

What I found is interesting, and discouraging for us.

Cook’s 2006 ratings in late September had 18 GOP-held tossups and 16 GOP-held “lean R” seats.  Of those, 10 from each category flipped.  Also flipping were 6 of 19 “likely R” GOP-held seats, as well as 2 GOP-held open seats Cook already had flipping in late September.  And 2 “safe” seats from Cook’s late September ratings flipped, those being Boyda over Ryun in Kansas and Altmire over Hart in PA-04.  NO Dem-held seats flipped, and indeed in late September Cook had all Dem-held seats as lean, likely, or safe, with NO tossups.

Cook’s 2008 ratings in late September had 19 GOP-held tossups and 14 GOP-held “lean R” seats.  Of those, 13 tossups and 6 leans flipped.  None of 20 “likely R” seats flipped this time, nor did any safe seats.  Meanwhile, Dems had more vulnerable seats this time in Cook’s late September ratings, and 2 of 10 Dem-held tossups flipped as did the lean D seat of Tim Mahoney due to his late-breaking sex scandal, and in a runoff the safe D seat of Bill Jefferson due to his being a crook.  Also flipping but excluded from my consideration was Don Cazayoux’s seat, which I exclude because he won it as a Dem pick-up in a special election earlier in the year before losing it in November, and that makes it awkward to include in any count discussing 2008 gains or losses.  I note, too, that

Here’s the interesting thing per Cook’s late September ratings:  the total number of seats the Rs lost from Cook’s tossup and lean R columns almost perfectly matched the number of R-held seats in Cook’s tossup column.  In 2006, Cook listed 18 GOP-held tossups, and the GOP lost 20 seats total from the tossup and lean R columns.  In 2008, Cook listed 19 GOP-held tossups, and the GOP lost exactly the same number total from the tossup and lean R columns.

The difference in 2008 was that no likely R seats flipped, compared to 6 in 2006.  The reason for this is obvious:  the likely R seats in 2006 were much lower-hanging fruit than the 2008 likely R seats, since the remaining Republcan-held seats were much more conservative and safer after the Dems already had made big gains one cycle earlier.

Applying the same princples to 2008, Cook in late September had 43 Dem-held seats as tossups, and 31 as lean D.  If the election follows the same pattern as the previous 2 waves, we should lose 43 seats total from those 2 categories.  We also should lose all the Dem-held seats that Cook counts as lean R or likely R, and that’s 10 more.  That’s a gross gain of 53 for the bad guys.  But there are 4 GOP-held seats we should pick up by everyone’s predictions, seats that Cook lists as lean D or tossups, and that knocks down the net GOP gain to 49.

That would give the Republicans a 228-207 majority.  And sadly it’s a very reasonable prediction that lines up perfectly with ALL the published predictions out there.

Here’s where I think we either can have some confidence or where we’re deluding ourselves, election day determining which it is:  when I look at Cook’s “lean D” seats, it’s just really hard to see hardly any of them flipping.  My “feeling” is that we hold almost all of them.  And even on our tossups, I did a quick count and found 25 I’ll say are gone.  That adds up to total losses of 15 fewer than my rudimentary model would predict, and of course it means we hold the House with 222 seats for the good guys.

The optimistic seat-by-seat breakdown is essentially what conspiracy and StephenCLE and others are engaging in with their own breakdowns posted in occasional diaries here.

And I can see exactly how they get there.

But sadly history shows that a lot more tossups and leans flip in a wave, and that’s where we might find out we’re deluding ourselves.

I just hope our candidates and party committees continue hammering the opposing candidates and getting voters to reject enough of them to keep us at 218 on election night.  But I just don’t feel good about it.

NV-03: Life Inside a “Swing District”

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

All too often, I hear the Beltway pundits chatter away over national poll numbers, party fundraising, who’s hiring which lobbyists, what the strategists at The White House must REALLY be thinking, and so much more.

But you know what? Here in what may be one of the districts that determines who will control Congress next year, none of that really matters. People here are asking who has solutions to the actual problems that plague us.

“For Sale” signs hang in front of houses on most blocks. Apartment buildings fly banners advertising discounted rent and free Internet to lure tenants into vacant units. Businesses are closing, and the ones staying open are cutting employees’ hours. The district leads the nation in unemployment and the state in foreclosures.

In interviews with the Sun, the overwhelming sentiment among voters of all political persuasions is that government is not working.

How to fix it? That’s the debate that will decide this congressional race – and the races for U.S. Senate and governor.

And I know all about these real problems, as my own friends and family here have suffered in this economy. They’ve lost jobs. They’ve come dangerously close to foreclosure. And I’ve felt scared.

No, most of my fellow voters in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District aren’t paying too much attention to the DC chatter. They just want solutions to the problems we’re facing here.

And one of the biggest problems here is home foreclosures, and Dina Titus has had to fact this head on. Dina’s district office is constantly working on helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. I have spoken with people whose homes were saved thanks to the help they got from Dina and her staffers. While she’s just one representative in the US House, she just happens to represent one of the hardest hit districts in the country and her office has had to rise to this occasion.

Over the past year, her office estimates Titus has saved constituents $2.4 million, most of it by reworking mortgages. (Some of the savings is from unrelated help, including securing veterans’ or Social Security benefits.)

Five staffers in Titus’ district office in Las Vegas now handle housing problems, in addition to the jobs they were hired to do. They have no formal training in real estate or mortgage finance. Each carries about 100 cases at a time. One staffer has personally handled 300 cases.

The group started out rescuing homes from foreclosure in much the same way homeowners facing foreclosure do, dialing up the banks’ call centers and asking for help. They got put on hold, transferred, disconnected.

They learned by “trial and error.” Each time they found a bank staffer who seemed competent, they jotted down the name and number, and returned with new cases. They built relationships.

Of course, the other big concern here is jobs.

And of course, Joe Heck, the Republican running against Dina Titus, is trying to make this into an issue that hurts her. And yes, people here are very frustrated over the economy here and the need for more and better jobs. However, Heck seems to forget what he has said about jobs in contrast to what Dina Titus has done to bring jobs here. And by the way, guess who he agrees with on this?

Dr. Heck even used the same wording as Angle, “the role of Congress is not to create jobs”, and he also wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, just as Sharron Angle wants to do. In fact,Dr. Heck took $5000.00 dollars for signing a pledge to privatize Social Security and Medicare.

For more than 200 years, voters in every State have sent their elected officials to DC to help bring money back to their States for all kinds of special projects that create jobs.

There are thousands of special projects across the country and most of them are worthy projects and deserving of our federal dollars, not all special projects are pork.

Because of Nevada’s Democratic delegation of Dina Titus, Shelly Berkley, and Harry Reid, new jobs are being created for Nevada.

Solar plants, wind turbines, and geothermal are all being expanded in our State, and with that expansion comes jobs. A new high speed train system from Southern California to Las Vegas will be built, which will bring more tourists to our State, which will create new jobs. A new VA hospital, more jobs, etc. You get the idea.

None of those special projects could have happened without the help of the federal government and the federal dollars that our elected officials help to secure for those special projects.

What, you thought we could talk about Nevada politics without bringing up Sharron Angle??!!

But seriously, compare this…

To this…

Remember, they are both Republicans running for Congress on the same platform here in Nevada… And Heck wholeheartedly endorsed Angle in July at the Nevada GOP Convention!

“The primary’s over. We now have to rally around a slate of candidates up and down the ticket — Sharron Angle all the way down the ticket.” [Emphasis mine.]

So while Joe Heck tries to “hedge his bets” these days, he can’t take back his doubling down on Sharron Angle’s extreme agenda.

But of course, there’s a flip to this. What about this guy?

Yep, Harry Reid factors very much into this as well. Not that long ago, when Reid was considered “a goner”, many pundits were also quick to write off Titus. However, I had thought otherwise for some time… And now, I’m hoping and doing whatever I can to ensure I’ll be proven right in November.

For one, it’s not like everyone here is ignorant as to who’s been working hard to deliver some much needed help.

In addition, Angle and Heck are doing themselves (and each other) no favors in refusing to offer any help and skewing so far to the right.

Phil Esser, 68, a music minister in Boulder City, said he voted for Porter two years ago because he trusted him. This year, Esser will vote for Titus.

“I think she’s doing a good job.”

For Esser, it comes down to the approach. The Tea Party, with its aggressive anti-establishment campaign, turns him off. He sees local Republicans, including Heck, as sharing the Tea Party vision.

“It’s kind of like the old Ross Perot party, but with torches,” Esser said. “Ross Perot wanted change and accountability in government. I thought that was healthy for our political system. But I don’t see that now with the Tea Party people insisting our president is a Muslim.”

In the U.S. Senate race, Esser plans to vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the same reasons. Two years ago, Esser was unsure whether he would vote to re-elect Reid.

And here’s another thing that the pundits don’t see, but I do. I see Dina Titus out in the community all the time, whether it’s at festive events like the Boulder City Damboree Parade

Or at a BBQ by my house in Henderson with our local LGBTQ community

Or at all the “Congress on the Corner” open house days with constituents and other events throughout the community where she just takes time to listen to us and whatever concerns we have to share with her. Honestly, I really can’t think of any representative I’ve had to deal with before who was more available and more accessible than Dina is. If I had to grade Dina on constituent service, she’d easily get an A+!

(And for the record, I still haven’t seen Heck anywhere around here…)

And finally, there’s a little something I consider to be Nevada Democrats‘ “secret weapon” in winning this election. No, I’m not really about EMILY’s List or President Obama coming to town, though both will certainly be helpful in keeping NV-03 and the entire state blue. No, I’m talking about something that I saw being built up in 2008, and is now operating in full force.

The state party has been very wise in investing in a strong party structure and strong field operation designed to turn out votes for Reid, and for Titus here in NV-03. Whenever I stop by my local office in Henderson, I always see volunteers on the phones and field organizers at work planning walks and other events. Even while we may be freaking out over poll numbers and White House rumors and lobbyist chatter online, they’re laying the essential groundwork for any kind of Democratic win here in November. And most importantly, the base is busy at work here.

Now don’t get me wrong, we can’t take anything for granted here. Times are turbulent, people are restless, and there’s still so much more to do to get our state and our country back on track.

However, I feel a sense of zen calm when I think about what might happen in November. I listen to what my neighbors have to say at our “poolside chats”. (Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have two lovely pools in my suburban gated community in Henderson.) I always let them start the discussion, and they tell me about how Sharron Angle scares them or how Dina Titus had a card table outside the grocery store or how Harry Reid brought home more funds for UNLV. As long as they, and all the other sane folks here vote, we’ll win. 😉

(NV-Sen) Sharron Angle’s Downfall: REPUBLICANS

(Originally from Nevada Progressive)

Not that long ago, the Nevada Republican Party truly was a “big tent”, one that could fit the more traditional “libertarian conservatives” that once dominated, pragmatic conservatives, moderates, and others. But these days, it seems to be dominated by “Tea Party, Inc.” and the radical religious right. And no one better demonstrates this better than Sharron Angle and her ascendancy in the Nevada GOP.

Perhaps this is why we’re seeing more and more “Republicans for Reid” speaking out?

Former Clark County (Las Vegas Metro) Sheriff Bill Young spoke about how Harry Reid has delivered in keeping Nevada safe.

And Former Nevada First Lady Dawn Gibbons spoke about Reid’s commitment to education, reminded us of all her work on education reform, and made sure we didn’t forget about Sharrontology’s desire to starve it to death.

Republican former First Lady Dawn Gibbons said today that she supports Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because of his diligence and hard work, not because she wants to spite her Republican ex-husband, Gov. Jim Gibbons, who she said cheated on her and who has been a frequent Reid critic.

“I’ve known Harry Reid for a long time,” Dawn Gibbons said today during an endorsement event at UNLV. “He’s a strong advocate and a strong voice — someone we need in these trying times.”

Gibbons also noted that Reid is a good husband to his wife Landra and calls his kids daily. […]

Taking a page right out of Reid’s playbook, Gibbons criticized Reid’s Republican opponent Sharron Angle, accusing her of having an “extreme and dangerous” policy on education.

During the 15-minute event, Gibbons said the words “extreme and dangerous” four times. Students who have benefited from government grants and scholarships and spoke with Gibbons to lend their support to Reid repeated the phrase another four times.

Interesting enough, John L. Smith wrote in his column this morning about what may be a larger trend of prominent Republicans coming out to endorse Reid. Why? Well, they’ve been here in Nevada for quite some time, they understand the strong relationship Harry Reid has with our state. Plus, they’ve also seen with their own eyes Sharron Angle, her dangerous extremism, and how detrimental a “Senator Angle” would really be to our state.

No wonder why more and more Republicans, whether they be traditional “paleo-conservatives”, pragmatic business folks, or middle-of-the-road moderates, are speaking out and speaking up for Reid.

Remember that this used to be the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Dwight Eisenhower, the party of Barry Goldwater, and the party of Former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn. This used to be a big tent for civil rights advocates, environmentalists, libertarians, old-school conservatives, rural interests, urban interests, and more. But now? Now it’s this?

Perhaps it’s the reverse of what Ronald Reagan used to say. These people haven’t left the Republican Party. The Republican Party has left them by veering so extremely to the right and nominating people like Sharron Angle who care more about getting praise from outside interests than doing what’s right for Nevada.

Sure, there have been many times when progressive Democrats were irritated by Reid. He’s certainly no progressive icon, and there have been many times I’ve taken Reid to the woodshed for not being more progressive.

But you know what? At the end of the day, Reid is not in the Senate to be some progressive icon. He’s there to serve ALL OF US in Nevada. Perhaps that’s why all of these Republicans can join Democrats, even “dirty fucking hippie” progressives like moi, in supporting Harry Reid. That’s something Sharrontology doesn’t get, and I guess that’s why she can’t win here.

Outlook for the California State Legislature in 2010 – May 2010 Edition

While the range of competitive House districts has narrowed considerably, I am still including all 8 Obama-Republican districts to watch their trends. I also added state legislative seats that are open this year in which the incumbent is not term-limited.

Cross-posted at Calitics and Democracy for California.

District Incumbent DEM GOP Margin 2008 Result
Dan Lungren
Elton Gallegly
Buck McKeon
David Dreier
Ken Calvert
Mary Bono Mack
John Campbell
Brian Bilbray

Competitive and/or open state legislature districts are over the flip…

Our current numbers in the Senate are 25 Democrats/14 Republicans/1 Vacant, with winning 2 GOP-held seats necessary for 2/3; and in the Assembly 49 Democrats/29 Republicans/1 Independent (who is term-limited)/1 Vacant (Dem seat which will be filled before Election Day), with winning 3 GOP-held seats necessary for 2/3. Incumbents running for reelection are italicized.


Republicans (6)

District Incumbent DEM GOP Margin 2008 Result
Sam Aanestad
Jeff Denham
Dave Cogdill
Roy Ashburn
Dennis Hollingsworth

Democrats (6)

District Incumbent DEM GOP Margin 2008 Result
Pat Wiggins
Dean Florez
Gilbert Cedillo
Gloria Romero
Lou Correa
Denise Ducheny


Republicans (19)

District Incumbent DEM GOP Margin 2008 Result
Dan Logue
Roger Niello
Tom Berryhill
Bill Berryhill
Danny Gilmore
Jean Fuller
Sam Blakeslee
Steve Knight
Audra Strickland
Cameron Smyth
Anthony Adams
Bill Emmerson
Brian Nestande
Paul Cook
Van Tran
Chuck DeVore
Martin Garrick
Nathan Fletcher
Joel Anderson

Democrats (19)

District Incumbent DEM GOP Margin 2008 Result
Noreen Evans
Dave Jones
Alyson Huber
Tom Torlakson
Joan Buchanan
Alberto Torrico
Ira Ruskin
Joe Coto
Anna Caballero
Juan Arambula
Pedro Nava
Kevin de León
Karen Bass
Hector De La Torre
Ed Hernandez
Lori Saldaña
Martin Block
Mary Salas
Manuel Perez