California: Comparing My Predictions with the Actual Results

I was originally typing this as a comment in the open thread, but saw it grow and grow to the point that I decided to write a diary comparing my predictions to the actual results. Overall, my predictions statewide were pretty much spot-on. I may have been off by a few percentage points in the statewide races, but not too shabby. The district races and ballot measures, on the other hand, some were way off due to lack of polling and information. Without further Apu, here goes.

Governor – Likely to Strong Brown; Brown by 14.33% in my number predictions – (Brown by 11.9%) – pretty close though a little less than I was hoping for with the way voters were pissed at Whitman running ads nonstop

Lt. Gov. – Lean Newsom – (Newsom by 10.4%) – looks like I underestimated Newsom, especially with a rare moderate and Hispanic Republican who was also the quasi-incumbent. Being associated with “16%” Arnold likely turned out to be the drag I predicted

Attorney General – Toss-Up – (Still not yet called with Cooley leading by 0.3%) – right on the mark here, regardless of whether it ends up being Harris (please!) or Cooley; I’m a nervous wreck watching this one seesaw back and forth!

Secretary of State – Solid Bowen – (Bowen by 15.8%) – little less than predicted but still good

Treasurer – Solid Lockyer – (Lockyer by 19.7%) – almost on the mark

Controller – Strong to Solid Chiang – (Chiang by 18.1%) – almost on the mark here too

Insurance Commissioner – Likely to Strong Jones – (Jones by 12.6%) – another one that was reasonably on target

School Superintendent – Toss-Up – (Torlakson by 9.4%) – didn’t have much information so I just threw a prediction out there

The ballot measures I was mostly WAY off; they were mostly shots in the dark due to a dearth of information about how they were faring, because 19, 23, and 25 stole the show. Maybe from now on I’ll just give my recommendations.

Prop 19 – Lean Yes – (No by 8%)

Prop 20 – Toss-up/lean No – (Yes by 22.8%)

Prop 21 – Toss-up – (No by 16.8%)

Prop 22 – Toss-up/lean No – (Yes by 22%)

Prop 23 – Likely No – (No by 22.4%) – wow, this of all ballot measures was where I was actually close!

Prop 24 – Toss-up – (No by 17.2%)

Prop 25 – Likely Yes – (Yes by 9.4%) – then again, with this, 19, and 23 gobbling up all the airtime, it should have been easier to predict these than the other 6

Prop 26 – Toss-up – (Yes by 4.6%) – not too shabby for a ballot measure that received little attention

Prop 27 – Toss-up – (No by 19.2%)

U.S. Senate – Lean Boxer; Boxer by 6.67% – (Boxer by 9.4%) – I knew all along that Boxer would put up a helluva fight and win similar to 1998.

CA-03 – Toss-Up/Tilt Lungren; Lungren by 3.75% – (Lungren by 7.9%) – a little off, but I knew it was still a fight, and putting resources into this race may have helped us downticket in AD-05

CA-11 – Lean McNerney; McNerney by 2.75% – (McNerney by 0.3%; by 421 votes with thousands more still to be counted) – closer than predicted

CA-18 – Likely Cardoza; Cardoza by 10.75% – (Cardoza by 15%) – better than predicted

CA-20 – Lean Costa; Costa by 2.75% – (Vidak by 0.2% pending absentee ballot counts)

CA-44 – Lean to Likely Calvert; Calvert by 13.17% – (Calvert by 11%) – another bull’s-eye; a shame we didn’t invest more here after 2008

CA-45 – Likely Bono Mack; Bono Mack by 15% – (Bono Mack by 10.1%) – a little less than predicted but hey, I’m not complaining!

CA-47 – Lean Sanchez; Sanchez by 8.25% – (Sanchez by 8.7%) – pretty close to the mark here

SD-12 – Toss-up/tilt Caballero – (Cannella (R) by 6%) – have to look into this one a bit more deeply

SD-34 – Likely Correa – (Correa (D) by 27%) – guess I took his near-loss in 2006 a bit too seriously

AD-05 – Toss-up – (Pan (D) by 2.8%) – one of those toss-ups that is great to see…one that breaks our way!

AD-10 – Toss-up/tilt Huber – (Huber (D) by 7.8%) – similar to Correa

AD-15 – Tilt/lean Buchanan – (Buchanan (D) by 5%) – another bull’s-eye

AD-30 – Lean Valadao – (Valadao (R) by 24.6%) – way off here. I guess from now on, anybody but a Florez or a Parra! Not sure if Dean Florez plans on running for CA-20 if Vidak does win or when Costa retires (if he does hold on this year).

AD-33 – Lean Achadjian – (Achadjian (R) by 21.2%) – looks like I was right in saying we have a long way to go in the southern Central Coast outside Santa Barbara.

AD-36 – Lean to Likely Knight – (Knight (R) by 15.8%) – should have gone with police officer Watkins in the primary

AD-68 – Lean Mansoor – (Mansoor (R) by 11.8%) – Nguyen was a great candidate, but we still have a lot of work to do to win in OC outside Santa Ana/Anaheim.

AD-70 – Lean to Likely Wagner – (Wagner (R) by 20.9%) – I thought a close race in this district with Fox’s stronger-than-average campaign and Wagner’s presence (or lack thereof) seemed too good to be true. While Obama won this Newport Beach-centric district, we still have work to do to build up the D bench here.

And finally, some races that were not on my radar screen but from what I had heard may have been in trouble should have been paid more attention:

AD-35 – (Williams (D) by 8%) – This is a very Democratic area; what happened? Was turnout here very low too? The Dem numbers in Santa Barbara seem much smaller than usual; usually SB is about on par with California as a whole. A California political neophyte who only saw these election results would think Santa Barbara was a swing county, rather than being a bellwether for how the state goes.

AD-53/54 – (Butler (D) by 7%/Lowenthal (D) by 13%) – Was turnout in the normally Democratic South Bay L.A., despite fellow South Bayers Bowen and Chiang winning in landslides at the top of the ticket, depressed too?

My Predictions for 2010

At long last, I have finished making predictions, this time mixing my “gut feeling” predictions from earlier with the formula prediction methods I had used since 2006. I found the dearth of House polls very annoying, so many of my House predictions could be way off. We shall see in 12 or so hours.


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Alabama: Bentley by 15.33%

Alaska: Parnell by 15.67%

Arizona: Brewer by 15%

Arkansas: Beebe by 25.67%

California: Brown by 14.33%

Colorado: Hickenlooper by 3.67%

Connecticut: Malloy by 5.67%

Florida: Sink by 1.67%

Georgia: Deal by 7.67%

Hawaii: Abercrombie by 5%

Idaho: Otter by 22%

Illinois: Brady by 4.67%

Iowa: Branstad by 10.5%

Kansas: Brownback by 27%

Maine: LePage by 11.33%

Maryland: O’Malley by 12.67%

Massachusetts: Patrick by 2.67%

Michigan: Snyder by 16.67%

Minnesota: Dayton by 1.33%

Nebraska: Heineman by 42%

Nevada: Sandoval by 15.67%

New Hampshire: Lynch by 8.33%

New Mexico: Martinez by 8.33%

New York: Cuomo by 22%

Ohio: Strickland by 1%

Oklahoma: Fallin by 18.5%

Oregon: Kitzhaber by 1.67%

Pennsylvania: Corbett by 9%

Rhode Island: Chafee by 8%

South Carolina: Haley by 8.33%

South Dakota: Daugaard by 13.67%

Tennessee: Haslam by 28%

Texas: Perry by 1%

Utah: Herbert by 25.33%

Vermont: Shumlin by 2%

Wisconsin: Walker by 8.67%

Wyoming: Mead by 36%

OVERALL: Republicans gain a net of 5 for the majority of governorships, 27-22-1


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Alabama: Shelby by 28%

Alaska: McAdams by 0.67% (Miller in 2nd; Murkowski in 3rd)

Arizona: McCain by 23%

Arkansas: Boozman by 19.67%

California: Boxer by 6.67%

Colorado: Buck by 1%

Connecticut: Blumenthal by 8%

Delaware: Coons by 14%

Florida: Rubio by 16%

Georgia: Isakson by 25.67%

Hawaii: Inouye by 24.5%

Idaho: Crapo by 44%

Illinois: Kirk by 4.33%

Indiana: Coats by 10.33%

Iowa: Grassley by 31%

Kansas: Moran by 40%

Kentucky: Paul by 3.18%

Louisiana: Vitter by 5.87%

Maryland: Mikulski by 26.67%

Missouri: Robin Carnahan by 0.67%

Nevada: Reid by 0.67%

New Hampshire: Ayotte by 15%

New York A: Schumer by 28.67%

New York B: Gillibrand by 18.33%

North Carolina: Burr by 12.33%

North Dakota: Hoeven by 47%

Ohio: Portman by 9.83%

Oklahoma: Coburn by 40%

Oregon: Wyden by 15.33%

Pennsylvania: Toomey by 4.67%

South Carolina: DeMint by 42% (The Green candidate may get more votes than the Greene candidate.)

South Dakota: Thune by 70-90%

Utah: Lee by 25.33%

Vermont: Leahy by 35%

Washington: Murray by 1.88%

West Virginia: Manchin by 1.33%

Wisconsin: Johnson by 7.67%

OVERALL: Republicans gain a net of 5, but Democrats retain control 54-46


Light Blue = D+1; Light Red = R+1; Red = R+2; Medium-Dark Red = R+3; Dark Red = R+4; Very Dark Red = R+5

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AL-02: Bright by 3.75%

AZ-01: Gosar by 4% (R pickup)

AZ-03: Hulburd by 1.17% (D pickup)

AZ-05: Schweikert by 0.67% (R pickup)

AZ-07: Grijalva by 4.08%

AZ-08: Giffords by 6.12%

AR-01: Crawford by 5.56% (R pickup)

AR-02: Griffin by 11% (R pickup)

CA-03: Lungren by 3.75%

CA-11: McNerney by 2.75%

CA-18: Cardoza by 10.75%

CA-20: Costa by 2.87%

CA-44: Calvert by 13.17%

CA-45: Bono Mack by 15%

CA-47: Sanchez by 8.25%

CO-03: Salazar by 1.25%

CO-04: Gardner by 3.58% (R pickup)

CT-04: Himes by 2.42%

CT-05: Murphy by 4.17%

DE-AL: Carney by 9.83% (D pickup)

FL-02: Southerland by 9.25% (R pickup)

FL-08: Webster by 3.25% (R pickup)

FL-22: Klein by 0.94%

FL-24: Adams by 6.25% (R pickup)

FL-25: Rivera by 3%

GA-02: Bishop by 2.67%

GA-08: Scott by 12.5% (R pickup)

HI-01: Hanabusa by 2.17% (D pickup)

ID-01: Minnick by 2.42%

IL-10: Seals by 7.6% (D pickup)

IL-11: Kinzinger by 5.13% (R pickup)

IL-14: Hultgren by 0.31% (R pickup)

IL-17: Schilling by 2.63% (R pickup)

IN-02: Donnelly by 4.38%

IN-08: Buschon by 8.75% (R pickup)

IN-09: Hill by 0.52%

IA-01: Braley by 10%

IA-02: Loebsack by 8.75%

IA-03: Boswell by 8.07%

KS-03: Yoder by 10% (R pickup)

KY-03: Yarmuth by 10.5%

KY-06: Chandler by 3.69%

LA-02: Richmond by 11.83% (D pickup)

LA-03: Landry by 12.25% (R pickup)

ME-01: Pingree by 12.42%

MD-01: Harris by 4.92% (R pickup)

MA-10: Keating by 2.63%

MI-01: Benishek by 2.71% (R pickup)

MI-07: Schauer by 0.44%

MI-09: Peters by 3.88%

MN-01: Walz by 10.42%

MN-08: Oberstar by 4.88%

MS-01: Childers by 0.88%

MS-04: Taylor by 2.69%

MO-03: Russ Carnahan by 5.63%

NV-03: Titus by 0.33%

NH-01: Guinta by 10.25% (R pickup)

NH-02: Bass by 0.08% (R pickup)

NJ-03: Runyan by 1.13% (R pickup)

NM-01: Barela by 0.63% (R pickup)

NM-02: Pearce by 4.83% (R pickup)

NY-01: Bishop by 7.56%

NY-13: McMahon by 7.5%

NY-19: Hayworth by 1.02% (R pickup)

NY-20: Gibson by 3.46% (R pickup)

NY-23: Owens by 0.88%

NY-24: Arcuri by 3.31%

NY-25: Maffei by 6.58%

NY-29: Zeller by 12.5% (R pickup)

NC-02: Etheridge by 2.5%

NC-07: McIntyre by 3.75%

NC-08: Kissell by 2.38%

NC-11: Shuler by 11.88%

ND-AL: Berg by 4.97% (R pickup)

OH-01: Chabot by 6.25% (R pickup)

OH-06: Wilson by 2.06%

OH-13: Sutton by 10%

OH-15: Stivers by 6.25% (R pickup)

OH-16: Renacci by 0.63% (R pickup)

OH-18: Gibbs by 1.88% (R pickup)

OR-05: Schrader by 2.75%

PA-03: Kelly by 6.25% (R pickup)

PA-04: Altmire by 12.58%

PA-07: Meehan by 3.83% (R pickup)

PA-08: Fitzpatrick by 4.53% (R pickup)

PA-10: Marino by 4.57% (R pickup)

PA-11: Barletta by 2.13% (R pickup)

PA-12: Critz by 5.38%

PA-15: Dent by 11.63%

RI-01: Cicilline by 4.94%

SC-05: Mulvaney by 4.75% (R pickup)

SD-AL: Noem by 0.31% (R pickup)

TN-04: DesJarlais by 1% (R pickup)

TN-06: Black by 12.5% (R pickup)

TN-08: Fincher by 9.5% (R pickup)

TX-17: Edwards by 1.72%

TX-23: Rodriguez by 2.15%

TX-27: Ortiz by 2.88%

VA-02: Rigell by 3.04% (R pickup)

VA-05: Hurt by 5.28% (R pickup)

VA-09: Boucher by 4.5%

WA-02: Larsen by 5.75%

WA-03: Herrera by 3.56% (R pickup)

WA-08: Reichert by 5.38%

WV-01: McKinley by 2.25% (R pickup)

WI-03: Kind by 8.75%

WI-07: Duffy by 7.21% (R pickup)

WI-08: Ribble by 5.46% (R pickup)

OVERALL: Republicans gain a net of 42 for control 220-215

California Race Chart 2010 (Part 3 of 3: State Legislature)

Here is Part 3, the last part of my analysis of this fall’s elections in California, which will cover the state legislative races.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and Democracy for California.

STATE SENATE (District size: ~846,791) (Composition: 25 Democrats, 15 Republicans)

Districts to watch:

SD-12 (Part of Central Valley and inland Central Coast): Ceres Mayor Anthony Cannella (R) vs. St. Asm. Anna Caballero (D) – vacated by Jeff Denham (R)

Registration: 50.2% DEM, 31.1% GOP, 14.9% DTS, 3.8% Other

Profile: In spite of the hefty registration advantage, Denham managed to win twice in this district because many Democrats here are more conservative than most California Democrats. Nonetheless, this is still the best (and only) opportunity for a Democratic pickup in the State Senate for the first time in a decade. Caballero also got more votes than Cannella in the primary (neither had primary challengers), even though Republican turnout was higher due to competitive statewide office primaries on that side and few on the Democratic side. If Caballero could get more votes even in spite of lower Democratic turnout (though I’m not sure what the numbers in the 12th were), then she probably will be able to do so again in the general, with higher Democratic turnout.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/tilt Caballero (Dem pickup)

SD-34 (Central Orange County): Lou Correa (D) vs. Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R)

Registration: 44.5% DEM, 32.4% GOP, 19.3% DTS, 3.8% Other

Profile: This was a close call in 2006, with Correa hanging on by just about a thousand or so votes. The registration gap was also much smaller, with Democrats having only a 39%-37% edge, and for those that may remember, turnout in 2006 was depressed due to bitterness in the governor’s race. Now, though, with a 12-point Dem registration advantage and turnout likely to improve over 2006, Correa’s prospects for a second term look brighter.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Likely Correa


SD-01 (Sierras): Special election to replace the deceased Dave Cox (R)

SD-02 (North Coast): Noreen Evans (D) – vacated by Pat Wiggins (D)

SD-04 (Sacramento Valley and Del Norte County): Doug LaMalfa (R) – vacated by Sam Aanestad (R)

SD-06 (Sacramento): Darrell Steinberg (D)

SD-08 (San Mateo, western part of San Francisco): Leland Yee (D)

SD-10 (Southern Alameda County, northern Santa Clara County): Ellen Corbett (D)

SD-14 (San Joaquin, Yosemite, eastern Fresno): Tom Berryhill (R) – vacated by Dave Cogdill (R)

SD-16 (Central Valley including parts of Fresno and Bakersfield): Michael Rubio (D) – vacated by Dean Florez (D)

SD-18 (Bakersfield, Tulare, Big Empty): Jean Fuller (R) – vacated by Roy Ashburn (R)

SD-20 (San Fernando): Alex Padilla (D)

SD-22 (South Pasadena, part of L.A.): Kevin de León (D) – vacated by Gil Cedillo (D)

SD-24 (Covina, Baldwin Park, part of L.A.): Ed Hernandez (D) – vacated by Gloria Romero (D)

SD-26 (Culver City): Curren Price (D)

SD-28 (Beach Cities): Vacant (Jenny Oropeza (D) died October 20, 2010. If she “wins”, a special will be held)

SD-30 (Eastern L.A. suburbs): Ron Calderon (D)

SD-32 (Pomona, San Bernardino): Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D)

SD-36 (Eastern San Diego County): Joel Anderson (R) – vacated by Dennis Hollingsworth (R)

SD-38 (San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Carlsbad): Mark Wyland (R)

SD-40 (Imperial County, southeastern Riverside and San Diego Counties): Juan Vargas (D) – vacated by Denise Ducheny (D)

STATE ASSEMBLY (District size: ~423,388) (Composition: 50 Democrats, 29 Republicans, 1 Independent)

Districts to watch:

AD-05 (Northern Sacramento suburbs): Businessman Andy Pugno (R) vs. Dr. Richard Pan (D), Elizabeth Martin (PF) – vacated by Roger Niello (R)

Registration: 40.1% GOP, 37.7% DEM, 17.9% DTS, 4.3% Other

Profile: In this evenly-divided district just outside Sacramento, we have a very formidable candidate in Pan against Prop. 8 author Pugno. This district overlaps the 3rd congressional district and will likely see a lot of activity.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

AD-10 (Eastern Sacramento suburbs): Alyson Huber (D) vs. businessman Jack Sieglock (R), Janice Bonser (L), Albert Troyer (PF)

Registration: 40.9% DEM, 39.1% GOP, 16.1% DTS, 4.0% Other

Profile: In another evenly-divided Sacto-area seat that also happens to partly overlap CA-03, we have another exciting race, where in 2008 Huber won by under 500 votes and was declared the winner after her opponent went to the capital for orientation. He is back for a second round, and while Huber doesn’t have coattails working in her favor, she does have incumbency (no incumbent in the state legislature has lost reelection in a decade) and a Democratic trend in registration on her side.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up/tilt Huber

AD-15 (Inner East Bay): Joan Buchanan (D) vs. San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson (R)

Registration: 41.5% DEM, 35.3% GOP, 19.3% DTS, 3.9% Other

Profile: This district includes parts of San Joaquin County and conservative parts of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, much of which overlaps the hotly-contested CA-11 race. Buchanan ran in the CA-10 special election last year, so that may be a liability for her, but she is still favored to win because of an increasing Dem advantage in registration, incumbency, and the fact that rematches rarely succeed for the challenger.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Tilt/Lean Buchanan

AD-30 (Southern San Joaquin Valley): Farmer David Valadao (R) vs. businesswoman Fran Florez (D) – vacated by Danny Gilmore (R)

Registration: 45.7% DEM, 36.1% GOP, 14.3% DTS, 3.9% Other

Profile: This was the only legislative gain for the GOP in 2008 because the outgoing Democrat Nicole Parra endorsed Gilmore. This time Gilmore is not running, while Florez is again, having defeated Nicole Parra’s father Pete in the primary. Parra endorsed Valadao, plus a poll has shown him with a double-digit lead, so I’ll leave it as a retention for Team Red.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Lean Valadao

AD-33 (Part of southern Central Coast): SLO County Sup. Katcho Achadjian (R) vs. Santa Maria Mayor Pro Tem Hilda Zacarias and Paul Polson (L) – Vacant; Sam Blakeslee (R) was elected to the State Senate

Registration: 40.6% GOP, 35.4% DEM, 18.4% DTS, 5.6% Other

Profile: In this open seat on the Central Coast, we have another formidable Democratic challenger. The registration gap does make things a little challenging for us here, but from what I heard Hilda has had a strong ground campaign.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Lean Achadjian

AD-36 (Lancaster, Palmdale): Steve Knight (R) vs. school board member Linda Jones (D)

Registration: 39.1% GOP, 38.6% DEM, 17.0% DTS, 5.2% Other

Profile: This race was closer than expected in 2008 due to presidential coattails and many minorities moving into the Antelope Valley area. This time around, though, the lack of coattails and incumbency will make this race less competitive than last time.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Knight

AD-68 (Garden Grove, Costa Mesa): (D) – Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor (R) vs. entrepreneur Phu Nguyen – vacated by Van Tran (R)

Registration: 41.0% GOP, 32.4% DEM, 22.0% DTS, 4.6% Other

Profile: Here is another strong candidate we have in Nguyen, who has the backing of public safety unions (even though Mansoor is a former deputy) and has led in campaign spending and cash-on-hand. While this is a very traditionally Republican area that has long been a tough nut for Democrats to crack, look for this to be the closest a Democrat has come to winning in this area in a long time if Nguyen can rally the Vietnamese and Hispanic communities in the district.

10/27/2010 Outlook: Lean Mansoor

AD-70 (Irvine, Laguna Beach): CC Trustee Don Wagner (R) vs. attorney Melissa Fox (D) and Deborah Tharp (L) – vacated by Chuck DeVore (R)

Registration: 43.0% GOP, 29.8% DEM, 23.2% DTS, 4.0% Other

Profile: In another OC district, Democrat Fox is mounting a strong, serious challenge, and Democrats are becoming more competitive here because of the bluing of Irvine (going from Bush by 8 in 2000 to Bush by 5 in 2004 to Obama by 16 in 2008).

10/27/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Wagner


AD-01 (North Coast): Wesley Chesbro (D)

AD-02 (Sacramento Valley): Jim Nielsen (R)

AD-03 (Northeast): Dan Logue (R)

AD-04 (Tahoe): Ted Gaines (R)

AD-06 (North Bay): Jared Huffman (D)

AD-07 (Napa Valley): Michael Allen (D) – vacated by Noreen Evans (D)

AD-08 (Sacramento River Delta): Mariko Yamada (D)

AD-09 (Sacramento): Roger Dickinson (D) – vacated by Dave Jones (D)

AD-11 (Northern Contra Costa County): Susan Bonilla (D) – vacated by Tom Torlakson (D)

AD-12 (Western San Francisco): Fiona Ma (D)

AD-13 (Eastern San Francisco): Tom Ammiano (D)

AD-14 (Berkeley, Richmond): Nancy Skinner (D)

AD-16 (Oakland): Sandré Swanson (D)

AD-17 (Stockton, Merced): Cathleen Galgiani (D)

AD-18 (Eastern Oakland suburbs): Mary Hayashi (D)

AD-19 (Most of San Mateo County): Jerry Hill (D)

AD-20 (Southern East Bay): Bob Wieckowski (D) – vacated by Alberto Torrico (D)

AD-21 (Silicon Valley): Rich Gordon (D) – vacated by Ira Ruskin (D)

AD-22 (Western San Jose): Paul Fong (D)

AD-23 (Downtown San Jose): Nora Campos (D) – vacated by Joe Coto (D)

AD-24 (Southern San Jose): Jim Beall (D)

AD-25 (Mother Lode, Yosemite): Kristin Olsen (R) (unopposed) – vacated by Tom Berryhill (R)

AD-26 (Stockton, Modesto): Bill Berryhill (R)

AD-27 (Northern Central Coast): Bill Monning (D)

AD-28 (Inner Central Coast region): Luis Alejo (D) – vacated by Anna Caballero (D)

AD-29 (Eastern Fresno): Linda Halderman (R) – vacated by Michael Villines (R)

AD-31 (Western Fresno): Henry Perea (D) – vacated by Juan Arambula (I)

AD-32 (Bakersfield): Shannon Grove (R) – vacated by Jean Fuller (R)

AD-34 (Big Empty): Connie Conway (R)

AD-35 (Santa Barbara, Oxnard): Das Williams (D) – vacated by Pedro Nava (D)

AD-37 (Most of Ventura, small part of L.A.): Jeff Gorell (R) – vacated by Audra Strickland (R)

AD-38 (Santa Clarita): Cameron Smyth (R)

AD-39 (San Fernando): Felipe Fuentes (D)

AD-40 (San Fernando Valley, including Van Nuys): Bob Blumenfield (D)

AD-41 (Oxnard, Malibu, Santa Monica): Julia Brownley (D)

AD-42 (Beverly Hills, West Hollywood): Mike Feuer (D)

AD-43 (Burbank, Glendale): Mike Gatto (D)

AD-44 (Pasadena): Anthony Portantino (D)

AD-45 (East L.A.): Gil Cedillo (D) – vacated by Kevin de León (D)

AD-46 (East L.A., Huntington Park): John Pérez (D)

AD-47 (Culver City): Holly Mitchell (D) – vacated by Karen Bass (D)

AD-48 (Part of South Central L.A.): Mike Davis (D)

AD-49 (Inner Northeastern suburbs of L.A.): Mike Eng (D)

AD-50 (Bellflower): Ricardo Lara (D) – vacated by Hector De La Torre (D)

AD-51 (Inglewood, Hawthorne): Steven Bradford (D)

AD-52 (Compton): Isadore Hall (D)

AD-53 (Beach Cities): Betsy Butler (D) – vacated by Ted Lieu (D)

AD-54 (Palos Verdes, Long Beach, Avalon): Bonnie Lowenthal (D)

AD-55 (Carson, Long Beach): Warren Furutani (D)

AD-56 (Norwalk, Buena Park): Tony Mendoza (D)

AD-57 (Covina, Baldwin Park): Roger Hernandez (D) – vacated by Ed Hernandez (D)

AD-58 (Inner Eastern suburbs of L.A.): Charles Calderon (D)

AD-59 (Parts of L.A. and San Bernardino Counties): Tim Donnelly (R) – vacated by Anthony Adams (R)

AD-60 (Western Inland Empire): Curt Hagman (R)

AD-61 (Pomona, Ontario): Norma Torres (D)

AD-62 (San Bernardino, Fontana): Wilmer Carter (D)

AD-63 (Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands): Mike Morrell – Vacant; Bill Emmerson (R) was elected to the State Senate

AD-64 (Riverside, Palm Desert): Brian Nestande (R)

AD-65 (Yucca Valley, Big Bear): Paul Cook (R)

AD-66 (Temecula, Riverside): Kevin Jeffries (R)

AD-67 (Huntington Beach): Jim Silva (R)

AD-69 (Anaheim, Santa Ana): Jose Solorio (D)

AD-71 (Corona, part of inland Orange County): Jeff Miller (R)

AD-72 (Inland Northern Orange County): Chris Norby (R)

AD-73 (San Clemente, Oceanside): Diane Harkey (R)

AD-74 (Coastal Northern San Diego suburbs): Martin Garrick (R)

AD-75 (Inner Northern San Diego suburbs): Nathan Fletcher (R)

AD-76 (Northern San Diego City): Toni Atkins (D) – vacated by Lori Saldaña (D)

AD-77 (Most of inland San Diego County): Brian Jones (R) – vacated by Joel Anderson (R)

AD-78 (Chula Vista, Lemon Grove): Marty Block (D)

AD-79 (Southern San Diego City, Imperial Beach): Ben Hueso (D) – vacated by Mary Salas (D)

AD-80 (Imperial County, eastern Riverside County): Manuel Perez

California Race Chart 2010 (Part 2 of 3: Congressional Races)

Here is Part 2 of my analysis of this fall’s elections in California, which will cover the Congressional races. Part 3 will cover the state legislature.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and Democracy for California.

Incumbents are in boldface. In the case of open seats, the party of the retiring incumbent is listed without boldface.

D: Democratic

R: Republican

L: Libertarian

G: Green

AI: American Independent

PF: Peace and Freedom

SW: Socialist Workers

I: Independent

Senator: Barbara Boxer (D) vs. ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina (R), Duane Roberts (G), Gail Lightfoot (L), Edward Noonan (AI), Marsha Feinland (PF), James Harris (SW-W/I)

Even after Arnold decided against running, and long before “Coakley” became a verb, I expected Boxer to be in a tough fight in 2010. Fortunately, she is no slacker and knows how to run a tough campaign, hitting her opponent where it hurts (in this case, on attacking Fiorina’s praise of outsourcing and using former HP employees). She is polarizing, but fortunately the Democratic base in California is big enough for her to win even if she loses independent voters by single to low-double digits.

Outlook: Lean Boxer

U.S. HOUSE (Composition: 34 Democrats, 19 Republicans)

CA-03 (Sacramento suburbs): Dan Lungren (R) vs. Dr. Ami Bera (D), Art Tuma (L), Lerry Leidecker (AI), Mike Roskey (PF)

Registration: 40.31% GOP, 37.55% DEM, 17.72% DTS, 4.42% other

Profile: This is one of the Democrats’ best chances of picking off a GOP-held seat in the House. This suburban Sacramento seat was strongly Republican early in the decade before rapidly swinging left to become an Obama-voting district in 2008, also nearly catching Lungren off-guard. Bera has outraised Lungren every quarter this cycle, and don’t be surprised to see this as one of the closest races in a GOP-held seat.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/tilt Lungren

CA-11 (San Joaquin County and parts of East Bay): Jerry McNerney (D) vs. attorney David Harmer (R), David Christensen (AI)

Registration: 39.45% DEM, 39.00% GOP, 17.54% DTS, 4.01% Other

Profile: This was expected since the end of the last cycle to be another challenging race for McNerney, especially after Harmer won the primary. Harmer, as you may remember, made the 2009 special in the more Democratic CA-10 a 10-point race against Garamendi. Fortunately for Harmer, the 11th is much less Democratic and he now has more name recognition. Unfortunately for Harmer, the race in CA-11 will be in a general election rather than an off-year special, so turnout is guaranteed to be higher. Also, the trends in registration are more in McNerney’s favor, flipping to a Dem advantage in registration for the first time, mirroring the trend to the Dems statewide in registration.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean McNerney

CA-18 (Upper Central Valley): Dennis Cardoza (D) vs. agribusinessman Mike Berryhill (R)

CA-20 (Fresno, part of Bakersfield): Jim Costa (D) vs. farmer Andy Vidak (R)

CA-18 Registration: 49.85% DEM, 31.81% GOP, 14.32% DTS, 4.02% Other

CA-20 Registration: 51.45% DEM, 31.02% GOP, 12.64% DTS, 4.89% Other

Profile: Not on anybody’s radar screens until about a month ago, the Central Valley is now the source of two more competitive races, with water a hot issue here and the Republicans harping the issue nonstop. The 18th is less Democratic than the 20th, owing to the lack of a major urban center, having gone for Bush narrowly in 2004, but Cardoza is taking his tougher-than-expected reelection more seriously, so I expect Costa to have a slightly tougher reelection than Cardoza.

CA-18 10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Cardoza

CA-20 10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Costa

CA-44 (Riverside, Corona, San Clemente): Ken Calvert (R) vs. educator Bill Hedrick (D)

Registration: 43.11% GOP, 33.87% DEM, 18.38% DTS, 4.64% Other

Profile: One of the out-of-nowhere near-upsets of 2008, Hedrick is back for a rematch. Calvert is trying to avoid being caught asleep at the wheel again, and Hedrick is surprisingly lacking in the money department despite coming very close last time, so I don’t like his chances this time.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Calvert

CA-45 (Most of Riverside County): Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet (D), Bill Lussenheide (AI)

Registration: 41.29% GOP, 38.31% DEM, 16.17% DTS, 4.23% Other

Profile: Democrats got a top-tier recruit here in the openly gay mayor of Palm Springs. Bono Mack has taken heat for her vote against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, even though her district has the highest proportion of gays of any Republican-held district, and Lussenheide is challenging her from the right, on some of her “insufficiently conservative” votes such as cap-and-trade. I expect Pougnet to perform better than Bornstein last time, though still come up short.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Bono Mack

CA-47 (Anaheim, Santa Ana): Loretta Sanchez (D) vs. Assemblyman Van Tran (R), Ceci Iglesias (I), Gary Schank (I)

Registration: 46.90% DEM, 30.90% GOP, 18.67% DTS, 3.53% Other

Profile: Like the Central Valley Dem districts, the Orange County Dem district, which also voted for Bush like CA-18, is now a hot race after being off most radar screens until about a month ago. Sanchez didn’t help herself by the gaffe “The Vietnamese are after my seat”, which I thought was really boneheaded, considering all that she had done for them in the past. I still expect Sanchez to win, though by less than against Tan Nguyen from 2006.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Sanchez

CA-48 (Central Orange County, including Irvine): John Campbell (R) vs. Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom (D), Mike Binkley (L)

Registration: 44.41% GOP, 28.99% DEM, 22.45% DTS, 4.15% Other

Profile: Once expected to be a top-tier race, this district fell off the radar screen as the touted former mayor of Irvine Beth Krom has lagged on the money front.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Campbell


CA-01 (North Coast): Mike Thompson (D)

CA-02 (Northern Sacramento Valley): Wally Herger (R)

CA-04 (Northeast, including Tahoe): Tom McClintock (R)

CA-05 (Sacramento): Doris Matsui (D)

CA-06 (Northern SF Bay): Lynn Woolsey (D)

CA-07 (Northeast SF Bay): George Miller (D)

CA-08 (San Francisco): Nancy Pelosi (D)

CA-09 (Berkeley, Oakland): Barbara Lee (D)

CA-10 (Inner East SF Bay): John Garamendi (D)

CA-12 (Lower SF Peninsula): Jackie Speier (D)

CA-13 (Southern East Bay): Pete Stark (D)

CA-14 (Silicon Valley): Anna Eshoo (D)

CA-15 (Santa Clara, Cupertino): Mike Honda (D)

CA-16 (San Jose): Zoe Lofgren (D)

CA-17 (Northern Central Coast): Sam Farr (D)

CA-19 (Yosemite, part of Fresno): Jeff Denham (R) – vacated by George Radanovich (R)

CA-21 (Tulare): Devin Nunes (R)

CA-22 (Bakersfield): Kevin McCarthy (R)

CA-23 (Southern Central Coast): Lois Capps (D)

CA-24 (Inner Santa Barbara/Ventura): Elton Gallegly (R)

CA-25 (Palmdale, Big Empty): Buck McKeon (R)

CA-26 (Northeastern L.A. suburbs): David Dreier (R)

CA-27 (Western San Fernando Valley): Brad Sherman (D)

CA-28 (Eastern San Fernando Valley): Howard Berman (D)

CA-29 (Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena): Adam Schiff (D)

CA-30 (Malibu, Beverly Hills): Henry Waxman (D)

CA-31 (Hollywood): Xavier Becerra (D)

CA-32 (Covina, Baldwin Park): Judy Chu (D)

CA-33 (Culver City): Karen Bass (D) – vacated by Diane Watson (D)

CA-34 (Downtown L.A.): Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)

CA-35 (South Central): Maxine Waters (D)

CA-36 (Beach Cities): Jane Harman (D)

CA-37 (South Central, Long Beach): Laura Richardson (D)

CA-38 (Southeastern L.A. suburbs): Grace Napolitano (D)

CA-39 (Southeastern L.A. County): Linda Sánchez (D)

CA-40 (Northern Orange County): Ed Royce (R)

CA-41 (Most of San Bernardino County): Jerry Lewis (R)

CA-42 (Chino, Brea): Gary Miller (R)

CA-43 (Ontario, San Bernardino): Joe Baca (D)

CA-46 (Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Palos Verdes): Dana Rohrabacher (R)

CA-49 (Temecula, Oceanside): Darrell Issa (R)

CA-50 (Northern San Diego suburbs): Brian Bilbray (R)

CA-51 (Imperial County, southern SD suburbs): Bob Filner (D)

CA-52 (Eastern San Diego suburbs): Duncan D. Hunter (R)

CA-53 (San Diego): Susan Davis (D)

California Race Chart 2010 (Part 1 of 3: Statewide Races)

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and Democracy for California.

Here I will cover the eight constitutional offices, three State Supreme Court justice confirmations, and nine ballot measures. In the second diary, I will cover the U.S. Senate race and the House races, and in the third the state legislature. I will also combine my regular registration updates within the diaries.

Speaking of registration updates, as you will see in the layout of the statewide registration numbers, Democrats are more pumped up here, adding almost half a million voters to their rolls since 2008. The Republicans in comparison added just 13,000 in the same amount of time. So if you are looking for a lethargic Democratic base, look elsewhere because you won’t find it here!

More info can be found at the 2010 Race Tracker.

Here is the most recent registration data:…

Here is the list of candidates that will appear on the ballot:…

Statewide Layout

Democrats: 7,531,986 (44.32%)

Republicans: 5,257,669 (30.94%)

Decline to State: 3,427,395 (20.17%)

Others: 776,025 (4.56%)

Key: I will list the incumbent first, in boldface (in the case of open seats, the incumbent party first without boldface), and all minor parties after the two major parties.

D: Democratic

R: Republican

L: Libertarian

G: Green

AI: American Independent

PF: Peace and Freedom

NP: Nonpartisan

SW: Socialist Workers

Race Ratings

Toss-up: Margin by less than 5%

Lean: Margin by 5-10%

Likely: Margin by 10-15%

Strong: Margin by 15-20%

Solid: Margin by more than 20%

Governor: Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) vs. Attorney General Jerry Brown (D), Laura Wells (G), Dale Ogden (L), Chelene Nightingale (AI), Carlos Alvarez (PF), and Lea Sherman (SW-W/I)

Profile: Forgive me for being a broken record as I have been in past comments, but again, I see no way Whitman can win. Running as an outsider when the current governor, who also ran as an outsider, is leaving office with 20% approval ratings, is a surefire losing strategy. And pissing voters off by running ads nonstop and spending nine-figure sums of money while they’re forced to cut back is not going to help at all. Brown is leading by example, running on a shoestring budget and calling for everyone to sacrifice, meaning no sacred cows. Polls may not yet show it, but in my opinion I think Whitman is finished. In fact, I’ll be very surprised if she even manages to make it a low-teen loss.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Brown (D pickup)

Lieutenant Governor: Interim Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) vs. S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom (D), Jimi Castillo (G), Pamela Brown (L), Jim King (AI), and C.T. Weber (PF)

Profile: Here we have quasi-incumbent Abel Maldonado, appointed after John Garamendi went to Congress, running to be elected in his own right against Newsom. While Maldonado is moderate for a Republican (though that is not saying much), being closely associated with Arnold is going to be a huge liability, which I do not think he will overcome.

Outlook: Lean Newsom (D pickup)

Attorney General: S.F. DA Kamala Harris (D) vs. L.A. DA Steve Cooley (R), Peter Allen (G), Timothy Hannan (L), Dianne Beall Templin (AI), and Robert J. Evans (PF)

Profile: This is the only statewide race in California I am worried about, and where my theory (that California has just become too Democratic for even a moderate Republican to win barring unusual circumstances) will be put to the test. Cooley is not that bad for a Republican, having had the audacity to stand against popular opinion of issues such as three strikes and Jessica’s Law, though he is also against dispensaries for medical marijuana. Harris is a rising star in Democratic circles, and is a more formidable opponent than any of Cooley’s challengers in the past. The wild card is the big enchilada of L.A. County, where Harris’ name ID is low and she’d need to win by 18-20% to win statewide. I am of course pulling for Harris because I want our bench to stay nice and full for the inevitable retirements of DiFi probably in 2012, Boxer probably in 2016, and for the open governorship in 2014 or 2018; and also because she has courageously stood up to Prop 8, while Cooley pledges to defend it in court.

Outlook: Toss-Up

Secretary of State: SoS Debra Bowen (D) vs. businessman Damon Dunn (R), Ann Menasche (G), Christina Tobin (L), Merton D. Short (AI), and Marylou Cabral (PF)

Profile: Bowen is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Bowen

Treasurer: Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) vs. State Senator Mimi Walters (R), Kit Crittenden (G), Edward Teyssier (L), Robert Lauten (AI), and Debra Reiger (PF)

Profile: Lockyer is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Lockyer

Controller: Controller John Chiang (D) vs. State Senator Tony Strickland (R), Ross Frankel (G), Andy Favor (L), Lawrence Beliz (AI), and Karen Martinez (PF)

Profile: A rematch from 2006, only with Democrats more pumped up, Chiang will win by a wider margin this time around.

Outlook: Strong to Solid Chiang

Insurance Commissioner: State Assemblyman Mike Villines (R) vs. State Assemblyman Dave Jones (D), William Balderston (G), Richard Bronstein (L), Clay Pedersen (AI), and Dina Padilla (PF)

Profile: In California, when a non-damaged Democrat is up against a generic Republican, the Democrat wins. Take it to the bank.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Jones (D pickup)

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Retired Superintendent Larry Aceves (NP) vs. State Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (NP)

Profile: Torlakson voted against Race to the Top and believes parents, teachers, students, and communities alike all need to come together to improve our schools, while Aceves believes that the problem with public schools is the teachers and hedge funds and billionaires should have more control over K-12 education. This will be a close one.

Outlook: Toss-Up

State Supreme Court confirmation – Tani Cantil-Sakauye: Voters are being asked whether to confirm Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Arnold’s pick to replace Chief Justice Ron George. She is seen as uncontroversial, but likely to share Arnold’s views on corporate power.

Outlook: Lean Confirm

State Supreme Court retention – Ming Chin: Chin was in the minority that voted to uphold the state’s ban on marriage equality in 2008, and is one of the most right-wing justices on the state Supreme Court. I want to see him go, but it doesn’t look likely.

Outlook: Likely Retention

State Supreme Court retention – Carlos Moreno: Moreno was the only justice who courageously voted to overturn Prop 8 at the State Supreme Court last year, and has been a reliable vote for equality and so should be voted to be retained.

Outlook: Likely Retention

Ballot Measures: Nine measures will be on the California ballot this fall. Information can be found here:… Field has released polls on 19, 23, and 25.…

Prop. 19 (Marijuana): If passed, this proposition would legalize the possession and growing of marijuana for personal use of adults 21 years and older, and allow state and local governments to regulate and tax related commercial activities. This proposition winning may make Washington reexamine its own policy towards marijuana, since what happens in California often makes it way to the other side of the country. Polls have shown Yes leading by single digits, so I’ll call 19 a passing proposition.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Lean Pass

Prop. 20 (Redistricting Congressional Districts): This proposition would amend the state Constitution be amended to have the Citizens Redistricting Commission (prop 11 from 2008) redistrict for the U.S. House of Representatives seats. This initiative calls for each district being composed of people of the same income level and people with the same work opportunities, which to me feels like a backdoor to the old bygone Jim Crow ways. And passing this prop while giving free passes to Republican-controlled legislatures in Texas and Florida to gerrymander the hell out of those states is likely to put California at a disadvantage when competing for federal dollars. In addition, there is no way this commission can be held accountable.

My recommendation: NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/Lean Fail

Prop. 21 (Vehicle License Surcharge): Establishes an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to provide funds for maintaining the state parks and wildlife programs, and grants surcharged vehicles free admission to the state parks. Our cash-starved state parks could use the extra funds. In addition, the governor can’t take funds from this coffer when other coffers are low. The tough economy may dampen the chances of this prop passing, though.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 22 (Local Government Funds): Prohibits the state from taking funds used for local government services. It is well-intentioned but flawed. The cities and counties would get an immediate payment of over $1 billion, forcing further cuts to vital public services.

My recommendation: NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up/Lean Fail

Prop. 23 (Suspension of AB 32): Backed by Texas oil interests, this prop would suspend AB 32 until unemployment dropped to an unrealistic 5.5% for a whole year and hurt the state’s fledgling green jobs industry, doing the exact opposite of what its backers claim: it would actually kill more jobs than create more jobs. (Here in “business-friendly” Texas, the economic situation is also pretty bad, with unemployment here at its highest level since the late ’80s [and me being unable to find a job to save my life] and an $18 billion deficit for the 2011 budget session, which will make 2003 look like the good old days.) Polls have shown a low double-digit lead for the No side.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Fail

Prop. 24 (Corporate Loopholes): A long-overdue measure that would close corporate tax loopholes, reducing the budget deficit by $2 billion.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 25 (Majority Vote on Budget): Another very long-overdue measure that eliminates the ridiculous 2/3rds rule to pass a budget in the state legislature. This prop is passing by double-digits in the polls.

My recommendation: YES! YES! YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Pass

Prop. 26 (Two-Thirds Vote on Fees): Would require two-thirds vote approval for the imposition of certain state and local fees, including those on businesses that adversely impact the local community and environment. The last thing we need is higher vote thresholds.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 27 (Redistricting Commission): This proposition eliminates the Citizens Redistricting Commission from Prop 11, which barely passed, suggesting some voters have some doubts about its effectiveness. This commission also gives Republicans much more power than their current share of the population.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

“Dewey Defeats Truman” => “Angle Defeats Reid” (NV-Sen)

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

If we’re to believe all the Beltway chatter, Sharron Angle has surged into the lead, Harry Reid is pathetic, and Nevada is doomed.

Guess what? They’re wrong! Let me explain…

Need I say more?

She is an embarrassment. She is ridiculous. She offers nothing but batsh*t crazy…

And she’s winning? Not exactly. Jon Ralston, Nevada’s top pundit, explained this morning what may actually be happening

So what do we know so far? Not a lot. I have three days worth of data to peruse, just under a fourth of the 14-day total. Despite reports elsewhere, the Republicans have yet to show any unusual surge in voting, and The Reid Machine is holding its own.

So far, in the state’s two urban counties, the Republicans have less than a percentage point edge in turnout. If the Republican turnout edge by the end of early voting is 5 percent or so – standard for a midterm – the Democrats will be pretty happy, albeit edgy.

Reid needs a small GOP margin to survive. It comes down to something either candidate might say in an unguarded moment if asked by an innocent voter what the election is really all about:

It’s the turnout, stupid.

That’s why we had a bunch of students at the north lawn at UNLV yesterday. And guess who joined us!

Yet again, many of the DC pundits are getting it wrong. Contrary to what they’ve been suggesting, there’s hardly any “enthusiasm gap”. And I have a feeling that we’ll see even less of one come this weekend.

I didn’t even really see an “enthusiasm gap” last weekend. (Check my Twitpic for proof!)

I walked my neighborhood last weekend, and here’s what I found. ALL of the Democrats I talked to are voting for Harry Reid and Dina Titus, and all but two either already voted or will definitely be voting early this week. (The other two I may have to check on later this week.) All but one Nonpartisan (Independent) I talked with in my neighborhood last weekend are also supporting Reid and Titus. (The one who wouldn’t just doesn’t want to vote… Sad.) Oh, and I even found another Republican for Reid in my neighborhood!

Now I know my precinct doesn’t tell the whole story, but let me explain this. It’s typically one of the more pro-Republican areas of Henderson. It’s no “liberal nirvana”. And on a couple streets in the subdivision across the main street from my community, a few of the Republicans put up Angle signs. They may be revved up… But so are we.

And in fact, the other side may not be forming as strong of a “wave” as the Beltway pundits have been bloviating over for months now…

The Tea Party movement has gained the image of an unstoppable wave of anger sweeping everything before it as it seeks to overthrow the Washington establishment. Well in Elko, Nevada, last night it looked a little less than that.

About 150 people turned up in an open field on a very chilly night to welcome the Tea Party Express, the bus tour that is crossing America in the run-up to next month’s midterm elections. Most of the participants were in their sixties or above, and the event had more in common with a sedate charity gala than a political revolution.

The low turnout and lack of energy was puzzling as it came just four hours’ drive after a rousing start to the bus tour in Reno, addressed by Sarah Palin. I was lost for an explanation. This was after all the same state, the same battle to boot out Harry Reid, the local senator closely associated in Nevada with the big government spending habits of the Obama administration.

And that’s what I’ve been finding on the ground here in Southern Nevada. Sure, teabaggers pop up here and there occasionally with their protests of everything “government” (except when they want it, go figure). But with the exception of all those thousands of people who drove in or bussed in from out of state for that “Showdown in Searchlight“, I still haven’t seen any massive “grassroots” outpouring of “tea party” support.

Instead, what I see and hear is concern about when more Nevadans will get back to work, concern about access to good education, concern about the family member(s) dangerously close to foreclosure… Basically, what I’m hearing from real Nevadans is real concern about how to get our state back on track.

And I’m hearing many points of view on what to do to get Nevada moving forward again. Some agree with Guy Farmer of Nevada Appeal

I’m one of those disillusioned independent voters who supported President Obama two years ago. But, like Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, I think “the White House is in over its head, insulated, insular (and) arrogant.” I also think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) miscalculated by joining with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to champion Obama’s free-spending, Big Government agenda, which is why Reid is struggling to defeat his slightly kooky Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle.

That said, I simply can’t vote for Angle, who has espoused a series of extreme right-wing measures such as the privatization of Medicare, Social Security and the Veterans Administration, and she went way over the line by accusing Reid of voting to provide Viagra to child molesters. Please! So I’ll be casting a reluctant vote for Reid, who delivers the pork (good pork, of course), and continues to block the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, which most Nevadans oppose.

While others agree with Brian Greenspun of The Las Vegas Sun

In a state that has been devastated during this economic meltdown, the things we need more than anything else are jobs and the promise of more jobs. We don’t need people to talk about them, we need people to do something about them. This week, thousands of new jobs from renewable energy firms were announced. Some will come almost immediately, some will come in a few months. All of them are the direct result of the efforts of the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid.

We have learned a valuable lesson in this state in the past two years and that is we can no longer rely on gaming and construction industries to secure our futures. They both depend on the discretionary income of others who are willing to come to Nevada. When those incomes disappeared and discretionary dollars became necessary dollars for mortgages and car payments, those people stayed home. Nevada will suffer until people feel secure enough to come back and enjoy all that Nevada has to offer. We have learned that we cannot allow ourselves to be dependent upon the good will and good cheer of others ever again. We need a better plan!

That is why we must have good, high-paying jobs in other industries, and there is no better 21st-century industry than renewable energy. The world needs what we can produce in Nevada, which has been dubbed the Saudi Arabia of solar energy. That means we have plenty of sun – an unlimited supply – and we can become the energy producer for the rest of the country if we do this right.

That will take everybody working together, especially the right person in the majority leader’s chair – someone who both gives a darn about Nevada and believes his job is to help bring jobs to his home state. One thing we did learn from the debate is that Angle will not lift a finger to help and that Reid will do and has done everything possible to secure our futures in this state. Of course, most of us knew that before the debate. Now everyone knows that if it is jobs for Nevada that we want, only one candidate believes it is his job to make them happen.

But without a doubt, most of the people I’ve spoken with here agree that our only chance of moving forward is with Harry Reid as our Senate Majority Leader. And I know I’m not alone. That’s what the Beltway pundits are missing. This isn’t a game to us. We’re dealing with our very lives here, and we can’t afford the insane and dangerous extremism of Sharron Angle.

I want to be able to finish school at UNLV and get a good job. My unemployed friends depended on unemployment insurance, and need good jobs soon. My friend who came close to foreclosure needed someone to help him negotiate with the bank to keep his home. My parents depend on Social Security to survive. And guess who’s been helping us?

Again, this isn’t a game to us. And I think this is what’s closing “the enthusiasm gap”. And at the end of the day, I think a whole lot of folks will be surprised by the final election results.

I Know What the Beltway Pundits Are Missing (NV-Sen, NV-03)

(Also at Nevada Progressive)

It seems whenever I see the DC pundits on TV, I get frustrated. I keep hearing about some massive “Red Tide” coming. I keep hearing about how much “momentum” Republicans have. And I keep hearing about all this money Sharron Angle is raising from other parts of the country.

So is it time to call it quits and give into “The Red Tide”? Not really. I know something that you may not…

Public Policy Polling just released its latest Nevada Senate poll. In their official numbers, Harry Reid gets 47% while Sharron Angle gets 45%. OK, so Reid is barely ahead… What’s the big deal? It’s basically a tie race… Or is it?

In an earlier post on their blog, they admitted that they may be missing something quite big.

Usually the conventional wisdom is that a tie race means the incumbent will lose but in the case of Nevada there are a couple big reasons why the tie might go to Harry Reid.

The first is that the polling in Nevada was the worst of any swing state in 2008 (well actually it turned out Nevada wasn’t a swing state but everyone thought it was because the polling showed a close race.) And the polling was all off in the same direction- underestimating Barack Obama’s margin of victory. Obama won the state by 12 points: our final poll had him up by only 4, Mason Dixon had him up by only 4, Rasmussen had him up by only 4, and CNN had him up by only 7. Some pollsters did do a better job- Suffolk showed a 10 point lead, Zogby an 11 point one, and AP a 12 point one.

So the precedent is there for pollsters- especially the ones who have been doing most of the polling for this year’s race- to underestimate Democratic performance in the state. […]

The second is that those below the radar in 2008 voters may now be included in pollsters’ samples- I can only speak for what we do but we’re calling folks who voted in the 2004 general, 2006 general, or 2008 general so we should have a lot of the people we missed last time in our samples this time. Still it strikes me as much more likely that the polls are systematically underestimating Harry Reid than the other way around.

The other reason the tie might go to Reid is that the polling in Nevada is assuming a much larger gap between Democratic and Republican turnout compared to 2008 than we’re seeing most places. In our poll tomorrow the sample reports having voted for Barack Obama by only 2 points, compared to his actual 12 point victory in the state. Even with that big dropoff in turnout from Democrats the race is still very close- but if even half of that enthusiasm gap was chopped between now and November Reid would be in a very strong position. And we have seen indication already this cycle that Democratic interest perks up as election day gets closer.

I certainly think Angle can win by a small amount but if you asked me who has the better chance of winning this by 5 or 6 points I definitely think it’s Reid.

Again, this is Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, a very respectable polling outfit, admitting that his own poll may be missing quite a few Democratic voters here in Nevada. And I can attest, he may very well be right.

Don’t believe me? Believe all the support I’m finding around “my ‘hood” in Henderson!

And take a look at these supposedly “unenthusiastic” Nevada Democrats getting out the vote!

It’s all at my Twitpic!

This is the secret to our success, the secret that you don’t hear about from the national media hyping Angle’s out-of-state fundraising and generic ballot numbers all over the place.

And there’s something else you don’t see. You don’t see the (lack of) quality of the Republicans’ top candidates.

I mean, come on, Angle runs AWAY from the local press! She won’t answer any voters’ questions on anything, especially if one’s not a hand-picked tea-nut.

That’s why even prominent Nevada REPUBLICANS are supporting Harry Reid.

And again, I can tell you that this is no myth. I talk to them often, long time Republicans and Indpendents who often vote for Republicans have come to me and told me they’re voting for Harry Reid and Dina Titus because they know these people are working hard to do what’s best for Nevada.

Heck, even Joe Heck himself was caught flip-flopping yesterday on whether he will be voting for Reid or Angle!

Republican Congressional candidate Joe Heck appears to be having second thoughts about his support for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle.

When asked by a Nevada resident whether he plans to vote for Angle or Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Heck was quoted by Slate as saying: “I’m waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice.”

That’s very different from what Heck said before. He previously endorsed Angle.

In a speech at the Nevada Republican Convention, Heck urged Republicans to rally around Angle to “bring a new direction to Washington, D.C.” He called her work in the state Assembly “exemplary.”

Heck also noted in a campaign email that “Team Heck is taking a leadership role in uniting the party.”

Just like Sharron Angle, Joe Heck has been all over the place on all the issues while hiding from Nevada voters with real questions about what he intends to do on job creation, health care reform, housing, and so much more. Yesterday, we had a Congressional debate at the local synagogue here in Henderson. Watch for yourself how Heck flipped and flopped on so many issues.

Or if you can’t sit through this much video, look at my handy, dandy condensed Twitter debate notes. 😉

Basically, Joe Heck likes to tell teabaggers he’s one of them and he’s just as extreme right radical as Sharron Angle while he tells us he doesn’t know if he’ll even vote for Angle himself! Which one is it, Joe?

Heck told us last night he supports “infrastructure projects” to put people back to work, but he also said he opposed the very Recovery Act that included all those billions of dollars in infrastructure projects that are putting Nevada back to work. Which one is it, Joe?

Heck told us last night he supports some aspects of health care reform, but he’s said many times before he wants to repeal the entire bill. Which one is it, Joe?

And Heck told us last night how important jobs are to him, but he’s also said he doesn’t think it’s his job to create jobs. Which one is it, Joe?

Heck keeps saying all sorts of things out of different sides of his mouth. And while the tea-nuts may not care, a whole lot of voters do. They’re looking for someone who provides real solutions, not another pretty face with nothing to offer but hot air.

And look who is providing real solutions.

Dina explained quite well last night how she’s worked to bring jobs back to Southern Nevada, as well prepare us for the new clean, green economy of the future by investing in green collar jobs and good education. And it’s not just at these debates. I see Dina Titus just about everywhere. She’s meeting with constituents every time she’s back here in the district. Even when Congress is in session, she’s back here every weekend to meet with Nevadans.

And her office is always open to constituents who have questions about their health care. And constituents who need help negotiating with the banks to avoid foreclosure on their homes. And constituents who have all sorts of other issues.

Dina is the kind of representative that many Nevadans aren’t used to, and that’s a good thing. She listens to us the local voters. And she provides real answers, not hot air or prepared, scripted remarks directly from national party offices. The Beltway pundits may not care so much about that, but we the Nevada voters do.

So this is what the Beltway pundits are missing. They’re missing me. They’re missing my Republican neighbors who are fed up with typical politicians like Joe Heck and Sharron Angle, who say one thing but do something else entirely different. They’re missing all my Democratic friends who they don’t expect to vote, but are actually not just voting, but also volunteering to get out the vote! They’re missing a whole lot, so don’t be surprised if a whole lot of what they say about the elections here are proven wrong next month.

Take it from this local. 😉

atdleft’s Nevada Legislature Forecast

OK, OK, here’s what I know you’ve been waiting for. I teased some of these last month, but now you can see my full Senate and Assembly reports after the flip.

I only listed competitive races below, as the rest probably won’t see too much actions. Click here for Nevada Legislative Districts, here for the latest voter registration statistics from the Nevada Secretary of State, here for a list of the candidates in Washoe County, and here for a list of candidates in Clark County.


County District Number: Which county the district is based in

(Area: Neighborhood): self explanatory

Incumbent: who’s in office now (if someone’s retiring, I list it as “Open Seat”)

atdleft’s Impartial Rating: how I rank this race, based on voter registration statistics, quality of the candidates, who won where when, and who’s organizing where right now

And I rank the races from highest to lowest on likelihood of flipping.


Overall Rating: Likely Democratic Retention

Republicans have been hoping to retake the Legislature, but the numbers just don’t agree with them in either house. The Senate seems to be the more vulnerable chamber for Democrats, but they’ve worked hard to recruit solid candidates and put together a stellar field operation. While there were plenty of jitters at first over how major weakness at the top of the ticket could hurt, it now looks like the state party’s field efforts for Harry Reid and Dina Titus may turn out to help a number of candidates down the ballot. And Republicans’ lack of field campaigning and abundance of controversial candidates only add to their woes.

Clark District 8 (Las Vegas: Summerlin)

Incumbent: Barbara Cegavske (R)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Tossup/Tilts Republican

Cegavske must be thanking her lucky stars that she’s running this year instead of 2008. Next door in District 6, long time GOP stalwart Bob Beers famously lost to political neophyte/local business owner Alison Copening over his polarizing hard-core conservatism and not realizing Obama’s campaign drove Nevada Democrats into overdrive. But even though 2010 may not be as scary of a cycle for Republicans this year, Cegavske still must deal with her own polarizing hard-core conservatism in a district where Democrats have a slight 0.9% registration edge. And Democrats got an all star recruit of a candidate with legal maven Tammy Peterson. And with Harry Reid and Dina Titus both counting on the party to pump up Democratic turnout for them, th GOP can’t count on an “enthusiasm gap” to save Cegavske (but maybe a “voting gap” if some Dems undervote).

Clark District 9 (Las Vegas: Summerlin/Mountain’s Edge/Southern Highlands/Primm)

Open (R) Seat

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Tossup/Tilts Democratic

This is probably the Democrats’ best chance of a Senate pickup this year. Incumbent moderate Republican Dennis Nolan was “tea partied” out by a primary challenge by super neophyte 27 year old no-name secretary “office manager” and teabagger darling Elizabeth Halseth. So all of a sudden, what had been a likely GOP hold is now fully in play and a young newcomer by the name of Benny Yerushalmi all of a sudden has a great chance at joining “The Gang of 63”. This will definitely be a hard fought race until the very end, but Benny does have the advantage of a 2.4% Dem registration edge and a strong Dem field operation.

Clark District 12 (Mesquite/Henderson/Boulder City/Laughlin)

Open (R) Seat

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Republican

This is without a doubt the most stretched district, bordering Arizona all the way from Mesquite to Laughlin! And there are plenty of rural areas here that strongly favor Republicans, so Assembly Member Joe “Doc” Hardy (R-Boulder City) has a natural advantage here. However this district also contains many Vegas suburbs, from Henderson’s fringes to North Las Vegas’ Aliante master planned community, so all in all the GOP only has a slight 1.2% registration edge here AND Obama carried this district in 2008. Plus, Democrats recruited a top-notch legal eagle Aaron Ford to run here. Still, Ford has to deal with Hardy’s entrenched status in Boulder City and the rurals’ seething hatred of all things Reid and Titus. But if the Dem Machine can whip out enough Reid & Titus voters in this district to keep voting down the ballot, Ford may have a chance.

Clark District 5 (Henderson/Las Vegas: Green Valley, MacDonald Ranch, Old Henderson, Silverado Ranch)

Incumbent: Joyce Woodhouse (D)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Democratic

This is the one Senate race where Democrats have to play defense. The Republicans are pouring money into attacking Woodhouse as a “loony liberal” in this closely divided suburban district (Dems have about a 1.3% registration advantage) and promoting slick lawyer Michael Roberson. One would think Joyce would be a goner in this type of environment, but she has a few trump cards to play here. Dems have a far better field operation than the GOP, Joyce has a good reputation as a “grassroots person” and a long time teacher, and Roberson has what may be the ugliest skeleton to hide in the closet this campaign cycle (he’s worked on kicking homeowners out of foreclosed homes). This won’t be easy, but Woodhouse most certainly has a path to victory here.

Washoe District 2 (Sparks/Pyramid Lake)

Open (R) Seat

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Republican

Again, the GOP lucked out with this seat. If perennial religious right bomb thrower Maurice Washington had faced reelection in 2008, he would have likely lost in this closely divided district that spans from the Reno suburbs to the California and Oregon borders. (Republicans only have a 2.2% registration edge here.) But because Washington is termed out and the seat is open this year, they may get a reprieve. Still, they may not be completely out of the woods yet. Democrats recruited yet another star candidate in nonprofit consultant Allison Edwards, but GOP Assembly Member Don Gustavson (R-Sparks) probably still has the advantage here.


Overall Rating: Safe Democratic Retention

Let’s be real. Republicans need to pick up eight seats to take control of the Assembly. That just isn’t happening. There just aren’t enough seats in play for them, and there are even a handful of seats where they have to play defense. The best they can hope for is denying Democrats a 2/3 supermajority, but not even that is a given for them.

Washoe District 40 (Carson City/Rural Washoe)

Open (D) Seat

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Tossup/Tilts Republican

Ironically enough, the race that could really tip the scale in Carson City happens to be IN Carson City! But unfortunately for Democrats, this is a seat that could cost them the 2/3 supermajority they just reached in The Assembly. Incumbent Bonnie Parnell announced late last year that she would not seek another term, so Democrats scrambled to figure out how to possibly hold this seat that usually isn’t too Dem friendly. (The GOP has a somewhat hefty 8.5% registration edge here.) Fortunately, Democrats found a top-notch candidate in Carson City Supervisor Robin Williamson. Unfortunately, the GOP tapped into the same pool in recruiting fellow Carson City Supervisor Pete Livermore to run. This could be a real barn burner of a race, with Livermore benefitting from the natural Republican lean of this district. However, don’t forget that this district also has a high concentration of state workers, so union and environmentalist mobilization for Williamson may yet keep this seat in Dem hands.

Clark District 13 (Las Vegas: Centennial Hills, Summerlin)

Open (R) Seat

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Tossup/Tilts Democratic

In 2008, incumbent Republican Chad Christensen came shockingly close to losing this long GOP held seat to Democrat Andrew Martin, a candidate who worked quite hard but didn’t get too much party support. However in 2010, Democrats aren’t making the same mistake. They’re all in for Building Trades (union) trainer Lou DeSalvio. Still, Republicans aren’t giving this up without a fight, and they’ve recruited UNLV Political Science Professor Scott Hammond to be their fighter. This should be another hard fought race, but Democrats do have the advantage of a slight 1.6% registration edge and a mobilized turnout operation (for Harry Reid and Dina Titus that may also help lift DeSalvio to victory).

Clark District 21 (Henderson: Green Valley, MacDonald Ranch)

Incumbent: Ellen Spiegel (D)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Democratic

In 2008, everyone was shocked when Republicans lost this long-time GOP stronghold to web-based small business owner Ellen Spiegel. Now NO ONE has held this seat for more than one term (Republicans kept primary-ing each other!), but funny enough a Democrat is now looking to break “The One Term Wonder Curse” of AD 21. Now usually in a year like this Spiegel would be hopeless, but she’s built a surprisingly good field operation and earned the endorsements of both the Las Vegas AND Henderson Chambers of Commerce, which usually do NOT endorse Democrats. And unfortunately for the GOP, this year’s primary was quite tumultuous and Mark Sherwood, who emerged victorious in the primary, has alienated both moderates with his religious right fervor and some local “Tea Party” groups by not signing their anti-tax pledge. If it weren’t for the Republicans’ 2.4% registration edge in this district, they’d have to completely write off this seat. But as it is, they have a real uphill battle to reclaim it.

Clark District 23 (Henderson: Old Henderson)

Incumbent: Melissa Woodbury (R)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Republican

In some ways, AD 23 is AD 21 in reverse. This was the seat of Former Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins (D). Democrats simply didn’t expect to lose this seat in 2008, but lose it they did… And to local educator Melissa Woodbury, daughter of legendary Clark County Supervisor Bruce Woodbury (R). It was probably the Dems’ biggest mistake of 2008, and it looks like they may be repeating it by backing Monica Lejia Bean, a candidate who’s hardly visible at all. Woodbury looks to have lucked out, but she’s not out of the woods yet… Not when there’s an 8.8% Dem registration edge AND major Democratic and union GOTV operations working against her. But if she could get some Obama ticket-splitters in 2008, she may very well get enough Reid/Titus ticket-splitters in 2010 to keep her in office.

Clark District 29 (Henderson: Green Valley, Whitney Ranch)

Incumbent: April Mastroluca (D)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Democratic

In 2008, the GOP finally lost this seat, which has been trending away from them for some time. And while Freshman Dem April Mastroluca at times doesn’t seem to be the strongest campaigner, she most certainly benefits from a very strong Democratic field operation, plenty of union support, and a comfy 5.3% Dem registration edge. Openly gay Republican challenger Dan Hill flew under the radar in the primary, but he can’t expect to keep doing so in the general. (I have a feeling Sharron Angle won’t be doing him any favors any time soon…)

Clark District 22 (Henderson/Las Vegas: Black Mountain, MacDonald Ranch, Anthem, Southern Highlands, Mountain’s Edge)

Incumbent: Lynn Stewart (R)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Leans Republican

Lynn Stewart really lucked out in 2008. No Democrat emerged to challenge him, so he coasted to reelection while other GOP incumbents fell. And this year, he looks to have lucked out again. Local “Tea Party” groups didn’t find him “conservative enough”, so they waged a primary coup against him… But problem was, so many candidates filed against Stewart that he was able to win the GOP Primary with 47%. But this time, several Democrats did file and soon-to-open Cosmopolitan Casino accountant Kevinn Donovan emerged out of the primary. Still, even with the state Democratic Party organizing hard for the top of the ticket here, Donovan nonetheless has a major uphill battle against Stewart.

Washoe District 30 (Reno/Sparks)

Incumbent: Debbie Smith (D)

atdleft’s Impartial Ranking: Likely Democratic

Debbie Smith has certainly had her ups and downs. A few years back, she lost her race here… But she came back and she had an easy ride in 2008 with “The Obama Wave”. But this time around, Republicans are targeting her yet again, and even Sharron Angle has personally endorsed her opponent, Kathy Martin. However the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce, which usually doesn’t endorse Democrats, endorsed Smith, mainly because she stands to Chair the nearly omnipotent Appropriations Committee and provide plenty more “juice” for Northern Nevada if she wins reelection. And with a whopping 16.3% Democratic registration advantage here, Smith may have all that she needs to weather the storm this time.

New 2010 projections: Dems lose House by 12

crossposted at StochasticDemocracy and DailyKos

These are the Labor Day election forecasts of Stochastic Democracy, in collaboration with Professor Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium. We  have launched a new Election Forecasting System for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Elections and for tracking the Generic Ballot.

But before we discuss the forecasts in more detail, let me first get out of the way who we are and why you should listen to what we’re predicting:

Who we are (quoted from the FAQ at our site):

The team consists of David Shor, Harry Enten, and Rasmus Pianowski. David is a Math student currently visiting Princeton University as a Visiting Graduate Student. Harry is an undergraduate at Dartmouth and an intern at Rasmus (that’s me) is a freshman at University of Hamburg, he has done political consulting and Media Outreach work for Montana congressional candidate Tyler Gernant.

The site is closely affiliated to Professor Wang’s Princeton Election Consortium.

Why you should listen to us

We have an outstanding track record.

In 2008, we correctly predicted the results of 49 of the 50 states in the Presidential Election, missing only Indiana (where we predicted that Obama had a 48% chance to win). We correctly predicted every single Senate and Gubernatorial election, and were off on the national popular vote for President by only 0.08%..

We also predicted that Obama would get 364 Electoral Votes, he ended up with 365 Electoral Votes.

In 2009, we correctly predicted the outcome of the 2009 Israeli Knesset election as well as 4 of the 5 notoriously hard to predict 2009 off-year elections- got only 2 correct, didn’t even put up predictions.

And we have a solid forecasting methodology that combines advanced statistical techniques with a huge polling database- and we do account for House Effects, so that you can be sure that our ratings aren’t swayed by Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports polls too much.

Now on to the Forecasts.

Let me get out the bad news, and there is a lot of bad news, quickly:

The GOP is favored to take over the House, several Senate seats and Governorships.


For a complete list of election results, please visit Stochastic Democracy, here you’ll only find an analysis of several important races, maps and tables with results for select races.




As you can see, things look rather badly for the Democrats on the Senate front. While Republicans seem like relatively heavy underdogs to get a majority in the Senate, they at least will pick up several seats.

Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana and Delaware are gone. With deficits of more than 15% in even the closest of these four races, it doesn’t make much sense to keep fighting except for helping down-ballot races.

In Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak has a fighting chance to mount yet another comeback, but so far his campaign hasn’t really taken off and with less than two months to go until the election he’s down against Pat Toomey by a bit less than 6%.

Colorado is close right now, even though the Republican candidate Ken Buck is ahead by a bit more than three points right now. The infighting among Colorado Conservatives in the Gubernatorial race might help Bennet to catch up.

In Florida the race is all but officially between incumbent Governor Charlie Crist, the Republican-turned Independent, and Tea Party favorite, Marco Rubio. The Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek has just about a 1 in 200 chance to win, while Rubio maintains a 4.5 point-advantage over Crist. The race is so unstable though that Crist can easily come back- or collapse.

In all other races, the incumbent party is currently favored (more or less) to retain their seats. For the Republicans, that means that Rob Portman (OH), Roy Blunt (MO), Rand Paul (KY), Richard Burr (NC) and the winner of the New Hampshire GOP primary (probably Kelly Ayotte) will more likely than not win.

The likely Democratic winners include Harry Reid (NV), Alexi Gianoullias (IL), Barbara Boxer (CA), Russ Feingold (WI)and Joe Manchin (WV), who is so heavily favored to retain the late Senator Byrd’s seat that this race doesn’t show up in the ‘most likely pickups’ table. On the other hand, Gianoullias, Reid and Feingold are all in races that could still go either way, even though they’re favored over their respective opponents right now.

Gubernatorial races



In the gubernatorial races, there are a few more highlights for Democrats, even though the bottom line looks rather bleak for Democrats here as well.

We are almost sure to lose six Governorships to the Republicans: In Kansas, Michigan, Iowa, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Illinois. In every of those races except for Illinois, the Republican candidate is ahead by double digits, and most likely less than two months won’t be enough to close that gap.

On the bright side, we’re also almost certain to pick up the Governorships of Hawaii, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Maine is a race that doesn’t qualify as a ‘sure loss’ yet, but it doesn’t look good for Democrats, as Republican Paul LePage is leading Democrat Libby Mitchell by more than 8 points.

In the close battleground races it currently looks like Republican John Kasich is going to unseat incumbent Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, Kasich is currently ahead by 4 points. The same could be said of New Mexico‘s gubernatorial race, where Republican Susana Martinez is favored to beat the Democratic Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish. Both of these races are close enough for Strickland and Denish to mount a comeback though.

Meanwhile, Democrats look like slight favorites in the gubernatorial elections of Florida, where Democrat Alex Sink leads the scandal-ridden Republican nominee Rick Scott, and in Rhode Island, where Democrat Frank Caprio is a slight favorite to win the governorship, edging former independent U.S. Senator Lincoln Chaffee. The Republican candidate is far behind.

Meanwhile, the true Toss-ups right now are in California (Brown vs. Whitman), Wisconsin (Barrett vs. Walker), and Oregon (Kitzhaber vs. Dudley). None of these races have a clear favorite right now, even though Barrett, Brown and Dudley would be slight favorites if the election was held today.

Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley (MD) and Republican Governor Rick Perry (TX)are both moderately favored to win their re-election bids against strong challengers, respectively former Governor Bob Ehrlich and Houston Mayor Bill White.

Incumbent party-candidates in New Hampshire (Lynch), Georgia (Deal), Massachusetts (Patrick) and in all races that aren’t listed here are favored to win their elections.

U.S. House



I don’t have enough space here to talk about all the interesting races as in the Senate and Governor sections, so let me just highlight the results of a couple of races that I know are dear to the netroots and of some especially close races:

In Florida-08 (Grayson-D), Alan Grayson is projected to lose to his challenger, Dan Webster, by 7.5%. He still has about a 25% chance to win reelection. Keep in mind that our model does not directly look at fundraising (it does look at Cook ratings though, and Cook does include fundraising in his ratings)- and Grayson has a gigantic warchest.

In Illinois-10 (open-R) Dan Seals is a slight favorite to finally become a U.S. Representative after twice unsuccessfully running against Mark Kirk.

In New York-20 (Murphy-D), Scott Murphy, who was elected with a strong Kossack phonebanking drive in the 2009 special election to replace Senator Gillibrand, looks like a slight favorite to win reelection. Bill Owens in NY-23 is a slight underdog though.

In Virginia-5 (Periello-D), red-district Progressive Tom Periello will almost certainly lose reelection.

In Idaho-1 (Minnick-D), the probably most conservative House Democrat Walt Minnick is projected to be a slight underdog in his reelection bid. You shouldn’t take this number too seriously though: This race is extreme. Minnick was, and the model can’t incorporate this, endorsed by the Tea Party Express and the Chamber of Commerce and praised by the Club for Growth, and the NRCC has already pulled resources from this district in the light of polls that show Minnick far ahead of his Republican opponent. Expect this number to shift as more polls come in, but right now our model isn’t convinced of Minnick’s staying power, as McCain won the district by a 61-35 margin in the 2008 Presidential Election while Minnick just barely beat a disliked Republican incumbent who won only 60% of his primary vote after winning a six-way GOP primary with 26% of the vote in 2006.

Races on knife’s edge: Here you can really make a difference

Julie Lassa (D) vs. Sean Duffy (R) (WI-07, Obey retiring)

Rep. Gerry Connoly (D) vs. Keith Firmian (R) (VA-11)

Rep. Phil Hare (D) vs. Robby Schilling (R) (IL-17)

Colleen Hanabusa (D) (likely) vs. Rep. Charles Djou (R) (HI-01)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) vs. Jesse Kelly (R) (AZ-08)

All of these 5 races are so close that every additional volunteer or donor might tip the race.


Again, the bottom line isn’t pretty: The Democrats are likely to lose the House, several Senate seats and more Governorships than they will pick up.

Talking about continuing the gains that Democrats made in 2006 and 2008 is irrational now- what we can all do is pick a few campaigns and invest a lot of our time and put our best efforts into limiting our losses.

What the DCCC does– cutting incumbents that can’t win loose, might be a good strategy for private volunteers and donors as well.

IA-Gov news roundup

I’ve been posting less often at Swing State Project lately because Iowa campaign news is keeping me busy at my home blog, Bleeding Heartland. From time to time I will keep SSPers up to date on our highest-profile races: Roxanne Conlin’s bid against five-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic Governor Chet Culver’s re-election campaign against four-term former Governor Terry Branstad.

After the jump you’ll find lots of links on the Iowa governor’s race since Branstad won the June 8 primary with about 50 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Bob Vander Plaats and 9 percent for Rod Roberts.

Vander Plaats ran to Branstad’s right during the primary, slamming the former governor’s record of growing government while feeding on wingnut anger about government-run health care, immigration and of course same-sex marriage rights in Iowa. Although Branstad spent several times more money during the first five months of the year, Vander Plaats was able to outperform his poll numbers on June 8. A post-primary meeting between the two candidates reportedly “did not go well,” as Branstad rebuffed Vander Plaats’ desire to be on the ticket. Consequently, Vander Plaats still hasn’t endorsed Branstad and is leaving the door open to running for governor as an independent. (Iowa is one of the few states without a sore loser law.) I doubt Vander Plaats will take the plunge for reasons described here, but if he does, he may help Culver by drawing some Republican votes away from Branstad.

Immediately after the primary, Iowa politics-watchers hashed out who was and wasn’t on Branstad’s short list for lieutenant governor. Some well-connected Republicans thought he would choose former State Senator Jeff Lamberti, who was the 2006 GOP nominee against Congressman Leonard Boswell in IA-03. Two days before the Republican state convention, Branstad picked little-known first-term State Senator Kim Reynolds, signaling that he plans to focus on fiscal issues during the general election campaign. I covered reaction to that pick here. Normally the state convention vote on the governor’s running mate is a formality, but Branstad must have been worried about how Reynolds would go over with party activists, because his campaign hit convention delegates with robocalls and e-mails emphasizing Reynolds’ social conservative credentials. On June 24, a sitting state legislator put Vander Plaats’ name in nomination for lieutenant governor, and delegates picked Reynolds over Vander Plaats by a surprisingly narrow margin of 56 percent to 44 percent. I discussed the divisions in the Iowa GOP here.

Branstad has stayed up on television since the primary, running this ad that glosses over his own record and lies about how Culver has managed state finances. It’s notable that Branstad bashes so-called Democratic “overspending” but never explains how he would have balanced the state budget during a recession without dipping into reserve funds or using federal stimulus money. Lieutenant Governor candidate Reynolds also criticizes teacher layoffs and Democratic budget policies, never acknowledging that education cuts would have been far worse without the federal stimulus bill all the Republicans opposed.

Meanwhile, Culver has run two television commercials since the primary. One covered Branstad’s dismal record on fiscal issues, which is “not worth repeating.” The other started a conversation about Branstad’s values, noting that he sought pay raises multiple times while cutting spending on things like foster care.

Culver picked up a couple of endorsements this month that should help his ground game in the general election. The Planned Parenthood PAC’s support was never in doubt, but Branstad reportedly tried hard to discourage the Iowa State Education Association from backing Culver. (The state’s largest teacher’s union had backed Branstad during his third gubernatorial campaign in 1990.) Branstad’s call for eliminating the state-funded preschool program probably hurt him with the ISEA.

The only public poll since the Iowa primary was conducted by Rasmussen, which found Branstad enjoying his largest-ever lead, 57 percent to 31 percent. Most Iowa Democrats believe the race is closer than that, but Culver is clearly in a hole.

Revenues for the fiscal year that just ended were better than expected, but that hasn’t stopped Republican zombie lies about a “budget deficit.”

Branstad started running a new tv ad this week, promising “honest, open and scandal-free government.” Culver’s campaign responded by releasing 400 pages of documents showing how Branstad and his top aides did campaign work on the public’s dime while he was governor. I discussed the document dump at Bleeding Heartland.  It will be interesting to see what other material the Culver campaign uncovers in the 1,000 boxes they’ve been going through in the state archives.

Jonathan Narcisse is running for governor as an independent after flaking out on plans to challenge Chet Culver in the Democratic primary. I don’t think he will be a factor.

Share any thoughts about the Iowa governor’s race in this thread.