2006 Elections - House Archive:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

KY-02: New Internal Poll Shows Weaver Ahead

Posted by James L.

Via the Bluegrass Report comes a new DCCC/Kentucky Democratic Party poll on the 2nd district race between state legislator Mike Weaver and incumbent Republican Ron Lewis (Oct. 26-29; Sept. 22-25 in parens):

Mike Weaver (D): 46 (42)
Ron Lewis (R-Inc.): 43 (50)
MoE: ±4.9%

I've always figured that this race was a questionable longshot given the district's strong Republican lean (in federal votting patterns, not registration), but it appears that Weaver, a retired Lt. Colonel, has been able to gain traction in this district and is starting to bring registered Democrats home. The DCCC has put in nearly $200k into this district for stretch run attack ads against Lewis, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that number expand considerably in tonight's FEC filings. We might be able to steal one here.

Update: A few days ago, a Washington Post article quoted an anonymous Democratic "operative" calling the DCCC's support of Weaver "guilt money" to cleanse their consciences after cajoling Weaver into the race. I didn't buy it then (it's hard to imagine Rahm spending time worrying about people's hurt feelings when the same could be said about several other Democratic challengers this year), and I definitely don't buy it now. It seems as if some anonymous "operative" was attempting to throw off the NRCC from taking Weaver seriously (and I doubt they bought it, either, although you never know with the leakariffic culture of DC Democrats).

Posted at 04:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday Independent Expenditure Round-Up

Posted by James L.

Highlights from Tuesday night's independent expenditures:

KS-02: The DCCC is expanding yesterday's play in this district by $313,000 for both positive and negative TV ads boosting the campaign of Democratic challenger Nancy Boyda. That brings the total spent in this district by the DCCC to over $650k. The NRCC's response today? A minor $27k media buy. Watch what they'll do tomorrow, though.

NY-25: Boom! The DCCC has just placed a $334k media buy in this district, with both positive ads for Dan Maffei and negative ads against incumbent Jim Walsh.

IN-03: As promised yesterday, the NRCC has dropped another $75k in TV ads into this deep-red district to fend off Ft. Wayne city councilman and self-funder Tom Hayhurst from upsetting Republican Mark Souder. In total, the NRCC has spent just shy of $200k defending this seat. Definitely one of the most eyebrow-raising expenditures of the cycle.

NC-08: Moveon.org has entered the fray on behalf of grassroots-powered Democrat Larry Kissell with a $128k media buy against Republican incumbent Robin Hayes. If there's one thing that Larry has lacked so far, it's the money to go toe-to-toe in an air war with self-funding gazillionaire Hayes. Definitely a well-placed hit by Moveon.

OH-02: Emily's List is doing the heavy lifting here, with $52k worth of direct mail and radio ads both for Victoria Wulsin and against Jean Schmidt. This is on top of $31k spent yesterday on direct mail.

• Union activity: the AFSCME is up with new ads against Don Sherwood in PA-10 ($50k), NRCC chair Tom Reynolds in NY-26 ($40k), and Michelle Bachmann (R) in MN-06 ($50k). The SEIU has put $45k into CO-04 for radio ads in support of Angie Paccione, $76k into MN-01 for direct mail in support of Tim Walz, $68k for radio spots in support of Patty Wetterling, and $67k into NV-02 for radio spots in support of Jill Derby.

• And, of course, as David mentioned below, the DCCC has dropped a massive $1.12 million bomb on Charlie Bass in NH-02. Daaaayum, that's gonna hurt, Charlie.

Posted at 11:49 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NH-02: DCCC Drops Da Bomb on Charlie Bass

Posted by DavidNYC

Time for the Bassmaster to start cryin' into his beer:


1. Supports Candidate: Paul W. Hodes (H4NH02175)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/30/2006 Amount Expended = $490644.75
Purpose: Media Buy

2. Opposes Candidate: Charles F. Bass (H0NH02017)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/30/2006 Amount Expended = $490644.75
Purpose: Media Buy

3. Supports Candidate: Paul W. Hodes (H4NH02175)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/30/2006 Amount Expended = $35572.50
Purpose: Media Buy

4. Opposes Candidate: Charles F. Bass (H0NH02017)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/30/2006 Amount Expended = $35572.50
Purpose: Media Buy

5. Supports Candidate: Paul W. Hodes (H4NH02175)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/31/2006 Amount Expended = $26888.62
Purpose: Media Buy

6. Opposes Candidate: Charles F. Bass (H0NH02017)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, New Hampshire District 02
Payee: Great American Media
Date Expended = 10/31/2006 Amount Expended = $26888.63
Purpose: Media Buy

TOTAL: $1,120,206.75

Yeah, you read that last line right. Please join with me in using the Dr. Evil voice when we say ONE MEEELYON DOLLARS! They come at us with $365K, we go at them with $1.1M - that's the Chicago way.

Anyhow, apart from just expressing my joy that the DCCC is beating up so heavily on Bass (couldn't happen to a nicer guy), I do want to make a broader point here. For those of you backing candidates in competitive districts where the DCCC has yet to make a move, don't fret. Sometimes waiting can really pay off. Had the DCCC made a splash in this district any earlier than now, the NRCC (or RNC) would have been sure to match them. It would have been a slogfest, and slogfests almost always favor the party with more money - ie, the Republicans.

Because the DCCC held its fire, the GOP didn't move in this district until late last week. And by playing our cards so close to our vest until the absolute last moment, that makes it a hell of a lot harder for the NRCC to counter the pocket queens we just revealed. I say "pocket queens" because the GOP may yet have a pair of aces face down on the table. But I doubt it. I feel pretty sure that this strategy of delay has paid off.

And this is especially true in redder districts. If the GOP matches Dem independent expenditures (IEs) in a red district, that's almost always going to hurt the Dem, net-net. That's because the redder the area, the more likely undecideds are to lean Republican. The way to avoid this is for Dems to spend in such a way that it comes as a total surprise to the Republicans, as in KS-02, so that they can't match, or at least, can't match in time. In other words, I wouldn't be surprised if the DCCC parachuted into some other under-the-radar districts before election day. So keep your eyes on those IE reports.

Posted at 10:40 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Independent Expenditure Round-Up

Posted by James L.

Lots of goodies to be found in Monday night's independent expenditure filings. Here are some highlights:

• The NRCC is playing it safe: they're going up on the air to defend Rick Renzi (AZ-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mark Souder (IN-03), Ron Lewis (KY-02), and Gil Gutknecht (MN-01). The defense of Souder is especially surprising, given the rock-ribbed Republican nature of the district, but an internal poll that they also paid for today might explain why. In total, they've spent nearly $125k defending Souder, with that figure increasing dramatically soon once the ad time is booked in the next day or so. When the NRCC has to put up precious dollars defending their hold on James Dobson's home turf, you know that we've done a good job expanding the playing field.

• Aside from their top-tier targets, the DCCC is stepping up to the plate with advertisements in NH-02 both in support of Paul Hodes and against Charile Bass, and in NY-25 with ads supporting Democratic challenger Dan Maffei. More ads are on the way against incumbents Cathy McMorris in WA-05 and Lewis in KY-02.

• MoveOn.org is launching a sneak attack on the suddenly vulnerable Republican Rep. Melissa Hart (PA-04) with a $240,000 ad buy and another $167,000 on attack ads and mailings against Thelma Drake (VA-02).

(Edit--I originally titled this diary "Tuesday Independent Expenditure Round-Up". I guess it's one of those weeks where I'm wishing we could just get on with it!)

Posted at 11:42 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

New Majority Watch Polls

Posted by James L.

Constituent Dynamics & RT Strategies just dumped 40 or so House race polls over at their Majority Watch project website. I'd like to crow about seemingly good news out of districts like IL-10, CO-04 and KY-03, but there are too many weird results here for me to trust these polls too much: Shays with a 9 point lead? Loebsack only two points behind Leach? Maffei up by 9 points?

A little too unlikely, but some of the other races polled feel right. Give it a look.

Posted at 06:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-02: Jean Schmidt's Self-Inflicted October Surprise

Posted by James L.

I sometimes wonder if Jean Schmidt's entire political career has been a subvert effort to leave Republicans feeling punk'd in Ohio's 2nd district. Take yesterday, for example, when I read this nugget from a Cincinnati Enquirer article:

This doesn't happen every day: An incumbent member of Congress, in the middle of a re-election battle, says that storing nuclear waste shipments from around the world in her district may be a good idea.

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt does say that, and her support for studying the idea has become an issue in her re-election campaign, especially in rural Pike County, in the far eastern end of her sprawling Southern Ohio District, where the nuclear wastes would be stored.

"I'm not advocating for it one way or the other," Schmidt told The Enquirer. "I'm saying it is something we need to look at."

Schmidt said she sees potential to create "hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs" in an economically distressed part of the state, where double-digit unemployment rates are the norm.

Unreal. With just over a week left until election day, Schmidt drops a radioactive October surprise on herself. When was the last time that you heard a politician advocate for the possibility of bringing nuclear waste into their constituency? It's mind-boggling, especially since this district nestles the Ohio River.

Cincinnati is an expensive media market to air ads in, but if the DCCC wanted to finish a vulnerable Jean Schmidt off, this could be the silver bullet.

Posted at 03:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, October 29, 2006

ID-Gov, ID-01: Tossups

Posted by James L.

A new Mason-Dixon poll confirms what many on the ground in Idaho have been predicting: Democrats are in a statistical dead heat in both the Governor's and 1st District races. I can't find the actual raw numbers just yet, so we'll have to make do with this:

Democrats haven't won a governor's race since 1990 or a seat in Congress since 1992, but a call for change nationally is reaching Idaho. Coupled with Republican candidates who inspire negative feelings, Democrats have a shot.

In the governor's race, Republican U.S. Rep. Butch Otter leads Democratic newspaper owner Jerry Brady by a single percentage point. Republican state Rep. Bill Sali has a 2 percentage point lead over Democratic businessman Larry Grant for the congressional seat that runs from West Boise north to Canada. In the race to oversee public schools, Democrat Jana Jones leads Republican Tom Luna by 3 percentage points.

All three are statistical dead heats. The survey of 625 likely voters was conducted for the Idaho Statesman and Today's 6, the local ABC affiliate. The margin of error statewide is plus or minus 4 percentage points; in the 1st District that rises to 6 percentage points. Likely voters were polled last week by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, D.C. (emphasis added)

I won't keep it a secret: what's going on in Idaho is my favorite story of this cycle. Even in the reddest of red America, the GOP's lurch towards extremism coupled with a Democratic renaissance at the grassroots level has the potential to result in several major upsets this year:

"At this point in a typical campaign, Idaho Democrats are dispirited and looking for moral victories," said Jim Weatherby, a political scientist who has overseen polling at Boise State University. "This time, it looks like they may actually pull off some major victories."

In follow-up interviews with 42 polled voters, the Statesman learned they want change largely because of disapproval of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Idaho GOP Chairman Kirk Sullivan said the national mood is hurting Republicans in the reddest of states. "Idaho has been rather immune to the attitude and mood of the public across the nation," he said. "But this time, based on the amount of coverage that appears to be anti-Bush and anti-war, I believe that attitude has invaded Idaho," he said.

A blue Idaho would fit perfectly right beside a blue Montana, don't you think?

Posted at 11:33 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, October 28, 2006

KS-02: DCCC Launches a Surprise Intervention

Posted by James L.

From the AP:

House Democrats launched a surprise television attack against Rep. Jim Ryun of Kansas on Friday night, hoping to increase the number of competitive races in the battle for control of Congress.

Ryun “voted against a $1,500 combat bonus for our troops, but voted to give himself a huge pay raise — twice,” the ad says of the five-term lawmaker.

It praises his rival, Nancy Boyda, as “honest and independent — the right change for Kansas.”

The district, centered on Topeka, has been in Republican hands since 1995. The race had not generally been described by strategists in either party as a competitive one, and the commercial does not mention that Boyda is a Democrat.

Aside from some internal polling showing a tight race that some questioned, KS-02 was definitely not a race on the radar screen this cycle. But with Sebelius on the top of the ticket and Ryan performing at his weakest in 2004, perhaps the DCCC is sensing some vulnerability here. If I recall correctly, Chuck Todd of the National Journal called this a seat that could very well flip in a wave, anti-incumbent year. If the D-trip is making a last-minute intervention here, it might bode well for the chances of other 2nd and 3rd tier candidates receiving an unexpected boost.

Keep your eyes peeled for more last-week surprises.

Update: And it's not chump change, either: the DCCC is putting over $300,000 into this district, on ads both attacking Ryun and boosting Boyda. They're also spending nearly $200k on attack ads against Republican Rep. Ron Lewis (KY-02), which is also a bit eyebrow-raising.

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kansas | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Vote Vets Throws Down in Four Races

Posted by James L.

By now you may have seen one of these new ads by VoteVets PAC, running against Republican congressmen Jon Porter (NV-03), John Doolittle (CA-04), Gil Gutknecht (MN-01) and John Sweeney (NY-20):

In terms of advertising effectiveness, VoteVets is giving more bang for the buck than any other PAC or party committee this year. Their much-hyped body armor ads against Senators Talent, Burns, Allen and Santorum were impaired only by their limited budgets: a $30k-$50k media buy doesn't exactly dominate the airwaves, especially in a state as large as Pennsylvania or Virginia. For this new series of ads, however, VoteVets has scored the funding to make big, serious buys that will have an impact in each of these districts:

• $98k against Gutknecht (MN-01)
• $136k against Sweeney (NY-20)
• $237k against Porter (NV-03)

As I understand it, the John Doolittle ad will be a narrower cable buy, but even still, it should penetrate deeper in a House race than the body armor ads did with limited statewide purchases in the Senate races.

Posted at 03:25 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California, Minnesota, Nevada, New York | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 27, 2006

DCCC Turns Up the Volume: Red to Blue Expanded by 17

Posted by James L.

The DCCC has just launched a fourth wave of their Red to Blue program:

Ellen Simon (AZ-01)
Charlie Brown (CA-04)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Francine Busby (CA-50)
Jay Fawcett (CO-05)
Larry Grant (ID-01)

John Yarmuth (KY-03)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)

Dave Mejias (NY-03)
John Hall (NY-19)
Jack Davis (NY-26)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Victoria Wulsin (OH-02)
Jason Altmire (PA-04)
Judy Feder (VA-10)
Peter Goldmark (WA-05)

Netroots candidates are in bold. Wow, can you believe it? We've gotten to the point that the question is no longer which Netroots candidates are receiving DCCC support, but which candidates are not (and, by my count, that number is 2 3). Now, the main strength of a Red to Blue endorsement lies with the increased level of fundraising that comes with it. It's pretty late in the game for an endorsement like this to give these candidates a huge assist, but it should likely trigger some major donors and allied PACs to get shaking today. It's also more likely that the DCCC will keep some of these races in mind as it decides where to channel its remaining resources this weekend. And lastly, these endorsements are a huge validation to all of these candidates and volunteers who have delivered surprisingly competitive races for the Democratic Party this cycle. This is what momentum looks like, people.

Posted at 04:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: Divorced From Reality

Posted by James L.

From a Roll Call article (subscription-only):

The National Republican Congressional Committee has now spent more than $1.1 million on the write-in campaign being waged by Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), indicating that the GOP is making a definite play to hold the 22nd district seat. [...]

"Voters in the wealthy Houston suburbs are sophisticated voters, and our efforts are to make sure they don't get duped by a liberal Democrat who is posing as a conservative," a Republican strategist said Wednesday.

I'm so glad to see that the NRCC is flushing $1.1 million dollars down the tubes in a quixotic attempt to hold this seat. That's $1.1 million dollars that won't be used to defend precarious Republican holds over purplish seats like ID-01, CA-04, and WY-AL. Steven Benen at Midterm Madness sums the situation up a bit more realistically for the GOP:

Of course, GOP voters have to be more than "sophisticated," they also have to be patient enough to write in a very long name -- 20 characters, including spaces -- on an eSlate electronic voting machine, which happens to lack a keyboard.

Keep reaching for that rainbow, NRCC.

Posted at 02:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

October Fundraising Reports

Posted by James L.

If you want to check up on how your favorite candidate is doing in the fundraising game for the crucial final stretch, Tray.com has all of the October 1-18 FEC filings catalogued. Here are a few notable numbers from the first 18 days of October:

ID-01: Larry Grant (D) - $150k raised, $65k Cash-on-Hand; Bill Sali (R) - $55k raised, $43k CoH
CA-11: Jerry McNerney (D) - $417k raised, $330k CoH; Richard Pombo (R) - $351k raised, $1.05m CoH
NC-08: Larry Kissell (D) - $135k raised, $35 CoH (that's not a typo); Robin Hayes (R) - $149k raised, $794k CoH
NH-02: Paul Hodes (D) - $160k raised, $56k CoH; Charile Bass (R) - $83k raised, $332k CoH
CA-04: Charlie Brown (D) - $416k raised, $382k CoH; John Doolittle (R) - $207k raised, $712k CoH
OH-12: Bob Shamansky (D) - $424k raised, $629k CoH; Pat Tiberi (R) - $152k raised, $869k CoH
CO-05: Jay Fawcett (D) - $132k raised, $93k CoH; Doug Lamborn (R) - $84k raised, $44k CoH
NE-03: Scott Kleeb (D) - $105k raised, $191k CoH; Adrian Smith (R) - $90k raised, $185k CoH
NY-29: Eric Massa (D) - $171k raised, $341k CoH; Randy Kuhl (R) - $66k raised, $232k CoH
WY-AL: Gary Trauner (D) - $94k raised, $190k CoH; Barbara Cubin (R) - $151k raised, $273k CoH
NY-19: John Hall (D) - $226k raised, $132k CoH; Sue Kelly (R) - $121k raised, $990k CoH
AZ-01: Ellen Simon (D) - $335k raised, $67k CoH; Rick Renzi (R) - $236k raised, $674k CoH
IL-14: John Laesch (D) - $99k raised, $82k CoH; Dennis Hastert (R) - $136k raised, $454k CoH

There's plenty more where that came from. Like David says above, the netroots candidates can really use some love right now to give them an extra boost for that final week.

Posted at 01:24 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 26, 2006

DCCC Hones in on New York: Mejias, Hall, Davis, and Massa Added to Red to Blue

Posted by James L.

Perhaps sensing a once in a generation opportunity to paint as many as seven Republican districts in New York blue this cycle, the DCCC has just added Dave Mejias (NY-03), John Hall (NY-19), Jack Davis (NY-26), and Eric Massa (NY-29) to the Red to Blue program (see Jesse Lee's posts here and here). With the election a week and a half away, this would've been more significant had it been announced a few weeks ago, but hopefully it should lend these four guys an extra surge against their embattled opponents. With Sue Kelly (NY-19) running away from the local media (and taking some absolutely blistering criticism for it), Peter King (NY-03) labelling the AARP and NAACP "extremist organizations", Tom Reynolds reeling from his role in the Mark Foley cover-up, and Randy Kuhl (NY-29), um, being his crazy self, the time is ripe to turn New York state solidly blue.

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IN-03: What's Happening Here?

Posted by James L.

Not so long ago, the DCCC added Tom Hayhurst, the Democratic longshot challenger to Republican Mark Souder in Indiana's 3rd district to its list of Emerging Races. At the time, I was skeptical, being inclined to believe that the move was merely a recognition of Hayhurst's fairly good fundraising more than anything else. Hayhurst has raised $592k (of which $200k came from his own pockets) as of September 30th, nearly doubling what the lackadaisical Souder has raised this cycle. But in a district that delivered 68% of its vote to Bush two years ago, I figured his inclusion was meant more as a pat on the back rather than an indication that this seat was seriously in play.

I might have to change my mind, though, after I read this Hotline piece, detailing the NRCC's decision to buy $72,000 worth of ad time for Souder. That's not a large amount, but at the same time, it shouldn't be necessary for the NRCC to buy any ad time at all in a district this reliably Republican.

The NRCC is fanning their money around wide. Mighty wide, it seems, for a piece of it to end up defending their hold on IN-03.

PS: For a taste of what Hayhurst is spending his money on, here's one of his campaign commercials. It's pretty good.

Posted at 06:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Indiana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NRCC/NRSC Target List Leaked?

Posted by James L.

Chris Bowers has managed to score a stunning leak from the GOP: a seemingly full list (although it looks about a week out of date) of seats that the NRSC and NRCC are defending and targeting this cycle, complete with internal "rankings" of the likelihood of these seats changing hands.

The preliminary findings: they've written off Conrad Burns and Michael Steele in the Senate, and Graf, Sekula-Gibs, Padgett and Sherwood in the House, while also identifying 2 other Senate seats and 10 other House seats as leaning towards Democratic control.

Check it out; it's well worth a look. One of the most eye-opening things is that the NRCC is listing OH-02 as a toss-up (a race that the DCCC has yet to intervene in, although the NRCC mysteriously lists it as a race with DCCC ads, according to Bowers' chart).

Update: On second thought, doesn't this thing seem like it's a pile of bullshit? The DCCC is NOT running ads against Walsh, Schmidt, Bass, Porter, or Schmidt, contrary to what this list is telling you. There is no way the NRCC could be that sloppy.

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-02: Going for the Jugular

Posted by James L.

I think that about sums it up. On the web: Dr. Vic Wulsin for Congress

Posted at 04:53 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 23, 2006

WY-AL: Barbara Cubin is Despicable

Posted by DavidNYC

From the Casper Star-Tribune:

The verbal sparring between two candidates for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat didn't end when the televised debate ended Sunday evening.

Immediately after the lights and cameras shut down, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin walked to Libertarian candidate Thomas Rankin, who had criticized her for receiving contributions from former House Speaker Tom Delay, R-Texas.

"'If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face,'" Cubin told Rankin, he said Monday.

Rankin suffers from multiple sclerosis. "That chair" is the wheelchair he uses. I'm just in disbelief.

Barbara Cubin is a despicable, disgusting human being - and I think I'm being too polite. I sure as hell hope netroots candidate Gary Trauner sends her into early retirement next month.

(Via the DCCC.)

Posted at 11:07 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Wyoming | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, October 21, 2006

ID-01: Club For Growth Bails Out Endangered Sali

Posted by James L.

Man oh man; I love it when an extremist Republican scheme backfires, especially when we're talking about the dogmatic anti-government agenda of the Club For Growth. Knowing that their extremist politics could only stand the chance of finding recognition in the most conservative of districts, the Club For Growth targeted primaries in solid Republican districts like NV-02 (R+7.5), NE-03 (R+23.6), and CO-05 (R+15.7), backing the most rigidly conservative and anti-government candidates they could find. The only problem, though, is that the Club has picked less than top-shelf candidates to act as their ideological flag-bearers in deep Republican territory. In Idaho's 1st district, as everyone knows by now, CFG members funneled $350k to onesuch flawed candidate, state Rep. Bill Sali, and spent an additional $133k on independent expenditure ads to help him eke out an underwhelming 26% victory in a crowded Republican primary back in May.

The story was supposed to end there. The Republican primary was supposed to be the real election, given that this district delivered nearly 70% of its vote to Bush in 2004. But an energetic and committed core of local Democratic activists and organizers were not willing to let an embarrassment like Sali become their next voice in Washington, and rallied around the upstart candidacy of Larry Grant, a respected local business leader. (The netroots entered the fray in August.) And with Sali's divisive and unproductive reputation preceding him, Sali has failed to gain much traction.

With several polls showing Grant nipping at Sali's heels, the NRCC has dumped almost $200k into this state in order to prevent a Democratic rout in Idaho, according to the latest FEC filings. And they're not done yet: the Club For Growth has scurried back into the fray, pumping in an emergency transfusion of $180k for oppositional TV ads against Grant earlier today. And knowing the Club For Growth, they're going to be leaving their kid gloves at home. Grant is within striking distance of costing them a crucial ally in the House, and they're not happy about it.

The Republican scramble to defend this GOP bastion is nothing short of remarkable in a district this red, but Grant is in danger of having his message swamped out by the NRCC and the Club For Growth. If I were running expenditures at the DCCC, I wouldn't pass this opportunity up. A candidate as bad as Sali is just too rare of an opportunity to let slip away. All the DCCC has to do is run an ad or two featuring Republican testimonials of Sali. Here are a few choice examples:

"That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body." (GOP Speaker of the Idaho House, Bruce Newcomb)
"I would not and do not and cannot endorse a liar for Congress." (GOP Canyon County commissioner Robert Vasquez).

Alternately, one could just quote Sali himself:
"With deep thinking and memory recall, I start getting real bad brain fade, and definitely some speech problems," placed side by side with his claim that "[for] much of the time in the Legislature, critical-thinking skills are not necessarily needed."

Bill Sali: his entire political career is a negative advertisement waiting to be written.

UPDATE: Whoa! It looks like Larry is two steps ahead of me. Check out this blistering attack ad hosted by the DCCC here. It hits on everything I wanted to see.

Posted at 07:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-03, NY-19: New York Times Endorses Mejias & Hall

Posted by DavidNYC

Cognizant of all the ususal disclaimers about endorsements, let me just say that this is a nice bit of news for both Dave Mejias and John Hall. The Times often likes to endorse Republican incumbents for irritating, silly reasons (seniority, "thoughtfulness," etc.), so it's nice to see they've taken the right side in both of these races. Because the Times produces separate local editions for both Westchester and Long Island, these endorsements should help boost both candidates' name rec.

No links yet, but some excerpts from each below the fold.


Mr. Mejias is one of the few bright bulbs in the low-watt Nassau Legislature. He helped to create a bill of rights for domestic workers in Nassau, requiring that employers give them written statement of their rights under federal and state law. He has a good environmental record, particularly in efforts to preserve open space, and has been an important ally of County Executive Thomas Suozzi in restoring fiscal discipline to Nassau government. He promises to be a refreshing change in the Third District, and we endorse him.


The New York Times has endorsed John Hall for US Congress in the 19th District and calls him “a lawmaker of energy, steady conviction and clear principles” and “the obvious choice” in an editorial that will be published in the paper’s Westchester section tomorrow, Sunday, October 22.

The 500-plus word editorial endorsement in the Times notes that Hall, who has been “politically engaged for decades,” emerged from the Democratic primary race with “a resounding victory,” thanks to an “ambitious and coherent” platform that “calls for universal health coverage, a return to fiscal discipline and a full-bore national effort to achieve energy independence.”

Posted at 04:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NH-02: My Favorite Mailer This Year

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm an incredibly tough critic when it comes to humor. But this Hodes mailer is both incredibly well done and very clever. It's easily my favorite piece of snail mail this election:

Totally excellent. I've posted the second page of the flyer below the fold. And follow these links to find larger versions of the front and back.

Posted at 11:25 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-05: Hayworth Surrogate to Jews: "No wonder there are anti-Semites"

Posted by DavidNYC

You won't believe what two JD Hayworth surrogates said to (and about) Jews - while filling in for their candidate at an event at a synagogue:

Unable to defend his repeated praise of Henry Ford's anti-Semitic "Americanization" program, U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth bailed on a scheduled campaign appearance Tuesday evening only to send in his place surrogates who repeatedly lectured the audience at Temple Beth Israel in Scottsdale and proclaimed that Hayworth "is a more observant Jew" than those present. [Source: Arizona Republic, Oct. 17, 2006]

The comment by Jonathan Tratt, a spokesman for the Hayworth campaign, drew loud and angry boos and caused nearly three-quarters of the crowd of more than 200 to walk out in disgust. After the walkout, another Hayworth surrogate, Irit Tratt, stood on the Temple's bimah as she told members of the audience who gathered to ask questions, "No wonder there are anti-Semites."

I'm just speechless.

(Via the DCCC.)

Posted at 10:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

House and Senate Races Round-up: Cash, Ratings Changes, Polls & More!

Posted by James L.

So much news has been buzzing around this week, and boy, has it ever been difficult to restrain myself and study for my midterms while the walls of Fortress GOP come tumbling down. But now that I have a little spare time, let's take a look at recent developments:

MT-Sen: Harry Reid has promised Jon Tester a seat on the Appropriations Committee should he defeat Conrad Burns this November. Tester has promised to make sure that Montana gets its fair share of earmarks, while at the same time ensuring that the process receives "full public scrutiny". Seems like it could be a tough balancing act for most unprincipled politicians, but something about Jon Tester feels different. This development should help boost his argument that Montana has nothing to lose by embracing change this year.

Party committee fundraising receipts are in for the month of September: the DCCC raised $14.4m and entered October with $36m cash-on-hand. The DSCC raised $13.6m and had $23m CoH as the month began. The DNC raised $5.6m in September (with an additional $1m coming in during the last two days, reportedly) and entered October with $8.6m CoH. The DNC has taken out a loan in the ballpark of $5m to $10m to help aid the DSCC's efforts to run the table in the Senate (a very wise strategy), and also expects to spend $25m on "election day activities".

Meanwhile, the NRCC raised $12m in September, and ended the month with $40m CoH. The NRSC raised an underwhelming $5.1m and trailed the DSCC in CoH as well, with $12m in the bank. The RNC had a formidable $26m CoH, and they plan to push a large chunk of that money into shoring up their Senate seats (a job that the NRSC is haplessly underperforming at).

The DCCC has made some noises about taking out a large loan and pumping money into 2nd tier districts, but their most recent expenditure--$12 million--has mostly been funneled to top-tier targets. The clock is ticking on the chance to expand the battlefield. In 2004, the DCCC took out a loan to help fund for its defense of redistricted incumbents in Texas (a largely futile task, save for the defense of Chet Edwards), and I see no reason not to turn the tables around and launch a salvo deep into 2nd and 3rd tier territory. I'm sure that the DCCC has more planned--a lot more--but the exact scope is not yet clear.

Ratings changes galore! Charlie Cook (10/18):

ID-Gov (OPEN): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
RI-Gov (Carcieri): Lean Republican to Toss Up
TX-Gov (Perry): Solid Republican to Likely Republican

AZ-01 (Renzi): Solid Republican to Likely Republican
CA-50 (Bilbray): Solid Republican to Likely Republican
ID-01 (Open): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
KS-02 (Ryun): Solid Republican to Likely Republican
MN-01 (Gutknecht): Likely Republican to Lean Republican

CQ Politics (in the last 7 days):

WA-08 (Reichert): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite
PA-04 (Hart): Republican Favored to Leans Republican
NE-03 (OPEN): Safe Republican to Republican Favored
MN-01 (Gutknecht): Republican Favored to Leans Republican
PA-07 (Weldon): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic
ID-01 (OPEN): Safe Republican to Republican Favored
CO-Gov (OPEN): No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic
RI-Sen (Chafee): No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic
NM-01 (Wilson): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite
OH-15 (Pryce): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite
NC-11 (Taylor): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite
MA-Gov (Open): No Clear Favorite to Democrat Favored

NY-26: From the seemingly Bad News Dept., SUSA has a new poll showing Tom Reynolds back on top of Jack Davis, by a 49-46 margin. That's still pretty hairy, and SUSA notes that a phone disruption actually caused this poll to undersample a crucial Democratic area that favored Davis by 11 points, indicating that this race is even tighter than these numbers suggest. I'd wait for another poll (which SUSA promises shortly) before making too many assumptions. But one assumption that would be unhealthy for us to make is that Tom Reynolds' political career is over.

KY-03: From the Great News Dept., SUSA has another poll showing Democratic challenger John Yarmuth running neck-and-neck with entrenched Republican incumbent Anne Northup (likely voters, 9/29 results in parens):

John Yarmuth (D): 48 (44)
Anne Northup (R-Inc.): 47 (50)
MoE: ±4.3%

Lots of people wrote Yarmuth off, including me, given Northup's solid cred as a battle-tested, effective campaigner. It looks like we could end up with a big egg on our faces, though. (One guy who never did, however, is the Bluegrass Report's Mark Nickolas.) From a distance, Northup's campaign doesn't seem to be engaging Yarmuth effectively, and the Democratic lean of Louisville is putting her at serious risk this year. Northup still has an insane amount of resources to spend on apocalyptic TV ads, and it might help her seal the deal. Or it may not. If you're in the area, Get Out The Vote. This election is about picking up as much low-hanging fruit as possible--it's about base motivation. The Republicans appear to be ready for the challenge. How about the Democrats? It's up to you to write that story.

Posted at 05:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

TX-17: NRCC Retreats, Circles the Wagons in... Idaho?

Posted by James L.

Another quick 'n' dirty update (I've got a major midterm tomorrow): from the indispensable Burnt Orange Report comes word of a full-scale retreat by the National Republican Campaign Committee in TX-17, home of the perennially-targeted Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards:

According to five television stations in the DFW market, the NRCC on Monday canceled its planned television ad buy on behalf of Taylor. The cancelled Taylor buy was valued at over $1.5 million and was scheduled to run in the last two weeks of the campaign.

One by one, Republicans are cutting the lifelines of even their most top-tier challengers, and focusing on precarious seats in purplish states like... Idaho. Yes, Idaho, home of one of the most surprisingly competitive congressional races this cycle:

At the same time, the National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday began buying tens of thousands of dollars of television airtime across the district to run a last-minute advertising blitz beginning today, broadcasters said. Democratic candidate Larry Grant said Idaho airwaves will be flooded with attack ads targeting him because Republicans are panicking.

“Our understanding is the NRCC has produced a negative ad, and they bought almost $400,000 to run these ads against me,” Grant said. “I think most folks are going to understand they are in trouble.”

$400,000 on a district that delivered 70% of its vote for Bush in 2004. Chew on that one. With the Republicans losing confidence in Van Taylor's campaign in TX-17 (a district that is just as Republican as ID-01), how often do we see the NRCC nervous about their ability to win in districts that have delivered 70% of their vote to Bush?

For just a taste of how awful Idaho Republican candidate Bill Sali is as a politician, check out his statement from four years ago on his mental affliction that he curiously refers to as "brain fade".

Posted at 04:24 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho, Texas | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 16, 2006

AZ-05, CA-50, MN-02, NM-01: SUSA Shows Huge Movement for Democratic Challengers

Posted by James L.

Survey USA has four hot new polls out today, each showing a signficant bump for Democratic challengers:

AZ-05: Mitchell (D) 45, Hayworth (R) 48
CA-50: Busby (D) 46, Bilbray (R) 49
MN-02: Rowley (DFL) 42, Kline (R) 50
NM-01: Madrid (D) 53, Wilson (R) 45

I'd put up trendlines, etc, but I'm pressed for time. Here's the money quote, though:

In all four of these districts, we observe significant movement away from the Republican incumbent and towards the Democratic challenger, with the Republican's lead decreasing by between 9 and 13 points. Furthermore, all four districts show a shift in the party distribution of likely voters, with the Republican-Democrat difference changing towards Democrats by between 4 and 11 points. Two possible explanations for this shift are:

1) Republicans are becoming less likely to vote, and Democrats are becoming more likely to vote;
2) Some "weak Republicans" are now identifying themselves as Independent, while some left-leaning Independents are now identifying themselves as Democrats.
It is unclear at this time which of these explanations is more significant, or how persistent the shift will be. But the consistency of the pattern suggests that the movement in these 4 contests may be driven by a nationwide trend affecting all House races, rather than by factors specific to the individual districts.

How crazy would it be if an underfunded, unnoticed Busby managed to knock out Bilbray the second time around? While I still think it's quite unlikely, with numbers like these, it all depends on base motivation. You go, girl!

Posted at 09:05 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona, California, Minnesota, New Mexico | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NH-02: Charlie Bass Steps in Some Macaca

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, Charlie Bass. Lately he's shown exactly how weak his grey matter is. Now, he's gone a step further and shown a strong preference for the taste of his own feet. Just the other day, he managed to insult Bernie Sanders, his supporters, and New Yorkers all in one fell swoop:

"Oh, it's going to be nice not to have Hugo Chavez across the Connecticut river, representing Vermont at large. Bernie Sanders and his Sandernistas, go back to taxi driving in the Bronx of New York City, where they came from to begin with".

Watch the video here:

The line - delivered in a hostile, sneering tone - comes about 35 seconds in and is greeted with hearty applause. To my ears, this is some not-so-thinly veiled racist fear-mongering, given that the Bronx is a predominantly black and Hispanic borough. The choice of the phrase "taxi drivers" also stands out. It's a double-whammy: Bass readily mocks hard-working people he views as "beneath" his own lofty station, and he singles out for derision a group composed largely of immigrants. It's no surprise that the faux-moderate Bass holds such ugly views - they are typical of Republican office-holders.

It's also no surprise that Bass, yet again, manages to show how stupid he is. First off, Sanders is from Brooklyn, not the Bronx. But, more importantly, Bernie is still gonna be representing Vermont "at large" next year. Is Charlie not aware that Sanders is running for the Senate this year, and is leading by huge margins in every single poll? Considering that Charlie Bass has still not released any of his internal polls this year, perhaps he's just no longer familiar with the general concept of public opinion surveys.

Like I say, when it comes to Charlie Bass, nothing surprises me. But if he wants to pick a fight with all of New York City, bring it on. As we like to say around here, "Yeah? You and what army?"

Posted at 10:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NRCC Stretching to Defend Expanding Playing Field

Posted by James L.

From the Hotline:

Competitive races are popping up in some very surprising places.

The NRCC just began direct-mail hits against Victoria Wulsin (OH 02) and CA 50's Francine Busby (remember her?). Republicans are phone banking against Charlie Brown (CA 04) and have spent nearly $500K against Jerry McNerney (CA 11). These were hardly top targets even one month ago.

A new Mason-Dixon poll demonstrates how races are popping up in unusual territory. In CO 05, which has never elected a Democrat, Jay Fawcett (D) is tied with state Sen. Doug Lamborn (R) at 37%.

How much more of this can Republicans take? Spending resources against people like Francine Busby (I can hardly believe it), Charlie Brown, and Jerry McNerney--all challengers facing uphill climbs in strongly Republican districts in California--is definitely not something the NRCC had in mind a month ago. I've been reluctant to predict that we'll see a "wave" election this fall, but the NRCC is scrambling to deal with one. The receipts don't lie.

But for Democrats to take advantage of the NRCC spreading its defensive game thin, the DCCC is going to need even more resources than what they've got already. Markos has it right: House Democrats sitting on large warchests in safe districts need to give, and give generously, today (I'm looking at you, Rob Andrews) to help secure a Democratic House this November.

Posted at 04:58 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-12: Hilarious Shamansky Ad

Posted by James L.

Here's something pretty rare: a genuinely funny campaign commercial. This one's from former Rep. Bob Shamansky, and goes right for the jugular of incumbent Rep. Pat Tiberi--only with a liberal dose of humor that made JibJab such a craze two years ago.

Awesome. Just awesome. At 78 years old, Bob Shamansky is one of the unlikeliest candidates for Congress this year. Shamansky actually originally contested this seat in 1966 (that's not a typo) unsuccessfully, but did manage to knock off 10-term incumbent Rep. Samuel Devine in 1980, before redistricting forced his defeat just two years later. Now, Bob's back to challenge Republican congressman Pat Tiberi in a district that's more favorable for Democrats since Bush edged Gore here by a 51-46% margin in 2000. Due to extensive voter registration efforts by local Democrats and changing demographics in Franklin County, Bush squeaked by with 51% to Kerry's 49% in 2004. While this is certainly not the likeliest of House Democratic pick-ups, Shamansky has put up a respectable amount of his own money into this race, and with the mood of the Ohio and national electorate turning sour for Republicans, you never know about a seat like this.

Crazier things have happened.

Posted at 12:44 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 09, 2006

NY-26: CQ Makes a Dramatic Rating Change

Posted by James L.

From Leans Republican to Leans Democratic. Wowza.

The scandal surrounding resigned Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley and the salacious messages he sent to underage congressional pages has engulfed Washington, D.C., and reordered the already pitched partisan battle for control of the House.

And nowhere is that more true than in New York’s 26th District, where the re-election prospects of four-term Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds — head of the Republicans’ national House campaign organization — have seen a stunning reversal of fortune. The controversy over Reynolds’ handling of information about Foley’s activities has prompted CQPolitics.com to change its rating on the race to Leans Democratic from Leans Republican.

That switch comes just one week after CQPolitics.com downgraded Reynolds to Leans Republican from Safe Republican — a position where Reynolds had comfortably resided prior to Foley’s abrupt Sept. 29 resignation.

National Republican Campaign Committee chairman Tom Reynolds is in such a bind that CQ is calling him the underdog now. That's no small feat for a formerly popular Republican in a district that only gave 43% of its vote to John Kerry in 2004. In the wake of Reynolds' involvement in covering up Mark Foley's predatory behavior in Congress (with Reynolds even going so far as to ask Foley to run again after he learned of inappropriate e-mail messages sent from Foley to a 16 year-old boy), CQ notes that national 527s and PACs like Majority Action and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are pushing Reynolds' pressure points hard. To hear Majority Action's no holds barred radio ad slamming Reynolds' role in the Foley cover-up scandal, click here. I'd love to see AFSCME's ad, but I have yet to see a copy of it distributed online.

This is what striking at the head of the serpent looks like.

Posted at 06:52 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Gallup: Democrats Have a 23-Point Lead

Posted by James L.

Rock bottom:

Four weeks before congressional elections, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows Democrats hold a 23-point lead over GOP candidates. That's double the lead Republicans had a month before they seized control of Congress in 1994.

President Bush's approval rating was 37%, down from 44% in a Sept. 15-17 poll. The approval rating for Congress was 24%, down 5 points from last month.

The plummeting GOP ratings in the poll of 1,007 adults, taken Friday through Sunday, come after a series of dismal developments for the party. They include high levels of violence in Iraq; a National Intelligence Estimate that contradicted upbeat administration statements on Iraq; a new Bob Woodward book about internal White House disagreements over Iraq policy, and the Sept. 29 resignation of GOP Rep. Mark Foley hours after reports that he exchanged sexually explicit instant messages with teenage House pages.

Last month's poll showed a bounce for Bush and Republicans following the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and a party-wide focus on terrorism. "Not only is it gone, but the Democrats have momentum," Democratic strategist Anita Dunn said.

She called the Foley scandal "the absolute crystallization for people of everything they dislike about Washington and the congressional Republicans."

Last month, Gallup had Democrats and Republicans tied at 48% each among likely voters. There are lots of caveats about generic ballot polls--namely, the pesky tendency for voters to voice their party preference, and yet remain reluctant to actually fire their incumbent Representative at the polls. Still, 23 points is full-scale disaster territory. Even the much-vaunted GOP turnout operation can't stop that kind of bleeding.

Posted at 04:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-05: Nancy Johnson = Pure Evil

Posted by James L.

It's a tough call, but for some reason, Connecticut's Nancy Johnson is the Republican House member I despise most. I'm not talking about ordinary, banal Republican evil. I'm talking about Satan's stooge-type evil. Maybe it was her tasteless campaign commercial that re-enacted a 9/11 funeral service, or maybe it was her disgustingly misleading campaign ad saying that because Chris Murphy opposes illegal wiretapping, he also opposes prompt surveillance of terrorist communications. (It's a totally ludicrous claim, of course--there's no stopping warrants from being sought AFTER the wiretap was conducted.) But this statement from Johnson on the House Republican cover-up of the Mark Foley scandal takes the cake:

If any leader from either party tried to cover up this information at the expense of the safety of our children, then they should resign their position immediately.

It would be reprehensible if any Republican leader intentionally covered up the full facts of the case, and it would be equally reprehensible if Democrat leaders sat on this information for a year in order to release it 30 days before an election.

I want an investigation to go forward to find out answers to these questions.

There are probably a dozen ridiculous things about this statement, but let's point out the obvious ones. As ctblogger notes, Johnson throws out a completely baseless insinuation that Democrats had access to Mark Foley's predatory e-mails and IMs, when there is no evidence of the sort. Where does she get off throwing her party's dirty laundry into the Democrats' backyard? Completely despicable. Secondly, Nancy Johnson knows goddamn well that Democrats didn't leak Foley's e-mails to the media; Republican sources did, according to both The Hill and ABC's Brian Ross. So Nancy Johnson gets to lie through her teeth merely by "raising the question" of whether or not "Democrat leaders" leaked this information for electoral purposes. And to top it all off, she spits all this bile while somehow clinging to a "grandmotherly" image of care and moderation.

It's a good thing none of Johnson's TV ads show her facing away from the camera--otherwise her demonic horns might have been revealed.

Posted at 01:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, October 07, 2006

ID-01: Another Republican Takes Aim at Sali

Posted by James L.

The race for Idaho's first congressional district is one of the craziest scenarios this cycle. Just how awful must Bill Sali, the Republican nominee, be to give his Democratic opponent (netroots candidate Larry Grant) a chance to wage a competitive campaign for this open seat that delivered 69% of its vote to Bush in 2004? Pretty awful.

After squeaking out a victory with 26% of the vote in a very crowded GOP primary back in May, Sali's reputation as the embarrassment of the state House ("an absolute idiot" according to the Republican Speaker) hasn't done him any favors in his general election campaign. And now, Sali's runner-up in the primary, county commissioner Robert Vasquez (who is actually now waging a primary challenge to Sen. Larry Craig for the '08 nomination), is quite willing to bash Sali senseless in front of any reporter willing to listen:

Vasquez also took aim at Bill Sali, the Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District who defeated Vasquez in a six-way primary election. Sali took nearly 26 percent of the vote, Vasquez took 18.5 percent. The commissioner said that if both he and Sali end up representing Idaho at the nation's capital, he would not work with Sali on any legislation.

"I would have no problem working with any other member of Idaho's delegation," Vasquez said. "I cannot in my wildest imaging contemplate any issue that Bill Sali would champion that would be beneficial to Idaho or the United States of America instead of big business corporations."

The Spokesman-Review blog has more:

Today, in the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa, second-place finisher Robert Vasquez, a Canyon County commissioner, said he’d never vote for GOP primary victor Bill Sali because, “I would not and do not and cannot endorse a liar for Congress.”

Ouch. Meanwhile, Alan at Idablue has managed to find some of Sali's campaign paraphernalia.

Posted at 10:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 06, 2006

Recent CQ Ratings Changes

Posted by James L.

CQ is the most risk-averse of all the major prognosticators, making changes to their House and Senate race ratings only when they're absolutely sure that conditions have changed significantly in each particular constituency. Bowers suggests that this equates to wearing Republican-tinted glasses, but really, it says more to CQ's timidity and respect for conventional wisdom surrounding the near-invincibility of incumbents. So when CQ actually musters the guts to change their ratings, even incrementally, it's worth a look.

Here's everything I've seen in the past week:

CA-Gov (Schwarzenegger-R v. Angelides-D): No Clear Favorite to Leans Republican
CA-04 (Doolittle-R v. Brown-D): Safe Republican to Republican Favored
CA-11 (Pombo-R v. McNerney-D): Republican Favored to Leans Republican
CO-05 (OPEN; Lamborn-R v. Fawcett-D): Safe Republican to Republican Favored
FL-16 (Foley/Negron-R v. Mahoney-D): Safe Republican to No Clear Favorite to Leans Democratic
FL-22 (Shaw-R v. Klein-D): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite
NJ-07 (Ferguson-R v. Stender-D): Republican Favored to Leans Republican
NY-26 (Reynolds-R v. Davis-D): Safe Republican to Leans Republican
NC-11 (Taylor-R v. Shuler-D): Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite

The Mark Foley cover-up scandal gave CQ the cover to make a few badly-needed revisions, but I still find FL-22 a little eyebrow-raising. (Or maybe I'm the one who's timid.) It's pretty amazing that they took this long to downgrade the competitiveness of CA-Gov, though. Anyone who was anyone knew that race was over as soon as the Democratic primary got irrevocably ugly, making the Governator look refreshing in comparison.

UPDATE: CQ has made a few ratings changes this afternoon, moving MN-Sen and AZ-08 into the "Democrat Favored" column from No Clear Favorite.

UPDATE (David): Gonna add some Cook (not CQ) ratings changes to this post:

AK-Gov (Open): Toss Up to Lean Republican
AR-Gov (Open): Toss Up to Lean Democratic
CO-Gov (Open): Toss Up to Lean Democratic
MA-Gov (Open): Toss Up to Lean Democratic
MN-Gov (Pawlenty): Lean Republican to Toss Up

CA-04 (Doolittle): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
CA-11 (Pombo): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
CO-04 (Musgrave): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
FL-13 (Open): Lean Republican to Toss Up
KY-02 (Lewis): Solid Republican to Lean Republican
MN-06 (Open): Lean Republican to Toss Up
NV-02 (Open): Likely Republican to Lean Republican
NY-26 (Reynolds): Solid Republican to Toss Up
NC-08 (Hayes): Solid Republican to Likely Republican
PA-04 (Hart): Solid Republican to Likely Republican
PA-07 (Weldon): Lean Republican to Toss Up
PA-10 (Sherwood): Lean Republican to Toss Up
WA-08 (Reichert): Lean Republican to Toss Up
WI-08 (Open): Lean Republican to Toss Up

This is the most volatile set of House ratings changes I've seen from Amy Walter (sub. req.) this cycle. (The gubernatorial rankings are courtesy Jennifer Duffy.) A few things to note. One, this is the first time I've seen Amy move a race more than one notch at a time - she pushes KY-02 from Solid R to Lean R (bypassing Likely R), and shifts NY-26 all the way from Solid R to Toss Up (a full three-column shift). Personally, I would have had NY-26 at Likely R all along, but this is still a big move.

KY-02, though, is almost an even better example of how quickly the CW can change in any given district. Less than three weeks ago - on Sept. 20th - Walter moved the race from Likely R to Solid R. Now she pushes it right back, and then some. All in all, though, this list is clearly a great sign for Democrats.

Posted at 04:04 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 05, 2006

NY-26: NRCC Chairman Reynolds on Brink of Defeat

Posted by James L.

In the wake of scandalous headlines and embarrassing press conferences, it's no wonder that NRCC chair Tom Reynolds is reduced to a sweating, blubbering apologist for his role in the House Republican Leadership cover-up of Mark Foley's predatory advances towards congressional pages. Here's one more reason for Reynolds to toss and turn tonight (SUSA, likely voters, 9/28 in parens):

Jack Davis (D): 50 (43)
Tom Reynolds (R-Inc.): 45 (45)
MoE: ±4.6%

How sweet it is: the man in charge of co-ordinating the defensive strategy for House Republican incumbents this fall is on the path towards losing his own seat. Jack Davis, who captured a surprisingly good 44% of the vote here in 2004 (where he outperformed Kerry by 1%) and can self-fund this year's bid, is poised to strike a decapitating blow for Democrats this November.

PS: Sorry for the slowness this week--I have a huge economics exam tomorrow, so I'll be hunkered down in my vice-presidential bunker for a good 24 hours.

Posted at 04:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reuters House Race Polls

Posted by James L.

Check them out here. I have to run to class, so I can't post the breakdown here just yet. From a quick skimming, the results are shockingly good for Democrats--Democratic candidates hold leads in almost every key race polled (surprisingly, Ken Lucas being a notable exception). Too good, maybe.

Update: Okay, now I realize why these polls are so favorable for Democrats--that pinko Zogby did them. (I'm being facetious, of course, but Zogby has been known to produce results that often tilt slightly towards Democratic candidates over most other polls.)

Posted at 12:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Creepy Old Men Defending Creepy Old Men

Posted by James L.

One of the worst aspects of the media swarm on the House Republican cover-up of Rep. Mark Foley's predatory relationship with young congressional pages for the GOP this fall has got to be the face of Dennis Hastert.

Parents are grasping to rationalize how the House Republican leadership, who knew of Foley's creepy come-ons to underage pages for at least a year before ABC news busted the story wide open, could let Foley off with only a "warning" rather than a serious investigation. When they turn on their TVs, when the open their daily newspapers, Hastert's face is all over the coverage of this scandal. There's got to be something unsettling for parents to see old men like Hastert spin and lie as they stubbornly refuse to accept responsibility for their failure to protect children working in Congress. And with Hastert refusing to step down as Speaker, he will remain in the media's crosshairs as more sickening details surrounding Foley's conduct are revealed and the House Republican Leadership's failures to protect children are questioned even harder. The GOP has no one at the top with a motherly image to do damage control: Hastert, Boehner, Reynolds, Shimkus... all negligent old men defending their irresponsible attitude towards child sex predators on Capitol Hill. And yes, when Dennis Hastert slams the abused former pages for speaking up on Foley, saying that they're threatening the Republicans' capacity to keep America safe from terrorism, you're goddamned right that I'm calling him a creep, too.

Posted at 06:09 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Illinois | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 02, 2006

TX-22: Nick Lampson Calls on NRCC to Protect Exploited Children

Posted by James L.

David gave me the day off today, but I just can't sit in my seat and not share this news with you. On Friday, when the explosive revelations surrounding Republican Rep. Mark Foley's predatory relationship with young male pages--and the cover-up by the enabling and irresponsible House Republican Leadership--were revealed, Swing State Project took the lead in demanding that Mark Foley and the NRCC atone for their actions by donating the $2.7 million+ warchest that Foley had amassed for his re-election. I have no doubt that the NRCC would gladly suck up the $2.7 million warchest of a sexual predator, so it's time for our voices to be heard: Republicans must turn over their tainted money to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or a similar credible charity that protects exploited children.

One strong voice that has emerged on this matter is former Congressman Nick Lampson, who originally founded the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (the same Caucus that Foley would go on to shamefully taint). Lampson has set up a great action page that helps you send a message to Republicans that using Foley's tainted $2.7 million to help protect vulnerable incumbents this fall is unacceptable:

Today, I sent a letter to my opponent asking her to join me in calling for the resignation of any member of congressional leadership who had knowledge of inappropriate email and instant messenger communications between shamed Congressman Mark Foley and underage pages working at the House of Representatives. I urged my opponent to donate the funds she recently received from Congressman Tom Reynolds, who has admitted he knew of the situation and did nothing about it and from any others in congressional leadership who had prior knowledge of Mr. Foley's actions to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Now, we find out that the national Republicans are quick to condemn Congressman Foley, but are willing to accept the $2.7 million campaign war chest Mr. Foley has amassed. On Sunday, Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said "that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley's money or part of it to devote to House races." [New York Times, 10/2/06]

That's despicable.

Please join me in calling on Mr. Foley and the NRCC to donate his $2.7 million campaign war chest to the National Center for Missing Exploited Children.

Lampson is stepping up aggressively on this issue, and I'd like every single Democratic challenger to follow. I want Democrats to demand that their Republican opponents return any money that Foley donated to them. I want Democrats to demand that the NRCC not take ownership of the campaign warchest of a sexual predator. And furthermore, I want to see a lot more press releases like this one:

"Congressman Foley was a member of our Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus and even rose to chair that organization," Lampson said. "Because of our involvement in that caucus, I feel utterly betrayed by these revelations. This is simply disgusting, and the fact that Congressional leaders knew about the allegations and actively worked to cover them up is an outrage. Any member of congressional leadership who knew about these allegations and failed to act should resign from Congress immediately." (Emphasis added.)

Posted at 04:04 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 29, 2006

FL-16: Tell Mark Foley to Donate His Campaign Account to Charity

Posted by James L.

After issuing a flurry of self-righteous, outraged denials last night, Mark Foley is resigning from Congress today after realizing that he won't be able to stop the full exposure of the extent of his inappropriate and predatory advances towards current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18. That a Congressman would abuse his position of authority to make predatory advances to 16-year-olds is one of the most shameful stains on political office imaginable. This requires more than a resignation: this requires atonement.

In the comments section, Democraticavenger points out that Mark Foley's campaign cash will likely find its way back into the National Republican Campaign Committee's coffers, much like how former CA-50 Rep. Duke Cunningham spread his campaign cash before he began his prison term. If Foley had any sense of remorse, or any sense of shame, he would surrender all $2.8 million of his cash-on-hand (Aug. 16 numbers) to charities for exploited children. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children would be a great and obvious choice, but I'm sure that there are many other worthy charities for exploited children in Florida that Foley could contribute his campaign stash to, as well.

If you're from Florida, please use this tool to write Mark Foley or call him at one of the numbers listed below and demand that he apologize in a meaningful way by donating his political funds to children's charities. If you're not from Florida, please call his D.C. office and share the same sentiments.

Washington, DC
202-225-3132 (fax)

Palm Beach County
561-626-4749 (fax)

St. Lucie County
772-871-0651 (fax)

Charlotte County
941-627-9101 (fax)

Highlands County

Posted at 04:50 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Florida | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

FL-16: Foley Resigning! (headline updated)

Posted by DavidNYC

This banner is up on CNN right now:

Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida will not run for reelection amid questions about e-mails he sent to a former Capitol Hill page, Republican sources say.

More news as it breaks. Let's hope this is accurate.

UPDATE: ABC's blog is reporting the same:

Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) planned to resign today, hours after ABC questioned him about sexually explicit internet messages with current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18.

A spokesman for Foley, the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, said the congressman submitted his resignation in a letter late this afternoon to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.

Check out that last graf. Wow.

UPDATE: So, what happens? Section 100.111(4)(a) of the Florida election code, courtesy Adam B.:

"In the event that death, resignation, withdrawal, removal, or any other cause or event should cause a party to have a vacancy in nomination which leaves no candidate for an office from such party, the Department of State shall notify the chair of the appropriate state, district, or county political party executive committee of such party; and, within 5 days, the chair shall call a meeting of his or her executive committee to consider designation of a nominee to fill the vacancy.

The name of any person so designated shall be submitted to the Department of State within 7 days after notice to the chair in order that the person designated may have his or her name on the ballot of the ensuing general election. If the name of the new nominee is submitted after the certification of results of the preceding primary election, however, the ballots shall not be changed and the former party nominee's name will appear on the ballot.

Any ballots cast for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee. If there is no opposition to the party nominee, the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee will be elected to office at the general election. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "district political party executive committee" means the members of the state executive committee of a political party from hose counties comprising the area involving a district office."

Posted at 03:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Florida | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 28, 2006

NY-26: NRCC Chairman tied with Jack Davis (D)

Posted by RBH

SurveyUSA released a new poll showing the following results.

Jack Davis (D): 43
Tom Reynolds (R-Inc): 45
Christine Murphy (G): 8
Undecided: 4
MoE: ±4.5%

But, there's a few catches that make this look even better.

1) The Green Party candidate got booted off the ballot during the polling period. She got 8% of Democrats and 20% of Independents. And those votes are more likely to go to Davis than to Reynolds.

2) Reynolds leads with Republicans by a 62/31 margin. In races where your side is outnumbered, it's pretty helpful to get some people from the other side cross over and vote for your guy, especially if you can get 1/3rd of them to cross over.

3) SurveyUSA had a huge Republican sample. In a district where 41% of voters are registered Republicans, their sample was 51% Republican.Needless to say, when it comes to this poll, I would imagine that at worst, it's a tie, and at best, we're on our way to an upset.

So, some of you might be asking "Who the hell is Jack Davis?"

Jack Davis is a business owner who is staunchly opposed to free trade treaties. He ran against Reynolds in 2004, mostly self-financing his campaign, and recieving 44% of the vote.

Davis' website outlines 12 short policy statements which are the basic foundation for his campaign. As well, there's Speeches.

Back in 2004, Davis spent over $1M of his own money. In 2006, he has mentioned spending as much as $2M of his own money. Of course, Reynolds just says that he's trying to buy the seat. Which I would imagine doesn't quite work as well when it comes to someone who is 73 years old. He's spending what it'll take to win, because people like Tom Reynolds upped the ante in campaign spending. Jack Davis probably isn't going to make any fundraising lists, but he is putting this race on the map.

And I can't see any problem in making the Republican House campaign committee chairman concentrate on winning his seat. After all, he'll be spending money in his district, instead of sending it off to help other incumbents.

Posted at 07:22 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, New York, Polls | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Netroots Candidates Poll Round-up

Posted by James L.

There are a lot of good reasons to be proud of the netroots candidates this year: 10 of 14 House candidates have been targeted for DCCC support, and polling continues to improve virtually across the board, including for our candidates in WA, MN, and NH.

SurveyUSA released a new poll today showing Darcy Burner running neck-and-neck with freshman incumbent Republican Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th (likely voters):

Darcy Burner (D): 48
Dave Reichert (R-Inc): 50
MoE: ±4.3%

Now, I'd normally put trendlines in here, as SUSA has polled this race before in August and showed Dave Reichert with a comfy 13-point lead. The only problem, though, was that SUSA's August poll was of registered voters, not likely voters (I have no idea why they were casting such a wide net the first time around), so a trend in Burner's favor could very well be less pronounced if she has a natural advantage among likely WA-08 voters. Reichert has a very strong profile in this district, so if we're ever going to knock him off, this has to be our year.

Over in the North Star state, MN Publius has a partially leaked MN-01 poll commissioned by the SEIU:

Tim Walz (D): 46
Gil Gutknecht (R-Inc): 40
Undecided: 14

Re-elect Gutknecht: 38

Whoaaa. Maybe this is optimistic, or maybe the MoE is 15%, but you never know. MN-01 is a true swing district at R+0.9, and up until the last national "wave" election in 1994, a Democrat held this seat. The demographics are there for a potential upset, and Walz has been raising more money and bringing more noise to this district than any challenger Gutknecht has faced in recent memory. The DFL is revved up statewide by the Senatorial and Gubernatorial contests, which will be a plus for Walz, too.

And finally, over in David's favorite district, the University of New Hampshire has another poll on the Hodes-Bass battle in NH-02 (likely voters, July in parens):

Hodes (D): 36 (25)
Bass (R-Inc.): 46 (53)
Undecided: 17 (22)
(MoE: ±6.2%)

Now, UNH's polling has been all over the map this year, and it has been noted previously that their methodology is pretty fugly (although their partisan samples are much more reasonable this time), so I have no doubt that the truth is somewhat closer to the DCCC's polls on the race. I say that not only because I trust the Mellman Group more than I trust UNH, but also because the DCCC used this poll in determining whether or not to add Hodes to the Red to Blue program (which they did). Essentially, the D-trip was looking for a good picture on the race, not a stacked deck in Hodes' favor, and what they found was a surprisingly tight contest.

Great movement all around, but let's not rest on our laurels. In case you haven't been following, we need just over 600 more donors to meet our goal of 10,000 by the end of the fundraising cycle this Saturday at midnight. I know we can get there with a bang. If you haven't contributed to one of the netroots candidates this cycle, please consider doing so now--this is our last best chance to give an extra boost to strong Democrats waging uncompromising campaigns nationwide.

Posted at 12:13 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Washington | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TX-22: New Poll Has Lampson (D) Way in Front

Posted by DavidNYC

There's a new poll out by Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal for the Nick Lampson campaign. Unfortunately, the polling memo (PDF) only has limited details (it doesn't say, for instance, whether we're using RVs or LVs), but I'll pass it along anyway:

Lampson (D): 43
Smither (L): 10
Write-In (Sekula-Gibbs): 14
Write-In (Other): 7
Undecided: 26
(MoE: ±4.9%)

One other heartening finding is that only 39% of respondents in a generic ballot question said they'd support the Republican. Sekula-Gibbs has a deep well to climb out of, and it looks like she's going to have a hell of a time doing it. But if you really want a full break-down on this survey, go check out Charles Kuffner.

Posted at 01:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NH-02: Charlie Bass Is a Moron

Posted by DavidNYC

Ordinarily, I don't go in for such silly titles, but there's no other way to describe Charlie Bass right now. He's up with a new ad attacking Paul Hodes that just boggles the mind. The video isn't available yet, but here's the transcript:

Charlie Bass: I’m Charlie Bass and I approve this message.

Voice Over: What’s Paul Hodes’ Plan for Iraq?

Paul Hodes: We cannot just abandon Iraq.

Voice over: Now Hodes says we should pull out.

[AP, 9/12/06]

Paul Hodes: We cannot just abandon Iraq.

Voice Over: So which is it?

Paul Hodes: We cannot just abandon Iraq.

Voice Over: Now, Hodes wants to send troops into Kurdistan. Kudistan? Hodes says he’s got a plan for Iraq.

Paul Hodes: Yeah? And I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell.

Voice Over: Sorry Paul, we’re not buying it.

Guess what? KURDISTAN IS IN IRAQ!!! Holy moly! Take a look, in case you don't believe me:

Is Charlie Bass projecting? Does he think that Paul, like the lunatic neocons Bass enables, wants to invade Iran? Or maybe Bass thinks Paul wants to send our troops to Kreplachistan? Like I said above, what a total moron.

Posted at 01:22 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NH-02: "IndyNH" Was Bass's Policy Director!

Posted by DavidNYC

All along I figured IndyNH had to be some dumb, over-eager intern. Oh no, this was no small fry - this was a big fish:

A lead staffer in U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass' office resigned Tuesday after admitting to posting fake messages on political blogs.

Tad Furtado, the No. 2 staffer in Bass' Washington office, resigned after it was revealed that he posed as a Democrat on liberal blogs. Bass said that Furtado posed as a supporter of Bass opponent Paul Hodes but then discussed how difficult it would be to beat Bass.

"Tad Furtado posted to political Web sites from my office without my knowledge or authorization," Bass said in a written statement. "I have referred this matter to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for their review."

Staff members in Bass' Concord office said they were shocked to hear Furtado was responsible for the postings. He was described as a rising young star and one of the congressman's most trusted staffers.

And oh, check out the last graf:

Because Furtado used a government computer on Capitol Hill, it could represent a violation of House rules, Bass officials said.

Needless to say, I'm never surprised when Republicans engage in unethical, rule-breaking behavior. Indeed, New Hampshire Republicans seem to have a special problem in this regard - recall the huge 2002 phone-jamming scandal, which sent several people to jail. This Tad Furtado is clearly cut from the same cloth as James Tobin. With any luck, Furtado, too, will pay a price for his transgressions.

P.S. Major kudos to MissLaura, Keener and Yankee Doodler for all their efforts on this story. The tradmed has picked it up big-time, including the AP and several local outfits. And, while you're at it, give to netroots candidate Paul Hodes!

UPDATE: The story makes it on to local news. It's a good piece, I think.

Posted at 02:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, September 25, 2006

NY-25: Maffei (D) Makes Stunning Gains in New Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll (PDF) for Dan Maffei's campaign, from the Benenson Strategy Group (likely voters, March in parens):

Maffei (D): 40 (23)
Walsh (R-inc.): 44 (52)
Undecided: 14 (24)
(MoE: ±4.9%)

Maffei went from minus 29 to minus 4 - a monster 25-point swing. And Walsh is now well under 50%. This race has received a lot less attention than many others in NY, though I think that's at least in part because New York is so target-rich this year. In any event, this poll - combined with Maffei's addition to the Red-to-Blue list - will no doubt cause more people (myself included) to take greater notice.

With a swing this big, you have to wonder if it's legit. So I'll be curious to see if Walsh responds with a poll of his own. If he doesn't (and he probably won't), then we'll know that Maffei has done something really impressive in this district.

(Hat tip to Pogues Fan.)

Posted at 08:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NH-02: Sock-Puppetry, Polls, and More!

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm back from my fantastic honeymoon (the wedding was beyond amazing as well), and after a pleasant Rosh Hashanah, I'm hitting the ground running here. Quite a bit of goings on in my favorite district, NH-02, of late. First, today's big news, from Roll Call (reprinted with permission at Raw Story):

Liberal bloggers in New Hampshire busted an aide to Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) who was posing as a liberal blogger on such blogs as Blue Granite, NH-02 Progressive and others. Bass’ office admitted culpability to HOH and said the staffer would be “appropriately disciplined.”

The unnamed aide to Bass — who, like many others in his party, faces a tough re-election fight — was routinely trolling liberal New Hampshire political blogs calling himself “IndyNH” and more commonly IndieNH, pretending to be a progressive.

Finally, after noticing that lots of things he said just didn’t add up, a couple of the bloggers traced IndieNH’s IP address to the House of Representatives.

And they thought, “How many offices in the U.S. House would be interested in one race in New Hampshire?” The answer: Very few. Probably only one.

Indeed, it was only one - as the article says, Bass's office copped to the charge. How pathetic, considering how many campaigns have gotten into hot water lately for similar shenanigans. Anyhow, major kudos to MissLaura, Keener and Yankee Doodler for uncovering this scandal. Great detective work! Hopefully we'll see some more tradmed coverage soon.

(I should note that IndyNH put in an appearance here at Swing State once. Like Clemenza says, I bet we won't see him no more.)

In other news, Paul Hodes is up on the air with his first ad, available at YouTube:

New Hampshire TV station WMUR also did a story on this. (Thanks to MissLaura for the links.)

Separately, two polls on this race came out recently. The first, from Research 2000 for the Concord Monitor (likely voters, no trendlines):

Hodes (D): 30
Bass (R-inc.): 55
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±6%)

Clearly bad news for Hodes, but don't ignore the huge MoE. Also, R2K says they tried to match NH voter registration numbers with their sample, but there are two problems here. First, they only describe their statewide sample, without providing district breakdowns. Second, Dem ID is on the rise. The last two SUSA polls (here and here) which measured Bush's statewide approval rating showed Dem ID outstripping the voter reg numbers - not surprising, given the climate. So if you slavishly follow the stats from the Secretary of State, you are probably understating Democratic performance.

Also, as far as I can tell, this poll didn't ask any benchmark questions, such as George Bush's approval rating. A good pollster always tosses in a few questions like that just so you can have a basis for comparison. If you get a Bush approval rating 10 points higher (or lower) than other pollsters are showing, then your horserace results are probably useless. Without such a benchmark, this poll is just floating in the ether.

The other poll was commissioned by the DCCC and conducted by the Mellman Group (no trendlines):

Hodes (D): 41
Bass (R-inc.): 41

We don't have the full details on this one, but it's almost exactly in line with the Hodes campaign's own internal poll from a little while back. Also, the pollster here had the good sense to ask Bush's approval. In the 2nd district, it stands at a mere 30%. This makes sense - SUSA's last poll had him at 35% statewide, and as we all know, NH-02 is more Dem than the state as a whole.

If you've been following this race closely (and chance are you have, if you're a regular SSP reader), you know that the polls have been all over the place. UNH and R2K showed big gaps, while two Dem polls showed the race neck-and-neck. It's tempting to say that the truth must lie somewhere in between, but I'm not inclined to believe that. The UNH poll had some pretty serious flaws, and R2K simply hasn't provided enough information for us to properly assess their poll.

But to me, the most telling thing is still the fact that we have not heard a single peep from Charlie Bass or the NRCC regarding any polls of their own. A month ago, I passed along word that Bass had apparently gone into the field. Even if that tidbit was mistaken, surely, surely Bass has taken a poll for himself by now. If he hasn't, that would be so stupid as to be criminally negligent. (Though based on what we've seen, I wouldn't put that past him.)

So why haven't we seen it yet? If it confirmed the numbers from the independent pollsters, Bass would have undoubtedly released it by now. His failure to do so can only mean that his own polling shows him doing materially worse than the UNH & R2K numbers. And that doesn't surprise me at all.

Posted at 12:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, September 23, 2006

HI-Sen, HI-02 Primary Results Open Thread (Akaka Wins!)

Posted by James L.

It's primary day in Hawaii today. I'm not sure when results will be posted, but it looks like the polls will close around midnight eastern, and presumably results will be posted at the Hawaii Office of Elections website (thanks, Predictor).

I'm weirdly nervous about Akaka-Case given the anti-incumbent sentiment this year (Lieberman, Schwarz, McKinney, Wynn, & Chafee all knocked off or having received close calls) but hopefully Daniel K. will pull through today. I'd be seriously depressed if we'd have to deal with Ed Case in the Senate representing a state that doesn't require his brand of rightward-skewing "centrism" in order to be viable in a general election.

Discuss predictions, results, and thoughts here.

Update: Bumping this one up. The Honolulu Advertiser has a results page up... but this page looks like the best one to follow.

Update (II): It's an Akaka victory, 55-45. Normally I'd say that that's a hairy margin of victory for a incumbent senator, but this primary could have been much, much nastier. Kudos to Case for not going the Lieberman route.

Posted at 10:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Hawaii | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

KY-04: Nailed!

Posted by James L.

I love it! Mark Nickolas does the dirty work and once again proves why the Bluegrass Report is one of the best state blogs in the biz. Today he digs up some dirt on the latest Geoff Davis TV ad, which features a handful of "Democrats" stating their support for the vulnerable Republican incumbent. One has to be suspect of the type of "Democrat" who would endorse Geoff Davis (a guy who bends over backwards to assist predatory lenders in their relentless quest to bleed the pockets of military families dry) over the infinitely superior Democratic candidate, former Rep. Ken Lucas. Well, surprise surprise, check out the story behind the first so-called Democrat endorsing Davis in his ad, a man billed as David Wallace, Attorney. It turns out that Wallace is none other than Davis' personal attorney!

The money quote, from a Dec. 2003 story on Davis:

His accountant, Ken Kinder, and his lawyer, David Wallace, each vouched for the information Davis provided and prepared a summary of the returns. Lucas is not running for re-election next year.

I'll let Mark take it over from here:

How sad is that??? Davis can't find enough Democrats willing to go on camera to endorse him that he has to slide in his own personal attorney without disclosing such.

Wonder how much Davis has paid Wallace and his law firm over the years?

Essentially, this means Wallace endorsed Davis, not because he is a Democrat, but because he has a financial relationship with Davis.

Pack your bags, wingnut...

In another post, Mark advises Davis that it's a "long trip back to Canada". I can tell you right now, that as a proud Canadian, we don't want Geoff Davis back! You guys can keep him! (But hopefully not in Congress.)

PS: Check out Ken Lucas' latest positive ad and line it up next to Davis' vacuous TV spot. No comparison.

Posted at 04:37 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 21, 2006

AZ-08: Republicans Flee

Posted by James L.

So says Jesse Lee over at the DCCC blog:

The NRCC, having gone out on a limb to get a more moderate candidate through the primary and failed, has just given up on the Medicare-abolishing, Department of Education-hating, David Duke-endorsed nominee Randy Graf.

We have just gotten word that they have cancelled everything on the air from October 3rd forward.

The NRCC still decided to play in this district after Mr. Randy "The Only Thing That's Scarier Than Going Into A Bar Without A Gun Is Not Being Allowed To Bring A Gun Into A Bar" Graf, an anti-immigration zealot, won the 9/12 primary over their much-preferred choice, Steve Huffman. I'm sure it pains them to cede this seat to the Democrats, but they're being backed into a corner here: the consensus surrounding this purplish district is that candidates who appear politically moderate attract the strongest support. Graf has a raging conservative base, but not much else to work with here. His fundraising is terrible; his charisma is absent. I'm not quite sure what the breaking point for the NRCC was, but maybe they threw up their hands after they realized that ex-KKK leader David Duke gave Graf his proud endorsement.

Graf is not even worth a token effort. Like I said yesterday, stick a fork in him; AZ-08 is going to be Giffords country now.

Posted at 04:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Cook Makes Some Ch-Ch-Changes

Posted by James L.

The Cook Political Report updated its House race rankings today. Here are the movers and the shakers:

AZ-08 (Kolbe), Toss Up to Lean D
FL-13 (Harris), Likely R to Lean R
IL-11 Weller, Likely R to Solid R
KY-02 Lewis, Likely R to Solid R
NE-01 Fortenberry, Solid R to Likely R
VA-10 Wolf, Solid R to Likely R
ND-AL Pomeroy, Likely D to Solid D

Five races moving in the Democratic direction, while two slide back into safe Republican territory. Not a bad deal. Cook's decision to rate AZ-08 in the Democratic column marks it as only the second Republican-held district that he's tagging as a Democratic pick-up (Lampson in TX-22 being the first). I wonder if any more GOP-held districts, and which ones, will float to the D column in the next month and a half.

Posted at 12:17 AM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

OH-02: Jaw-dropping SUSA Poll Shows a Three Point Race

Posted by James L.

When an internal poll released by Democratic challenger Vic Wulsin in July showed a tied race, I was pleasantly surprised but still cautious. Jean Schmidt obviously hasn't done much to endear herself to voters in OH-02 since beating Paul Hackett by a slim margin over a year ago; she's spent her time either getting taunted by Saturday Night Live for a shameless assualt on the courage of Vietnam veteran John Murtha on the floor of the House, releasing racist newsletters to her constituents, and getting into hot water with the Ohio Elections Commission for beefing up her campaign biography with a degree that she apparently never earned. Still, this is a blood red district, and not even Paul Hackett could crack it, so I didn't want to get my hopes up. But get a load of this new SUSA poll (likely voters):

Victoria Wulsin (D): 42
Jean Schmidt (R): 45
MoE: ±4.5%

The crosstabs are illuminating, too: Schmidt gets 71% of Republican voters (13% for Wulsin), while Wulsin gets 86% of Democratic voters, and 48% of independent voters to Schmidt's 38%.

Jean Schmidt is drinking from a poisoned well. No wonder the DCCC added OH-02 to its Emerging Races program.

Posted at 06:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-11: The NRCC is Nervous

Posted by James L.

I'll let Say No To Pombo do the talking here:

The NRCC came into CA-11 back on August 3rd and dropped $16,275 on the table to finance polling for Richard Pombo. Then, a mere month later, they plunked down another $9,765 for a second round of Pombo polling. Now, I suspect that we’ll never know what that polling told them because they haven’t been in any hurry to release their findings publicly. But that omission probably tells us most of what we need to know about their results. And if there were any lingering suspicions, the NRCC’s subsequent actions have more than answered the question.

Following the first poll, the NRCC paid out $1,477 to Marsh Copsey & Associates for issue ad production and $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers. After the second poll on 9/6, they made the following independent expenditures, all within a ten-day period:

* 9/8 — $28,500 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
* 9/8 — $28,500 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
* 9/13 — $38,385 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
* 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
* 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers;
* 9/18 — $38,475 to Targeted Creative for mailers.

It’s worth noting that all of these expenditures have been identified for FEC purposes as being made in opposition to Jerry McNerney. That means the voters of CA-11 are going to be barraged with several more rounds of anti-McNerney advertising. It’s telling that even the NRCC can’t seem to find much good to say about Richard Pombo and his record in Congress. Instead, they have to content themselves with lying about Jerry McNerney.

Taken in total, that’s $250,762 in negative mailers paid for by the NRCC on behalf of Richard Pombo in just the last two weeks. Together with the polling, that means they’ve spent $276,802 in CA-11 in the last six weeks. You simply can’t convince me that Richard Pombo and the Republican Party aren’t deeply worried about the outcome of this race.

You can't convince me otherwise, either. The NRCC wouldn't drop over a quarter of a million dollars on this seat if McNerney wasn't threatening Pombo in their internal polls (which we'll never see, like a lot of Republican internal polls, because the results are embarrassing). Pombo, as you may recall, was named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and his heinous record on environmental issues have caused environmental groups and PACs to single him out for special punishment this year. Pombo is being challenged by netroots candidate Jerry McNerney, a man of integrity and a renewable energy expert--the perfect panacea for a Pombo-plagued district. The DCCC has sat on the sidelines since their preferred candidate, pilot Steve Filson, lost the primary. On Monday, they finally made the move to add McNerney to a slate of fifteen "Emerging Races", a program that will help deliver some fundraising for unusually strong challengers in reddish seats.

Bowers is right, though: McNerney deserves the full Red-to-Blue Program treatment here. That the NRCC would dump $250,000 in support of an incumbent whose fundraising has been very strong this cycle is eye-opening. The DCCC's "Emerging Races" treatment of McNerney is a positive step, but I'd say that he deserves the whole enchilada.

If you'd like to help Jerry McNerney apply more heat to Richard Pombo, give him some well-deserved help here.

Posted at 05:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-08: Stick a Fork in Graf

Posted by James L.

The NRCC is still dropping cash on this district, even after their preferred candidate, the underwhelming Steve Huffman, lost to dumb-ass arch-conservative Randy Graf in the GOP primary, and even after retiring Republican incumbent Jim Kolbe refused to endorse Graf. I'm pleased by this, because it's more Republican money down the drain.

This is a poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research taken last week on behalf of Democratic nominee Gabrielle Giffords (likely voters):

Gabrielle Giffords (D): 54
Randy Graf (R): 35
Undecided/Other: 11
MoE: ±4%

Sure, it's an internal, and yeah, maybe it's a bit too optimistic, but Graf is bruised from the primary (he even makes his own party "queasy"), Kolbe threw him under the bus, and the Democrats fielded a star candidate in former State Sen. Giffords. Move this race to the "Likely Democratic" column and forget about it.

Posted at 04:03 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

KY-04: SUSA Shows Lucas (D) Edging Davis (R) Again

Posted by James L.

KY-04 (likely voters, August in parens):

Ken Lucas (D): 48 (44)
Geoff Davis (R-Inc.): 44 (46)
MoE: ±4.8%

Lucas held this conservative seat for three terms before stepping down to honor a term limits pledge in 2004 (how rare), and is back in the fore to put this race into play. Lucas never won by wide margins, but his moderate-to-conservative profile allowed him to make inroads in a district that is dominated by Democrats of a similar ideological stripe (Democrats edge Republicans in self-identification by 46-39 here according to this poll) but one that Cook now ranks at R+11.7. This race wouldn't be on the map without him, and for that, we should be grateful.

Posted at 06:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

IA-01: Braley (D) is Looking Good

Posted by James L.

From a Des Moines Register poll (likely voters):

Bruce Braley (D): 44
Mike Whalen (R): 37
Undecided: 17
MoE: ±4.7%

This is an open seat race in a district that John Kerry won by a 53-46 margin against Bush in 2004. Incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Nussle, who had a lock on this seat since 1990 (facing only one close call in 1992 against incumbent Democratic Rep. Dave Nagle in a redistricting match-up), is making a run for Governor, and it looks like this seat is trending back to its natural condition of leaning Democratic:

The Iowa Poll also tested the overall strength of the two parties' candidates in the state's four other congressional districts.

While not identifying candidates by name, the poll asked whether likely voters would cast their ballots for the Democrat or Republican nominated for the seat in their district. Forty-three percent said they would vote Democratic if the election were held now, and 36 percent said they would vote Republican.

Having the popular Nussle at the top of the ticket is a plus for Whalen, but I'm finding it doubtful that he'll overcome this district's natural Democratic edge in a year like this.

Posted at 04:52 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Iowa | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pollapalooza (AZ, IN, MA, MN)

Posted by James L.

Normally I'd blog these things as they are released, but there's just been too damn many polls lately! I'm on the verge of a pollgasm here!

AZ-05 (SurveyUSA, likely voters, May in parens):

Harry Mitchell (D): 40 (45)
J.D. Hayworth (R-Inc.): 52 (50)
Warren Severin (Lib.): 4
MoE: ±4.1%

The trendlines in this poll may not be as significant because in May, SUSA polled this as a two-way race between Mitchell and Hayworth; this most recent poll includes Warren Severin, a Libertarian candidate. No bones about it, though, this seat will be a pretty tough one. Former Tempe Mayor and State Senator Harry Mitchell is a great fit for the district, but his Tempe base (where he has numerous buildings and statues in his honor) only covers about 25% of a district that delivered 55% of its votes to Bush in 2004.

IN-02 (Research 2000, July in parens):

Joe Donnelly (D): 50 (46)
Chris Chocola (R): 42 (41)
MoE: ?

Research 2000 isn't one of my favorite polling outfits, but this is the fourth consecutive poll that has Donnelly in the lead. This seat was supposed to be a longshot last year. Man, Indiana is looking like a catastrophe for Republicans this November.

MN-06 (SUSA, likely voters, no trendlines):

Patty Wetterling (D): 41
Michele Bachmann (R): 50
John Binkowski (I): 5
MoE: ±3.9%

A Constituent Dynamics/RT Strategies poll conducted before the Sept. 12 primary showed this race as "Republican nominee" 53, "Democratic nominee" 42 (which I felt was a pretty pointless poll at the time given that the primary was all but certain), but SUSA's polling is pretty close to those numbers. Wetterling lost by 8 points to Mark Kennedy in this district in 2004 (while Kerry lost by 14). Can she narrow the gap in time? Will Bachmann's extremism damper her numbers much at all? This is not an undoable race at all, but I can't quite tell if any narratives have emerged here yet.

MA-Gov (SUSA, likely voters, August in parens):

Deval Patrick (D): 46 (34)
Chris Gabrieli (D): 29 (30)
Tom Reilly (D): 22 (30)
MoE: ±3.8%

Incredible mo' for progressive rising star Deval Patrick. I'm rooting for him in tomorrow's primary.

Posted at 11:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

DCCC Expands Red to Blue Program, Creates "Emerging Races" List

Posted by James L.

The DCCC launched their third round of Red to Blue program additions today. Eight races have been added to the DCCC's program, which provides fundraising and structural assistance to the very strongest of Democratic challengers targeting red seats. At least, in theory. Check out these eight names, the newest additions to the program:

Gabby Giffords (AZ-08)
Phil Hare (IL-17)
Paul Hodes (NH-02)
Steve Kagen (WI-08)
Dan Maffei (NY-25)
Angie Paccione (CO-04)
Betty Sutton (OH-13)
HI-02 Winner

There are some really good choices here (Hodes, Giffords, and Paccione), a surprising but also good choice (Maffei), but take a look at the italicized names here. These are Democratic candidates defending open seats held by retiring Democratic incumbents. I'm pretty surprised to see Sutton on the list--most prognosticators consider her chances to be very good. I have a similar reaction with Hare, but HI-02? Could this seat really be vulnerable? Kerry won this district with 55%, so I have a hard time grappling why this one should be on the R2B program. I'm waiting to be educated here.

As a silver lining, the DCCC created an entirely new list called "Emerging Races":

The DCCC Emerging Races list is made up of candidates who have taken traditionally non-competitive districts and, through the strength of their campaigns, put themselves in a position to win in November.

Here are the fab fifteen:

Charlie Brown (CA-04)
Jack Davis (NY-26)
Judy Feder (VA-10)
Peter Goldmark (WA-05)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Tim Mahoney (FL-16)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Dave Mejias (NY-03)
Maxine Moul (NE-01)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
Bob Shamansky (OH-12)
Ellen Simon (AZ-01)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Victoria Wulsin (OH-02)

Netroots candidates in bold. So what does this list do? Good question. While it seems that the candidates on this list won't receive the structural benefits that the R2B candidates receive (like a House incumbent mentor, or campaign staff additions, for instance), it appears that the DCCC has drafted this list as a separate slate of races that its donor base can contribute to. It's not quite the cherry that R2B is, but it's a pretty sweet deal anyway, especially for some of these candidates, like Kissell, Brown, and Wulsin, who could really use some additional campaign funds. And look at all those Netroots candidates!

UPDATE: Just another thought: I'm not sure if the DCCC had a comparable list to "Emerging Races" in 2004, but I suspect not. The DCCC can only channel so much money, so it makes sense to create a targeted, concentrated list. In 2004, the DCCC raised $7.5m for 27 candidates. In 2006, the Red to Blue program is now at 43 names (by my count), including just four open seats held by retiring Democratic incumbents (or Bernie Sanders). And today we now see an Emerging Races slate of 15 additional names. That's 54 Republican seats with a target put on their backs by the DCCC. It's pretty clear that they're playing footsie with the idea of a wave, although, since I'm a typical cautious youngster, I would doubt that the DCCC expects to win a majority of even the R2B races.

UPDATE (II): I just got word from the Jesse Lee at the DCCC that Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic candidate for the CO-07 open seat was accidentally left off the original press release. I corrected this post accordingly. Scratch all that; as ArkDem notes in the comments, this was a communications error--Perlmutter has been on this list since the second wave of R2B.

Posted at 04:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 15, 2006

KS-02, KS-AG: What on Earth is Going on in Kansas?

Posted by James L.

So yesterday, SurveyUSA dropped a whole load of polls on statewide races in Kansas. Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius is performing very well, leading Republican Jim Barnett by 58-38. That's no surprise. Slightly more surprising are the polling results for the real statewide dogfight in Kansas this year: the battle for the Attorney General's office (likely voters):

Paul Morrison (D): 48
Phill Kline (R-Inc.): 51
MoE: ±4.1%

Paul Morrison was the Republican District Attorney of Johnson County (Kansas' most populous county with over 506,000 residents), who switched his party affiliation to Democrat last year and filed to run against Kline shortly thereafter, part of an emerging narrative in Kansas politics under Sebelius' deft stewardship. I haven't been following the dynamics of this race other than Kline's relentless anti-abortion related legal activity while in office. Needless to say, it seems that Kline's extreme conservative tack and Morrison's profile have put this race in play for Kansas Democrats. For comparison's sake, the other statewide Republican incumbents facing re-election battles this year (Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner, and Treasurer) are all at or above 60%. I'm just thinking out loud here, but it's important to build up the Democratic bench in states like Kansas (and I will dismiss any arguments that converting moderate Republicans to the Democrats in Kansas is a bad thing), because, who knows, someday we could see Paul Morrison, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, or Governor. I'm thinking a few moves ahead here.

Even more surprising, though, is this internal poll on the congressional race in KS-02 (likely voters):

Nancy Boyda (D): 42.5
Jim Ryun (R-Inc.): 41.2
Undecided: 16.2
MoE: ±4.6%

Here's the context:

Boyda said the only reason she was revealing the data was that on Thursday a front page story in the Kansas City Star downplayed her chances against Ryun because she was receiving little attention from the national Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.


But Ryun’s spokesman Black dismissed Boyda’s poll claims.

“If any legitimate, scientific polling firm found these results, the national Democrats would not have written off this race as reported by the Kansas City Star on Sept. 14,” he said.

State Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the polling company Infomark Research has a reputation for accuracy, and cited several instances of how it predicted winners in close races.

“This is a winnable race for Nancy Boyda,” Hensley said.

I don't know anything about Informark Research, although they look legit after a cursory glance. But what the heck is going on in this race that could lead to it being a statistical tie? Nancy Boyda was the 2004 nominee in this district, and lost pretty decisively, 56-41, to Jim Ryun (fairing only slightly better than John Kerry did in the district, who lost by a 59-39 margin). So why on Earth should this district be more competitive this cycle? Ryun's record in the House is fairly analogous to Kline's record as AG--that is, extremely conservative. Could we really be seeing the results of this much-hyped intra-party rift between all-or-nothing social conservatives and more moderate Republicans in Kansas at play in KS-02 and elsewhere in the state, scoring some gains up and down the ballot for Democrats this cycle? Time will tell.

Posted at 05:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - State, Kansas | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 14, 2006

OH-18: The Next CA-50?

Posted by James L.

In the 50th Congressional District of California, an entrenched Republican incumbent (Duke Cunningham) pled guilty to corruption charges.

In the 18th Congressional District of Ohio, it appears that another entrenched Republican incumbent is about to do the same:

Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney has agreed with the Justice Department to plead guilty to at least one criminal charge in a deal that could be announced as early as Friday, Capitol Hill sources said Thursday.

Charlie Cook ranks CA-50 as having a Partisan Voting Index of R+4.6 (that is, the district voted an average of 4.6% more Republican in the last two presidential contests than the national average).

Charlie Cook ranks OH-18 as having a PVI of R+6.1

In CA-50, Duke Cunningham's "early retirement" (ie. prison term) allowed another experienced Republican politician to assume his place on the ballot against a Democratic challenger with a thin-to-minimal political resume (Francine Busby).

In OH-18, Bob Ney's announcement that he would not seek another term allowed another experienced Republican politician (State Sen. Joy Padgett) to assume his place on the ballot against a Democratic challenger with a thin-to-minimal political resume, Dover Law Director Zack Space.

In CA-50 special election, Busby ran a campaign entirely focused against the Republican culture of corruption, and emphasized that she would take no 'gifts, trips or secret meetings' with lobbyists.

In OH-18, Space is running a campaign primarily focused on rooting out corruption, promising to accept "no gifts, meals or trips" from lobbyists. (For an example, check out this almost laughably boisterous ad.)

In the CA-50 special election, Busby fell short of Bilbray by less than 4 points (49.3-45.5).

Will Zack Space fare any better in a district that leans even more to the Republicans? At first glance, one would have to be pretty skeptical of such a scenario. But there are a number of factors that should complicate an easy victory for Republicans in this district. First off, Padgett was Ney's handpicked candidate, a line of attack that Space has already opened on her. Bilbray did not have the curse of being associated with Cunningham. Secondly, Padgett endorsed Ney's re-election bid even after his ethical "lapses" came to the fore. Thirdly, her political career has evolved from her close relationship with Gov. Bob Taft (the least popular Governor in the nation with a whopping 79% disapproval rating). If Space can consistently tie Padgett with the Bobs (Taft and Ney, that is), he may be able to succeed where Busby failed.

Posted at 10:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio, Scandals | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

AZ-08: Kolbe Witholds Endorsement of Graf

Posted by James L.

Oh this is good. Just as a backgrounder, last night, the NRCC's preferred candidate to succeed retiring incumbent Republican Jim Kolbe in Arizona, Steve Huffman, lost his primary to right-wing firebrand (and anti-immigration advocate) Randy Graf. AZ-08 is a true tossup district that barely went for Bush over Kerry, but Kolbe was a rare creature: a gay Republican in moderate's clothing. The NRCC dropped at least $100k on this district in an effort to prop up Huffman, a moderate candidate in the mold of Kolbe--a signal indicating that the NRCC is not thrilled with their chances of holding this seat with Graf on the ballot. So, now that their candidate of choice has been defeated (43-37) by Graf, what is the NRCC to do? Especially now, after Jim Kolbe's principled stand:

“I congratulate Mr. Graf on his victory in the Republican primary. However, there are such profound and fundamental differences between his views and mine on several key issues that I would not be true to my own principles were I to endorse him now for the General election in November."

Cut him loose and focus on other, not-so-hopeless seats, is what they'll do.

(Hat-tip to jesselee.)

Posted at 03:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

PA-07: Sestak Hits the Airwaves

Posted by James L.

...and I have a feeling that it will tickle some of Matt Stoller's erogenous zones (via YouTube):

What do you think?

UPDATE: Joe Courtney, the Democratic challenger to Rob Simmons in CT-02, is up with his first ad, too:

Posted at 01:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, September 09, 2006

ID-01: Startling Poll Results Show Grant (D) Leading

Posted by James L.

So when I saw this posted by mcjoan on DailyKos after I got in tonight (08/28-09/01, likely voters, July in parens)...

Larry Grant (D): 22 (25)
Bill Sali (R): 14 (41)
Undecided: 61 (34)
MoE: ±7.4%

...I had to take a long, hard look at the ingredients list on this Stolichnaya bottle on my desk. Sali losing 27% since July? Undecideds doubling? My first inclination was to believe that this poll neglected to lump in "leaners"--voters not firmly committed to a candidate but leaning tentatively one way or the other. So I checked out the actual polling report (which you can find here in .DOC format courtesy of the Ridenbaugh Press), and, nope, "leaners" were indeed included here. My second reaction was that there must have been some kind of major methodological lapse that resulted in these crazy-ass numbers--a response that Idaho-based pollsters Greg Smith & Associates anticipated:

"The most striking finding from this study, certainly compared to the end-of-July study Greg Smith & Associates executed, is the significant shift in voter sentiment within the 1st Congressional District in just a month or so." Smith said. "The change is so dramatic that a person might wonder if there was some kind of significant methodological differences between the July and late August polls that would account for the change.

"The fact is, though, that other races are at roughly the same levels of support in both polls," Smith said. "The change is clearly a result of changing voter sentiment, not a change in polling methodology."

As they say, all the other results from this statewide poll reflect the conventional wisdom on the political culture of Idaho:

Office Republican % Democrat %
Governor Butch Otter 42% Jerry Brady 18%
Lt Gov Jim Risch 46% Larry La Rocco 23%
ID-01 Bill Sali 14% Larry Grant 22%
ID-02 Mike Simpson 61% Jim Hansen 19%
Superintendent Tom Luna 40% Jana Jones 29%

So every other major race in Idaho is playing out just as expected this election season... except for its first congressional district, according to this poll at least. As you may recall, Bill Sali, the Republican nominee is a reality-challenged state legislator whose abrasive tenure in the ID House caused his Republican colleagues to daydream about throwing him out of their office windows. If this poll is in reality's ballpark, it's quite likely that all the press coverage on the newly-minted Republican nominee has forced some of Sali's controversial career highlights to the surface. Smith & Associates cites this same reason in their analysis, as well (filter through the Republican-esque rhetoric about "Democrat partisans" and "media efforts" dragging Sali down--as if simple truth-telling is part of some scary liberal media agenda):

"Such charges as Sali’s perceived lack of ability to get along with other Idaho Legislators, and his unyielding adherence to political principle, seem to have gotten some traction with 1st District voters, and a ‘FUD’ factor (fear, uncertainty, doubt) appears to have taken hold," Smith said. “To this extent, the efforts of the media and Democrat partisans have been effective."

Idaho Republicans have already been scrambling to seal any cracks in the GOP base, ramping up attacks against Larry Grant's Republican supporters in a tone and volume that has the Ridenbaugh Press' Randy Stapilus raising his eyebrows, and wondering if the problem is deeper than it appears on the surface.

Whether it's in this election or the next, Sali is going to be as vulnerable as an Idaho Republican could be. Granted, this is Idaho, but Sali has a track-record of saying some incredibly stupid shit like boasting about how, even though he suffers from something that he affectionately refers to as "brain fade", he can adequately fulfill his duties as a legislator because "critical thinking skills are not required" in that line of work. His history in the state house was the laughingstock of the Republican caucus--at least until he won the nomination for the congressional seat. Now they're they're closing ranks and circling the wagons, fearing the prospect of a Democratic House of Representatives. But I'd be willing to bet that sending a man like Bill Sali to Washington will eventually produce a Jean Schmidt-style embarrassment of one kind or another.

For now, though, we have a tremendous opportunity to do a bit of party building while also causing a little mayhem behind enemy lines, so to speak. Your support for netroots-endorsed challenger Larry Grant will go a long way towards helping Larry spread his message throughout the district and give Bill Sali and national Republicans some heartburn this November.

Posted at 12:31 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 08, 2006

CA-11: Pulling a Pombo, Pt. II

Posted by James L.

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is back on the air with two new ads targeting corrupt incumbent Republican congressman Richard Pombo. The first one is entitled "George":

The second one is called "Abe":

Quirky, to be sure. You can view the first round of anti-Pombo ads aired by the DWAF here. I'm not sure if this second round of ads will be anymore effective than the first, but since the DCCC is looking elsewhere this fall, netroots candidate Jerry McNerney will need all the help he can get on the air this fall.

Posted at 02:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 07, 2006

ID-01: What Parallel Universe Does Bill Sali Inhabit?

Posted by James L.

The Fox News universe, I guess (Lewiston Morning Tribune via Idaho's excellent F-words blog):

But, Sali insisted weapons were recently discovered and that early in the war weapons were spirited away to Syria. "I know that I saw it on the TV station," Sali said. "It might have only been on FOX, come to think of it."

... This man is the Republican congressional nominee for Idaho's 1st congressional district. It seems that he bases his foreign policy knowledge on hazy, vague memories of Fox News broadcasts from over three years ago. Seriously.

I think it's time to pull up the money quote again:

The [Republican] Speaker [of the Idaho House], Bruce Newcomb, told The Idaho Statesman, “That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper.”

Meanwhile, ID-01 voters have a reality-based alternative: netroots-endorsed Democrat Larry Grant.

Posted at 09:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Junkie Heaven

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Taegan Goddard's indispensible Political Wire, we have polls for thirty - count `em, thirty - competitive House races from RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics. Just enjoy:

District Incumbent Party Party % Challenging Party Party % Margin
AZ-08* Primary 9/12/06 (R) 46 Primary 9/12/06 (D) 50 D+4
CO-04 Marilyn Musgrave (R) 47 Angie Paccione (D) 41 R+6
CO-07* Rick O’Donnell (R) 46 Ed Perlmutter (D) 48 D+2
CT-02 Rob Simmons (R) 45 Joe Courtney (D) 51 D+6
CT-04 Christopher Shays (R) 49 Diane Farrell (D) 42 R+7
FL-13* Primary 9/05/06 (R) 56 Primary 9/05/06 (D) 38 R+18
FL-22 Clay Shaw (R) 52 Ron Klein (D) 44 R+8
IA-01* Mike Whalen (R) 41 Bruce Braley (D) 54 D+13
IA-03 Leonard Boswell (D) 54 Jeff Lamberti (R) 43 D+11
IL-06* Peter Roskam (R) 46 Tammy Duckworth (D) 47 D+1
IL-08 Melissa Bean (D) 48 David McSweeney (R) 45 D+3
IN-02 Chris Chocola (R) N/A Joe Donnelly (D) N/A Polling under way
IN-08 John Hostettler (R) N/A Brad Ellsworth (D) N/A Polling under way
IN-09 Mike Sodrel (R) N/A Baron Hill (D) N/A Polling under way
KY-04 Geoff Davis (R) 49 Ken Lucas (D) 46 R+3
MN-06* Primary 9/12/06 (R) 53 Primary 9/12/06 (D) 42 R+11
NC-11 Charles Taylor (R) 47 Heath Shuler (D) 50 D+3
NM-01 Heather Wilson (R) 48 Patricia Madrid (D) 45 R+3
NV-03 Jon Porter (R) 51 Tessa Hafen (D) 43 R+8
NY-24* Primary 9/12/06 (R) 41 Primary 9/12/06 (D) 49 D+8
OH-06* Charlie Wilson (D) 56 Chuck Blasdel (R) 40 D+16
OH-18* Primary 9/14/06 (R) 43 Zack Space (D) 47 D+4
PA-06 Jim Gerlach (R) 45 Lois Murphy (D) 50 D+5
PA-08 Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 53 Patrick Murphy (D) 45 R+8
PA-10 Don Sherwood (R) 43 Chris Carney (D) 50 D +7
VA-02 Thelma Drake (R) 43 Phil Kellam (D) 51 D+8
VT-AL* Peter Welch (D) 54 Primary 9/12/06 (R) 40 D+14
WA-08 Dave Reichert (R) 46 Darcy Burner (D) 49 D+3
WI-08* Primary 9/12/06 (R) 44 Primary 9/12/06 (D) 48 D+4
WV-01 Alan Mollohan (D) 52 Chris Wakim (R) 42 D+10

An asterisk indicates an open seat. All polls have a margin of error of ±3.1%. Bowers has more here and here.

Posted at 03:17 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Polls | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

CT-02: DCCC Poll Shows a Dead Heat

Posted by James L.

These numbers are from a Joe Courtney press release courtesy of the DCCC. I don't know the MoE, I don't know the polling firm, I don't know whether these are likely or registered voters, and I don't know the trendlines (if any). But, this poll is DCCC-commissioned, and they don't mess around with things like these. So I suspect the numbers are reliable:

Joe Courtney (D): 41
Rob Simmons (R-Inc.): 40

For those who may not remember, Simmons is the House Republican incumbent who holds the single most Democratic seat among the entire GOP caucus. Cook ranks CT-02 as D+7.6, and Kerry outperformed Bush by 10 full points on this ground in 2004. At the same time, however, Simmons edged his Democratic opponent, Jim Sullivan, by 8 points. Simmons has been an annoyingly tough nut to crack for Connecticut Democrats, so a poll showing the incumbent at 40 points should seriously start to make him sweat, if he hasn't been already. If I were Simmons, or any other northeast Republican incumbent, I'd be very much disturbed by tremors like these. The earth just may fall beneath their feet on November 7.

UPDATE: I managed to grab some info on this poll. It was conducted from August 28-30 by Grove Insight, with a sample size of 400, and it's measuring likely voters.

Posted at 04:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, September 03, 2006

TX-22: Perry's Gambit Backfires

Posted by James L.

As you may know by now, the Texas Republican Party pulled a cute stunt last week when Gov. Rick Perry (R) called for a special election to fill Tom DeLay's vacant seat for the rest of his term, expiring in January 2007. At first glance, it seems clever--by holding the special on the same day as the general, it gives Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs an actual ballot position, which theoretically should help remind Republican die-hards to scribble in Ms. Hyphen's name on the general ballot.

I say "theoretically" for several reasons. First of all, Nick Lampson is boycotting the special election. This is likely an effective strategy not only because it de-legitimizes the special election as a DeLay-Perry powerplay, but also because it will generate a certain amount of confusion. As Rick Hasen notes via the Hotline, Republican voters who are deterimined to vote for Secular-Gibs may cast a vote for her on the "special" ballot and think that their work is done. Furthermore, it won't just be Shelley on the special ballot. A relatively low filing fee has brought up a whole crop of other candidates contesting the special election. From the AP:

Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, backed by Republicans as a write-in candidate in the general election, is among those who filed by Friday's deadline for the special election.

She is joined by three other Republicans — retired Air Force Maj. Don Richardson; Dr. Hoa Tran Giannibecego; and former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman — and Libertarian Bob Smither.

I see this cutting in two ways. First of all, voters will see two ballots--one with Lampson and Smither (the general ballot), and another with Ms. Hypenated-Name and three other Republicans plus Smither (the special ballot). Voters who are determined to vote against Lampson may think that they're picking their anti-Lampson choice on the special ballot alone, and their work would be done. Secondly, for sharper Republican voters, having a whole crop full of special election candidates who aren't on the general ballot may actually increase the number of divided write-in votes. If the Republican aim was to increase Sekula-Gibbs' name recognition for the general ballot, their gambit may inadvertently cause a portion of Republicans to pick a name from the list of special election choices and scribble it in against Lampson on the general ballot (even though they haven't registered to run as write-ins).

The more I think about this one, the more I feel "Democrat Favored" is probably the more appropriate ranking over "Leans Democratic".

Posted at 03:47 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NM-01: Independent Poll Shows a Tight Race

Posted by DavidNYC

Via NM FBI Hop, a new poll on the race for New Mexico's first CD, taken by for the Albuquerque Journal (you'll need to watch a brief ad to access the article) by the firm Research & Polling (likely voters, no trendlines):

Madrid (D): 42
Wilson (R-inc.): 45
Undecided: 10
(Moe: ±4.8%)

This poll, apparently the first independent survey of this race, is in line with Madrid's recent internal polling, which showed the race 46-44 Wilson just a few weeks ago.

The troubling thing about this poll is how much better Wilson does with her own party than Madrid. Wilson has the support of 83% of Republicans while only 66% of Democrats favor Madrid. Indeed, 17% of Dems prefer Wilson, while only 8% of GOPers like Madrid. However, this may not be as big a problem as it looks, because Dems outstrip Republicans in voter registration in this district.

The good news is that Bush's approval in the state stands at just 38-51, according to this same poll. As long as Madrid can keep pumping anti-incumbent sentiment, it's going to be hard for Wilson to get out from under that burden.

P.S. I think that this poll is of likely voters - the articles phrase it a bit confusingly, though. If you think otherwise, let us know in comments.

Posted at 03:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Mexico | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pre-Primary House Fundraising Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

Below is a chart compiling fundraising numbers for all candidates in all competitive races who recently had to file pre-primary reports. James & I drew financial data from the FEC's electronic filings, and we identified competitive races using Superribbie's most recent roundup. All numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand.

District Democrat Dem Raised Dem CoH Republican GOP Raised GOP CoH
AZ-01 Simon $67,000 $335,000 Renzi $118,000 $765,000
AZ-05 Mitchell $155,000 $672,000 Hayworth $516,000 $1,474,000
AZ-08 Giffords $270,000 $335,000 Huffman $164,000 $173,000
AZ-08 Weiss $75,000 $92,000 Hellon $62,000 $34,000
AZ-08 Latas No Report Graf $192,000 $82,000
FL-08 Stuart $115,000 $215,000 Keller $36,000 $1,262,000
FL-08 Grayson $25,000 $53,000
FL-08 Hartage $16,000 $1,000
FL-09 Busansky $94,000 $531,000 Bilirakis $318,000 $1,190,000
FL-13 Jennings $83,000 $281,000 Buchanan $841,000 $1,439,000
FL-13 Schneider $5,000 $60,000 Hudson $150,000 $207,000
FL-13 Detert $17,000 $49,000
FL-13 Clarke $30,000 $18,000
FL-13 Flanagan $9,000 $9,000
FL-16 Mahoney $54,000 $344,000 Foley $51,000 $2,780,000
FL-22 Klein $126,000 $1,650,000 Shaw $150,000 $2,740,000
MN-01 Walz $105,000 $244,000 Gutknecht $121,000 $840,000
MN-02 Rowley $48,000 $101,000 Kline $105,000 $697,000
MN-06 Wetterling $503,000 $800,000 Bachmann $418,000 $666,000
NH-01 Craig $63,000 $130,000 Bradley $102,000 $548,000
NH-01 Shea-Porter $7,000 $17,000
NH-01 Dodds $32,000 $3,000
NH-02 Hodes $101,000 $410,000 Bass $134,000 $503,000
NY-03 Mejias $133,000 $256,000 King $149,000 $1,590,000
NY-19 Hall $193,000 $246,000 Kelly $314,000 $1,265,000
NY-19 Aydelott $58,000 $152,000
NY-19 Shuldiner $12,000 $92,000
NY-20 Gillibrand $202,000 $587,000 Sweeney $276,000 $795,000
NY-24 Arcuri $223,000 $380,000 Meier $294,000 $571,000
NY-25 Maffei $62,000 $171,000 Walsh $106,000 $617,000
NY-29 Massa $160,000 $263,000 Kuhl $107,000 $528,000
VT-AL Welch $146,000 $709,000 Rainville $121,000 $235,000
WI-08 Kagen $20,000 $318,000 Gard $436,000 $657,000
WI-08 Nusbaum $191,000 $102,000
WI-08 Wall $55,000 $77,000

Districts in italics are open seats. If I'm missing any major candidates, or you spot any mistakes, let me know. Also, the only race I left off is MD-03, which is a Dem-held open seat with a ton of candidates. (John Sarbanes, son of retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes, is widely considered the front-runner in that district.)

UPDATE: In my initial chart, I mistakenly left off the three Arizona races. They are now included.

Posted at 05:49 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TX-23, TX-10: Ciro Dropping Out; Ankrum Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Breaking news from the indispensible Burnt Orange Report (via e-mail):

Making the announcement at a San Antonio AFL-CIO meeting, former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez has announced he will withdraw his bid for the new 23rd Congressional District against Henry Bonilla. That leaves Albert Uresti, Lukin Gilliland, Rick Bolanos, and Augie Beltran as the remaining Democrats in the race. Gilliland appears to be set as a potential new frontrunner among the challengers.

I don't know anything about Gilliland, but clearly BOR is the place to keep reading for more on this development. More here. Also from BOR, a shocking new poll from Fighting Dem Ted Ankrum (likely voters, no trendlines):

Ankrum (D): 42
McCaul (R-inc.): 51
Badnarik (L): 8
(MoE: ±4.4%)

Now, this is a robo-poll, from an outfit I've never heard of (Forensic Economic Data Consulting). But unless this poll is totally wacky, this is pretty stunning. I mean, this district is R+13, and Ankrum had raised all of $30,000 as of the last reporting period - 10% as much as the third-party candidate, Libertarian Michael Badnarik. I'm sure Badnarik is holding down McCaul's numbers, but still, this is an impressive showing for a third-tier Dem. And again, if this survey has any legitimacy whatsoever, it's clearly bad news for the GOP in general.

Posted at 10:52 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

New PVIs from Cook Political Report

Posted by DavidNYC

Every four years, the Cook Political Report publishes a new Partisan Voting Index based on presidential election results at the congressional district level. What exactly are PVIs? Here's the explanation (sub. req.):

In August of 1997, The Cook Political Report introduced the Partisan Voting Index (PVI) as a means of providing a more accurate picture of the competitiveness of each of the 435 congressional districts. Using the 1992 and 1996 major-party Presidential voting results, the PVI measured how each congressional district performed compared to the nation as a whole.

Using the results of the 2004 elections, we have updated these PVI ratings and have even more information to draw upon to understand the congressional level trends and tilts that will help to define upcoming elections.

Developed for The Cook Political Report by Clark Benson and Polidata Inc., the index is an attempt to find an objective measurement of each congressional district that allows comparisons between states and districts, thereby making it relevant in both mid-term and presidential election years. While other data such as the results of senatorial, gubernatorial, congressional and other local races can help fine tune the exact partisan tilt of a particular district, those kinds of results don't allow a comparison of districts across state lines. Only Presidential results allow for total comparability. A Partisan Voting Index score of D+2.3, for example, means that in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, that district performed an average of 2.3 points more Democratic than the nation did as a whole, while an R+3.8 means the district performed more Republican than the nation.

PVIs are only available to owners of or subscribers to the Almanac of American Politics or the Cook Report. (However, the underlying data - presidential vote by CD - is available publicly both at CQ Politics and at PoliData.) For political junkies, though, a subscription to one (if not both) are practically a necessity. (Just as long as you ignore Michael Barone's increasingly wrong-headed conservative CW in the Almanac.)

Because PVIs rely on presidential vote by CD, whenever redistricting takes place, the PVIs have to get adjusted. As you well know, this used to be a once-a-decade affair. But Republican chicanery in Georgia and Texas has been keeping the number-crunchers busy. Fortunately, Cook has released new PVIs based on the mid-decade redistricting in Georgia and the most recent round of re-redistricting (or should that be re-re-re?) in Texas necessitated by violations of the Voting Rights Act.

While I won't republish all the new PVIs here, I can tell you how things have changed in the three most competitive districts in TX & GA.

GA-08: Marshall (D)
Old PVI: R+3
New PVI: R+8

GA-12: Barrow (D)
Old PVI: D+5
New PVI: D+2

TX-23: Bonilla (R)
Old PVI: R+13
New PVI: R+4

In any other year, the changes in Georgia would make me pretty nervous. But as you can see from Superribbie's newest compilation, the pros don't think all that highly of the GOP's chances in either GA-08 or GA-12. (GA-08, by the way, used to be numbered GA-03 until the redistricting.) However, you can bet that Barrow will get a serious challenge one of these years, when the GOP's fortunes change.

As far as TX-23 goes, well, I'm just not sure how much of the new district is actually new to Bonilla. And let's not kid ourselves: R+4 may look small compared to R+13, but it still means the district went for Bush by about 55-45 over Kerry. So I wouldn't get your hopes up for a surprise pickup there.

Overall, 12 of 13 districts in Georgia changed their partisan composition, and 5 of 32 in Texas did as well. The biggest remaining changes are in GA-1, where a possibly swing district has become extremely Republican, and TX-25, where Lloyd Doggett's heavily Democratic seat is now in swing territory. In fact, I'd expect a hefty challenge to Doggett soon, too. And while the news isn't good for John Courage - Lamar Smith's very Republican seat did become a little bit moreso - but I doubt it's going to make much of a difference.

But if you want the full run-down on all the changes, you're going to have to subscribe yourself. And I highly recommend doing so.

Posted at 04:40 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Redistricting | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ATLA Throws Down in Five House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

From the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (via an e-mail):

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) today began running television and radio ads in four congressional districts: IN-02 (Rep. Chris Chocola), NC-11 (Rep. Charles Taylor), NM-01 (Rep. Heather Wilson), OH-15 (Rep. Deborah Pryce). Additional ads will begin airing on Wednesday in PA-10 (Rep. Don Sherwood).

The ads urge constituents to contact their members of Congress, who have voted to put corporate profits of the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries before the safety and well-being of the public, and tell them to do the right thing when taking future votes.


The total ad buy is more than $500,000.

Of course, I'm sure the various GOP incumbents will denounce their counterparts as being in the pockets of greedy trial lawyers, etc. But the fact is, these ads will be on the air for a good long while - at best, each Republican campaign can muster a single press release's worth of indignation out of this. Of course, the Club for Growth will probably be quick to respond, but for now, I'm just glad that ATLA is ponying up.

And I'm also happy that they've picked PA-10. That might be the single cheapest media market of all of our major pick-up opportunities. (Rothenberg, by the way, just moved this race into his "Tossup/Tilt Republican" category.) ATLA should be able to flood the airwaves here. Let's hope it helps.

P.S. You can see & hear the ads here.

Posted at 08:04 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Media | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CO-05: Update - Hefley Demures, But Blasts GOP Nominee

Posted by James L.

Earlier in the day, we discussed the possibility of retiring Republican congressman Joel Hefley running as a write-in campaign to sabotage the election chances of Club For Growth's Doug Lamborn (who levied all sorts of nasty attacks against his five primary opponents). Well, Hefley has made up his mind, and he's vetoed the idea of running as a write-in. But nevertheless, he still handed Democratic nominee Lt. Col. Jay Fawcett this nice little gift:

The 20-year Republican congressman said, however, that he will not back GOP nominee Doug Lamborn for the seat, explaining that he can not condone the way the state senator campaigned in a six-way primary.

"I feel that he ran the most sleazy, dishonest campaign I've seen in a long, long time, and I can not support it," Hefley said in a telephone interview. He is in Oklahoma for a cousin's funeral.

Hefley has a great deal of respect in Colorado's 5th, and a non-endorsement of Lamborn is just about as earth-shaking as an endorsement of netroots candidate Jay Fawcett.

Posted at 04:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Colorado | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CO-05: Hefley Ponders Write-in Candidacy, Republicans in Disarray

Posted by James L.

Oh how I love to hear those words for a change: "Republicans in disarray." Well, it's the truth. Here's the story so far: way back in February, 20-year congressman Joel Hefley, of Colorado's 5th district, announced his retirement. Now, Colorado's fifth is a deeply Republican district (it voted for Bush by a 66-33 margin, I believe) with a heavy air force presence as well as being the home turf of James Dobson's theocratic Focus on the Family, but Democrats have fielded a nominee who's a good fit for the district: retired Lt. Col. Jay Fawcett, an air force vet with a Bronze Star from the Gulf War. Meanwhile, the Republicans had a very nasty six-way primary battle that resulted in the narrow victory of the Club For Growth-backed state senator Doug Lamborn. Fawcett spent his time picking up traction in the district, earning a netroots endorsement, as well as the backing of key Republicans with military backgrounds in the district.

Still, despite his best efforts, all that might not have been enough to pull off an upset in this deeply Republican district. Well, at least, until this story broke today:

Rep. Joel Hefley is seriously considering running as a writein candidate to retain his seat rather than risk handing it over to Republican nominee Doug Lamborn.

In meetings with national political consultants, Hefley and his supporters have come up with yard-sign designs and the key messages of a possible campaign, Republican Party activist Peggy Littleton said.

Hefley, who has represented the 5th Congressional District for 20 years, has been the subject of a three-week push by high-level Republicans to take this nearly unheard-of step, Littleton said Monday.


Shortly after announcing he would not seek an 11th term, Hefley endorsed Crank. Crank and Lamborn engaged in a bloody political battle that included third-party mailings accusing Crank of being a tax hiker and an advocate for the “radical homosexual lobby,” charges Lamborn either leveled or refused to renounce.

Lamborn, a state senator, won the primary by 892 votes and is set to face Democrat Jay Fawcett in a district that leans heavily Republican. Thirteen Republicans have publicly announced their support for Fawcett, and others have complained behind the scenes about Lamborn’s primary campaign.

Radio stations pulled two ads by an organization that backed Lamborn because their truth was questioned, and the Federal Election Commission is investigating a complaint Lamborn illegally collaborated with outside groups.

Lamborn maintains that he campaigned on his record during 12 years in the Legislature and that he simply highlighted unflattering parts of opponents’ records. He has said also that he had nothing to do with mailers from outside groups.

Hefley, who criticized negative campaigning at the May GOP congressional assembly, gained a reputation in his later years as a champion of ethics in politics. He led the House ethics committee when it chastised Majority Leader Tom DeLay — a member of his own party — and later lost that seat and was ostracized by DeLay and his allies.

Littleton said many wellknown elected officials will back Hefley if he runs. If he does not, she and others are likely to sit out the election or, in some cases, vote for Fawcett, she said.

“Joel is the essence of integrity. . . . He was able to overcome ‘The Hammer,’ Tom DeLay,” Littleton said.

As long as those "Republicans For Fawcett" don't convert to "Republicans For Hefley", Lamborn could very well stand the chance of hemorrhaging from two sides. Hefley's no fool--I'm sure he realizes how next-to-impossible a write-in campaign is, even given his broad name recognition in the district. No, I'm quite sure that Hefley is doing this as a deliberate attempt to sabotage Lamborn's chances. Say what you will about Hefley--he IS extremely conservative, after all--but he wouldn't let Tom DeLay and his unethical kleptocrats push him around. He doesn't want to see his former seat of power be abused by someone without ethics.

Hefley has until 5pm to make this official. Keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, please support Jay Fawcett and the netroots candidates today!

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Colorado | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, August 26, 2006

NC-08: DCCC Changes Its Mind, Moves to Back Kissell!

Posted by James L.

Phenomenal news, people. As you know, we began the August Netroots fundraising push with the goal of lifting up our netroots-endorsed candidates with a strong surge of online fundraising at a traditionally weak time of the summer for such activities. The goal was not so much to give campaigns the necessary funds to push them over the top, but to give them a fundraising "push" that would make larger donors and the DCCC take notice.

Well, guess what? The DCCC just noticed, and they're moving to back Netroots candidate Larry Kissell. (For more on Kissell's compelling story, see our earlier write-up about this race.) From the Charlotte Observer:

A Democratic Party official said Friday that the party's congressional campaign arm made a mistake in throwing its support to an 8th District candidate who later quit the race.

In directing more than $30,000 to Fayetteville lawyer Tim Dunn last year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bypassed Larry Kissell, a Montgomery County teacher. Dunn, an Iraq war veteran, was seen as a favorite before dropping out of the race in March.

Kissell went on to win the 8th District's May primary. He faces Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes in November.

"The DCCC made a mistake in assessing this race," U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., and a vice chair of the committee. "But the voters are smarter than we are."

Davis appeared with Kissell at an evening rally Friday at Charlotte's Veterans Park.

He said party interest in Kissell's race represented "a huge shift." He said he plans to ask the committee to make the race one of its national priorities. That could translate into money and other aid from the party as well as trade unions and other groups traditionally aligned with Democrats.

Amazing. This is exactly what we wanted to happen for our Netroots candidates. With minimal resources based on small dollar donations like yours, Kissell made waves in the district, earning headlines for his low-budget campaign tactics. Now, the "big boys" are promising to pile on in a meaningful way.

Who else can we help push into the DCCC's sights? Jay Fawcett? Dan Seals? Jerry McNerney? Let's see how far we can take this thing. Great work, people!

Posted at 01:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising, Netroots, North Carolina | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 25, 2006

NY-20: Sweeney Hires Celeb Lawyer to Harass TV Stations

Posted by DavidNYC

Who knew that Rep. John Sweeney was such a WATB? From the Albany Times-Union blog:

U.S. Rep. John Sweeney has gotten one of the region’s best known lawyers to ask TV stations to pull a brutal MoveOn.Org ad against the congressman.

The letter comes after Sweeney’s campaign spokeswoman, Maureen O’Brien Donovan, was apparently unsuccessful in trying to persuade the stations to stop airing the “red handed” ad.


Both ads, however, use the “caught red-handed'’ theme, which, [Stewart] Jones wrote, falsely implies Sweeney has done something illegal.

Perfect WATB behavior: When your press flack can't whine loudly enough, you call in the high-priced lawyers to whine a little louder. Of course, this joke definition of the word "red-handed" doesn't meet the laugh test - unless you think little kids who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar are going to jail.

Undoubtedly, the in-house counsel for these various TV stations realize any defamation claim by Sweeney is almost certainly frivolous. It's very hard to defame a public official under American law. The issue, though, is that a station might have to spend a lot of money getting such a case dismissed. So when the bean-counters do a cost-benefit analysis, they all-too-often decide they're better off not running the ads.

Which is why it's so important that we express our support for MoveOn and the TV stations. In a key way, this really is about freedom of speech. Yes, the stations are private companies - but they are broadcasting on public aiwaves (owned by you and me), at the public's sufferance. They control access to a public commons, and it's vital that they let all voices be heard.

And besides, if John Sweeney (and Randy Kuhl and Charlie Bass) don't like MoveOn's speech, the classic response is always to engage in more speech of your own. Curtailing the speech of others is just un-American.

So if you are in NY-20, you should be writing letters to the editor, in support of MoveOn and the stations and opposing Sweeney. You should also call and write to the stations (saying "attaboy!"), and also call and write to the Sweeney campaign (telling them to knock it off). The relevant stations are:

CBS 6 Albany (WRGB)



Fox 23 News (WXXA)

Capital News 9

Also, definitely let the Albany-Times Union know how you feel - either via an LTE or in the comments of the above-linked blog post (or both). As always, be civil and keep it short - you're much more likely to get heard that way.

Posted at 02:04 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Media, New York | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Netroots August Fundraising Push: Support Larry Kissell

Posted by James L.

If there's one candidate who actually tugs at your heartstrings this cycle, it's Larry Kissell. Larry's story is all too familiar to the voters of North Carolina's 8th Congressional District. After graduating from University, Larry climbed through the ranks of the local textile industry for 27 years before free trade agreements and corporate consolidation finally took its toll and he was forced to pursue a new career as a social studies teacher. Many of his 800 coworkers were not as fortunate. Now Larry is running for Congress on an economically progressive platform in a district that's been coping with increasingly leaner times under their Republican congressman, Robin Hayes.

Hayes, mindful of his constituent's extreme distaste for the economic effects of globalization and corporate trade pacts, initially said that that he was "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA," and insisted that "it's not in the best interests of the core constituency I represent," and that "there is no way I could vote for CAFTA." (Source) However, it didn't take long before the Republican strong-arms bullied and bribed Hayes into voting for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, much to the locals' disgust.

This race was originally a DCCC target, but their preferred candidate, Iraq War vet Tim Dunn, dropped out (and so did they). However, with limited resources but an endless supply of great ideas, Kissell's campaign has converted a low budget into a buzz-generating, free media-earning campaign. His best move yet was to sell gas for $1.22/gallon--its price when Hayes was first elected in 1998, as a way to tie the incumbent and his big oil supporters with high gas prices. The move was a stroke of genius for the Kissell campaign, and the event gobbled up lots of local newspaper headlines and radio buzz. The Hotline praised the move as an example that all attention-starved second-tier Democratic campaigns should follow this fall. Even national media sources like CNN were jolted, too:

How much do you want to bet that those 500 voters--Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike--became dyed in the wool Kissell supporters? Chances are, nearly all of them became Kissell converts. After all, Larry did more for them with one cheap tank of gas than Hayes has done for them in 8 years in Congress.

Recent polling shows that Kissell is well within striking distance of Hayes, but he needs your help to keep his momentum going. Based on his campaign's performance so far, Larry knows how to make your small-dollar donations go far!

Contribute to Larry Kissell and the Netroots candidates today.

Posted at 12:03 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising, Netroots, North Carolina | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Netroots Filing Deadline Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

• MissLaura has a great bit of bonafide reporting:

Tonight at a meet the candidates event held by the Rumney Democrats, Hodes announced that he has now broken the all-time record for in-state fundraising for any Congressional candidate in any party for an entire cycle. (Emphasis added.)


• MissLaura also reports that MoveOn has gone up with ads targeting Charlie Bass. I'm sure he's totally flipping out right now. One thing I can tell you: MoveOn did some very careful polling after they ran their first batch of ads (in CT-05 and elsewhere). Turns out, the ads had a net positive effect. I hope to blog more about this later. You can see the ad here.

• Meanwhile, a reliable source tells me that Bass recently went into the field with his own internal poll. (How can anyone outside the Bass campaign or his polling outfit know this? Easy - when a Hodes supporter gets an obvious polling phone call, they let others know. Word can get around pretty quickly.) Yet, apropos my post yesterday about internal polls, Bass hasn't yet released his. What're you scared of, Charlie?

• And speaking of MoveOn, they've also gone up in NY-29, home of Eric Massa. This district, even moreso than NH-02, is especially cheap, so MoveOn should get some good bang for the buck here. (They're also running the same ad in NY-20, where Kirsten Gillibrand, a personal favorite of mine, is running against Sweeney Blutarsky.)

• Also, Eric Massa receives a letter of support from a lifelong Republican who just happens to be a former GOP county chair. Unlike all those phony "lifelong Democrats" who write in to Andrew Sullivan or the New York Post, this turnabout is legit:

. Consequently, I must in good conscience vote to replace you in Congress with your Democratic opponent, Eric Massa, who I understand is a well-intentioned, well qualified individual of principle and integrity, just the right mix.

Allow me the literary license to paraphrase a statement Republican, Senator Barry Goldwater thusly: "Mindless party loyalty is no virtue. Breaking with miscreant party leadership is no vice."

• Finally, while I don't have anything to add about Darcy Burner in WA-08 at the moment, she, too - like Hodes and Massa - faces the end of a fundraising period tonight. Help all three of them, and all the other netroots candidates. Any donation of any amount is greatly valued.

UPDATE (James L.):

• Great news! As of tonight, all of the Netroots candidates have surpassed past candidate Ciro Rodriguez in terms of total donors. Now, let's see if we can get a few to leapfrog Busby!

Posted at 06:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire, New York | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Netroots August Fundraising Push: Support Joe Sestak

Posted by DavidNYC

Joe Sestak, a recently retired Vice Admiral, took everyone by surprise with his impressive entrance into the race for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district. A political unknown, he raised over $400,000 less than two months after declaring his candidacy. Needless to say, people - the netroots included - took notice.

We quickly learned that Sestak was running in a district that had moved markedly to the left over the years - from R+4.4 in the 90s to D+3.6 - something the local bloggers had, in fact, been pointing out for some time. Sestak's entrace crystallized this fact for the rest of us. Yet despite this shift, incumbent Curt Weldon hadn't received a serious challenge in years.

But then it got better: Those of us not familiar with Weldon soon realized he was a totally unhinged conservative extremist. While Curt Weldon was off selling access to the highest bidder, Joe Sestak was honorably serving his country.

It was hard to believe that Weldon had gone unchallenged for so long, but with a strong Fighting Dem clearly well-positioned to put up a tough fight, we realized Joe Sestak was a perfect fit for the netroots page - and, it turns out, vice-versa. From the Washington Post, just a few days ago:

Sestak is getting support from traditional sources such as labor unions and newer ones such as the "Net roots" -- online activists who are channeling significant sums to anti[-Iraq ]war Democrats. He has raised $230,000 online this cycle, including thousands through blogs.

"We really hit a vein," he said.

Indeed he has. Around a month after the netroots endorsement, Sestak was added to the first wave of the DCCC's Red to Blue list. This fit perfectly into our strategy of helping to get the ball rolling so that the big boys take notice and come in later. Of course, it's our privilege to stick with Joe until he crosses the finish line in November. So please consider contributing or volunteering today.

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

WY-AL: Barbara Cubin Has Another Lousy Primary Showing

Posted by RBH

The results from the August 22nd Primary:

Barbara Cubin - 51,050 (60%)
Bill Winney - 33,955 (40%)

Cubin spent $464,715 though August 2nd, Winney spent $18,645.

In 2004, Cubin won a five-way primary with 55%. Two of her primary opponents spent over $100K in the 03/04 cycle. She then went on to win the general election by a 55-42 margin over Ted Ladd (who spent $373436). Meanwhile, Bush was beating Kerry by a 69-29 margin in Wyoming.

According to SurveyUSA, Bush's approval rating in Wyoming is 52%.

In the 2004 General Election, the CNN exit poll claims that Cubin won 76% of Republicans, 42% of Independents, and 18% of Democrats. The partisan split there was 53% Republican, 25% Democrat, 22% Independent. She ran 19% behind Bush amongst Republicans, 12% behind him amongst Independents and 9% behind him amongst Democrats.

Barbara Cubin has another serious opponent this year and his name is Gary Trauner. Gary has $205,914 on hand and has spent $241,693 so far.

With Cubin's weak showing in 2004, a vastly popular Democratic Governor on the ballot in 2006, and the whole thing about Republicans being in bad shape in general, Cubin is a lot more vulnerable than we know right now. Given the right momentum, Dick Cheney's Representative in 2007 could be a Democrat.

CQPolitics.com says this about Cubin's race

Cubin has struggled to win unanimous support among party members, in part because some party leaders think she has not adequately dealt with the state’s pressing issues, including the prevalence of methamphetamine. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle newspaper, in an unenthusiastic endorsement of Cubin, said she showed a “lack of leadership” but was “the best that the Republican Party has to offer at this time.”

The sheer number of Republicans in Wyoming are enough of a reason to be discouraged here. But then again, Trauner recieving 1/4th of the Republican vote is conceivable. He's definately on equal ground, cash-wise and he should be encouraged that a guy who spent $18645 got around 1.82 votes for every dollar he spent.

Posted at 08:42 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Wyoming | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Netroots August Fundraising Push: Support Jerry McNerney

Posted by James L.

As the August combined Netroots fundraising push kicks into gear, it's time that we look back upon each of the Netroots-endorsed challengers and remind ourselves why their fight is worthy of our resources and attention this fall. Let's start with CA-11 challenger, Jerry McNerney.

McNerney is in the unique position of being endorsed by BOTH of his opponent's Republican primary challengers (including former Rep. Pete McCloskey, author of the Endangered Species Act), and being on the receiving end of major assistance from local and national environmental groups who are scrambling to defeat the incumbent, Richard Pombo. Pombo was made infamous for using taxpayer's money to go on a family vacation to various national parks--and then turning around and proposing the sale of these national parks to the same developers who supported his campaigns.

McNerney, on the other hand, is a true progressive champion, and as a former CEO of a wind power company, he would be an invaluable voice in the next Congress for renewable and alternative energy policies. If McNerney could catch the eye of the DCCC with the help of a strong netroots and grassroots push, Pombo would be facing a perfect storm against him this November.

Please support Jerry McNerney and the Netroots candidates today.

Posted at 02:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California, Fundraising, Netroots | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, August 21, 2006

NH-02: Hodes (D) Internal Poll Shows Dead Heat

Posted by DavidNYC

Anzalone-Liszt Research for netroots candidate Paul Hodes (likely voters including leaners, no trendlines):

Hodes (D): 42
Bass (R-inc.): 43
Undecided: 15
(MoE: ±4%)

Without leaners, it's a pure tie, 40-40. The absolutely amazing thing is that Bass has full name recognition - 94%. Hodes, meanwhile, is at just 27%. The only thing which can explain this is extreme voter dissastisfaction with incumbents and Republicans. Charlie Bass, of course, is both.

And this is born out by the other questions asked by the poll. An impressive 69% of second district voters give George Bush a negative approval rating, while 75% do the same for Congress. Interestingly, a whopping 79% approve of Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who is cruising to re-election. Clearly, New Hampshirites like the Dems back home but are sick of the Republicans who have lost touch down in Washington.

While I don't have the party ID breakdown for this poll, the accompanying press release notes:

The polling sample used reflects the slight Republican registration advantage of the 2nd district.

Earlier today, I happened to crunch the numbers myself, based on the data available from the NH Secretary of State. Turns out that registration in the 2nd CD is 30R-26D-44I - a four-point net GOP advantage. And these numbers are a couple of years old - if anything, I'd believe the GOP edge is a bit smaller now.

So remember that UNH poll we disected a while back? It had a partisan breakdown of 32R-23D-38I, a nine-point Republican edge. Clearly, that just doesn't reflect reality. The Hodes people - like the folks at most campaigns - want accurate numbers so that they can have a proper sense of how the field looks. Academic operations are much less concerned with partisan weighting. So if you ask me which numbers I trust, I'm inclined to think the Hodes survey is a lot closer to reality.

And since this is the netroots fundraising push week, I of course will end this post with an exhortation to donate to Paul Hodes and all the netroots candidates!

P.S. You can read the complete polling memo summary here (PDF).

Posted at 08:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, August 19, 2006

CA-11: Pulling a Pombo

Posted by James L.

Not content to let uber-corrupt anti-environmentalist Richard Pombo off the hook without a major air war, the Wildlife Action Fund has stepped up to the plate in CA-11 with two new TV ads.

"The Office":

"The Principal":

It would be great if Netroots candidate Jerry McNerney could augment these ads with some biographical/contrast spots of his own to really seal the deal. Barbara Boxer is hosting a fundraiser for him on the 25th, so hopefully Jerry will have the necessary resources to get on the air.

Posted at 03:20 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 18, 2006

WA-08: And So Do We

Posted by James L.

Here's the first sign that Ned Lamont's media campaign is gaining notice and respect from other political ad firms: check out Netroots candidate Darcy Burner's first tv ad (60 seconds, WMV). Wait for the end and try not to do a spit take.

Posted at 03:12 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut, Washington | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: Riddle Me This

Posted by James L.

Say you're the Texas GOP, and you want to clear the field for just one candidate in the open seat race created by Tom DeLay's slow crawl back into the bowels of the earth. Your only option is a write-in campaign, which is always incredibly exhausting and expensive to pull off. Among other things, your best bet would be to coalesce around someone with deep and broad name recognition--someone whose name voters won't be likely to forget how to spell in November. So, tell me, why would you pick a city councillor with a hyphen in her name, instead of someone with a high profile and an easy name to remember (like, say, Sugar Land mayor David Wallace)? Yeah, that's right; the TX GOP has decided to close ranks around Houston city councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as their candidate of choice.

I can just see the scene now: cranky 70 year-old Republican die-hards trying to figure out if they're supposed to vote for Shellie or Shelly or Sekulagibs or Gibbs-Sekula or God knows what permutation pops up into their mind... before they decide to screw it all and vote for the Libertarian, Bob Smither, instead.

Oh, hey, speaking of that Libertarian: as the TX GOP, you're going to have to deal with fringe elements of your own party endorsing Smither as the only obvious choice on the ballot for rigid conservatives. On top of that, you'll also have to deal with the fallout from your behind-closed-gates endorsement decision with key elements of your local party's machinery in open revolt, mucking up your efforts to push Secula-Gibs (or however they want you to spell it):

However, in a letter to candidates Wednesday, Gary Gillen, chairman of the Fort Bend County GOP, was critical of the state party’s calling for a “gathering” of precinct chairs.
“In my opinion, the Republican Party leadership in Austin has chosen to organize local Republicans into a secret, exclusionary process that only reinforces the perception of a backroom deal and the perception we have something to hide,” Gillen wrote. “Anyone wanting to run should pay the fee and get your running shoes on."

In short, at this stage in the game, I'd say you're screwed.

Update: Swing State Project reader Patrick writes in to share that Sek-Ulagibz's hyphenated name is not her only disadvantage:

Her name sounds like...like...SECULAR!!!!!!


Update II:: Commenter "Rhymes With Right" chimes in with some pretty crucial info that renders much of this post moot:

Mind a little input from a GOP precinct chair/election judge who has been involved in the process ever since The Virginian screwed, blued, and tattooed CD22 this spring?

1) Under Texas law, every booth will have a list of write-in candidates hanging in it showing all write-in candidates for all offices. That was done with Nader in 2004.

2) The Texas standard for write-in votes is intent of the voter. It isn't a spelling test. Indeed, all the verious permutations of her name you proposed above would be sufficient to get a vote counted for Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, barring the possibility that they find a Texan named Sheldon Secular-Godd to run against her. Indeed, based upon past practice, SSG would be sufficient to to get a vote counted in the good doctor's favor if such a hypothetical candidate does not exist.

This clearly makes the task for Secular Ribs a lot easier than I assumed. Still, this race is totally advantage: Lampson. With a Libertarian fracturing the Republican vote and even a sliver of Republicans voting for Wallace (assuming he stays on), Lampson is looking good. Of course, finding someone named Sheldon Secular-Godd to run on the ballot wouldn't hurt, either.

Posted at 12:33 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AFL-CIO Is Getting It in NY

Posted by DavidNYC

Peter King Watch provides us with a complete list of AFL-CIO House race endorsements in New York State:

1. Tim Bishop (D)
2. Steve J. Israel (D,I,WF)
3. Dave Mejias (D/WF)
4. Carolyn McCarthy (D)
5. Gary L. Ackerman (D)
6. No Endorsement
7. Joseph Crowley (D)
8. Jerrold Nadler (D)
9. Anthony Weiner (D)
10. No Endorsement
11. Carl Andrews (D)
12. Nydia M. Velazquez (D)
13. Stephen Harrison (D)
14. Carolyn B. Maloney (D)
15. Charles B. Rangel (D)
16. Jose E. Serrano (D)
17. Eliot L. Engel (D, L, WF)
18. Nita M. Lowey (D)
19. John Hall (D)
20. Kirsten Gillibrand (D/I/WF)
21. Michael R. McNulty (D)
22. Maurice Hinchey (D,I,WF)
23. John McHugh (R)
24. Mike Arcuri (D/I/WF)
25. Dan Maffei (D/WF)
26. Jack Davis, Jr. (D/I/WF)
27. Brian M. Higgins (D)
28. Louise M. Slaughter (D)
29. Eric Massa (D/WF)

Twenty-nine races and only one Republican nod. But it goes beyond that. Peter King (3rd CD) has always gotten the AFL-CIO nod in the past - this year, they're hanging him out to dry. Ed Towns (10th CD) has been an extremely disloyal Dem of late, and here the AFL is snubbing him. And as you saw a few days ago, they also switched support from Kuhl to Massa in the 29th CD. This endorsement is also welcome news for a whole spate of Dem challengers, but especially John Hall, who faces a primary in CD 19.

Unfortunately, the AFL-CIO is supporting Republican state Sen. Nicholas Spano in his rematch against Andrea Stewart-Cousins. This is really disappointing, because Stewart-Cousins lost in 2004 by a mere 18 votes - and a left-leaning group played a role in that loss.

That year, the Working Families Party (as you might guess, a pro-labor third party) gave their line to Spano - not because Stewart-Cousins had a bad record on labor issues (to the contrary), but because they thought Spano could better advance the cause of increasing the minimum wage in the state Senate. Needless to say, Spano got far more than 18 votes on the WFP line - votes which would have overwhelmingly gone to the Dem had she gotten that line instead.

Of course, a Dem-controlled Senate would be a lot more helpful to all manner of issues which affect working families, and we're very close to achieving a majority in that body. I think the WFP made a major mistake supporting Spano last time, but I think they realized that, because they did not endorse him this year. I wish the AFL-CIO would follow the WFP's lead. Hey, if they could switch from Kuhl to Massa, maybe it's not too late for Stewart-Cousins.

Posted at 01:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NH-02: Rahm at Hodes Fundraiser

Posted by DavidNYC

I don't know any details, but I sure do like the sound of this little tidbit:

Democrat Paul Hodes said today he supports legislation that would give anyone in college or graduate school a three-thousand dollar tax credit each year.


The tax credit is sponsored by Illinois congressman Rahm Emmanuel, who is heading the Democratic Party's effort to elect more Democrats to the House of Representatives. Emmanuel also appeared at a fundraiser for Hodes in Boston last night. (Emphasis added.)

It's all about that last line. Rahm Emanuel doesn't just randomly appear at fundraisers for just anyone. He's only gonna stick his neck out for legit candidates. With any luck, this is a sign that there might be a spot for Hodes on the D-Trip's Red-to-Blue list at some point soon.

(Thanks to MissLaura for the catch.)

Posted at 12:05 AM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

TX-22: Cook Changes Rating to Lean-Dem

Posted by DavidNYC

From a Cook Report e-mail (also available on the site's front page):

TX-22 Open (DeLay) moves from Toss-Up to Lean D. Winning a write-in campaign is hard enough, but squabbling among Republicans in the district means that there may not be a consensus candidate for the national and state party to rally around. While this district retains a good Republican advantage – and there’s always room to be surprised in politics – the benefit of the doubt now goes to Democrat Nick Lampson.

This marks the first time, I believe, that Cook (or any pro prognosticator, for that matter) has marked a GOP-held House seat as anything better than a tossup. Obviously, the circumstances here are extremely unusual (and CQ notes that only four federal write-in campaigns have succeeded over the past 52 years). But I wonder if any other GOP seats will move into the Dem column over the next few months.

Posted at 06:49 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

New Progressive Patriots Fund Vote

Posted by James L.

Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund is back in action, and they're asking for your vote in deciding who to send a fat $5000 check to. As always, they've chosen an interesting mix of candidates from all tiers and corners of the country. The one thing I really dig about Feingold's PAC is that they don't slap together a list entirely composed DCCC-backed candidates. The DCCC casts as wide a net as they think is viable, but there's always a few worthy races left behind. Here's the list of candidates (Netroots candidates in bold):

Tim Barnwell (TX-26)
Phyllis Busansky (FL-09)
David Gill (IL-15)
Jim Hansen (ID-02)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Chris Murphy (CT-05)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Joe Sestak (PA-07)
Nancy Skinner (MI-09)
Carol Voisin (OR-02)
Patty Wetterling (MN-06)

I won't tell you who to vote for in this contest, but I will make a suggestion: Larry Kissell. He could use the extra scratch more badly than either of the other Netroots-endorsed candidates, and from what I've seen, Kissell is running a great campaign with the minimal resources that he's got. His best move so far has been to sell gas at $1.22/gallon--the price it was when incumbent NC-08 congressman Robin Hayes took office in 1999. Over 500 cars lined up to take advantage of the stunt (you can be sure that they instantly converted to dyed-in-the-wool Kissell voters) and Kissell picked up loads of free airtime on local TV and radio news because of it. And would you know it? The expert prognosticators shot up and took notice, praising the stunt as an example for all other attention-starved second-tier campaigns to follow. This guy knows how to campaign on the cheap, so just imagine what he could do with some extra scratch.

But those are just my two cents. Have your say here. Voting ends on August 23.

Update: If this contest matches the last Progressive Patriots Fund vote, I would assume that the other candidates will also receive smaller contributions depending on their share of the vote.

Posted at 02:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-03: Dem Candidate Drops Out; Could Hackett Jump In?

Posted by DavidNYC

Stephanie Studebaker, the Democratic candidate in OH-03, has formally withdrawn from the race after being arrested on domestic violence charges. The Buckeye State Blog does an extensive roundup on who might replace her. The most intriguing name at the top of the list: One Paul Hackett.

This southwestern Ohio district is R+2.9 - in other words, far less Republican than neighboring OH-02 (R+13.1). If Hackett jumped in, he'd make the race instantly competitive. All the Hackettistas still carrying a torch for him would give him an instant cash infusion, and I think Rahm Emanuel - who wanted Hackett to challenge Jean Schmidt again - might be interested in getting involved as well.

I think this idea is a lot less crazy than it would have been earlier in the year. If you'll recall, around a month ago, Hackett finally endorsed Sherrod Brown. So maybe he's more interested in being a team player now. And if he jumped in in OH-03, he wouldn't be going back on any promises not to push other candidates out of the race, since right now there is no Democratic candidate.

Can Hackett fans convince their man to get back into the ring? We'll see.

Posted at 01:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

New Hotline House Race Rankings Out

Posted by DavidNYC

Chuck Todd's newest House race rankings are available here. Five netroots candidates make the list (previous rankings in parens):

15 (26) Patrick Murphy
16 (17) Joe Sestak
19 (24) Darcy Burner
46 (--) Paul Hodes
50 (49) Jerry McNerney

Hodes is back after being dropped from the previous list. And bullish jumps for Burner and especially Murphy. If you disagree with Todd's rankings, fill out the reader rankings in the left-hand sidebar. (Results are here.)

Posted at 01:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-10: Carney (D) First to Go Up on TV

Posted by DavidNYC

This is good news. From a Carney campaign press release:

Today, Chris Carney put his first television ad, "Pennsylvania Values" on the air. This is a huge victory because Don Sherwood has already started a campaign of negative attacks that the Towanda Daily Review called "ugly," "irresponsible," and a "low blow."

"Chris Carney beat Don Sherwood to television so he can tell the truth about himself, his family, and the values he will take to Washington," said Carney campaign manager Andrew Eldredge-Martin. "Beating Sherwood to television is a huge victory for all the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who support our campaign to take our values back to Congress. In fact, this first ad includes both Republican and Democratic supporters who are all ready for a change in Washington."

You can find the ad here.

Why, you might be asking, does this matter? I mean, doesn't this seem like the ultimate insider baseball - who has ads on TV first? It's not like voters care about ridiculous stuff like this, right? Well, of course they don't. But what matters - as Carney's campaign manager explains above - is that Carney can now tell his story to the voters of the tenth district. By going up on TV before Sherwood does, Carney can blunt Sherwood's ability to drive up Carney's negatives.

Chris Bowers has a new post up on the so-called "incumbent rule," which holds that most undecided voters will break for a challenger on election day. However, this rule has weakened considerably in recent elections, notably in 2002 (see Wayne Allard, CO-Sen) and especially in 2004 (George Bush and many others).

One of the oft-cited reasons (discussed by Chris) for this phenomenon is that incumbents have started slamming their opponents hard and early. Thus, by the time undecided voters get to the polling booth, they are presented not with one known and one unknown quantity, but rather one known and one undesirable quantity. So naturally, they start sticking with the incumbent.

Carney is in a fortunate position, in that he has enough cash to go up on the air, and in that the media market in PA-10 is very, very cheap (especially compared to other competitive Northeastern races). Every Democrat who can expect a nasty, negative campaign from his or her opponent (ie, every Democrat on the face of the earth) should consider taking a cue from this move.

Now, I'm not merely extolling the virtues of paid media, which many consultants will do to the deleterious exclusion of all else. Rather, I'm praising Carney's timing. If you're gonna spend money to get noticed, and you can afford to go up before your opponent slanders you as a lily-livered, Bible-burning, hate-America terra-ist, then do it. Obviously, the move has to be carefully calculated - you don't want to wind up like Matt Brown in Rhode Island. But, of course, you also don't want to wait too long to go on the offensive. Just ask John Kerry.

Posted at 12:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NY-29: AFL-CIO Defects to Massa

Posted by James L.

Great news from the Eric Massa Campaign:

For the second time in a week, a major labor organization announced its endorsement of Retired Navy Commander Eric Massa for Congress, switching support from incumbent Randy Kuhl (R, NY-29). The AFL-CIO, a federation of 53 labor unions, made the announcement following its annual meeting in Albany.

The endorsement, a major score for Massa, is another in a growing list of labor organizations, elected officials, and public figures that are endorsing or supporting Massa in his campaign to unseat Kuhl. Just four days ago, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) switched their long-time support from Kuhl to Massa. It is highly unusual for labor organizations to endorse a non-incumbent.

AFL-CIO representative Peggy Costello said, “In years past, we’ve based our endorsements on voting records. Randy Kuhl’s record in the NY State legislature was generally acceptable. In Congress, however, we rate his record as very weak, no more than 35% favorable to labor interests.”

The AFL-CIO assesses legislators based on voting patterns on a list of key issues, including health care, pensions, and public support for higher education, Costello said. “Eric Massa is very strong in all these areas, and Kuhl has consistently failed to deliver.”

Massa undoubtedly has a little extra jump in his step after today. With labor coming onside, Eric is well-positioned to take advantage of the deadly Democratic wave sweeping from Buffalo to Long Island under the Spitzer-Clinton banner.

On the web: Eric Massa for Congress.

(Hat tip to MyDD.)

Posted at 07:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 10, 2006

NY-03: Peter King Says Lamont Supporters Are "Bigots"

Posted by DavidNYC

Add Peter King to the list of people who hate democracy:

King said the Connecticut primary has no bearing on his re-election race because "fortunately, the Third District is not composed of the left-wing bigots who went after Joe Lieberman."

You can read the article to find yet another iteration of the "this means Dems aren't serious on national security" line of attack. The GOP clearly plans to use this over and over until November. I really wonder if it will resonate, though.

(Hat-tip to Dave Mejias for Congress.)

Posted at 11:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Tuesday Primary Review

Posted by RBH

Clearly we know about the biggest news of the night. Despite all the advantages of incumbency, Joe Lieberman was unable to win the primary tonight. Lawmakers who had either supported Lieberman or had stayed neutral are also turning their support to Ned Lamont. Including Evan Bayh and Hillary, and more people will likely speak up soon.

When it comes to the effects of a Lieberman candidacy in November. I still think that people overrate his chances in November. Money just doesn't come out of nowhere. And Lieberman will need money in order to help himself out in November. While Ned Lamont would need some help to get himself on solid ground, he'll also get a lot of things which he did not have for today.

Joe Lieberman's main source of new money will likely come from people who are donors to Republican candidates. The Republicans will be the ones supporting Lieberman, and money that could have went to Shays, Johnson, or Simmons, will be going to Lieberman. That's only a subtle favor, not any sort of big victory for the Democratic candidates running in those districts.

But I'd rather armwrestle Hulk Hogan than get into a money war with the Republicans. There's legitimate reason for concern when it comes to the Democratic challengers in all the purple districts.

I would certainly hope that Joe Lieberman rethinks his plan to run as an Independent, but I'm not expecting a change in his plans for September and October. I would also hope that those people who gave money to Joe Lieberman and who disapprove of his independent candidacy would ask for a refund or return of their contribution.

As for the other races, here are the highlights:

Colorado: Jeff Crank and Doug Lamborn are the frontrunners in CO-05. The winner faces Jay Fawcett. Ed Perlmutter defeats Peggy Lamm in CO-07.

Georgia: Hank Johnson defeats Cynthia McKinney in GA-04. Expect Cynthia to release the official list of people "to blame for Johnson winning" soon, odds are that "Republicans" will top that list. Ha Ha.

Michigan: Joe Schwarz loses to Tim Walberg. Mike Bouchard looks like the winner in the Republican Senate primary. Knollenberg wins 69-31.

Missouri: Lots of Democrats voted, Lots of Republicans voted, but there weren't a lot of close federal races. Over 80% of precincts are in. Akin rolls over Parker (87-13). No word on who'll face Akin, but the frontrunners are Charles Karam and George Weber. Alan Conner, who spent $246K to try and win the MO-04 nomination, lost by 22 points to Jim Noland, who hasn't filed with the FEC, and who has lost three straight elections to Ike Skelton. Noland's wife suing Conner was probably not helpful to Conner's campaign. This should tell you that there's some things that money can't buy. Sara Jo Shettles and Duane Burghard were both uncontested in their primaries to face Sam Graves and Kenny Hulshof. They also outpolled their opponents. Although in the case of MO-09, that's not exactly a feat of strength, but it's a pretty good sign. And yes, I just gave the longest writeup to my own state. I have the keyboard here, after all.

Any night where three incumbents go down is a night of pretty big activity. It should be a sign that being an incumbent in November is not going to be a pleasant thing.

That's my analysis of the night's events. I'm sure that one of the regulars (who isn't on vacation) will have something to say as well.

Posted at 01:43 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

TX-22: Bugman Exterminated

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Jesse Lee at the DCCC, the AP has the scoop:

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intends to withdraw as a candidate for Congress, a Republican strategist said Tuesday, a step that would allow the party to field a write-in candidate in hopes of holding his seat.

The development came one day after Texas Republicans lost a court battle in their bid to replace DeLay on the November ballot.

There will be no Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House member.

Charlie Wilson pulled off a write-in victory in the OH-06 Democratic primary, and even though that was a decidedly smaller affair, it still cost a ton of money. I have to imagine that even in a deep-red district like this one, a general election write-in campaign would be extremely tough for the GOP. So is this race now Lean Dem? I don't want to get too giddy, but I'd have to imagine that it is.

Posted at 03:05 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, August 07, 2006

CO, CT, GA, MI, MO: Tuesday Primary Election Preview

Posted by RBH

Here's the rundown of the elections which will likely produce news tomorrow.

Starting off first in Colorado where the biggest races are the Republican Primary in the 5th District and the Democratic Primary in the 7th District.

In the 5th district race, the winning Republican will likely face Jay Fawcett (who is the frontrunner in his primary). From a short combing though Google News, we find that Doug Lamborn has the Club for Growth supporters with him, Hefley supporters are apparently supporting Crank. Basically the entire primary could end with the winner recieving a very low percentage of the vote, under 40%, maybe under 35%. But right now, the winner is anybody's guess. I should note that Anderson (who is running as pro-choice, which means "pro-choice compared to other Republicans), Bremer (Paul Bremer's brother), and Rayburn (retired Air Force General) are all wildcards and they could get a surprising number of votes.

In the 7th district, the favorite to face Rick O'Donnell appears to be Ed Perlmutter. Ed has had a pretty solid lead in SurveyUSA polls over Peggy Lamm. But then again in an election like this, surprises will occur.

Moving on to Connecticut.

The big race is between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. It appears to be a pretty big deal. Basically the results could go either way, although Lamont is going into the election with a 6 point lead in the latest Quinnipac poll. I'm pretty sure that this race will be the top attraction, and also the one race which does not require a long explanation.

In Georgia, the big election is between Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson in the 4th district. McKinney had a plurality last time, but for this election, it could go either way.

In Michigan, the biggest race will be in MI-07 between Congressman Joe Schwarz and Tim Walberg. Schwarz is under fire from the right in this campaign and could be on the way out of Congress. The likely Democratic nominee is Sharon Renier. In other races, I'm expecting Keith Mike Bouchard to win the Republican Senate primary and I wouldn't be stunned if Patricia Godchaux got around 1/3rd of the vote in her primary against Congressman Joe Knollenberg.

In Missouri, no major races will occur in the primaries. The closest primary race will probably be in MO-02 between Akin and Sherman Parker, and that's probably not due to be close at all. Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent are expected to cruise over their unknown opponents.

So, on this election day, there's one more question: What Races Are You Interested In?

Posted at 11:48 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Colorado, Connecticut, Democrats, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Netroots, Republicans | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

LA: Filing To Commence This Week

Posted by RBH

I counted the number of contested seats and the current numbers are 419 Democrats and 384 Republicans (for 428 seats, excluding Louisiana's seats). Other counts may differ slightly. But here's the info on Louisiana's filing, which will occur this week.

Qualifying Dates and Information

Qualifying for Congressional Primary Election scheduled November 7, 2006:
U.S. Representatives, Districts 1-7

Candidates for the above-captioned offices will qualify with the Secretary of State beginning on:
August 9, 2006 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
August 10, 2006 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
August 11, 2006 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Barring any sudden change in state policy, the requirements in Louisiana are either $600, and $300 to the party, or 1,000 signatures

When it comes to races, Louisiana isn't expected to have any pickup opportunities. But, since this is Louisiana, sudden changes in fate may occur. William Jefferson may recieve some serious competition from within the Democratic party. Barring any changes in status, Democratic challengers in Louisiana include Stacey Tallitsch in LA-01, Artis Cash in LA-04, and Mike Stagg in LA-07. Alexander (LA-05) and Baker (LA-06) did recieve competition in 2004, but they're not likely to recieve serious competition.

When it comes to a full slate, it's surprisingly likely. In the other 10 Southern states, Democrats filed in 118 of 124 districts with full slates in 5 of those states. In 2004, Democrats had candidates in 101 of those 124 districts.

Expect an overview for the primaries tomorrow sometime either tonight, or tomorrow. It'll be big, and not just because of the Lieberman race.

Posted at 03:59 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Louisiana | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-18: Ney Takes The DeLay Way Out

Posted by RBH

Ney's leaving now, (fortunately for Ney, it appears to be a legal strategy):

Rep. Bob Ney, enmeshed in a congressional corruption scandal, abruptly abandoned his race for re-election Monday after months of prodding from Republican leaders worried about losing his seat this fall.

Ney said in a statement he is innocent of any wrongdoing, and had acted for the sake of his family. "I must think of them first, and I can no longer put them through this ordeal," he said.

Unfortunately for Mr. Ney, dropping out of a Congressional race does not mean that all the investigations into your corruption will disappear.

So, when it comes to replacements, which Republican did he hand the ball to?

A Republican who accused a former hostage of Hezbollah of being soft on terrorism

Padgett Accused Her Opponent of Being Soft on Terrorists. Padgett’s 2004 Senate opponent was a former foreign correspondent for The Associated Press who became famous after Shiite Hezbollah terrorists kidnapped him and held him hostage in Lebanon for almost seven years. Padgett accused him of anti-American behavior and that he is soft on terrorists. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Padgett, also “sent out campaign mailings this month showing Anderson with a Hezbollah terrorist leader. She called Anderson “part of the ‘Blame America’ crowd” that is sympathetic to Mideast thugs intent on hurting Americans.” What she failed to mention was that the terrorist pictured with Anderson was the secretary general of Hezbollah, the group that abducted him in 1985. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/30/04]

The women of the Ohio Republican Party sure are pleasant, nice, down to earth people. (Although that quote doesn't mention that Padgett also compared Anderson to the 'supreme villain' that is Dan Rather)

The Republican switcheroo doesn't appear to have a huge effect on Zack Space. The Republicans didn't nominate Mr. Clean. Also, Space will have a CoH advantage for awhile, and should be pretty well off money-wise for most of the way to election day. Since this is now an open seat, he'll benefit. As well, if Padgett lives up to her reputation from the Anderson race, Space could benefit by getting people who are sick of nasty attacks.

Either way, things just got even more heated in OH-18.

Posted at 02:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, Ohio | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 04, 2006

TX-23: Looking More Blue Today

Posted by RBH

The results from the newest Texas Redistricting have come in, and Burnt Orange Report is there!

The re-re-redistricting affected the following districts: TX-15 (Hinojosa), TX-21 (Smith), TX-23 (Bonilla), TX-25 (Doggett), and TX-28 (Cuellar).

Hinojosa's new district is much more compact than the current district. Smith's district appears to be redder than before which will make things harder for John Courage. Doggett actually got a pretty good setup. He now has his part of Travis county, plus more of Travis County, and some assorted counties to the east. Cuellar's district adds all of Webb county, and subtracts Bexar county.

Early reports suggest that Bonilla is in a competitive district again. Of course, with an open primary just 3 months away, Bonilla has a pretty good advantage. No word on if there'll be any sort of stampede of candidates for Bonilla's district, or if Rick Bolanos will get an uncontested shot at Bonilla.

Election implications: Lightning might strike and somebody big might step in to face Bonilla, although I doubt it. Running for Congress now in Texas probably carries the same shot of victory as running a marathon on the fly. I do expect Cuellar and Doggett to get actual Republican opponents, but nothing serious.

Posted at 07:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TN: Other Results From The Tennessee Primary

Posted by RBH

Your winner in the 9th District is Steve Cohen.

Steve Cohen: 29
Nikki Tinker: 27
Joe Ford Jr: 14
The Other 11: 30

Cohen's 2004 TN Sen NPAT shows him as being more liberal than Harold Ford Jr, and barring some giant surge for Independent candidate Jake Ford, Cohen should win this election easily.

The winner in TN-01 appears to be David Davis.

The November matchups in Tennessee
TN-01: David Davis (R) v. Morristown City Councilman Rick Trent (D)
TN-02: Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R) v. John Greene (D)
TN-03: Rep. Zach Wamp (R) v. Brent Benedict (D)
TN-04: Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) v. Ken Martin (R)
TN-05: Rep. Jim Cooper (D) v. Tom Kovach (R)
TN-06: Rep. Bart Gordon (D) v. David R. Davis (R)
TN-07: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) v. Bill Morrison (D)
TN-08: Rep. John Tanner (D) v. John Farmer (R)
TN-09: Steve Cohen (D) v. Mark White (R)

No switches are expected though. I think the only real primary surprise would be Benedict beating Terry Stulce. But then again, it probably says more for Stulce that he spent $47K and lost to someone who hasn't filed an FEC report.

I'd love to see more Tennessee results, but their official page hasn't posted results due to late returns. Yes, seriously.

Posted at 02:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Tennessee | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-06: Dead Heat

Posted by DavidNYC

Lois Murphy's campaign just released a new internal poll (likely voters, no trendlines):

Murphy (D): 42
Gerlach (R-inc.): 41
Undecided: 17
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Obviously, few details apart from the top-line numbers have been released, but the poll was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang, which I understand to be a pretty reliable outfit. Hopefully we'll learn more about the MoE, etc., soon. [UPDATE: MoE, voter type, and undecided percentage all added, via Polling Report. Also, Gerlach has a 37-46 job approval rating according to this poll.]

In any event, if you followed House elections closely last time, you may recall that Lois Murphy was one of the "DKos Dozen" candidates, sort of a predecessor to the netroots list.You may also remember that Lois Murphy suffered one of the most heart-breakingly narrow losses, losing just 51-49 (less than 7,000 votes out of over 300K cast). She raised a ton of money and ran an excellent campaign - and she's doing that once more this year. She is one of my favorite candidates this cycle, and I've long felt she is our single-best chance of beating a Republican incumbent. If we win only one seat this year, we'd win PA-06.

The flip-side, of course, is that if we do poorly in PA-06, we're almost certainly doomed - which is why, needless to say, I'm glad to see this poll showing the race so competitive. You may recall my cash-on-hand competitiveness chart: Lois Murphy is at the very top of the list, one of only four Dems who actually has more money on hand than her opponent. She'll need every penny, though: This campaign got started incredibly early, and Gerlach has been working furiously trying to tarnish Murphy's name.

But Gerlach himself is being dragged down by the Bush anvil. And, near as I can tell, Murphy has run a picture-perfect campaign. There's still a long, hard slog ahead in PA-06 - just like there is in every race throughout the country - but I feel very good about this race.

Posted at 01:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 03, 2006

TX-22: Won't Get Fooled Again

Posted by DavidNYC

In a twist of fate on the level of a triple lutz, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that... well, just enjoy it:

A federal appeals court panel on Thursday refused to let Texas Republicans replace Tom DeLay's name on the November congressional ballot.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who said in July that DeLay name had to stay on the ballot even though he quit from Congress and moved to Virginia.

As glad as I am to see DeLay have to deal with all of this, he will no doubt blame this turn of events on a Democratic conspiracy (two of the judges on the appeals panel were Dem-appointed). DeLay will rewrite history to say that they tried to keep him out, but couldn't prevent his victorious "return" - and his supporters will gobble it up. Republicans have gotten very good at playing the victim card lately, and DeLay can cast himself as both a victim and a martyr, the ultimate combo. In other words, Nick Lampson still has a very serious race on his hands, despite all his cash-on-hand. I think DeLay might be able to rake in plenty of pity money.

However, I think we're all hoping that DeLay can still be used as an icon of corruption, especially if his trial proceeds forward during the next few months. Hopefully he's still a potent symbol Republican excess.

(Hat tip: DCCC.)

Posted at 02:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

OH-02: Pearls of Wisdom From Jean Schmidt

Posted by James L.

Wow. Check THIS out. Ohio's greatest embarrassment, congresswoman Jean Schmidt, has just released a newsletter addressing the sensitive issue of anti-Americanism in the Middle East. I haven't read essays this juvenile or poorly written outside of a fourth grade classroom. I'm not even kidding. The Vic Wulsin for Congress Blog has the goods.

Get a load of nuggets like this one:

The Iraqi's perception is that we are all powerful. We watch them from space with technology they cannot even imagine. Surely if we wanted to turn on his electricity we could do so. He has no idea how large the problem is but he knows we can do anything. He was angry. Eventually his air conditioning began running and his anger cooled.

Um. Wow. Yes, I do believe she compared Iraqi citizens to dumbed-down 'savages' who can't tell the difference between the American armed forces and God (or Allah, in this case).

Words are just failing me right now, folks. I give up.

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

NH-02: New Poll Shows Wider Bass Lead

Posted by DavidNYC

The University of New Hampshire just released a new poll (PDF) on the race in NH-02 (likely voters, May in parens):

Hodes (D): 25 (35)
Bass (R-inc.): 53 (42)
Undecided: 22 (22)
(MoE: ±6.2%)

A few things to note about this poll: Like the last one, it has a huge MoE. Unlike the last survey, though, this poll isn't backed up by any others (yet). A Hodes staffer told me that back in May, the campaign's own polling showed the exact same margin that UNH's did. Hopefully, there will be another poll in the field soon - but this time, I'm betting it won't confirm these newest UNH results. Why do I say that?

First, what's happened in NH-02 over the last three months that could possibly have caused such a huge swing? Do you have any clue? I certainly don't - and that's because the answer is "nothing." This race has barely heated up. Neither candidate is on the air in any meaningful way. The campaign hasn't even experienced much if any controversy yet (Bass's immoral voting record nonwithstanding). And this is born out by the fact that Hodes' name rec numbers are essentially unchanged from the last time out.

Bass, however, saw a big jump (nine points) in his favorability score. Though the PDF linked above doesn't give an exact figure, it does say that Bush's favorability also increased from his May low of 30%. If Bush experienced a jump anything like Bass's (and I wouldn't be surprised if they were similar), you've gotta ask: Why? Is Bush (and by extension Bass) all of a sudden more popular in New Hampshire now than he was three months ago?

I'd have a hard time believing that. But I think I have the answer right here. Check out the partisan breakdown of the survey sample, with the current poll listed first and the May poll in parens:

Democrat: 23% (25%)
Republican: 32% (22%)
Independent: 38% (43%)
Unregistered: 7% (10%)

I think that just about explains things: The current sample has 10% more Republicans than the prior poll. While I'm aware that party ID among independents tends to shift with the political winds, there's been nothing to suggest that even so much as a gentle zephyr has been blowing in the GOP's direction in New Hampshire over the last twelve weeks. What's more, if Bush's favorability shows an increase comparable to Bass's, that would make him more popular in blue New Hampshire than in the nation as a whole - and more popular than he's been in the state since January.

You may be tempted to dismiss this as so much spin from a Hodes partisan. That I am a big supporter of his I would never deny - it's been plain for everyone to see for months. But again I say, this latest survey from UNH isn't backed up by any other polls; it has a huge MoE; and there is a serious issue with the dramatic, unexplained change in sample demographics. If Charlie Bass wants to sleep soundly tonight because of this poll, that's his mistake to make. But Hodes supporters shouldn't be discouraged and should view this poll with the skepticism it merits.

Posted at 05:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 31, 2006

TX-22: Stay Tuned...

Posted by James L.

Any day now, we'll find out whether the 5th Circuit of Appeals will allow former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson the opportunity to crush Tom DeLay, or whether he'll go head-to-head with the Texas Republican Party's hand-picked replacement. The appeals court has begun hearing arguments today:

A federal appeals panel indicated today that the ability of Republicans to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Delay on the ballot rests on whether there was "conclusive" evidence that he had moved to Virginia.

The three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals did not indicate when it would rule. But questions from the panel seemed to favor the Democrats' position that Republican officials could not declare DeLay ineligible for office based on residency prior to election day.

Republican lawyer James Bopp Jr. told the panel that DeLay had given Texas Republican Chairwoman Tina Benkiser enough evidence that she could make a "reasonable prediction" that DeLay would not be a resident of Texas on election day. That evidence included a change of driver's license and voter registration, plus a letter stating he had moved to Virginia.

Bopp said that gave her the power to declare DeLay ineligible to serve if elected and opened the door for replacing him on the ballot.

But Judges Pete Benavides and Edith Clement noted that a candidate like DeLay could move back to Texas by election day and be eligible for office. They said the U.S. Constitution would prohibit a state party official from throwing a candidate off the ballot in such circumstances.

"How can it be conclusive if you can always change your voter registration," Clement asked.

So far, so good. Of course, it'd be much preferable for Lampson to face DeLay, as his campaign warchest is being rapidly siphoned off to pay for his legal defense against his lingering criminal indictment.

Posted at 02:54 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, July 28, 2006

Vote in John Edwards' One America Committee Competition

Posted by James L.

Yet another one of the ever-so-popular "you vote for 'em and I'll fundraise for 'em" PAC competitions, this time by John Edwards' One America Committee. The list is pretty fat, and it includes several incumbent Democrats who are looking safe this cycle: Reps. Dennis Moore (KS), Stephanie Herseth (SD), Brian Higgins (NY), and Jim Matheson (UT). So far the shape of things for even the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats this November is looking pretty good, so I would advise against voting for any incumbents--but especially not those incumbents. The bright side is that you can vote for several candidates in a checklist format (so really, you can vote for as many as you want), and there will be two winners who will be the receipients of fundraisers headlined by the former Senator. Vote wisely! You have until August 4.

My only beef: they should have added netroots all-stars Larry Kissell (of John Edwards' home state, no less!) and Swing State Project favorite Paul Hodes.

Posted at 10:53 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 27, 2006

NY-03: Peter King's Clueless Vote Against Stem Cells

Posted by DavidNYC

Dave Mejias, running to unseat Rep. Peter King on Long Island, points out something that I can hardly believe: Last week, Peter King voted against expanding stem cell research. Yes, against it. Now, those of you who know how I feel about this issue know that few things can make me as crazy in the head as the issue of stem cell research. My fiancee has Type I diabetes, and one of my closest friends and mentors is a paraplegic. When reactionary obscurantists like Peter King vote to privilege undifferentiated clumps of cells over my loved ones, I can make the Incredible Hulk look like Emily Post.

But today, that isn't my point. Oh, yes, I am in disbelief, but not concerning the merits of the legislation. Rather, it's the optics of this vote that have me brain-boggled. I can't believe that a Republican in a blue-trending swing district in an extremely blue state headed toward an extremely blue landslide this fall would vote against this. And did I mention that, by the way, over 80% of New Yorkers support stem cell research? I am sure that King has an explanation for what he will undoubtedly call his "principled" vote on his House website, though, right? Wrong. What about his campaign website? Asking you to go look for it would be as cruel as sending kids Easter egg hunt without hiding any Easter eggs first. In other words, his campaign site is about as real as the Easter Bunny.

And that little fact, just like his vote on stem cells, suggests that Peter King really is badly out of touch. What kind of 21st century campaign, less than four months from election day, doesn't have a functioning campaign website where you can make donations? One that's either stupid, arrogant or clueless. I think King is, sooner or later, going to pay a price for being this out-of-step with his constituents.

Speaking of which, I think Mejias could really gain some traction on King's stem cell vote. This is an uphill battle no matter what - it always is, when you go up against an incumbent, especially in the most expensive media market known to man. But this race is right in my back yard, so I can hardly ignore it. And Mejias did manage to raise over $200K in a very short period last quarter (he got a late start), which indicates he might have some pop in his bat. (Extra scratch is always welcome.) His task, as I see it, is to give Long Islanders a reason to stop liking (or tolerating) Peter King. In other words, he's got to drive up King's negatives. And King just handed Dave a great weapon to do that with.

Posted at 10:53 AM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

KY-04: Lucas Leads Davis By 9 Points

Posted by James L.

From the Bluegrass Report comes a new SUSA poll on Kentucky's 4th Congressional District race, where popular former Democratic Rep. Ken Lucas is challenging first-term incumbent Geoff Davis for his old seat after stepping down to honor a term limit pledge in 2004 (likely voters):

Ken Lucas (D): 50
Geoff Davis (R-Inc.): 41
Undecided: 8
MoE: ±4.7%

The results reinforce internal polling by the Lucas campaign back in February that showed the former congressman leading Davis by a ten point margin (47-37). Despite a significant cash disadvantage, Lucas is well positioned to pick off another Republican seat for the Democrats this November.

Posted at 04:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-11: McCloskey (R) Endorses McNerney (D)

Posted by James L.

No surprises here:

Maverick former GOP Rep. Pete McCloskey took on his party's establishment -- and lost. But he's not done yet.

McCloskey, 78, failed in his primary challenge to Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the powerful House Resources Committee. Now he's planning to urge Northern California voters who backed him to support Pombo's Democratic opponent, wind engineer Jerry McNerney, in November.

In June, McCloskey won 32 percent of the Republican primary vote to 62 percent for Pombo.

McNerney is "an honorable man that has not and will not seek to enrich himself and his family through his office," McCloskey said in an interview.

So how much of that 32% will swing to McNerney?

Posted at 01:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

New National Journal House Rankings

Posted by James L.

You can view the new montly rankings here. As an added bonus, and a reflection of what the National Journal believes to be a more competitive field, they've expanded the rankings to the top 50 competitive seats from 25.

Lots of big movers, including Chris Shays (R) vaulting into the top ten; TX-22 shooting up to #14 with the possibility of DeLay's return; NY-24 (an open seat formerly held by moderate Republican Sherwood Boehlert) jumping to #16 simply because of the absolute weakness of the Republican field in New York. Also, potentially vulnerable Democratic incuments like Mollohan (WV) and Melancon (LA) are ranked in safer positions. However, Republicans are gaining some strength in a few races, like NC-11 (something about Shuler not spending enough time campaigning--sounds surprising to me), WI-08, and VT-AL (I still highly doubt this seat will be picked up by Martha Rainville).

Overall, it's a bit of a mixed bag, but the big upside? There's only one incumbent Democrat in the top 20 competitive races: Leonard Boswell (IA-03), ranked at #12 this month (down from 10).

The Top 50.

Posted at 12:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

IN-02: Poll Shows Chocola in Trouble

Posted by James L.

From the South Bend Tribune (Research 2000, likely voters):

Joe Donnelly (D): 46
Chris Chocola (R-Inc.): 41
Undecided: 13
MoE: ±5%

Chocola was one of several incumbents who were facing challengers that skirted the edges of first-tier status before Moveon.org targeted them in a high-profile ad campaign. It looks like the campaign may have softened up Rep. Chocola enough so that Joe Donnelly is in an unusually good position at this point in the cycle.

Also of note is the generally sour mood in Indiana against Republicans in general, including several policies pushed forward by Gov. Mitch Daniels (R):

[Pollster Delair Ali] said he was also surprised at the number of people who brought up the Toll Road (7 percent) and time zone change (5 percent) as campaign issues.

“To me, it sounds like people are ticked off at Republicans in general,” Ali said.

It now looks like there are three ripe pick-up opportunities in Indiana, with Donnelly's race in IN-02 joining Brad Ellsworth's in IN-08 and Baron Hill's in IN-09.

Update: Democratic pollsters Cooper and Secrest had Donnelly up by ten points a few weeks ago. However, since that was commissioned by Democrats, my inclination is to view this Research 2000 poll as the more likely snapshot of the race. But make that the second consecutive poll showing Count Chocola in perilous territory--not good news for Indiana Republicans.

Posted at 11:03 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Indiana | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hodes, Sestak Are Leaders in Cash-on-Hand Competitiveness

Posted by DavidNYC

Taking a break from bar study here, as you might have guessed. CQ has helpfully put together a list of the top fifty House challengers (PDF) in terms of cash-on-hand. (The list does not include open seats.) I was curious to know how competitive each challenger actually is, though: If you've got $500K, that's all well-and-good - but your opponent has $2M, then you've got a lot of ground to make up. So I plugged in incumbent CoH totals and divided challenger CoH by incumbent CoH to arrive at a "competitiveness" percentage (listed in the far right-hand column). Here are how the top ten challengers shake out:

Rank State District Chal. Party CoH Inc. Party CoH Chal. %age
1 Ind. 8 Ellsworth D $676,475 Hostettler R $195,146 347%
2 N.C. 11 Shuler D $668,745 Taylor R $237,924 281%
3 Wyo. AL Trauner D $234,785 Cubin R $217,871 108%
4 Pa. 6 Murphy D $1,402,793 Gerlach R $1,302,975 108%
5 N.H. 2 Hodes D $442,888 Bass R $453,449 98%
6 Conn. 4 Farrell D $1,376,139 Shays R $1,507,565 91%
7 N.C. 13 Robinson R $466,768 Miller D $540,736 86%
8 Pa. 7 Sestak D $993,746 Weldon R $1,152,012 86%
9 Ind. 9 Hill D $973,305 Sodrel R $1,138,911 85%
10 Conn. 2 Courtney D $988,430 Simmons R $1,283,416 77%

As you can see, two netroots candidates occupy top spots on the list: Paul Hodes at #5, and Joe Sestak at #8. Not too shabby, especially considering that neither Hodes nor Sestak have held political office before. As far as the Democrats on this list go, this group at the top will of necessity be among the most competitive challengers this campaign season.

You can find the rest of the top fifty below the fold.

Rank State District Chal. Party CoH Inc. Party CoH Chal. %age
11 Iowa 3 Lamberti R $820,105 Boswell D $1,093,465 75%
12 N.Y. 20 Gillibrand D $754,333 Sweeney R $1,008,506 75%
13 Neb. 1 Moul D $369,716 Fortenberry R $496,449 74%
14 Va. 2 Kellam D $517,210 Drake R $708,487 73%
15 Va. 10 Feder D $461,247 Wolf R $636,089 73%
16 Fla. 22 Klein D $2,132,126 Shaw R $3,036,936 70%
17 Wash. 8 Burner D $769,822 Reichert R $1,111,841 69%
18 Ga. 8 Collins R $793,234 Marshall D $1,206,784 66%
19 Ore. 4 Feldkamp R $240,170 DeFazio D $367,754 65%
20 Ariz. 5 Mitchell D $666,476 Hayworth R $1,049,710 63%
21 Pa. 10 Carney D $301,245 Sherwood R $479,134 63%
22 N.M. 1 Madrid D $1,258,845 Wilson R $2,051,557 61%
23 La. 3 Romero R $958,990 Melancon D $1,651,630 58%
24 Ohio 1 Cranley D $775,757 Chabot R $1,381,770 56%
25 Ga. 12 Burns R $733,393 Barrow D $1,338,950 55%
26 S.C. 5 Norman R $733,600 Spratt D $1,535,307 48%
27 Ariz. 1 Simon D $381,882 Renzi R $804,654 47%
28 W.V. 1 Wakim R $318,306 Mollohan D $674,593 47%
29 Pa. 8 Murphy D $495,236 Fitzpatrick R $1,132,980 44%
30 Wash. 2 Roulstone R $383,994 Larsen D $886,431 43%
31 N.J. 7 Stender D $650,118 Ferguson R $1,514,084 43%
32 Ohio 15 Kilroy D $775,469 Pryce R $1,818,555 43%
33 Ky. 4 Lucas D $609,801 Davis R $1,555,077 39%
34 Conn. 5 Murphy D $1,021,569 Johnson R $2,621,000 39%
35 Nev. 3 Hafen D $600,587 Porter R $1,609,758 37%
36 Colo. 4 Paccione D $381,685 Musgrave R $1,083,421 35%
37 Ky. 2 Weaver D $335,147 Lewis R $1,022,690 33%
38 Minn. 1 Walz D $252,829 Gutknecht R $826,391 31%
39 Colo. 3 Tipton R $342,905 Salazar D $1,177,634 29%
40 Tex. 17 Taylor R $454,453 Edwards D $1,576,787 29%
41 N.Y. 19 Aydelott D $344,344 Kelly R $1,207,757 29%
42 Ind. 2 Donnelly D $435,215 Chocola R $1,554,483 28%
43 Ill. 10 Seals D $507,975 Kirk R $1,859,582 27%
44 Ill. 11 Pavich D $276,828 Weller R $1,028,626 27%
45 Ky. 3 Yarmuth D $417,929 Northup R $1,854,187 23%
46 Ill. 8 McSweeney R $473,615 Bean D $2,175,474 22%
47 Mich. 8 Marcinkowski D $225,733 Rogers R $1,148,665 20%
48 Fla. 16 Mahoney D $567,634 Foley R $2,913,304 19%
49 N.Y. 19 Hall D $220,835 Kelly R $1,207,757 18%
50 Ohio 12 Shamansky D $262,131 Tiberi R $1,726,991 15%

Posted at 04:46 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Fundraising | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

GA-04: Cynthia McKinney Losing Ground in Primary; Heading to a Run-off?

Posted by James L.

Before we get to that, lemme just rattle off the list of tonight's events:

1. With 50% of the precincts reporting, Ralph Reed is getting his ass kicked in the GA GOP Lt.-Gov. primary by a 56-44 margin. I guess corruption can beat some unbeatable politicians, after all.

2. George Wallace, Jr. is also on the receiving end of ass-kickery, losing his primary bid for Alabama Lt.-Gov by a 55-45 margin to Luther Strange. It's still pretty awful that 45% of Alabama Republican primary voters could vote for GW, Jr, though.

3. Like the polls predicted, Mark Taylor is beating out Cathy Cox in Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial primary, by a 51-44 margin with 54% of precincts reporting.

More interestingly, though, is the primary results of GA-04, with 28.74% 35.93% 59% 66% 80% of precincts reporting:

Hank Johnson (D): 48.82% (5,435) 46.21% (8,894) 45.3% (15,445)45.4% (16,273) 44.6% (19,904)
Cynthia McKinney (D-Inc.): 42.37% (4,717) 45.32% (8,723) 46.7% (15,910)(46.0%) 16,492 47.1% (21,027)
John Coyne (D): 8.8% (980) 8.47% (1,631) 8.0% (2,738) 8.7% (3,105) 8.3% (3,691)

I don't know much about Hank Johnson, other than the fact that he's a commissioner of a vote rich primary. If these results hold, this will be the second time that McKinney has been defeated in a primary; in 2002, she was ejected in favor of Denise Majette. I couldn't imagine Georgia's 4th giving her a third chance after this.

Update: With 36% of precincts reporting, McKinney is tightening the race big time.
Update II: Okay, with 59%, McKinney is taking the lead by 500 votes. Will it hold?
Update III: With 66%, it's tightening again. Interesting to note the slight spike in Coyne votes. I have a feeling we're picking up some of the whiter precincts in this update. Oh yeah, I should note that I'm getting these new numbers from the GA Secretary of State website. They seem to be updating faster than the AP, which is a first.
Update IV: Well, with 80% of precincts reporting, McKinney has gained a 1,100 vote lead. I'm pretty doubtful that Johnson can surpass that with only 20% of precincts to go.
Update V: As commenter Drew notes, Georgia requires 50%+1 for a candidate to win the nomination. We're likely heading towards a run-off. It's easy to say that "Johnson votes + Coyne votes = McKinney defeat", but it's never that simple in run-off elections. Just ask Ray Nagin.

Posted at 10:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Georgia | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-02: Jean Schmidt Has $17,500 For November

Posted by James L.

Heh. This is pretty funny. I got an e-mail today pointing me toward Jean Schmidt's 2Q FEC filing. Evidently, ol' Jeanny had to unload a great deal of her warchest just to get under 48% of the vote in her spring primary challenge from former Congressman Bob McEwen. McEwen fell just under 4,000 votes shy of ending Schmidt's glamorous, combat veteran-insulting half-term career in Congress. Of $1.46m raised, she's reporting $17,509 as of June 30. $17,509.

Let me repeat that, just in case your eyes glazed over: $17,509. Cash. On. Hand. (And let's not forget that $277,000 debt that her campaign has accumulated.)

A full two months after her primary campaign elapsed and she has $17,509 in the bank? Brutal.

Now, Schmidt's Democratic opponent, Dr. Victoria Wulsin, is not going to win this seat with the cash that she's got, either: $24,564. But at least she has the temporary bragging rights of holding 50% CoH advantage. (Heh.)

This could prove to be another fun race, especially when coupled with Wulsin's latest internal polling. I have no doubt that the Republican extremist base and PAC backbone will help Schmidt out again and retire her campaign debt for her, but at least she doesn't face the advantage of having a $1m+ warchest to swamp her challenger with on the airwaves this summer.

Posted at 12:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, July 14, 2006

NH-02: Hodes Pulls In $343K, Sets Local Record and Pulls Even With Bass!

Posted by DavidNYC

James is doing yeoman working tracking all the fundraising numbers as they come in. But I had to take a quick break from studying to pass along SSP favorite Paul Hodes' official fundraising figures:

Paul Hodes Fundraising Numbers

2Q Raised: $343K
2Q Cash-on-Hand: $443K

Those are some pretty rock-solid nums. Hodes more than doubled his 1Q numbers, by a fat margin. It also brings his cycle-to-date total to over $604K. What's more, Hodes has already raised more from New Hampshirites than anyone else in NH-02 ever has - including Charlie Bass. Over half of Hodes' contributitions - $325K - have been from local sources, and we're still four months away from election day. Bass never even managed $300K from New Hampshire residents during an entire election period. Charlie's gonna have to rely heavily on PAC money to bail him out.

Hodes' burn rate looks pretty good, too. By my calculations, the campaign spent $132K this past quarter. (They ended the first quarter with $232K CoH, and raised $343K this quarter. That totals $575K. Subtract the current CoH - $443K - from that and you can see how much they spent.) Considering that the campaign's CoH went up $211K, that sounds pretty frugal to me. Hopefully these numbers will be enough to get Hodes added to the DCCC's Red-to-Blue list posthaste.

UPDATE (James L.): Wow. Check out Bass' 2Q numbers: only $200k raised and $450k CoH. Hodes is pulling even!

Posted at 01:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 13, 2006

DCCC Announces the Second Batch of "Red to Blue" Candidates

Posted by James L.

Red to Blue, a DCCC-run program that aids promising challengers in key races through fundraising and communications support, has announced its second round of candidates:

Mike Arcuri (NY-24)
Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Chris Carney (PA-10)
Joe Donnelly (IN-02)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Phil Kellam (VA-02)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Joe Sestak (PA-07)
Zack Space (OH-18)
Linda Stender (NJ-07)
Mike Weaver (KY-02)
Patty Wetterling (MN-06)
Charlie Wilson (OH-06)

All fairly solid choices, but the inclusion of Charlie Wilson, who's running for Ted Strickland's (D) open seat, is somewhat eyebrow-raising. Given Wilson's ho-hum 2Q numbers ($275k raised, $235k CoH), perhaps the DCCC felt they needed to do whatever it takes to shore up his fundraising, even if it means adding him to a program that was set up to turn red seats blue.

Update: My source for Wilson's numbers was off by a considerable margin. His 2Q numbers were somewhate better: $397k raised and $290 CoH. (Consider that Wilson had to drop a lot of coin for his successful write-in campaign to make the ballot.) He'll still need to boost his cash numbers significantly, but I'm feeling a bit better about his campaign now.

Posted at 02:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

OH-02: This One's Got a Pulse, Doctor

Posted by James L.

First off, if you've read my latest post on the most recent batch of internal polls from Ohio, you'd know that I'm fairly nonplussed by campaign-commissioned polls. That said, if this poll is anywhere near the truth, I think I may be able to renew my faith in humanity (likely voters):

Victoria Wulsin (D): 44
Jean Schmidt (R): 44
Undecided: 11

Who knows, maybe even a blood red district can't stomach a congresswoman who became the laughingstock of Saturday Night Live. Other pertinent details from the poll: Schmidt has a 33-53% approval/disapproval rating, and only 30% of the respondents say they will vote for her; 34% say they will definitely cast their ballots for someone else. Wulsin also leads among independents by a 52-36 margin. The maddening thing, of course, is the missing margin of error. What is it? 3? 6? 12? It's a pretty key piece of information that's missing from Wulsin's press release.

Still, I'm glad to see numbers like these for the Wulsin campaign. She may not be Paul Hackett, who was one of the most unique candidates I've ever seen in politics, but her advocacy for public health both home and abroad (where she has assisted HIV prevention initiatives for USAID in Africa), is pretty remarkable and respectable herself. I met Wulsin's former campaign manager (from her primary campaign with Hackett) last year after the dust settled on the special election, and he left me with a very good impression of Vic and her values. She would be an excellent voice in Congress, and I hope that these numbers give her campaign a lift in the months ahead.

UPDATE: Okay, I found the MoE here: ±4.9%. High, but not awful.

Posted at 01:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

OH-18: A Tale of Two Polls

Posted by James L.

So yesterday, we got an internal poll done by Cooper & Secrest (D) for the Zack Space campaign, that seemed just too good to be true. Space, as you may know, is taking on Jack Abramoff's snuggle buddy, Rep. Bob Ney. Here's the poll, just in case you missed it (likely voters):

Zack Space (D): 46
Bob Ney (R-Inc.): 35
Undecided: 19
MoE: ±4.4

When I saw a poll that showed Space, a guy with minimal name recognition, already taking nearly half the vote in a district that voted for Bush by 14 points, I was skeptical, to say the least. And while the poll may be off, it's turns out that it's probably not way off. Ney's commissioned an internal poll of his own by GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. The result? A slim Ney lead over Space by 45 to 41 percentage points. As the Hotline notes, that's a 15 point difference between the two polls (+11 to -4 for Space). The truth probably lies somewhere between the two, but even if it's a worst case scenario, a four point lead for Ney, a six-term incumbent in a ripe red district, isn't exactly good news, either.

Of course, if Ney is indicted and the state Republicans manage to replace him on the ballot with someone a lot ethically cleaner, this discussion is irrelevant...

Update: As Cillizza notes, Ney's poll has a trendline: the poll "marks a considerable improvement from January when Ney trailed Space 49 percent to 37 percent 'shortly after Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty and the story was all over the news,' according to a memo penned by Bolger and released this morning."

Posted at 08:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 10, 2006

PA-07: Update on Republican Push Polling

Posted by James L.

A few weeks ago, DavidNYC asked if anyone had any information on an alleged nasty push poll against Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice-admiral running against crazy Curt Weldon. Well, it now looks like those rumors are true. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

It's going to be a long campaign season in the Seventh Congressional District, judging by opening telephone salvos against U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon and his Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak.

Dennis Berry of West Chester said that Venture Data L.L.C., a Salt Lake City polling company, asked him a series of negatively framed questions about Sestak, including one he described as outlandish. Berry said he was asked if he would be more or less likely to vote for Sestak if he knew Sestak "had an opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden in Sudan and passed."

Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral, served as a National Security Council official in the Clinton White House. He said he had heard about the phone calls, but not the details of the message - and nothing about bin Laden.

Venture Data didn't return phone calls. Michael Puppio, Weldon's campaign manager, said that the polling company was not working for the Weldon campaign.

On the other side, Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliate, used a robot dialer to urge Seventh District voters to call Weldon's district office and ask the congressman why he voted against an increase in the minimum wage. Weldon has said that the call distorted his record on the minimum wage.

As an aside, notice how the Inquirer seems to take the narrative that a push poll designed to suggest that Admiral Sestak brushed off an opportunity to capture Bin Laden is 'tit-for-tat' with a robocall saying that Weldon voted against the minimum wage. As if one "salvo" is anywhere near on the same level as the other.

Curt Weldon's history of complete looniness is well-documented. It shouldn't come as a surprise that his Republican friends are already cooking up ways to slime Admiral Sestak while Weldon is off planning his next opportunity to play dress-up as Indiana Jones and find his mythical WMDs in the Iraqi desert.

Posted at 03:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 06, 2006

TX-22: No Escape For Tom DeLay

Posted by James L.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! -- The Godfather Part III

From the Houston Chronicle:

A federal judge ruled today that Republicans cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the GOP nominee for the congressional seat that DeLay abandoned last month. Sparks ruling was confirmed by Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Amber Moon.

Wow. What was widely seen as a legal stall tactic to temporarily block the TX GOP from replacing Tom DeLay with a less radioactive candidate on the ballot this November has turned out to be the real deal. We'll have to wait and see what the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has to say about this, but a lot of damage is done already: if DeLay comes back to campaign in TX-22 (which he recently murmured that he's willing to do), not only will he have to reassemble his field and campaign team, but he'll also face an awfully awkward homecoming from his temporary escape to Virginia. What does it say to voters in his district when only a court order is enough to get him to step back into the state of Texas? It's not exactly flattering, to say the least.

Even if this decision is overturned by the appeals process, the Republicans will have lost months of valuable campaign time--time that genuine nice guy and proud Texan Nick Lampson won't waste.

Posted at 12:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 29, 2006

TX-22: Will Lampson Face ANY Opposition in November?

Posted by James L.

That's the question on our minds after hearing that former Republican Representative and Independent candidate Steve Stockman apparently failed to submit the 500 valid signatures required by Texas law to have his name placed on the November ballot:

Former GOP Congressman Steve Stockman (Independent) failed to qualify for the ballot in the CD-22 race. The Secretary of State determined petitions submitted by Stockman failed to produce the 500 valid signatures required by state law. "Someone who couldn't find 500 people in a [in a district of 600,000 residents] probably wasn't going to have much of an impact," joked a spokesman for former Congressman Nick Lampson (D). In related news, US District Court Judge Sam Sparks has yet to rule whether or not the Republicans will be allowed to replace resigned Congressman Tom DeLay on the ballot. If the court finds DeLay intentionally "withdrew" from the contest, the GOP will not be allowed to replace him -- and then only Lampson and the Libertarian nominee will appear on the November ballot. If DeLay, however, was found to have been "disqualified" because of his move to Virginia, the GOP will be allowed to name a new replacement nominee. Although the Judge did not yet rule, during this week's hearing he openly remarked that DeLay apparently "withdrew" from the race. Stay tuned.

Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.

However, Stockman's disqualification raises the risks considerably for Lampson--if the GOP is able to field a replacement candidate for DeLay, the conservative vote won't be as fractured without a Stockman candidacy. Depending on Judge Sparks' decision, this could either be a dream come true for Lampson, or a nightmare. We'll find out next week. (Hat tip to Christopher Walker.)

Update: Oh, right; I neglected to mention that Lampson could be facing DeLay again. The way I see it, there are three possibilities here: Lampson could face DeLay again, Lampson could face no serious opposition, or Lampson could face the TX GOP's replacement candidate. Obviously, either of the first two options are vastly preferable.

Posted at 03:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Late Night Poll Round-up: MA-Gov, VA-Sen, GA-Gov, Pew and Gallup

Posted by James L.

MA-Gov: Buzz candidate and former Clinton Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval Patrick is now pulling significantly ahead of Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly in the Democratic primary for Governor, while businessman Chris Gabrieli (who has pumped $2.5 million into a hefty TV ad campaign) is threatening to leave Reilly in third place if this trend continues (likely voters, May in parens).

Deval Patrick (D): 31 (20)
Tom Reilly (D): 25 (35)
Chris Gabrieli (D): 22 (15)
MoE: ±4%

Obviously a big part of Patrick's bounce has to do with snagging the MA Democratic Party endorsement at the recent state convention, but Patrick is also pushing himself as a fresh face in a state full of tired, entrenched incumbents. In a hypothetical general election match-up, however, all three candidates lead Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey by wide margins.

Massachusetts has been reluctant to give the Democrats full control of every lever of power in the state, hence the lack of a Democrat in the Governor's mansion since Dukakis. But after seeing Romney veto bills in favor of embryonic stem cell research and emergency contraception (both vetoes were overridden by the MA legislature) in order to prove his conservative cred for a possible '08 White House bid, it seems like the good people of Massachusetts are tired of their Governors playing petty political games with the veto button. It will be a pleasure to watch Deval Patrick's campaign in the weeks and months ahead.

VA-Sen (SUSA, likely voters, no trendlines):

Jim Webb (D): 37
George Felix Allen, Jr. (R): 56
Gail Parker (I): 2
MoE: ±4.3%

It's not too surprising, given that Webb just came off a nasty primary that he won by just a few points, and that Allen has already been saturating tthe airwaves with TV ads. Given that Webb has a lot of ground to cover, including introducing himself via TV and radio (his campaign only aired a few radio spots during the final days of the primary due to funding constraints), there's clearly potential for him to make this race a lot tighter, given the proper funding.

GA-Gov: Oh right, there's a race here. (Strategic Vision [R], likely voters, May in parens)

Mark Taylor (D): 44 (39)
Sonny Perdue (R-Inc.): 50 (51)

Cathy Cox (D): 40 (42)
Sonny Perdue (R-Inc.): 53 (50)
MoE: ±3%

Strategic Vision is a Republican polling firm, and I'm not terribly comfortable in treating their work on the same par as SUSA or Gallup. Still, as far as the Georgia Governor's race is concerned, the pickin's is slim. The same poll shows Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor edging Secretary of State Cathy Cox by 46-42, a significant swing from last month's 42-47 margin in Cox's favor. I'm not sure why Taylor has caught a break this month, as I have not been following this race closely, but even the locals are scratching their heads.

Finally, two new polls by Gallup and Pew seem to contradict certain theories bouncing around the blogosphere that Democrats are weary and dispirited, and won't turn up at the polls this November.

First, from Gallup:

Americans are paying unusually close attention to the congressional elections in November, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. They are more inclined to deliver significant gains to Democrats than in any year since Republicans won control of the House and Senate in 1994.

Those surveyed are more concerned about national issues than local ones — a situation that favors Democrats hoping to tap discontent over the Iraq war and gasoline prices — and prefer Democrats over Republicans on handling every major issue except terrorism.

President Bush looms as a significant drag: 40% of Americans say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Bush. A fifth say they are more likely.


• Democrats are particularly engaged: 56% say they are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual," the highest level recorded since the question was first asked in 1994. Among Republicans, 43% say they are more enthusiastic than usual.

• Americans are increasingly likely to identify themselves as Democrats. Including those who "lean" to one party or the other, 55% call themselves Democrats; 38%, Republicans. That's the biggest edge for Democrats since 1998. By 54%-38%, the registered voters surveyed say they'd vote for a Democratic congressional candidate over a Republican one if the election were held today.

Et cetera. And this comes from a Democratic base that STILL isn't particularly enamored with congressional Democrats.

And, from Pew Research, more of the same:

With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold two distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. First, Americans continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. Second, the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans. In fact, Democrats now hold a voter enthusiasm advantage that is the mirror image of the GOP's edge in voter zeal leading up to the 1994 midterm election. [emphasis added]


The heightened Democratic enthusiasm is particularly notable among liberal Democrats, 53% of whom are more interested in voting this year than usual. The partisan gap in enthusiasm is even visible among independents - those who lean Democratic are considerably more eager to vote than those who lean Republican. Overall, 47% of voters who plan to vote Democratic this fall say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of voters who plan to vote Republican.

The higher level of enthusiasm among Democratic voters is linked to two underlying attitudes: anger at the president and optimism about Democrats chances in the fall. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in their district think of their vote this fall as a vote against George W. Bush. These anti-Bush voters are significantly more motivated to vote - 52% say they are more eager to vote this year than usual, compared with 39% among those who say Bush is not a factor in their vote.

There's tons of juicy data and analysis to pore over in both the Gallup and Pew studies. But I'm going to leave the rest up to you night owls.

Posted at 01:51 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NH-02: Charlie Bass by the Numbers

Posted by DavidNYC

If you've ever clicked over to his website, you might know that, in addition to being a community activist and former prosecutor, Paul Hodes is also an accomplished musician. What I'm sure you didn't know is that Charlie Bass is also a performer. In fact, he's one of the best B-actors the GOP has ever had - right up alongside Arnie and Ronnie. And like his fellow Republican thespians, Bass plays the same role, over and over and over. His recurring bit? That old evergreen, the GOP "moderate."

Charlie takes every opportunity to tell voters at home what a moderate he is. Just take a look here or here or here or here or here... I think you get the picture. Bass likes to ham it up real good. But how can you tell that this is nothing more than a facade, that Bass wears the term "moderate" like a cheap costume?

It's all in the numbers, and the numbers don't lie. Congressional Quarterly has been tracking "party unity" scores since time immemorial. They look at votes where a majority of Republicans oppose a majority of Democrats, and then they track how each member of Congress voted in those votes. Divide the latter number by the former and you have a party unity score, expressed as a percentage. (Though this data is mostly behind CQ's subscription firewall, you can see a PDF of the 2004 numbers here.) And here's Charlie Bass's resume for the last six years:

Charlie Bass's Party Unity Scores

2005: 87%
2004: 85%
2003: 91%
2002: 85%
2001: 85%
2000: 85%

These are not the voting habits of a "moderate" - they're the patterns of a true believer, a kool-aid drinker, a dedicated GOP team player. But evidently, in Charlie's worldview, being a "moderate" means you vote with Tom DeLay, Denny Hastert and Roy Blunt at least 85% of the time, if not more often. This includes votes for the Paris Hilton Tax Relief Act (aka estate tax repeal), the odious bankruptcy bill, and, for good measure, the budget bill which cut student loans by $13 billion.

Charlie Bass is a vaudeville phony. You know it, I know it, and much of blogland knows it. But let's not kid ourselves: We're a bunch of political junkie nerds. I understand why ordinary New Hampshirites might not know the truth about Bass - it's because he's been misleading them for over a decade. But Bass can't hide from the truth for much longer. And now priority number one for the Hodes campaign is to expose him. It's gonna come as a double-whammy for Bass: He'll be revealed as both an extremist and a phony all at the same time.

Oh, so sorry, Charlie!

Posted at 11:10 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: Tomfoolery Backfires?

Posted by James L.

You've got to hand it to Tom DeLay. Facing abysmal chances in the November election against former Rep. Nick Lampson, DeLay took the opportunity to fall on his own sword by slinking off to Virginia in an attempt to give the TX GOP another window to nominate someone a little less, oh, you know, indicted. Even in (political) death, he never ceased to miss a chance to sock a Democrat in the stomach. You've got to give him that, at least.

Given that a party cannot nominate a new candidate after a primary election in Texas, DeLay chose a legal loophole: get the hell out of dodge so that he would be ineligible to run for Congress in Texas, rather than withdrawing his candidacy (which would have spelled the end for the Republican line on the TX-22 ballot). Texas Dems didn't take this sitting down, and filed a lawsuit to block the local GOP from scrubbing DeLay's name from the ballot. The conventional wisdom was that this was a stall tactic designed to irritate the local Republican cabal and prevent them from naming a challenger and raising funds for a few more precious weeks. However, based on the commentary of U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, presiding over the case, it looks like there's a strong chance that DeLay may be forced to keep his name on the ballot (or withdraw it at his discretion). From the Houston Chronicle:

A federal judge hearing a ballot dispute Monday involving former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said he thinks that DeLay withdrew from the November election, indicating potential trouble for Republicans who want to name a replacement candidate.

"He is not going to participate in the election and he withdrew," said U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who did not issue an official ruling after a daylong trial regarding DeLay's status as the GOP nominee for the 22nd Congressional District.

Jim Bopp, a lawyer for the Republican Party of Texas, disagreed, telling Sparks "there's been no withdrawal." Bopp said that instead, DeLay moved to Virginia, making him ineligible and triggering a state law that allows the party to select a new nominee.

Sparks also said that if political parties are allowed to replace primary election winners with more popular candidates, "the abuse would be incredible."

"It can happen in every race in this state for every office," Sparks said. The Republican judge said a ruling could come as early as next week.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

In his comments to lawyers, Sparks questioned whether a ruling for the Republicans might set a precedent allowing weakened candidates from both parties taking up short-term residency in other states so that a more formidable campaigner could be installed late in the game.


Sparks said he would review the histories of any similar cases and closely study the language in the Constitution before handing down his ruling. But he also said there was little doubt that DeLay had intended to withdraw from the race and that GOP leaders were hoping for a stronger candidate in the fall.

"Sometimes, you better watch out what you ask for," he told the GOP lawyer.

Sparks doesn't seem to be buying the spin that DeLay didn't withdraw. This could turn out to be a colossal embarrassment for national and state Republicans, and would have our homeboy, Nick Lampson, sitting mighty pretty.

(Hat-tip to Jesselee.)

Posted at 12:49 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday Poll Round-Up: RI-Sen, RI-Gov, TX-Gov, TX-21

Posted by James L.

Lots of polls lately to share. First off, there's some good news from Rhode Island, where Democrats are gaining momentum:

RI-Sen (Brown Univesity Poll, registered voters, February in parens):

Sheldon Whitehouse (D): 38 (35)
Lincoln Chafee (R-Inc.): 37 (40)
Undecided/Decline to answer: 25 (26)
MoE: ±3.5%

Sheldon Whitehouse (D): 55 (44)
Steve Laffey (R): 25 (29)
Undecided: 20 (27)
MoE: ±3.5%

RI-Gov (Brown, Feb. in parens):

Charles Fogarty (D): 39 (35)
Don Carcieri (R-Inc.): 44 (46)
MoE: ±3.5%

The same poll shows President Bush with a dismal 20% approval rating, and a mediocre 51% for Senator Chafee. Whitehouse is really making a race of this one, and don't believe any spin you may hear that this is an unwinnable race if Laffey doesn't knock off Chafee in the Republican primary.

And some noise from Texas:

TX-Gov (SUSA, likely voters, May in parens):

Chris Bell (D): 20 (18)
Rick Perry (R-Inc.): 35 (41)
Kinky Friedman (I): 21 (16)
Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I): 19 (20)
MoE: ±4.2%

Perry is clearly weak, but this is just such a clusterfuck of a race. Troublingly, Chris Bell is only getting 44% of the Democratic vote and losing broad swaths of white liberals to Kinky Friedman's quirky indie bid. I understand the position of a Texas Democrat who's reluctant to rally around the Bell campaign after seeing hopeless defeat after defeat at the statewide level for a decade, but with the field this fractured, a consolidated Democratic base could be a threat to Perry.

TX-21: The John Courage campaign writes in to share some weak numbers on Congressman Lamar Smith (one of Tom DeLay's biggest allies in Texas):

In a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners of 500 likely general election voters June 18-21, 2006, only 31% said that they would vote to re-elect Lamar Smith. (MoE +-4.4%)

This is an anemic number for an incumbent, as that number should on average be closer to 45-55%. The voters want change, and we've got a man of the people that is a teacher and a veteran who wants to be their representative.

Smith has a weak 49% personal favorability rating in this lean Republican district, and there's clearly room for Courage to mount a vigorous campaign against him.

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Rhode Island, Texas | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, June 26, 2006

NH-02: Paul Hodes, Netroots Candidate

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm very pleased to announce that Paul Hodes, running for Congress in New Hampshire's second Congressional District, is one of four new netroots candidates. As you may recall, MyDD, DailyKos and the Swing State Project all solicited nominations for the netroots page. Today, Markos, Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller and I are each introducing one of the candidates. Chris has already written on Jerry McNerny (CA-11), and Markos has covered Jim Webb (VA-Sen). Matt will soon introduce Linda Stender (NJ-07).

Of course, Paul Hodes needs little introduction to many readers of this site, but I always enjoy taking the opportunity to discuss the candidacies of people I support. If you look back at the criteria we outlined for ideal netroots candidates, you'll see that the Hodes campaign fits perfectly into two key areas: NH-02 is a Dem-leaning district and the seat is a key part of the "Northeast Strategy."

On that first point: In 2000, Al Gore carried the district by a razor-thin margin, 48-47. Four years later, however, Bush remained flat while John Kerry racked up a 52-47 win. Meanwhile, the state as a whole has also gotten bluer: It was the only state to go for Bush in 2000 that switched to Kerry in 2004. It was one of only 18 states (including DC) where the Dem margin increased in 2004, and NH's 3% improvement makes it the eighth-best improvement overall. Among swing states, only Colorado and Oregon showed bigger trends in favor of the Democratic Party.

And speaking of trends, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time in the Northeast. In 1994, as you know, Dems lost a lot of seats in the South - seats where locals had been splitting their vote since Richard Nixon's heyday. Newt Gingrich came along and started convincing folks they should instead vote a straight ticket. The GOP was successful in turning a lot of Dixiecrats out of office, but now it's our turn to make a dying breed of Republicans extinct: the Northeastern "moderates."

I put that word "moderate" in quotes, as I often do, because these alleged centrist Republicans talk a moderate game at home, but go back to Washington, DC and vote for Tom DeLay and Bill Frist to run the show. And while they might occasionally buck the establishment when given permission (a practice known as "catch-and-release"), they vote for George Bush's radical agenda almost every time. These Republicans enable the far right, and it's well past time to stop their bamboozlement.

Fortunately for us, the GOP has given us a number of juicy targets this year. We have competitive races in Dem-leaning, but GOP-held, seats in PA, NJ, NY, CT, and, of course, NH. Charlie Bass, the incumbent in NH-02, is increasingly out-of-step with his district. Appropriately enough for a guy named Bass, he survives thanks largely to the occasional "catch-and-release" reprieves that party elders grant him. But it's up to us to make sure that voters in New Hampshire learn about the real Charlie Bass. Once they do, he won't last long.

And Bass is someone we can definitely get to. He's a lazy fundraiser, and his poll numbers are barely treading water. Paul Hodes, meanwhile, has the energy and the experience to expose Bass and to beat him. But Paul's not there yet - he needs our help.

One of the suggested netroots criteria was that a race not yet be considered "top-tier." A compilation of House race rankings by pro prognosticators puts NH-02 at thirty-third overall among GOP-held seats, just on the periphery of the most-watched races. Hodes has attracted notice from the DCCC, but he hasn't yet been placed on their "Red to Blue" list. We can help make that happen by ensuring that Hodes finishes out the fundraising quarter strong.

The second quarter ends this Friday, June 30th. If Hodes shows good numbers and a sizable warchest, big players who are currently sitting on the sidelines will change their minds. We in the netroots, of course, love a challenge, and it's in our nature to be "early adopters" of up-and-coming candidates. We may not be able to raise the same kind of money the big boys can, but we can definitely get the ball rolling. So, with the deadline approaching, please consider giving to Paul Hodes and the other netroots candidates. We can make a big difference here.

Posted at 08:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, June 25, 2006

WA-08: Reichert's Badge Isn't So Shiny, After All

Posted by James L.

As you are probably well aware, there are more Netroots candidates than just Ned Lamont. One of the latest is Darcy Burner, who's taking on freshman Rep. David Reichart (R). To get a good sense of what Darcy is about, and why she stands a good chance in this district, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read the excellent piece that the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger did on her back in March.

The 8th District of Washington state has never elected a Democrat to the House of Representatives since it was created after the 1980 census. However, the district, just outside Seattle, has become more fertile territory for liberals and Democrats in recent years; Reichart only won this open seat by four points (51-47%) in 2004 against liberal radio host Dave Ross. As The Stranger notes:

Democrats need to wrestle 15 seats from Republicans in order to take back the House, and it's in places like the 8th District that they plan to do it. The district is a large and fast-changing area that encompasses suburban developments and rural farmlands, and covers the east side of Lake Washington as far north as Duvall and as far south as Mt. Rainier National Park. It has trended increasingly liberal in recent years, voting for Democratic candidates for president and Senate. On Tuesday, this increasingly liberal bent prompted state Representative Rodney Tom, who represents a part of the 8th District, to abandon the Republican party and declare himself a Democrat so that he could be more in line with his constituency. But since its creation in 1982, the 8th District has never sent a Democrat to the House.

In 2004, when longtime Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn retired from her seat in the 8th District, Dave Reichert, having gained national fame for capturing the Green River Killer as King County Sheriff, shrewdly parlayed his name recognition into a run for Dunn's seat. He won a narrow, 4-percentage-point victory [...] but that same year the ticket-splitting voters in the 8th District also picked Democrat John Kerry for president and helped send Democrat Patty Murray back to the Senate.

As was alluded to, Reichart had the edge in 2004 because, on paper, his resume was impeccable: as Sheriff of King County--by far the most populated of the 8th's three counties--he helped track down the Green River Killer, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers in U.S. history. However, according to Roll Call (subscription only), there have been more and more noises as of late of a big bowl of administrative and ethical problems in the King County police force that were left ignored or tolerated due to either incompetence or indifference on Reichart's part. The Stakeholder managed to snag a few excerpts from the article for the masses to see:

Freshman Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) earned his suburban Seattle seat two years ago by running a campaign centered on his storied tenure as King County sheriff.

Now Democrats hope that revelations of corruption in the sheriff’s office will taint his reputation as an ideal law enforcement officer and cripple his re-election efforts.

Since last August, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has run a front-page news series about an array of problems in Reichert’s old fiefdom, ranging from abuse of power to officers hit with drug and domestic violence charges.

Josh Feit, news editor of the weekly Seattle newspaper The Stranger, calls the on- going revelations the “sleeping giant” of the campaign.

Reichert is not accused of any wrong- doing but some of the stories paint a portrait of an administrator unaware of questionable, and sometimes illegal, behavior by subordinates. The stories also examine whether Reichert let some bad cops retire with full pensions out of expediency rather than pursuing criminal charges.

“I think it creates a serious credibility problem because he’s shirking accountability for criminal activities that happened on his watch,” alleged Kelly Steele, spokesman for the state Democratic Party.

“Ultimately, in a broader sense, it’s the same problem with the Republican corruption in Washington D.C.,” Steele continued. “Reichert thinks that the rules don’t apply to himself and his friends.”

It seems that we've found the rare Republican that was corrupt even before coming under the influence of Tom DeLay and his cronies. I think the most interesting part of the article is this quote from an FBI agent who had the unfortunate experience of working with Sherriff Reichert:

“What’s this group doing down there?” the agent was quoted as asking. “Who’s in charge? “Where’s the accountability?”

Last December the paper wrote: “A few weeks before that, two sheriff’s commanders also recommended [a deputy] be fired for breaking department rules. Instead, Reichert — then in the midst of a hot Congressional campaign — allowed [the officer] to quietly slip into retirement about two weeks later, records show.”

It seems that Reichart's biggest advantage--his record as King County Sheriff--is slowly being eroded as his Republican-style (ie. incompetent) administrative skills are being brought to light. For the record, I think turning this race into a referendum on Reichart's abilities as Sheriff is a risky move, but personally tying Reichart to general Republican incompetence will be a much easier sell given these allegations.

PS: Here's the money shot of Congressman Dave and one of his closest friends that you'll be seeing again and again in this race.

Posted at 08:44 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Washington | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 22, 2006

PA-07: ALERT: Sestak a Victim of Push-Polling?

Posted by DavidNYC

Passing on an alert from the Joe Sestak campaign, for those who live in the district:

A supporter called in and said that he was just surveyed about the election, and was asked VERY negative slanted questions about Joe.

If you get polled, please take notes, and ask who sponsored to poll. Get back to us with the info (info@sestakforcongress.com, or 610-891-8956). They must be nervous!

If enough people document such a poll in action, we can make these kind of tactics backfire.

And of course, if you somehow are able to actually RECORD such a phone call, you'd be a hero. I personally think the Internet makes it harder to get away with push polling like this because the response time is so fast. In the past, it might be days before anyone realized what was going on. Now, we can mobilize instantly - and we stand a better chance of catching the SOBs who are doing this.

So please, pass this along to anyone you know who might live in the district.

UPDATE: Uh, maybe you don't wanna try taping anything, actually. As several commenters point out, PA is one of the few states that prohibits recording phone calls without the consent of ALL parties. Hey, I'm busy studying New York law!

Posted at 09:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

DFA Grassroots All-Star Final Round

Posted by DavidNYC

The five finalists for DFA's Grassroots All-Star endorsement are:

Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Nancy Skinner (MI-09)
Stephanie Studebaker (OH-03)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Phil Avillo (PA-19)

I am voting for Patrick Murphy, who is, as you know, also a Netroots Candidate.

UPDATE (James L.): Also be sure to check out Sen. Feingold's Progressive Patriots gubernatorial competition and round two of Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC "East and West" competition.

Posted at 06:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 08, 2006

CA-50: Another Look

Posted by James L.

[UPDATE (David): As a courtesy to readers of the Swing State Project, Charlie Cook has graciously made Amy Walter's column freely available.]

Was Francine Busby's loss in CA-50 a sign of a Democratic base problem? We mulled over it a bit in my post-mortem, but the best summary of this lament came from Markos:

Well, it seems everything I've been saying for the last few months came to happen.

1) Democrats are not motivated to turn out. Sure, Busby exceeded Kerry's 43 percent he got in the district in 2004, but not by much. She got 45.46%. If the "culture of corruption" message was enough to bring people out to vote Democratic, this would be the place to do it. This is Duke Cunningham territory, he of the million dollar mansions, yachts, and hookers. Regardless, district voters sent a lobbyist back to Washington to represent them.

2) 2006 will be a base election -- the party that wins is the party that gets more pf its partisans to the polls. Busby worked hard to win the independent vote. And like Kerry in 2004, she probably won it. But it does no good when the other side gets more of its voters out to the polls. And a milquetoast campaign that hides partisan divisions and stresses "competence" will not inspire our partisans to come out and vote. The Republicans, on the other hand, made sure to rile up their base. Busby helped with her unfortunate comments that were so easily twisted out of context by the right wing noise machine, but they'll do that to every single one of our candidates. [Emphasis added]

Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report has another take:

But, as we had written from the very beginning, Busby could not win simply by getting her voters to the polls. The Democratic base in this heavily Republican district makes up just 44-45 percent of the vote. To win, she needed Republican voters to either stay home or to vote for one of the third party candidates. Busby even ran advertising encouraging conservative Republicans to support William Griffith.


Pre-eminent congressional scholar Gary Jacobson of the University of California San Diego notes that Busby actually did better than simply win the Democratic vote. She also got a bigger share of independents. Busby got 55,587 votes in the special election, almost 10,000 more votes than were cast in the Democratic primary (45,868). The special election and the regular primary were held on the same day. Bilbray, meanwhile, took 60,319 votes in the run-off election, while 59,195 votes were cast in the Republican primary. "Without too great an inferential leap," writes Jacobson, "we could conclude that Bilbray got the Republicans, Busby got the Democrats and a disproportionate share of the rest--just not enough to win."

Furthermore, notes Jacobson, when looking at party registration figures, it is clear that Democrats were more energized than Republicans. Bilbray's vote, he notes, was 38.6 percent of the number of Republican registrants, Busby's was 52.7 percent of the number of Democratic registrants. Based on the primary election vote, he notes, Democratic turnout was 43.8 percent, while Republican turnout was 37.8 percent. [Emphasis added]

So, after all that hubbub about Bilbray supposedly capturing the hearts and minds of progressives, it turns out that base motivation wasn't the problem at all here. The problem was, simply, that there just weren't enough damn Democrats in the district to mobilize in the first place. Given the huge amount the NRCC spent on Bilbray, and the RNC's much-vaunted 72-hour GOTV field operation in the district (a sign of smart strategy, not desperation), the Busby campaign did a pretty good job to get our side to the polls. As Walters contends, Republican incumbents in tight races shouldn't greet the CA-50 results with a sigh of relief:

So what's the bottom line lesson here? While a loss would have been disastrous for the Republicans, a win does not suggest that they are going to have an easy time this fall. In more marginal districts with stronger Democratic candidates and/or weakened Republican candidates, the political environment is certainly enough of a factor to take a toll. It's clear that Bilbray was unable to get the "soft" Republican voters that have traditionally broken for Republicans in the past, but in this heavily Republican district, he could afford to lose these voters. Republican incumbents who sit in more marginal districts do not have that luxury. For them, even a two or three point dip in turn-out could be politically fatal.

Posted at 11:38 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (36) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Voting for DFA's Grassroots All-Star

Posted by DavidNYC

Democracy For America is conducting a vote to decide which House candidate should get their next endorsement. You can vote here. The full list of candidates:

Charles Brown (CA-04)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Russ Warner (CA-26)
Ron Klein (FL-22)
Steve Sinton (GA-06)
Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
Larry Grant (ID-01)
Jim Hansen (ID-02)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
John Pavich (IL-11)
David Gill (IL-15)
Nancy Skinner (MI-09)
Tony Trupiano (MI-11)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Coleen Rowley (MN-02)
Duane Burghard (MO-09)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Paul Hodes (NH-02)
Patricia Madrid (NM-01)
Michael Arcuri (NY-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Stephanie Studebaker (OH-03)
Robin Weirauch (OH-05)
Betty Sutton (OH-13)
Joe Sestak (PA-07)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Chris Carney (PA-10)
Lois Herr (PA-16)
Phil Avillo (PA-19)
Dan Dodd (TX-03)
Will Pryor (TX-32)
Bryan Kennedy (WI-05)
Gary Trauner (WY-01)

I like this list because almost all of the candidates on it are not involved in top-tier races. I voted for Paul Hodes, but there are many, many good names here. Again, the voting link is here. Whom are you supporting?

UPDATE: DFA mistakenly included Russ Warner, who lost yesterday. He's been removed from the list.

Posted at 06:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50 Post-Mortem Open Thread

Posted by James L.

So, what can we read from these results? In CA-50, depending on who you talk to, this was either a sign of great things to come, or another dismal failure by a Democratic campaign to mobilize the base. There are even those who postulate that the Republicans could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat this November by putting a greater distance between themselves and Bush on immigration, like Bilbray did, as opposed to trademark Democratic caution and moderation on the issue. Wherever you look on the blogosphere, it seems that there's another spin on the issue.

There were lots of outside factors that prejudiced Busby's campaign at the polls yesterday--an off-putting, nasty Gubernatorial primary that likely did not help turn out many base voters in the district, the goofy 'papers' comment (quite a shock considering how disciplined and professional Busby has been as a messenger during this campaign)--but if we're going to be reading CA-50's tea leaves as a sign of things to come, I think we should all be a little more cautious of our expectations for this November. The GOP has thrown a huge monkey wrench in the form of Immigration into the Democrats' 2006 strategy, and it's unclear yet how the Democrats plan to manage the issue. Personal opinions aside--and I'm extremely liberal on the issue, so it's probably a good thing that I'm not in charge of Democratic policymaking--the Democrats better find a way not to end up on the wrong side of a voter backlash on immigration woes.

There's another take on this, though, and that's the Busby campaign's failure to fire up their base. I'm inclined to agree with this assessment--when I saw a plea by Busby on the DCCC blog on the 11th hour of race, saying that they needed 100 more volunteers to execute their ground game effectively, I knew that this was gonna be rough. If the Busby campaign was more effective at firing up the base, they would have had more than 300 volunteers for their election-day ground game and wouldn't have needed that last-minute plea.

Also frustrating was the continued Republican dominance in early voting. To be fair, the Busby campaign did a great job in narrowing the traditional gap between Democratic and Republican absentee votes, but why the heck do Republicans always come out on top? The Democratic machine from state-to-state and district-to-district is going to have to seriously overhaul their absentee voting strategy--or maybe even get one, in the first place.

So I turn the floor to our readers. What went wrong in CA-50? What lessons should we take from this? Or maybe you're of the opinion that this was a pretty decent result; afterall, the NRCC was forced to dump a cool $5 million into a ruby red district, while the DCCC only kissed $2.5 million goodbye.

Posted at 01:52 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Chris Bowers Is an Insomniac

Posted by James L.

Alright, I'm heading to bed. Workdays that start at 8am tend to have this effect on me at midnight (fabulous Mountain Time). Until then, to fix your agonizing need for CA-50 updates and analysis, head on over to MyDD, where eternal nocturnal Chris Bowers is on a mission to see this through until the bitter end. Dude must be hooked up to an IV of caffeine.

UPDATE (DavidNYC): Okay. With 46.4% of the vote in, this is how I see things:

• If there is 40% turnout, Busby needs 55.22% of the remaining votes to reach 50%, and 49.26% to reach 47%

• If there is 35% turnout, Busby needs 56.94% of the remaining votes to reach 50%, and 50.01% to reach 47%

• If there is 30% turnout, Busby needs 60.36% of the remaining votes to reach 50%, and 51.49% to reach 47%

I include the 47% figure because I think that's about the minimum total Busby could win with. No matter what, she needs to run well ahead of where she's run so far in order to pull this one off. I don't know what primary turnout is usually like in CA - anyone have any numbers?

Anyhow, don't forget that no matter what the outcome, there will still be a Busby-Bilbray rematch in November, and Francine will still need our help.

Posted at 01:56 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

California Results Open Thread

Posted by RBH

CA-GOV: 4.3% 13% 35.2% of precincts reporting

Phil Angelides (D): 217,622 (48.7%) 353,474 (47.2%) 523,260 (47.5%)
Steve Westly (D): 191,764 (43%) 327,723 (43.8%) 479,833 (43.6%)

CA-50 (To fill the unexpired term): 11% 35.2% reporting

Francine Busby (D): 17,329 (43%) 27,383 (44.4%)
Brian Bilbray (R): 20,448 (50%) 30,683 (49.8%)

All of the U.S. Congress Primaries in California

CA-50 (GOP Primary for the November election): 11.4% 35.6% of precincts reporting

Brian Bilbray (R): 11,071 (52.9%) 16,712 (54.6%)
Eric Roach (R): 3,347 (16%) 4,486 (14.6%)

CA-04, 11.5% 38.4% 75.3% of Precincts reporting:

John Doolittle (R): 14,054 (63.2%) 25,323 (63.7%) 44,244 (65.9%)
John Holmes (R): 8,186 (37.1%) 14,442 (36.3%) 22,981 (34.1%)

Charles Brown (D): 5,346 (46.3%) 10,534 (47.1%) 18,466 (46.3%)
Lisa Rea (D): 3,641 (31.6%) 7,103 (31.7%) 13,127 (32.9%)
Michael Hamersley (D): 3,563 (22.1%) 4,773 (21.2%) 8,334 (20.8%)

CA-06: 22% 42% of precincts reporting:

Lynn Woolsey (D): 31,997 (65.5%) 38,656 (65.7%) 45,339 (65.5%)
Joe Nation (D): 16,913 (34.5%) 20,244 (34.3%) 23,895 (34.5%)

CA-11: 0.8% 11.7% of precincts reporting:

Jerry McNerney (D): 4143 (56.5%) 9415 (52.6%)
Steve Filson (D): 2044 (27.9%) 5210 (29%)

Richard Pombo (R): 5269 (55.4%) 14,779 (61.9%)
Pete McCloskey (R): 3584 (37.6%) 7616 (31.9%)

CA-24: 10.5% 44.6% of precincts reporting:

Elton Gallegly (R): 5,609 (81.3%) 17,463 (80.8%)
Michael Tenenbaum (R): 1,292 (18.7%) 4,160 (19.2%)

Mark this one down for Gallegly in a landslide. Democratic nominee Jill Martinez has 10,703 votes so far running unopposed.

CA-36: 0% 36.3% of precincts reporting:

Jane Harman (D): 5,981 (69.5%) 13,621 (65%)
Marcy Winograd (D): 2,629 (30.5%) 7,353 (35%)

CA-51: 8.1% of precincts reporting:

Bob Filner (D): 4,336 (53.9%)
Juan Vargas (D): 3,329 (41.4%)

Posted at 12:04 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - State, California | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Iowa and Montana Results Open Thread

Posted by James L.

Here we go.

MT-SEN, 0% 2.42% 10.73% 33.22% 75.78% of Precincts reporting:

John Morrison (D): 1,140 (52.41) 2,631 (34.73) 6,463 (33.10) 15,932 (34.86) 27,735 (36.04)
Jon Tester (D): 969 (44.55) 4,801 (63.37) 12,588 (64.48) 8,657 (62.70) 46,517 (60.44)

These numbers (the 2.42% update) are from Cascade County, which is the Great Falls area. This is fantastic news for Tester, since Matt Singer wrote that "This is one of the few towns where a number of legislators have stayed neutral or are supporting John Morrison, so expect it to be a bit closer here."

Conrad Burns (R-Inc.): 1,500 (69.64) 4,814 (71.36) 10,027 (71.71) 24,746 (70.32)

Bob Keenan (R): 527 (24.47) 1,541 (22.84) 3,150 (22.53) 8,543 (24.28)

IA-GOV, 10.34% 48.67% 58.53% 67.11% 99.47% Precincts Reporting:

Mike Blouin (D): 4,771 (62.50) 29,758 (34.40) 33,084 (34.18) 37,066 (34.30) 49,900 (34.02)
Chet Culver (D): 1,597 (20.92) 31,527 (36.45) 35,995 (37.19) 40,816 (37.76) 57,178 (38.98)
Ed Fallon (D): 1,143 (14.97) 24,064 (27.82) 26,495 (27.37) 28,835 (26.68) 37,795 (25.77)

IA-01 (see IA-Gov link), 0.3% 42.81% 70.06% 100.00% Precincts Reporting:

Rick Dickinson (D): 900 (61.73) 6,274 (44.30) 7,158 (33.29) 9,937 (33.82)
Bill Gluba (D): 323 (22.15) 2,902 (20.49) 6,003 (27.92) 7,496 (25.51)
Braley, Bruce (D): 207 (14.20) 4,545 (32.10) 7,487 (34.82) 10,797 (36.74)

Bill Dix (R): 123 (41.84) 2,309 (40.11) 4,472 (28.29) 8,504 (37.53)
Mike Whalen (R): 113 (38.44) 2,424 (42.11) 8,930 (56.49) 10,985 (48.47)
Brian Kennedy (R): 58 (19.73) 1,024 (17.79) 2,407 (15.23) 3,173 (14.00)

Posted at 10:15 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - State, Iowa, Montana | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

California and Montana Predictions Open Thread

Posted by James L.

Polls close in under a half hour in these two states Montana, so take a breath and hit me with your best shot. Of course, like Stoller, I'm not going to make any predictions (though I do have a few things rumbling around in my gut besides the stuffed peppers I'm digesting). I don't want to slant your guesses, but the NRCC is sounding pretty confident, according to the Hotline:

NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds (NY) said earlier today that, based on an analysis of absentee returns in CA 50, ex-Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) held about a 10K vote lead. Reynolds added, however, that he wouldn’t make any predictions at this early stage.

Posted at 09:32 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, California, Montana | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Alabama, Mississippi, and New Jersey Results Open Thread

Posted by James L.

The polls are closed in these three states and results are trickling in.

AL-GOV: 4.38% 36.11% 84.97%Precincts Reporting (Note: A candidate needs 50%+1 in order to avert a run-off):

Lucy Baxley (D): 17,075 (54.27) 44,761 (58.16) 125,233 (61.01) 249,134 (59.93)
Siegelman, Don (D) 13,757 (43.72) 30,031 (39.02) 73,007 (35.57) 150,698 (36.25)

Okay, Baxley's starting to put this thing away. Thank God.

Bob Riley (R-inc): 28,408 (69.23) 59,973 (68.19) 132,761 (65.42)
Roy Moore (R): 12,624 (30.77) 27,971 (31.81) 70,185 (34.58)

Riley's safe; yawn.

MS-02: 5.26% 23.48% 47.57% 77.53% Precincts Reporting :

Bennie Thompson (D-Inc): 2,893 (76.64) 16,340 (65.98) 29,440 (64.52) 41,801 (63.79)
Chuck Espy (D): 864 (22.89) 8,261 (33.36) 15,884 (34.81) 23,237 (35.46)

The AP's also calling it for Thompson. Espy didn't come close at all, despite the name.

NJ-13 Special Primary, 25.28% 65.15% 94.99% Precincts Reporting :

Albio Sires (D): 3,661 (56.33) 12,684 (67.46) 23,337 (73.51)
Joseph Vas (D): 2,838 (43.67) 6,117 (32.54) 8,410 (26.49)

Vas looked surprisingly strong early on, but they're calling it for Sires, the Corzine-endorsed machine candidate.

I'll post updates when the picture changes.

Posted at 08:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Alabama, Mississippi, New Jersey | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Other Races to Watch on June 6

Posted by James L.

Earlier in the week, we gave you the rundown of all the hot primary races in California and Montana. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that primaries are being held in six other states, as well: Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Here's what you should be keeping your eye on:

AL-Gov: This is one race that sure didn't live up to its billing. Last year, it looked like former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (of "Ten Commandments" fame) might knock off unpopular Alabama Gov. Bob Riley in the Republican primary on the strength of the religious right, setting up the Democratic nominee with a chance to pick up the votes of, well, the sane faction of Alabama's Republican Party. But a year is a long time in politics, and Riley has looked stronger than ever since his performance during Hurricane Katrina boosted his popularity. The latest SUSA poll shows Moore tanking, so all the action is on the Democratic side, where former Gov. Don Siegelman's ongoing corruption trial is turning the primary against Lt-Gov. Lucy Baxley into a bit of a gong show, especially since Siegelman has been running neck-and-neck with Baxley in the polls for much of the campaign. Fortunately, Baxley has been surging ahead lately in the polls as Siegelman's trial has been dominating the local headlines. The only hope for Siegelman is that he can force a run-off, and in the meantime, find himself miraculously acquitted and get a boost from voters who may just buy into his assertion that the corruption/bribery charges were all a "political plot". But let's be real here: if Baxley can't win outright on Tuesday against this indicted punching bag, she's going to be destroyed by the much more formidable Riley this November.

IA-Gov: Given the importance of Iowa in Presidential elections, you'd think that there'd be more ink spilled on the national blogs over this race; Tom Vilsack is retiring, and other potential White House contenders would love to have a friend in the Iowa Governor's mansion during the next campaign season. The Republicans have already settled on IA-01 Rep. Jim Nussle for the nod, a deft politician who survived a decade of tough campaigns in a Democratic district. The Democratic field looks to be a two or three-way race between Secretary of State Chet Culver, former Rep. Mike Blouin, and State Senator Ed Fallon. The National Journal has a good summary of the field. Blouin, who hasn't run for elected office since losing his congressional seat in 1978, seems to be the establishment choice, and has racked up a huge amount of endorsements from major party players. Still, Culver is seen as the front-runner, and he was the only Democrat to lead Nussle in the most recent round of Rasmussen polls. Fallon is running a Wellstone-inspired outsider campaign.

MS-02: Of the four Democratic House incumbents facing moderate-to-serious primary challenges this Tuesday (the other two being CA-06's Lynn Woolsey, CA-36's Jane Harman and CA-51's Bob Filner), perhaps the most competitive is State Rep. Chuck Espy's challenge to seven-term Rep. Bennie Thompson. Espy's uncle, Mike Espy, is the former Congressman of the same district--and his election in 1986 made him the first black Congressman in Mississippi since Reconstruction. Mike Espy later went on to be Clinton's Agriculture Secretary and retains some popularity in the district, so the family connection gives his nephew a lift at the polls. I don't have a moose in this race, but for what it's worth, Thompson has sharply criticized Espy for being the beneficiary of a Republican-linked PAC that's hoping to topple Thompson by flooding the Democratic primary with Republican voters. Mississippi has an open primary system and no official party registration, but some establishment Democrats hoped to tighten the primary election rules by filing an unsuccessful lawsuit on the issue (a move apparently orchestrated to help protect Thompson.) Larry Sabato put this race in the top five primary challenges to watch back in February, and ranked the race as "Leans Thompson", but that was before Espy's fundraising kicked into gear. This AP article gives a decent overview of the race, for further information.

SD-Gov: Former State Representative and current South Dakota Democratic Party Vice-Chair Jack Billion is squaring off with former SD Farmers Union president Dennis Wiese for the chance to face Gov. Mike Rounds in the general election this November. Rounds, as you may recall, signed a horrendously restrictive abortion ban in March, and SD Democrats have the opportunity to make this an interesting race. As DavidNYC wrote, this isn't necessarily about defeating Rounds, but rather, this is about bruising him badly enough so that he'll be less formidable should he choose to challenge Sen. Tim Johnson for his seat in 2008. It's about thinking two moves ahead.

I realize that I'm missing the IA-01 rundown, but sleep is the imperative right now. I'll post an update tomorrow.

Posted at 04:34 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, June 02, 2006

CA-50: SUSA Poll Shows Narrow Lead for Bilbray

Posted by DavidNYC

SUSA just released what I imagine will be their final poll in CA-50 (likely voters, early May in parens):

Busby: 45 (45)
Bilbray: 47 (45)
Other: 9 (9)
Undecided: 0 (1)
(MoE: ±4.7%)

Bilbray's bump accounts for a better showing among independents: Busby previously led among that group by 54-19. Now it's down to 56-31. Given the negativity of the campaign, I'm surprised that Bilbray jumped 12 points among indies, who (at least CW tells us) are the kinds of voters most likely to be turned off by negative campaigning. Then again, most indies actually do identify with a particular party - there are very few "true" independents. So these might just be slightly hesitant Republicans coming home to roost.

SUSA also makes the following observation:

Bilbray leads by 14 points among voters age 65 plus; Busby leads by 20 points among voters younger than 35. The two candidates are effectively tied among voters 35 to 64. Should younger voters, historically unreliable, vote in unexpectedly large numbers: advantage Busby. Should older voters vote in disproportionately large numbers: advantage Bilbray.

I never like it when we have to rely on young voters turning out. It just never happens. What I don't understand, though, is why young people have flocked to Busby in the last month, while older folks have turned toward Bilbray. In the previous SUSA poll, all four age brackets were pretty evenly divided between both candidates. Any thoughts?

Stepping back a bit, I'm not sure that any poll this late in the game will tell us anything we didn't already know in such a close race. It's going to be a nailbiter no matter what. I will say this, though: If Busby loses in a squeaker, the tradmed will talk about how Dems "failed to capitalize" on all manner of GOP sins and flaws. But this storyline will miss an important point: If Democrats across the map improve over their baselines as much as Busby has in CA-50, we will do quite well in November.

But as far as June 6th goes, I'm not making any predictions, except to say that this one is gonna be close - darn close.

(Thanks to AnthonyLA.)

Posted at 09:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Get-Out-The-Vote for Busby

Posted by DavidNYC

UPDATE (2): MoveOn is indeed doing virtual phone-banking once again, just like it did with the April special primary. Go here to sign up. If you weren't able to get involved with the DCCC's phone-banking program, this is a great alternative. The minimum commitment should take you less than an hour, but of course, you can always do more.

UPDATE: Thanks to the fantastic response from readers of this site, the DCCC now is booked solid with volunteers. If I get any information from the Busby campaign about virtual phone banking, I will be sure to post it. In the meantime, please sign up on Busby's volunteer page - remember, if she wins on Tuesday, she still needs to win again in November and will need our help once more.

This, as they say, is it, folks. If you live anywhere remotely near CA-50, please, please, I implore you: Spend a few hours between now and election day helping out Francine Busby. (Note to DC-area folks: You can help out, too! The DCCC is doing phone-banking. Scroll to the bottom of this post.) In a race this close, the importance of the ground game cannot be overestimated. Here's where you can help:

GOTV June 3rd-6th

Saturday June 3rd, Sunday June 4th & Monday June 5th

Door Hangers 10am-8pm
(Shifts beginning at 10am, 1pm & 4pm)

Election Day June 6th

Precinct Poll Checks
6:00am-9am Door Hangers
9:30am-8pm Precinct Poll Walks
(Shifts beginning at 9:30am, 12pm & 4pm)

Canvass Locations:

Coastal Canvass
Headline Graphics Parking Lot
131 Aberdeen Drive
Cardiff By The Sea, Ca 92007
(760) 436-0133

Southern Canvass
Carpenter's Hall
8595 Miralani Drive, Suite A
San Diego, Ca 92123

Northern Canvass
CWA Escondido Union Hall
1525 Simpson Way
Escondido, Ca 92029

Phone Bank Locations:

Coastal Phone Bank:
Busby Cardiff Office
2121 Newcastle Avenue
Cardiff By The Sea, Ca 92007
(760) 479-0114

Northern Phone Banks:
CWA Escondido Union Hall
1525 Simpson Way
Escondido, Ca 92029

Nava Residence
858 Calle Montera
Escondido, Ca 9202

RSVP to volunteer@busbyforcongress.org
Or call (760) 479-0114


The DCCC is looking for DC-area based volunteers to make calls to San Diego Democrats on Monday evening and all day Tuesday.

To sign up for Monday and/or Tuesday, contact our Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Lewis, at lewis@dccc.org, or call (202) 741-1881.

Let's do this thing!

Posted at 01:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 01, 2006

CA-50: Wah Wah Wah... Wipeout!

Posted by James L.

San Diego professor of Political Science Carl Luna, writing for the S.D. Union-Tribune, has a great breakdown on why surfer-turned-lobbyist-turned-Congressional candidate Brian Bilbray is facing a gnarly nightmare at the polls next Tuesday. Read it; it's a fun article, but for those without the time, here's the SparkNotes version of Bilbray's bind:

1) He was bruised by a divisive, expensive, and crowded primary.
2) His career as a lobbyist has only left him all the more vulnerable to anti-corruption broadsides.
3) Busby's lack of meaningful primary opposition has allowed her to pursue a message of competence, moderation and good governance over anything particularly ideological, while Bilbray has been caught-up in the Republican primary crowd's rush to out-right each other.
4) He has the charisma of "Nixon in a speedo".
5) His defeated conservative primary opponents have not rallied around him, and instead are STILL challenging Bilbray on the June 6 primary ballot--hurting Bilbray's appeal among conservatives.
6) His hard-right tack on immigration may end up pleasing no one--it will turn off moderates while leaving conservatives unconvinced.
7) He's tainted by horrid approval numbers for the President and the Republican Congress.
8) The NRCC's campaign ads which allege that Busby is "soft on pedophiles" have the potential for significant backlash votes.
9) In the last week of the campaign, Dick Cheney--not exactly the popular, cuddly face of the Republican Party--enthusiastically (I use the term loosely) stumped for Bilbray while John McCain, still the hero to moderate and independent Republicans, sapped Bilbray's momentum by boycotting a scheduled fundraiser after he started to slap around Busby for supporting McCain's immigration plan. This isn't the way you make friends and influence people, bro.

But for all his woes, Luna's convinced that the McCain snub will really be Bilbray's undoing:

Bottom line. Bilbray’s being jilted at the fund raising alter by that darling of the middle (or, is it the darling of the muddled?) John “Man For All Seasons, Audiences, People and Voters” McCain may well prove to have been the final pounder of Bilbray’s political surfing hopes. McCain’s boycott is a blazing sign to moderates and independents that Bilbray just ain’t their dude.

Up through last week my bet was Bilbray by 2%. Given the way things are breaking, I now have to go Busby by a nose. Or, in surferese, by a toe on the nose.

It'll be a tight one, but it looks increasingly possible that Francine Busby can pull this one off.
(Thanks to Predictor for the tip.)

PS: Busby really seems to be hitching her wagon to Sen. McCain in order to innoculate herself against Bilbray's attacks, as seen in her ad entitled "It's Not Amnesty". A brilliant strategy in a ruby red district or unnerving McCain-boosting? Both, maybe.

UPDATE: Dailykos diarist dengre has an excellent diary up detailing the links between Brian Bilbray and Jack Abramoff.

Posted at 12:05 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CA-50: "Maverick" John McCain Cancels Bilbray Fundraiser

Posted by James L.

From the Associated Press, comes word of "maverick" Sen. John McCain sticking fast to his ideals and not being pushed around by his extremist peers in the Republican Party:

Arizona Sen. John McCain on Tuesday canceled an appearance for a Republican congressional candidate who has attacked his opponent for supporting McCain's immigration bill.

McCain, R-Ariz., was scheduled to speak Wednesday at a breakfast fundraiser for Brian Bilbray, who is locked in a close runoff race with Democrat Francine Busby for the San Diego-area seat left vacant by disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. The event was expected to raise at least $65,000.

So Bilbray smacks Busby for supporting one of McCain's policies. That's surely enough for our favorite straight-talking "maverick" to stay true to his principles and rescind his endorsement of Bilbray, right? Right? Erm, maybe not:

In an e-mail sent to the Bilbray campaign, McCain spokesman Craig Goldman acknowledged that McCain and Bilbray "disagree on some of the issues related to immigration reform." He said McCain did not want his appearance to distract from Bilbray's campaign.

The e-mail reiterated McCain's endorsement of Bilbray, and said the senator's Straight Talk America political action committee would make the maximum allowable contribution of $5,000 to Bilbray's campaign. Goldman did not return phone and e-mail messages left seeking comment.

Pathetic. But oh well; at least it's one more momentum-sapping headline for Brian Bilbray.

Posted at 09:49 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Week Ahead in California and Montana

Posted by James L.

We have a number of hot races to look forward to next Tuesday, June 6 in California, and my neighbor state Montana. Here's a run-down on what to watch:

CA-50: Busby's all-out battle to steal this open seat from the Republicans will be, without a doubt, the premier event of the night--and the Republicans are on edge:

Staffers from the National Republican Congressional Committee are quietly telling GOP House members to prepare for a possible loss in the June 6 special election to fill the seat of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, now in prison for taking bribes. The Southern California district is heavily Republican, but some GOP insiders believe that Democrat Francine Busby will defeat former GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray and go on to win a full term in November. More alarming some worry that a Bilbray defeat could signal the GOP's loss of control of the House. The NRCC has already pumped $3.1 million into the race. "It is becoming more and more likely," says one GOP strategist, "that Bilbray will squeak out a victory." But another longtime Republican operative isn't so sure. "This is a district we should never lose," he says. "It's the stink of Cunningham, and the Bush problem."

CA-42: If you live in the 42nd district of California (see a map here) or know anyone who does, and you'd like to have the chance to get a Democrat on the ballot this November, you'll have to write in the name of Mark Hull-Richter on the ballot. House Race guru BENAWU has the lowdown. Hull-Richter is gonna need to come up with 2641 write-in votes. That's a huge hill to climb, but it's worth a shot. Afterall, under-the-radar write-in campaigns allowed Democrats to field candidates in previously uncontested races in PA-09 & PA-15.

CA-36: Anti-war activist Marcy Winograd is challenging Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. From the L.A. Times:

In sum, Winograd casts her opponent as a Bush Democrat who was too slow to challenge the president on the war, one who moved left only when challenged in the campaign. Winograd could only have been delighted when restless House liberals complained of the same thing in the early jockeying for position in next year's Congress, lobbying to have Harman replaced as the party's voice on the Intelligence Committee.
I'm not sure if Winograd has the necessary organization to pull of an upset, but her primary challenge has at least forced Harman to prove her progressive bona fides.

CA-11: Netroots favorite and '04 nominee Jerry McNerney vs. DCCC-favored Steve Filson. The winner will take on scandalized Republican Richard Pombo (he himself is facing a primary challenge from Pete McCloskey, a 78 year-old former Congressman who authored the Endangered Species Act). I don't have a dog in this race.

CA-06: In many ways this is the opposite of CA-36. Incumbent Rep. Diane Lynn Woolsey is one of the most liberal members of Congress, and her challenge is coming from the right:

Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey faces a challenge from Assembly member Joe Nation -- her first significant primary contest in more than a decade for the district representing Marin and much of Sonoma counties. Woolsey, elected in 1992, prides herself as being one of the House's most liberal members, attacking the war in Iraq, promoting alternative energy sources, and fighting cuts in health and education spending. Nation, a popular local politician and former economics professor, pitches himself as more moderate and pro-business. He touts his work in the Legislature to push for alternative fuels and his opposition to building a new Death Row at San Quentin Prison in Marin.

MT-Sen: Another huge one to watch. Likeable progressive Jon Tester has got his mojo working and the perceived front-runner, state Auditor John Morrison, has seen his fundraising dip and some of his support shift to the Tester camp in the wake of an extramarital/conflict of interest scandal. Both are still polling ahead of the uber-corrupt Conrad Burns, but it's Tester that has the buzz in this last final stretch. Will it be enough to clinch the nomination? This one will be a nail-biter.

Anything I missed? Consider this a CA and MT-Sen open thread. Have at it.

P.S.: Obviously, I left out the contentious Angelides-Westly battle for the Democratic Nomination for Governor against Schwarzeneggar. The mud-slinging is pretty off-putting in this race, and I'm not inclined to blog much about it other than I hope that the battle will be one more factor to help energize Democratic turn-out in CA-50. But Angelides and Westly fans are more than welcome to duke it out in the comments section.

Posted at 05:18 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, California, Montana | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, May 26, 2006

ID-01: Wingnut of the Year

Posted by James L.

It seems like every year, deep in the bowels of the reddest of red America, the Republicans manage to field a new candidate who pushes the limits of batshittery to unseen levels. Last year was Ohio's truly odious Jean Schmidt, and this year's could very well be state Rep. Bill Sali of Idaho, running for the open seat of vacating Rep. "Butch" Otter, who has his eyes set on the Governor's mansion. On Tuesday evening, Sali (with the help of a huge out-of-state fundraising push by the Club for Growth) came out on top in a six-way primary battle with 26% of the Republican vote. With a district that delivered 68% of its vote to George W. Bush in 2004, it'd normally be safe to say that just about any Republican could win this district in a cakewalk. Just about.

DailyKos diarist MrLiberal makes the case that the Republicans may have nominated someone, well, just a bit too nutty, even for deep red Idaho. It seems that the more one gets to know Bill Sali, the more one realizes how much of a repulsive knuckledragger he is. But don't take my word for it--just ask Bruce Newcomb, the Republican Speaker of the Idaho House:

Sali’s critics pointed to an incident earlier this month in which he insisted on discussing studies linking abortion to breast cancer during a debate on a bill to require doctors to inform women about abortion-related risks. The Idaho House Democratic leader, a survivor of breast cancer, walked out in tears, and her Democratic colleagues followed her.

The Idaho GOP leaders postponed the day’s business. The Speaker, Bruce Newcomb, told The Idaho Statesman, “That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper.” [emphasis added]

The flap disgusted even his Republican colleagues, and Newcomb subsequently stripped Sali of his committee assignments. But it's clear that Sali is the punching bag of Idaho's Republican circles, according to the Idaho Statesman:

Enmity toward Sali has bubbled in recent weeks. At an Otter for Governor fund-raiser last month, Newcomb was roasted as the guest of honor. Former state Rep. Bev Montgomery of Caldwell asked if Sali was in the room. He wasn't, but her question won a laugh.

She told a story of getting so frustrated with Sali she was ready to kill him. "Don't worry," she said Newcomb told her, "it'll be justifiable homicide." Bigger laugh.

It's one thing for an ex-lawmaker to poke fun. But Otter also made Sali a punch line of a joke involving former speaker and now-U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

"Bruce has been a great speaker of the House," Otter said. "And as he told me, he learned everything that he knows from Mike Simpson. And that is why every time he has a bad day, he goes and beats the hell out of Bill Sali."

Another big laugh.

And who can blame them when Sali's backstory is filled with nuggets like this one (from the Statesman article):

In 2002, Sali angered colleagues when he said in a deposition that he was still "better than most" legislators despite his claim that he suffered from "brain fade" and impaired memory as a result of a car wreck.

"How shall I say this?" Sali said. "Much of the time in the Legislature, critical-thinking skills are not necessarily needed."

According to the Statesman, Idaho's other Representative, Mike Simpson, despises Sali, too--so much so that he even threatened to throw Sali out of his office window. (To which his colleagues replied: "The third floor wasn't high enough. You should have taken him up to the fourth floor.")

The Democratic nominee to face Sali for the open seat this November is Larry Grant, a presentable party player with a background in business and law. Grant is emphasizing ethics and the federal sale of National Forest lands in his campaign and has wrapped up the endorsements of what little is left of Idaho's Democratic establishment. Local Democrats are actually excited over a race that could produce some fireworks with Sali's involvement, even if it would be a tough hill to climb. For more local perspective from Idaho, check out the excellent Red State Rebels, whom I expect will give the blogosphere a front-seat view to the ID-01 race this season.

Posted at 03:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho, Open Seats | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

IL-14: Hastert Under FBI Investigation... Or Maybe Not

Posted by James L.

Try as they may, the Republicans cannot escape the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandal; with each passing day, the threads of corruption in Washington are being unraveled and are leading to some surprising places. ABC's Brian Ross has the bombshell:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from senior U.S. law enforcement officials.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes.

The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government.

The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time.

It's no wonder Hastert was getting antsy about the FBI's weekend raid on the office of blatantly corrupt Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). It's not the Constitution that he's so concerned about, it's his own corrupt ass. Suddenly, Fighting Dem John Laesch may not be quite the long shot that he once seemed.

UPDATE: The Hotline posted a pretty blunt Department of Justice statement: "Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department." Not yet, maybe? (The AP has the story.)

UPDATE (II): ABC's sticking to its guns (thanks bosdcla14), though it seems to me that while there may not be a specific probe into Hastert, investigators are looking at a broader group of lawmakers that would include him--hence the comment that Hastert is "in the mix" of the investigation.

Posted at 08:15 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, Illinois | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

WA-08: Darcy Burner Added to Netroots Page

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm terribly swamped (not to mention exhausted) at the moment, having just moved home after three years in DC. So I can't do this announcement justice, but Matt Stoller certainly can: We've just added Darcy Burner, who is running in Washington's 8th congressional district, to the Netroots Candidates ActBlue page. I encourage you to read Matt's post to get a sense of why Burner was chosen, and to learn more about her.

Also, please visit the ActBlue page as we've updated it to include local blogs covering the relevant candidates and races. If you have any other suggestions for blogs covering NY-29, MT-Sen, etc., please post them in comments. And thanks for sharing your thoughts in this great experiment.

Posted at 12:56 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Washington | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NC-08: Internal (D) Poll Shows a Competitive Race

Posted by James L.

When Iraq War Vet Tim Dunn dropped out of his bid to challenge incumbent Rep. Robin Hayes (R) in NC-08, outside observers such as CQ Politics (and, frankly, myself), were less than optimistic on the chances of Dunn's heir apparent, former textile worker and social studies teacher Larry Kissell. However, a new poll by Anzalone-Liszt Research, a Democratic polling firm, shows that CQ's decision to downgrade this race to Republican Favored over Leans Republican may be a tad premature:

Larry Kissell (D): 38%
Robin Hayes (R-Inc.): 46%

Hayes, as you may know, is most recently known for selling out his working-class constituents by switching his CAFTA vote from "no" to "yes" under intense pressure by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and that information was very likely included in an "informed vote poll" also done by Anzalone-Liszt, which produced these results:

Larry Kissell (D): 49%
Robin Hayes (R-Inc.): 42%

Now, I take polls by Democratic firms with the appropriate grain of salt, but informed polls such as this one require whole heaps of it. Still, there's plenty for North Carolina Democrats to be optimistic about in this new polling report (which will be made public tomorrow, apparently), including this nugget: Hayes leads Kissell by 89%-22% in name recognition, yet he still polls only 8 points ahead of Kissell in the head-to-head vote. Kissell has a lot of room to improve his name recognition in the district, while Hayes, as an incumbent, has pretty much hit his ceiling.

Still, knocking off Hayes would be a remarkable feat, given his $1 million warchest compared to Kissell's very humble $32,000 cash on hand in April (bear in mind, however, that Dunn only dropped out in late March). But in a district that only went to Bush by a 54-46 margin in 2004, and a disgruntled electorate, it's within the realm of possibility that Kissell could mount an upset this November. These numbers will undoubtedly help boost his credibility. (Hat tip to The Southern Dem)

(In other NC news, a poll by the same firm earlier this month showed Democrat Heath Shuler with a 45-43 lead over incumbent Rep. Charles Taylor.)

UPDATE: Steve Hudson, Communications Director for the Kissell Campaign, writes in to emphasize that the "informed vote poll" had no negative push to it, but instead, emphasized talking points from both candidates' campaigns. Fair enough, but I'd still take such polls with an appropriate grain of salt--no one gets the luxury of a capsule biography in the voting both. Still, it shows potential for Kissell to gain ground if he runs an effective campaign.

Posted at 01:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House, North Carolina | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, May 19, 2006

NH-02: Why Paul Hodes Is a Much Stronger Candidate This Time

Posted by DavidNYC

Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report has put out her latest assessments of the most competitive House races (sub. only). While I think a lot of her analysis makes sense, I do have a bone to pick with her about NH-02. Before I go further, let me just say that I've met Amy in person and talked shop with her at length. She's one of the smartest and friendliest people I've met in DC, so I assure you this is purely a professional disagreement.

Anyhow, this is what she says about NH-02:

Even as the political sands beneath him continue to shift, GOP Rep. Charlie Bass has looked as rooted as ever. In 2004, as John Kerry won the district with 52 percent, Bass scored the biggest victory of his 10-year career taking 58 percent of the vote. Bass has crafted a moderate, independent image that helps to insulate him from charges that he is simply a proxy for the broader Republican agenda.

The question now is if Bass can hold on when the ground beneath him is not simply eroding, but is actually being churned and pulled by a political force that he has never yet had to face. Will voters, who have been willing to split their tickets in years past, continue to stick with Bass even as they voice a higher level of frustration with Congress and the President than they have since Bass has been elected?

A recent UNH poll, suggested that voters here are at least willing to take a look at voting against the GOP incumbent. In the poll, taken April 20-27, Bass was taking just 42 percent of the vote against Democratic attorney Paul Hodes, who was at 35 percent. Bass beat Hodes by 20-points in 2004. It’s not that Hodes looks any stronger, but it’s that the climate looks that much better. On an even playing field, Bass wins. It is only with a huge wave that Hodes can have a chance to win.

It's that last paragraph I take issue with, particularly her claim that Hodes does not "look any stronger." Now, unlike Amy, I'm a partisan and I have a dog in this fight. But the differences between Hodes 2004 and Hodes 2006 are indisputable:

• Hodes got a much earlier start this time. In fact, he never shut down his last campaign committee and has been running for this seat since pretty much the minute he lost in 2004. As Sean Carberry, Hodes' campaign manager last time, explained, the late start was crippling.

• Hodes has raised far more money at this point in the campaign than he did last time. Want to guess how much he had raised in the first quarter of 2004? Zero dollars and zero cents. (See late start, above.) This time, he outraised Bass in Q1 by a big margin, $146K to $102K.

• Hodes, with only 20% name rec, has already raised $329K. Bass, the six-term incumbent, has raised just $354K. It's possible that Bass isn't taking Hodes seriously. But if that's the case, then he's an incredible fool, given the political climate.

• Hodes has a much stronger staff this time, again thanks to his early start. Sean was too polite to really dish on the staff he had to work with, but I can only imagine how slim the pickings were very late in the game in a swing state in a presidential year.

• Unlike last time, Hodes is getting serious support from the DCCC. (In 2004, they gave him a grand total of less than $14K.)

• And finally, Hodes now has some serious experience under his belt. I'm probably going to point to this list again and again and again, but it really seems that most politicians lose before they win. Bill Clinton and Dick Nixon are the norm - it's the Chuck Schumers and Howard Deans who are the exceptions. Hell, Charlie Bass even lost a race for this seat before he won it. The bottom line is that it's hard to know how to win a race until you've run in a race - and now Paul Hodes has that knowledge.

Now, as lawyers would say, the issue here is not relevance - all of these things clearly matter - but how much weight to give all of these facts. It's possible that Amy reviewed all of this information and concluded that Paul is nonetheless not a materially stronger candidate. To my mind, though, all of these differences makes the 2006 edition of Paul Hodes a much more formidable contender than his previous incarnation.

I will grant that these factors do not account for Hodes' strong showing in the recent UNH poll - that's clearly due to the external situation. But if Paul is to make up that seven-point difference and actually win this thing, then everything I've listed here will be instrumental in bringing that about.

Posted at 06:42 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-10: Sherwood (R) on the Ropes

Posted by James L.

One of the few real surprises out of Tuesday evening's primaries was scandal-haunted incumbent Rep. Don Sherwood’s close call in a primary battle with political newcomer Kathy Scott. Let's take another look at why the battle for the 10th is going to be a real barn-burner this fall.

As far as incumbent protection schemes go, Rep. Don Sherwood has had a pretty sweet deal in recent years. After winning a nailbiter in 1998 (by a margin of 606 votes) and another tight race in 2000 over Democrat Patrick Casey, the Republican-controlled state legislature worked to cover his vulnerable ass in the last round of redistricting, moving Democratic-leaning Scranton to the nearby 11th C.D. and adding swaths of Republican-friendly rural territory to the 10th. What was once a tight swing district turned into a solid Republican bastion that gave 60% of its votes to George W. Bush in 2004. Sherwood had it so good, that Democrats didn't even bother to oppose him in 2002 and 2004. Now, if only he didn't have to go and get himself $5.5 million lawsuit for allegedly choking his 29 year-old mistress of five years. You just had to go and ruin a good thing, didn't you Don?

Undoubtedly, the lingering aftermath of Sherwood's extramarital scandal has poisoned his political capital in the 10th. That this guy still managed to win any kind of election is rather perverse on a deeper level, but his 56%-44% margin of victory over primary opponent Kathy Scott is a bad omen for his chances in November against Democrat and former Pentagon intelligence analyst Chris Carney. The Donster wasn't exactly resting on his laurels for this race. As The Hotline notes:

Sherwood spent $300,000 on seven direct mailings and automated phone calls from President Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

That's right: Sherwood had to dump $300k of his $800k warchest to survive a primary challenge from an unknown who presumably spent less than $5,000. Moreover, even direct appeals from Santorum and Bush couldn't prevent this anemic result. Better yet, Scott spent the last several weeks attempting to refute accusations that she was a stealth Democrat:

"Why would a Democrat change her party affiliation just days before the filing deadline and run in the Republican Primary for Congress? That's what ... Kathy Scott did," states a flier mailed out to registered Republican voters by the Sherwood re-election campaign on May 1. "And what's to stop her from changing back to a Democrat should she and the Democratic Party's liberal leaders win the election?"

Scott claims that she's switched her party registration back and forth to support "good candidates" across party lines, but that's beside the point. Obviously, a good share of PA-10 Republicans have a significant level of disgust for Sherwood that they'd throw their vote to a possible Democrat. With that in mind, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that a few of them would even go so far as to vote for the real deal come November.

Chris Carney has been a solid challenger this cycle, but he's lacked the big break to make his campaign truly competitive and catch the attention of statewide and national donors. This is it. The DCCC started to make noise about funding Carney last week, and you can bet that after these results, they're salivating over what looks like yet another competitive race in Pennsylvania.

Posted at 02:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, May 18, 2006

NY-24: Road Is Cleared for Arcuri

Posted by DavidNYC

The battlefield just became a whole lot clearer in NY-24, an open seat race that is bound to be one of the most competitive this year. Les Roberts, a healthcare specialist, graciously and wisely decided to drop out of the Dem primary, leaving Oneida County DA Mike Arcuri with a straight path to the nomination.

This is good news. While primaries can often be a good thing, provididing a way for newcomers to gain both combat experience and name recognition, they cause a lot of headaches in New York. That's because primaries are so obscenely late (Sept. 12) - by the time you win the Dem nomination, you have less than two months to turn around and face off against the Republican. It amounts to an incumbent protection plan, though it also makes life difficult in primaries as well. (Hopefully Gov. Spitzer will change the primary date to May or June.)

Also, Chuck Todd just wrote a piece this week about "perilous primaries," noting that there are competitive and potentially destructive Dem primaries for a number of vulnerable GOP seats. This, of course, is to be expected - but in any event, Chuck can cross this one off his list. We are good to go.

Posted at 03:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Is Brian Bilbray's Candidacy Illegal?

Posted by James L.

Democrats in CA-50 dropped a bombshell on Wednesday, charging that Brian Bilbray, the Republican candidate to replace disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the June 6th special election, does not live in the district. Bilbray claims that he and his wife live with his mother in Carlsbad, which is within CA-50. However, local Democrats, including North County Party Chair Jess Durfee, have uncovered documents which indicate otherwise:

Virginia property records show Bilbray claims a home in Alexandria, Va., as his primary residence, for tax purposes.


Even Bilbray's neighbors think otherwise:

Neighbors told 10News they rarely ever see Bilbray at the house, which is his mother’s home.

“He comes here occasionally to see his mother like boys will do, but he doesn't live here,” said neighbor Frank Knudsen.

“If he does live here, he must leave late at night and come back early in the morning,” said neighbor Bill Rider.

Another man, who lives right next door, said he wondered when people would catch on that Bilbray does not live here.

Whatever the case, his ambiguous legal residency fits nicely into the DCCC's efforts to paint Bilbray as a representative of DC-centric lobbyists rather than the 50th CD. Going into the home stretch, Democrat Francine Busby has got to be pleased with this break.

UPDATE (DavidNYC): Rick Hasen writes in to say that CA can't impose a residency requirement stricter than that found in the Constitution, which mandates only that a candidate be a resident at the time of election. Hence, he thinks there is nothing illegal about Bilbray's candidacy.

Posted at 02:15 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

NH-02: History Lesson, Part Two

Posted by DavidNYC

Sean Carberry, Paul Hodes' campaign manager in 2004, showed up in the comments to my last post and offered a very forthright assessment of what happened to the Hodes campaign last time. I think it's worth front-paging, so here it is:

Here's some more perspective from '04 that bodes well for Hodes in '06. I managed Hodes' '04 campaign, and I can tell you our mission was to help John Kerry win NH, not to win the seat. We got in late, Paul had no name recognition, we had no support from the party, we technically had a primary, and that also constrained donors until the last 8 weeks--not that donors ever stepped up in any significant manner. We were not targeted, and therefore could not raise money. Plus, NH had a brutal governors race that also took attention and resources from our effort. We barely had the money to make it to TV and could not run the campaign we wanted to run.

This time, Paul has been running and fundraising for over a year already, has been able to hire more experienced staff (we won't discuss some of the people I was relegated to hiring in order to fill positions last time, and I wasn't exactly a ringer either), and has a strong base to run from. Plus, DCCC is targeting the race, and that will make a dramatic difference in fundraising.

In other words, the '04 margin is meaningless. The important thing to look at is the UNH poll that has Bass at 42-35 over Hodes right now. Bass has never polled that low, and Hodes hasn't even begun a media campaign yet.

This year is different. People are ready for a change, and Hodes is perfectly poised to take this seat. What will make the difference is people getting on board now and contributing rather than sitting on the sidelines reading the tea leaves. It's going to take a lot of effort and money in the home stretch, and it all has to build now, so give him a boost!

One detail to add: That brutal governor's race paid huge dividends for us. Democrat John Lynch is one of the most popular governors in the country right now and faces only token opposition this fall. That puts him in a great position to help out in both congressional races. (In case you're wondering, New Hampshire is one of only two states in the nation where the governor serves just a two year term. Next-door neighbor Vermont is the other.)

Posted at 11:56 AM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, May 15, 2006

NH-02: History Lesson

Posted by DavidNYC

Well, unsurprisingly, the movers haven't shown up yet, so I've got time for a post today. I brought up this topic a while ago, but with the attention Paul Hodes has been receiving of late, I thought it worthwhile to revisit it. I haven't hesitated to point out that Hodes got crushed by Charlie Bass last time, losing 58-38. I've also stated my belief that losing now can help you win later - and check out the list of politicians who took that route.

Generalities aside, New Hampshire's second congressional district also offers a much more specific history lesson - a lesson in how fortunes can change dramatically in just two years, and how when the stars are aligned, even seemingly entrenched incumbents can be toppled.

NH-02 1992 Results
Dick Swett (D-inc.): 62% (Spent: $784K)
Bill Hatch (R): 36% (Spent: $233K)

NH-02 1994 Results
Dick Swett (D-inc.): 46 (Spent: $1.029M)
Charlie Bass (R): 51 (Spent: $448K)

Despite the Republican candidate losing by 26 points two years earlier, and despite being outspent by more than two-to-one, Charlie Bass moved the needle an astounding 31 points in his direction. Paul Hodes, meanwhile, only needs a shift of 20 points. I should add that Charlie Bass is no stranger to losing in NH-02 - he got beat by Judd Gregg in the Republican primary in 1980.

As always, I don't mean to suggest that the two situations are perfectly comparable. I don't think 2006 will be nearly as big for us as 1994 was for the GOP. And Bass is a six-termer, while Swett, when he lost, had only served two terms. On the flipside, Hodes has the advantage of demographics shifting in our favor. In 1994, Bass caught a wave that surged so far from the South in lapped up against the shores of New Hampshire. If there's a wave this year - even a much smaller one - it's starting in the Northeast.

History may not repeat itself, but as Mark Twain said, it certainly does rhyme. And you've got to familiarize yourself with the first couplet if you want to catch the cadence. Will 92-94-04-06 go (for you English majors) abba? Or perhaps we should say, DRRD? I don't know that it will, but I know that it can - and that I'll be listening for it.

Posted at 02:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

CA-50: Busby and Bilbray Tied

Posted by DavidNYC

SUSA's being very, very good to us today (likely voters, no trendlines):

Busby: 45
Bilbray: 45
Other: 9
Undecided: 1
(MoE: ±4.8%)

Among Dems, Busby is doing a terrific job - she holds them at a rate of 92-3. (Wow!) Meanwhile, Bilbray holds Republicans by 82-12. Of course, there are many more Republicans in this district, so Busby makes up the difference by obliterating Bilbray with indies, 54-19.

Perhaps the fears of conservatives are bearing fruit: Only 80% of Eric Roach's supported now back Bilbray. We're only talking a couple percent of the overall vote (at most), but that could provide a crucial difference. Busby also steals more votes from Roach & all the other 4/11 candidates than Bilbray does from her (not too surprisingly).

But on the flip-side, I find it troublesome that Bilbray leads among likely voters who did not vote in the 4/11 special, 54-35. According to SUSA, this group makes up 20% of the likely 6/6 voters. I don't know why Bilbray should be doing better among these "new" voters, though I imagine the underlying demographics of the district are at least partly to blame (ie, you expand the pool of voters, you're likely to be including more Republicans).

What concerns me most is that 9% "other". I imagine most of these people are carrying a torch for Roach and the other Republicans whose names are still on the 6/6 ballot. In other words, if anyone can win over that remaining chunk, it's more likely going to be Bilbray rather than Busby. But if those 9% insist on voting for a sure loser, the Busby might be able to pull this one out in the end.

Posted at 09:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-05: Dogfight

Posted by DavidNYC

Independent polls of House races from reputable outfits are the political junkie's equivalent of free-basing - especially when they look this good (registered voters, no trendlines):

Mitchell: 45
Hayworth: 50
Undecided: 5
(MoE: 4.1%)

Though SUSA doesn't provide name rec numbers, I have to believe that Mitchell - though pretty well-known - trails Hayworth, which makes this showing even more remarkable. And the internals are nifty, too. Mitchell does a better job among Dems (83-13) than Hayworth does among Republicans (79-16). He also leads among independents, 50-44.

One note of quasi-caution: According to the AZ SoS (PDF), the registration breakdown in AZ-05 is 44R-28D-27I. The SUSA poll, meanwhile, shows a split of 45R-32D-22I. Republicans will obviously say that this is a "biased" sample. (Clearly SUSA is part of the vast left-wing conspiracy.) But notice that the GOP sample is almost exactly on target here. My interpretation is that more independents are identifying with the Democrats.

An this makes perfect sense, given that Gallup has recently shown "an unusually high level of enthusiasm" among Democrats. Gallup has also demonstrated (sub. only) that while many Americans like to call themselves "independents," most of those actually do indeed identify with one part or the other. Since Dems are on the upswing, I can easily believe that more indies are identifying with us. If anything, I might be a little suspicious of the sample if it didn't show any shift to the Dems.

Anyhow, all I have to say at this point is... give `em hell, Harry!

(Thanks to Mister T in AZ.)

Posted at 06:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NY-20: Sweeney Blutarsky At It Again

Posted by DavidNYC

Rep. John Sweeney (R-Animal House) showed off his boorish frat-boy manners once again, delivering this bon mot about his opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand.

"You can't take a resume and a pretty face from New York City and say to people this is good for you simply because we can spend a lot of money and raise a lot of money," Sweeney told the Record of Troy. (Emphasis added.)

Glad to see that hooting about women's looks is still in style at Gamma Omicron Pi house (GOP for short). Good one, Brother Sweeney!

(Hat tip: Jesse Lee.)

Posted at 06:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

DCCC's Red to Blue List Cut by Six

Posted by DavidNYC

What the heck is this? The Hill is saying that six names on the DCCC's original Red to Blue list are being axed. If these six names (Darcy Burner, John Cranley, Jill Derby, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tessa Hafen, Harry Mitchell) had never been included, I wouldn't be complaining now.

But this just looks sloppy, to put out a list only to cut it down later. It also raises uncomfortable - and totally unfair - questions for these six campaigns. I'm sure that the GOP opponents of all six are putting out press releases right now which say, "So-and-so loses DCCC support!" It's especially harsh since several of these candidates are on the lower end of fundraising totals (compared to the other names on the original list). So that means these are the campaigns which need help the most.

Mostly, this flub makes us look like a bunch of pikers. Look, I'm glad the DCCC is claiming that these folks will be added in the next round, but that supposedly isn't happening until sometime in June. Rahm Emanuel may be a lot of things, but I don't think he's inattentive to detail. So I ask again, what the hell happened here? Why the screw up? I'm hoping that maybe The Hill got this story wrong.

(Thanks to Political Wire.)

Posted at 05:30 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-29: Ninety-Three Percent

Posted by DavidNYC


"My voting record has been independent...."

- Randy Kuhl, announcing that he won't retire (5/8/2006)


Randy Kuhl, 2005 Party Unity Score: 93%

- CQ Weekly (1/9/2006)

I think there must be a "lying gene" that the Republican Party simply favors by natural selection. Of course, they don't believe in natural selection, but that's neither here nor there.

In other NY-29 news, Eric Massa is petitioning to get on the ballot. This is a frustrating fact of life for almost all New York campaigns, especially since NY has some of the most onerous ballot access laws in the nation. However, there's a nice silver lining, which is that the petition process forces you to ramp up your field operations well in advance of election day - consider it something of a trial run. Moreover, the campaign gets to identify and make contact with tons of potential supporters, which is also very useful further down the road.

Eric needs 1,250 signatures, but obviously wants to get more. Kuhl will probably sic his minions on the Massa petitions (in NY, a petition can be invalidated for as little as an errant mark of a pen), so it's important to have a big buffer. If you live in the area (note: you do NOT have to be a district resident to carry petitions) and you want to get involved, sign up for Eric's e-mail list here. (Be sure to check the "Volunteer" box at the bottom.)

Because it's petition season throughout New York State, other campaigns will be looking for help as well. Check Barry Welsh's site for any Dem challengers near you.

Posted at 12:42 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, May 08, 2006

WV-02: Mike Callaghan for Congress

Posted by DavidNYC

Tomorrow is primary day in West Virginia. (It's also primary day in Nebraksa. For a good run down, check out this diary.) The only federal seat in WV held by a Republican is the second congressional district, home of Shelley Capito. Her rap sheet is long, but all you really need to know is that she took over $48,000 from Tom DeLay - more than any other member of Congress.

There are three Democrats vying to challenge her, but only one of them is worthy of your support: Mike Callaghan. Mike is the former head of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Prior to that, he was a federal prosecutor. And he's also served as the chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party. In short, he's got strong experience.

He's also strong on the issues. Mike's been very aggressive on mine safety. As an Assistant US Attorney, for instance, he prosecuted phony safety instructors and closed down unsafe mines. This stands in sharp contrast to Capito, who's taken tons of money from anti-union mining companies like Peabody Energy and Arch Coal; non-union mines have more safety violations and hence more dangerous working conditions than unionized mines. The Sago mine, as you may know, was non-union.

As to Iraq, Mike is pretty blunt: He favors a "quick resolution" and a "detailed withdrawal plan." As he says, "The best way to ensure an end to this war is to elect Democrats to Congress." No joke. He's also had the courage to come out in favor of a single-payer healthcare system, which is the only reasonable solution to the healthcare crisis in this country. Undoubtedly, the GOP will trot out its ancient, overheated "Harry & Louise" rhetoric to tar Mike, but I think he's more than tough enough to withstand any assault.

Mike is flanked by sherrifs and their deputies in that picture, and I gotta say, for a guy in a suit, he doesn't look out of place one bit. Oh, and those sherrifs did indeed endorse Mike, sending Capito ("But I got you all this Homeland Security money!") into a tizzy. Sherrifs to Capito: Yeah, well, we haven't seen any of that money, so take a hike - we've got Mike's back. Indeed, Mike's been totally outstripping the pack in picking up endorsements, including nods from a broad range of unions.

As you can see, I think Mike is a strong candidate. This district leans Republican, but normal conceptions of party loyalty don't quite apply in West Virginia, a conservative state which still has strong ties to the Democrats. And CQ just changed their rating on the race, which means this seat, while a difficult one to capture, is nonetheless in play.

But just a cautionary word on the other two Dems in this race. One of them, Mark Hunt, gave the Raelian cult half a million bucks to try to clone his son. I swear that I am not kidding about that. The other is Richie Robb, who was a Republican until just a few months ago, and most recently came in fourth in the GOP primary for governor with a whopping 10% of the vote. We need to put our best foot forward in a race like this, and neither Hunt nor Robb qualifies.

So if you're in West Virginia's 2nd CD, I strongly encourage you to vote for Mike Callaghan tomorrow. If you aren't sure where your polling location is, check with your county clerk. (FYI: Polls close at 7:30pm.) And if you live outside the district but want to get involved, check out Mike's website. And go Callaghan!

UPDATE: CQ thinks that Callaghan is likely to win tomorrow - I hope they're right. Also, check this out:

Robert O. Rupp, a political scientist at West Virginia Wesleyan College, described Callaghan as a mix between Democratic political consultant James Carville and martial arts expert Chuck Norris.

Heh - I can dig it.

Posted at 04:22 PM in 2006 Elections - House, West Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Roach Is Out

Posted by DavidNYC

A conservative website is reporting that Eric Roach will not run in the GOP primary against Brian Bilbray. While this might seem like bad news for us, I think it's possible that, had Roach won, he would have driven up turnout among conservatives. These additional voters could have split their tickets between Bilbray (in the special) and Roach (in the primary). Now, at least, we can hope that "true conservatives" stay home because they can't bear the thought of pulling the lever for "liberal" Brian Bilbray. (Confused? As Glen Greenwald has explained in detail, anyone who strays from Bushist orthodoxy even for a moment becomes a liberal in the eyes of movement conservatives.)

If my talk of "ticket splitting" makes no sense and you need a backgrounder on what's going on with the wacky June 6th election, try clicking here.

Posted at 02:59 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, May 06, 2006

NH-02: Fishing Season

Posted by DavidNYC

Anglers, start casting:

The national Democratic Party said yesterday it will target Republican 2nd District Rep. Charles Bass for defeat in November, a move that did not surprise the Bass campaign.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hopes to capitalize on President George W. Bush's lack of support in New Hampshire — particulary the 2nd District — to defeat five-term incumbent Bass, according to committee recruitment chair, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.


The race could be on the DCCC's next "red-to-blue" list in late June if Hodes "continues at the pace he is going."

I hear the bass-fishing season is nicely under way in New Hampshire round about this time of year.

I think we're gonna hook ourselves one of these before long. Go Hodes!

Posted at 08:29 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, May 04, 2006

PA-07: Surprise! "Army of Curt" a Proud Member of the Culture of Corruption

Posted by DavidNYC

Unhinged lunatic Crazy Curt Weldon already has a long list of demerits to his name. Now - not that it's any surprise - you can add corruption:

Over the past eight years, Weldon has spent about $80,000 of campaign treasury funds—donated money that congressional ethics rules say should be used for “bona fide campaign or political purposes”—on restaurant meals. His dining choices range from high-end establishments like The Monocle, a Capitol Hill restaurant popular with lawmakers and lobbyists, to the humble Cracker Barrel. During the same period Weldon also dropped about $30,000 on hotels.

Take January 3, 1999: less than two months after winning reelection with 72 percent of the vote and 22 months away from his next election, Weldon spent $435.39 in campaign funds at the Capitol Grille in Washington. (The Grille’s website bears the slogan: “Remind yourself why you work so hard.”) Then, during the summer and early fall of 1999, still more than a year from election day, Weldon put down $400 of campaign funds on five meals in Wildwood, New Jersey, where he then owned a beach house. Three of those meals were on the weekend.

Weldon has drawn from his campaign funds for a number of other seemingly unusual expenditures. He spent $1,698 for a personal computer, delivered to his home, and several hundred dollars in Budapest, Moscow, and at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Oslo—all highly unusual campaign stops for a man representing a district in eastern Pennsylvania. In Atlantic City he spent $502 at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and $405.61 at the Taj Mahal. Add to that $4,618 paid for landscaping to a company owned by a campaign contributor and some $13,000 in unitemized personal reimbursements.

Landscaping? As a campaign expense? Are you kidding me? At the very least, I hope Curt did a good job winning over all those voters in Hungary, Russia and Norway, because he'll need them big-time if he wants to win this fall.

Man, stuff like this may be legal, but it shouldn't be. Or as they say, the scandal isn't the illegal behavior - the scandal is what's legal.

Posted at 04:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NH-02: We've Got a Race on Our Hands

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah boy does this feel good. Check out UNH's new Granite State Poll (PDF) (adults, no trendlines):

Hodes: 35
Bass: 42
Undecided: 22
(MoE: ±6.4%)

Those are awesome numbers for Paul Hodes. On the one hand, Charlie Bass is well below 50%. On the other hand, Hodes pulls in 35% of the vote despite being unknown to a whopping 81% of voters. New Hampshire's not a big state, and Hodes has a lot of time to get his name rec up. (Bass has a 49-20 approval rating and is d/k'ed by only 19% of district residents. This is actually one of his weakest showings over the last five years - his favorables have usually been over 50%.)

I'd also like to point out that this poll is something of a rarity - an independent poll of a House race. So none of the usual caveats about internal or partisan polls apply. Yes, the MoE is a bit high, but no, contrary to popular misconception, this does not mean that it's "equally likely" that Bass is actually at 50%.

The bottom line is that we've got a serious race on our hands in this district. If Hodes can raise enough money, and in so doing, raise his profile, then Bass is going to be in deep trouble. If you want to help make that happen, I know that Hodes is having a fundraiser in NYC tonight. I'm not sure if the information is on his website, but you can contact the campaign for more info here.

Oh, and one last thing. RCP declared just yesterday that "no one seriously thinks that Charlie Bass" is in trouble. Well, the good folks at the University of New Hampshire seem to think so - and if Charlie Bass (who was outraised by Hodes last quarter) doesn't think so as well, then he's either in denial or an idiot.

Posted at 01:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (12) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This Makes No Sense

Posted by DavidNYC

I understand when Dems in conservative districts feel they have to compile a more conservative voting record. That argument makes sense on certain issues. But ethics is just not one of them. Take a look at this list of Democrats who voted for the GOP's sham lobbying reform bill:

Taylor (MS)

All except Cuellar and Boswell are in right-leaning districts. Several are vulnerable this year. But as Markos says, I'd really, really love to hear how on earth voting against ethics reform could possibly help any of these guys. I'm willing to put up with a lot of shit from Blue Dogs, conservative Dems, centrist Dems, New Dems, whatever they wanna call themselves. But this is utter crap. Ethics cuts across all partisan lines.

And if the argument is that these guys feared going home and getting attacked for "voting against ethics reform," then that's also crap. At some point in politics, you need to be able to fight. You vote against this shit, then go home and tell everyone how you're just champing at the bit to vote for real ethics reform. If you're afraid every vote can be used against you, then there's just no point in being in politics at all.

Of course, there's the alternate possibility that these guys just don't want to see real ethics reform take place. That thought is just so appalling, I don't even want to consider it.

Posted at 09:23 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NYT on the Northeast Strategy

Posted by DavidNYC

Nothing that readers of this site aren't already familiar with, but it's nice to see the "Northeast Strategy" get some coverage in the Paper of Record. The Times showcases the race in CT-05 between Chris Murphy and incumbent Nancy Johnson. I do think their read on the race's importance in the larger overall scheme of things is wrong, though:

Here in Connecticut's Fifth District, Representative Johnson is exactly the kind of Republican whom Democrats must unseat to have any serious shot of taking control of the House.

The 5th CD, as you know, is the least Dem of all three GOP-held seats in CT. It would be entirely plausible for us to win back the House without beating Johnson. Don't get me wrong: I think Murphy's got a shot, despite the big cash disadvantage, thanks to the favorable external factors which inform this race. But the national outcome is not predicated on the outcome here.

The northeastern races that the NYT lists as being potentially competitive: CT-02, 04 & 05; NH-02; NJ-07; NY-20, 24, 25 & 29; and PA-06, 07 & 08. I would add NY-19 and possibly even NH-01 to that list.

Posted at 12:09 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-14: Terrible Re-Elects for Ron Paul (R)

Posted by DavidNYC

I admit I've been skeptical about claims that the race in TX-14 is a legit second-tier affair. But a new post by Charles Kuffner, covering the details of a poll taken for Shane Sklar (the Dem), might make start to reconsider:

Question: As things stand now, would you vote to reelect Ron Paul to Congress or do you think it is time to give someone new a chance?

Response: 33% Re-elect, 48% Someone New, 20% Undecided

Yes, it's an internal poll, and no, those 48% won't all go to Sklar - but that is seriously fugly for Ron Paul. Maybe these generic polls showing extreme dissatisfcation with Congress actually do mean something.

Now, in a straight-up head-to-head, Sklar gets crushed, 58-37. But he's only got 25% name rec, while Paul is at 88%. Sklar will need to raise quite a bit more money if he wants to get his ID up, but November is a long way off. And for Sklar, increasing his exposure is anything but a fool's errand, as that 48% figure for not-Ron-Paul indicates. Also, after the usual message-testing questions, the head-to-head turns into a 54-30 lead for Sklar. You never want to read too much into those sorts of things, but again, at least it shows room for growth.

Kuff agrees that it probably comes down to money for Sklar, and he thinks it'll take at least $500K to bump this race up to full second-tier status. One of the great things about Texas is that there are a lot of strong bloggers down there, led by Kuff himself, who's been blogging practically since the dawn of time (in Internet years). So we'll definitely have good intel on this race as it progresses.

Posted at 11:47 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, May 01, 2006

Taking the Meaning of "Red" a Little Too Far

Posted by DavidNYC

The DCCC recently announced its first batch of candidates for its Red-to-Blue program, which Roll Call says "provides promising candidates with a prize package of campaign cash, communications support and a mentor from the ranks of current House Democrats." There's just one thing nagging me about this list...

Darcy Burner Wash. 8th
Phyllis Busansky Fla. 9th
Francine Busby Calif. 50th
Joe Courtney Conn. 2nd
John Cranley Ohio 1st
Jill Derby Nev. 2nd
Tammy Duckworth Ill. 6th
Brad Ellsworth Ind. 8th
Diane Farrell Conn. 4th
Steve Filson Calif. 11th
Kirsten Gillibrand N.Y. 20th
Tessa Hafen Nev. 3rd
Baron Hill Ind. 9th
Mary Jo Kilroy Ohio 15th
Ron Klein Fla. 22nd
Ken Lucas Ky. 4th
Patricia Madrid N.M. 1st
Harry Mitchell Ariz. 5th
Chris Murphy Conn. 5th
Lois Murphy Pa. 6th
Heath Shuler N.C. 11th
Peter Welch Vt. At-large

Check out that last name: Peter Welch. He's running for Bernie Sanders' seat in Vermont. Now, I know that Sanders is often referred to as a "self-described socialist," but c'mon, I think it's a little unfair to call him "red" now, isn't it?

All kidding aside, CQ asked the D-Trip about this:

When asked about this exception, DCCC spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said Welch was included because he is considered a “strong Democratic candidate who promotes the party’s ideals.”

That's clearly an exception designed to swallow the rule - the DCCC can use this rationale to bail out laggards in any number of open seats. Now, I actually think Welch is a pretty worthy guy - the possibility of a spoiler third-party candidate could really screw us here. But I don't see why the DCCC can't just maintain two separate lists, one for offense and one for defense. Maybe I'm being picky and it just doesn't really matter.

I think this is actually a pretty good list overall. Clearly, the DCCC is helping out some of its strongest candidates (like Ron Klein and Lois Murphy), but they're also lending a hand to some mid-major challengers (eg, Chris Murphy, Mary Jo Kilroy), and have even included a couple of surprising races (Busanksy, Derby).

So how about this: Whom would you nominate to be on the next installment of the DCCC's Red-to-Blue list?

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NJ-07: Not Mike Ferguson

Posted by DavidNYC

From the guys who brought you Dump Mike, their newest effort: Not Mike Ferguson. You see, the real Mike Ferguson has decided to scrub his website of any connection to George Bush (whose popularity in New Jersey is so low, it must now be measured in scientific notation). But Not Mike Ferguson sets the record straight, detailing exactly who Fergie's friends are, and where his priorities lie - a valuable public service!

Posted at 01:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Jersey | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, April 30, 2006

PA-07: Loony Weldon Thinks CIA Is Out To Get Him

Posted by DavidNYC

Curt Weldon's batshittery knows no bounds. Last year, he claimed that the CIA was out to get him because he published a report critical of the agency. Now, his conspiracy theory (as they always do) has cast a wider net. Joe Sestak, you see, is just the latest minion to rappel out of a black helicopter:

Veteran Rep. Curt Weldon has a proclivity for calling out shady government doings that have him in mind as a principal target. A year ago, for example, after the No. 2 Republican on the House Armed Services Committee published “Countdown to Terror,” a frontal assault on the CIA’s track record before Sept. 11, he claimed that Clinton administration veterans with ties to the agency were out to get him.

So it’s not surprising that as Weldon girds for the most difficult re-election bid during his two decades representing the Philadelphia suburbs, his campaign is alleging that the CIA is probably abetting the opposition. Last month, his campaign manager Michael Puppio Jr. announced that Weldon’s expected Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak, a former Navy vice admiral, had taken campaign contributions from Mary McCarthy, the CIA operative recently fired for allegedly leaking secret information to the media. McCarthy, who was specifically accused of being a source for The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story on secret CIA prisons overseas, has denied that charge through her lawyer.

The media also has raised suspicions in the Weldon camp. The reporter on the Post article, Dana Priest, wrote a piece last year about Weldon’s book that the congressman viewed as critical.

It’s just a question of following the money, says Puppio. “What’s a CIA analyst doing giving money to a partisan political candidate?” he asks. “I’m not sure she violated any laws, but then when that analyst is alleged to have leaked information to a reporter who in turn is extremely critical of Curt Weldon, that raises some big questions.”

That last quote from Puppio, the campaign manager, is vintage conspiracist nuttery. No conspiracy is too attenuated, too poorly supported by the evidence, and too downright stupid for a bonafide conspiracy theorist. This reminds me of Ross Perot's lunatic assertion that GOP operatives were planning to disrupt his daughter's wedding, forcing him to drop out of the presidential race in 1992. Ross & Curt should hang out - they're both equally nuts and seem to share the same worldview, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

Posted at 03:32 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, April 28, 2006

NY-20: Sweeney Blutarsky

Posted by DavidNYC

I was ready to let this one be a one-day story, but this picture cracked me up too much:

Thanks to reader AW!

P.S. To those who question the wisdom of harping on a story like this, let me just say that I very much wish that the tradmed were interested in talking about serious policy matters. But they aren't, and all the wishing in the world won't change that. However, they will lap up stupid stories that supposedly reflect on a person's "character" or "honesty" or "genuineness," etc. (Just think about all the crap they hurled at Al Gore, none of it substantive.) We have to take what we can get, and what Sweeney gave us was a chance to force him to endure least one embarrassing news cycle where he had to go off-message - and over 100 articles on the story, thanks to the AP picking it up.

Posted at 08:58 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-29: Internal Poll Shows Very Tight Race

Posted by DavidNYC

Eric Massa just released an internal poll (sub. only) with some very positive results (likely voters, no trendlines):

Massa: 40
Kuhl: 43
(MoE: ±4.4%)

What's more, the Roll Call story says that Massa is "not well known to most voters" (they didn't specify exact numbers), while Kuhl has an astounding 33-50 approval rating. Bush, meanwhile, struggles along at 31-69 in the district. Considering Kuhl's beyond-pathetic first-quarter fundraising (only $82K - Massa raised more), I think he's definitely vulnerable. You should definitely consider voting for Massa in Barbara Boxer's poll.

One tangentially related point I'd like to make: If you are a campaign, and you've done an internal poll, and the numbers look good, and you want to make them public, please, please e-mail your polling memo (or summary) to bloggers, and please please post it on your website as well.

It's just silly that the subscription-only Roll Call (which most people don't have access to) is the source for this poll, and it's even sillier that the Massa people don't have this up on their website. I am not saying this because I think bloggers are Teh Awesome and campaigns should suck up to us. I'm saying this because, outside of the few Capitol Hill uber-insider publications (Roll Call, The Hill, Hotline, Cook, Rothenberg), blogs are the only arm of the media which really cares about this kind of stuff.

A campaign releasing an internal poll might get an article or two in the local tradmed if they're lucky. Maybe not even that much. But bloggers love this kind of stuff. You'll get a lot more exposure if you make your polls accessible to us. What's more, if you do it right, you might net a few more donations or signups on your website. (Campaigns should put donation links on every page.) As they say, help us help you.

Posted at 03:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 27, 2006

NY-20: Sweeney Up In Smoke

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man. Yet another entry in the "Too Good To Be True" Dept. Only, this one is 100% bonafide certified genuine. I can hardly believe my own fingers as I type this, but Rep. John Sweeney looks to have gotten tanked at a freakin' FRAT PARTY:

From the Concordiensis, the student newspaper at Union College, we have the full details:

Congressman John Sweeney, a Republican from the 20th district of New York State, appeared at a registered party at Alpha Delta Phi on Friday, April 22nd. The Congressman came from Geppetto's bar and was described by witness as being inquisitive and engaging, while also acting openly intoxicated.

No word yet if Bluto Blutarsky put in an appearance. But in the back corner, we can clearly see Tommy Chong, Jr. hard at work.

At first, I thought I heard the sound of a hundred slides dropping back into their bongs, and then I thought I heard kegs being whacked on the side to see if they've been kicked. But I finally realized what it was: It's the sound of nails being driven in to John Sweeney's coffin.

UPDATE: Just saw this: Rahm says the DCCC is going to help out Kirsten Gillibrand. Talk about a good day for Team Blue in NY-20!

Posted at 06:11 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CQ Politics Changes Ratings on Six House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

And they're all good news for us:

Indiana’s 8th District (Incumbent — Republican John Hostettler): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to No Clear Favorite from Leans Republican.

Iowa’s 2nd District (Incumbent — Republican Jim Leach): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

Kentucky’s 2nd District (Incumbent — Republican Ron Lewis): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

New York’s 19th District (Incumbent — Republican Sue W. Kelly): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

New York’s 25th District (Incumbent — Republican James T. Walsh): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

West Virginia’s 2nd District (Incumbent — Republican Shelley Moore Capito): CQPolitics.com is changing its rating to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

Of course, only the first race here is a toss-up, and "Republican Favored" is still a pretty big mountain to climb. But that fact that all of these are shifting toward us at once - and none, apparently, in the opposite direction - is an encouraging sign.

Posted at 02:54 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Boxer's PAC Wants to Know Whom to Support

Posted by DavidNYC

Sen. Barbara Boxer is doing exactly what every safe, flush incumbent should be doing: She's putting her resources to work to help raise money for those who need it. What I like is that Boxer isn't simply having her PAC make a donation (which would be capped at $5K), but rather she's asking her community of supporters to contribute as well. The best part is, she's asking for our vote. You get to pick ONE House incumbent and ONE House challenger. And man, it's a tough choice! First, the incumbents:

Rep. John Salazar (CO-3)
Rep. Jim Marshall (GA-8)
Rep. John Barrow (GA-12)
Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA-3)
Rep. Melissa Bean (IL-8)
Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
Rep. John Spratt (SC-5)
Rep. Stephanie Herseth (SD-AL)
Rep. Chet Edwards (TX-17)
Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-2)

Hard to pick on this list. I'd say Boswell probably needs the cash most, perhaps followed by Jim Marshall. In terms of pure vulnerability, I feel like Edwards is most at-risk. Herseth, meanwhile, has a total nobody for a challenger. Now for the challengers:

Harry Mitchell (AZ-5)
Francine Busby (CA-50)
Joe Courtney (CT-2)
Diane Farrell (CT-4)
Ron Klein (FL-22)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-6)
Brad Ellsworth (IN-8)
Baron Hill (IN-9)
Heath Shuler (NC-11)
Patsy Madrid (NM-1)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Charlie Wilson (OH-6)
Lois Murphy (PA-6)
Joe Sestak (PA-7)
Nick Lampson (TX-22)
Peter Welch (VT-AL)

This list obviously has most of the excellent races and is also tough to choose from. However, I'm gonna use a somewhat different metric here, which is one you've seen me use before: Marginal effect. That is, where are our dollars likely to go the farthest? For races where challengers have already raised a million dollars, clearly we can have less of an effect. In "cheaper" races, by contrast, we can have a much greater impact.

I think the lowest-dollar races on this list is Eric Massa in NY-29 - he's raised in the low six-figures. Most of these challengers have actually already raised over a million dollars (Lampson's raised over two). Those who haven't include Harry Mitchell (who got a late start), Joe Sestak (same), Joe Courtney, Heath Shuler, Brad Ellsworth and Peter Welch. Charlie Wilson hasn't, either, but with his primary situation still totally up in the air, I can't advise voting for him. And I'm not sure about Baron Hill - I can't seem to find his totals on the FEC site. Of course, Francine Busby ($1.5M so far), unlike the rest of these folks, faces her next election in little over a month (not counting any primaries).

I think it'd be pretty hard to choose wrong on this list - almost all of these people are good candidates. And regardless of how much they've got in the bank, I'm sure every campaign would appreciate some more help. So go vote.

Posted at 11:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NE-01: Some More Thoughts on Moul

Posted by DavidNYC

Reader J., a former Nebraskan who's worked for Maxine Moul in the past, writes in with some good local color on the unexpectedly competitive race in NE-01:

The district is demographically split between rural and urban with Lincoln as the urban base. In the past Dems suffered two ailments, first they weren’t able to cross over between the two demographics, either the candidates represented the urban portion and were trounced in the ruralarea - or they came from the rural area and didn’t get the turnout push they needed in Lincoln. Second, until 2004 the area was represented by a well respected, moderate, entrenched incumbent Rep. Doug Bereuter. Rep. Bereuter had a virtual lock on the district for 26 years.

That lock is gone. Maxine is the real deal for the following reasons:

• She was born and raised in the rural area of the district.
• She has lived in Lincoln for approximately 15 years and is extremely well known in that community.
• As LTG she made economic development in rural NE her priority and regularly toured the rural areas in support of community economic development.
• She resigned as LTG to take the cabinet level post of Economic Development Director (in NE this position is probably as or more visible than the LTG) where she again put a special emphasis on rural development.
• She is very well liked and respected by the business community throughout the state and I would be surprised if she doesn’t receive significant crossover support.
• Recent Democrats such Ben Nelson, Bob Kerry and Jim Exon have all won this district as part of statewide campaigns.

On the opposition research side:

• Fortenberry is not a Nebraskan, he was born and raised in LA and educated in DC (I believe) He’s only live in NE for around 10 years.
• He won the Republican primary because the club for growth entered the race and clobbered the two moderates (one truly moderate, the other sort of moderate) with negative ads. Bloodied, the the two moderates split what remained of that vote and he snuck through with the conservative base and helping of misled moderates.

In the general Fortenberry rode Bush’s coattails to a 54% victory, but underperformed Bush in the district. The Dem Sen. Matt Conneally (a rural member of the Unicameral) performed well (around 43%) but failed to mobilize the urban constituency and what he did accomplish was offset by Fortenberry being identifed as the "Lincoln candidate" (he served a term on the predominately democratic city council) see above demographic reference.

This year Sen. Nelson will be the draw and he can be expected to perform well in the district, his approval is somewhere in the 60-70% range. Moreover, Bush’s statewide approval has dropped significantly (approx 8-10% since May of last year) since 2004. Finally Maxine's identification with both the rural and urban constiuency should blunt Fortenberrys abilty to identify as the "Lincoln candidate" and still perfom well in the rural areas.

In the end this seat may be the stealth seat of the cycle. The key for Maxine is to generate enough money to both organize effectively (the district is fairly huge) and compete with the outside media buys that’ll likely hit once groups outside NE (eg, Club for Growth) see the numbers tighten. It’s unlikely that Maxine will be able to rely on similar national groups (association could have a negative impact), so she’ll need to be able to stand on her own. With all that said, media in NE is affordable comapared to the rest of the country with a likely emphasis on radio (fall campaigns equal farmers in the field with radios).

Meanwhile, commenter HistoryChickInNebraska has some color on Scott Kleeb, running in the open seat in NE-03. I should point out, though, that this is the sixth-most conservative district in the country, by PVI.

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Nebraska | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Chuck Todd: Dems Solid on Second-Tier Races

Posted by DavidNYC

I really wish the National Journal would provide permalinks to Chuck Todd's columns, but anyway:

What's making handicapping the House so difficult this cycle is that the Democrats have done a better job at recruiting tier-two targets (the surfers ready to ride a wave) than tier-one targets (the recruits who can navigate even the choppiest of waters). God, we love beating a good metaphor into the ground... but we digress.

We've been somewhat critical of the Democrats' efforts to enlist a bunch of top-tier targets. And to be fair, there is still time to find some big-time targets in states with late filing deadlines, like New York. But this year's Democratic tier-one target list for the House isn't as expansive as one might suspect judging from the GOP's anemic national numbers.

But it may not matter, as the national polls show. What we're impressed with in the House Democratic recruitment is the number of tier-two targets.

In our current list of the top 50 House races, we've had a hard time ranking slots 20 through 50 because of the relative success of the Democrats' tier-two recruiting.

From Ohio-15 and Arizona-05 to Pennsylvania-07 and Florida-08, the number of solid second-tier Democratic targets is growing.

And this tier-two area is exactly where the netroots is making - or at least, striving to make - a difference. Sure, we could jump on the Ron Klein bandwagon, but the marginal effect we can have on a race where the challenger's already raised $2 million is pretty limited. However, for a Sestak, a Massa, a Kilroy, and so forth, we can have a pretty good impact.

Of course, this is also why our "winning percentage" will always remain low. For our clueless detractors, that's somehow evidence of bad judgment or weakness. But smart people like Chuck Todd understand that expanding the playing field is also an important goal. Moreover, the netroots will never be responsible for recruiting and funding top-tier challengers. Supporting second-tier candidates plays to our strengths.

That said, I want to re-iterate something that Todd notes in his column. Almost all of these second-tier people will only win if there's a major wave this year. While some signs point to such a wave (eg, the national polls Todd mentions), others indicate the opposite (eg, Dem performance in CA-50). We may have done a good job recruiting on the second-tier, but don't get excited unless a wave really materializes.

Posted at 12:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TX-28: Ciro's FEC Report Will Be Amended

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm told that Ciro's FEC report may have contained quite a few mistakes - to such an extent that Ciro actually has campaign debt, not any kind of surplus. I expect to see an amended report soon.

One thing that is in the current report is a $4200 donation to ActBlue. Ciro promised that, if there was no run-off, he'd donate the totals from his final online push to ActBlue, which deserves far more credit than it gets for making online fundraising simple and cheap. Ciro was true to his word, and helped ActBlue out after all the help they gave him. Kudos to Ciro for that.

Posted at 07:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Loser Roach Still Running Radio Ads

Posted by DavidNYC

Most people shut down their campaign operations when they lose an election. But not millionaire self-funder Eric Roach:

Businessman Eric Roach may have narrowly lost the 50th District congressional special election, but he hasn't stopped running radio spots. One that will begin on several stations today thanks his supporters and urges them to “stay engaged.”

The ad is sure to fuel more speculation about whether Roach will challenge Congressman-turned-lobbyist Brian Bilbray in June's primary election, which is the same day as the 50th District runoff. Stan Devereux, Roach's communications director, said Roach would make the decision within a few weeks.

“It was important for Eric to thank the supporters and volunteers who worked hard to elect a conservative to Congress,” Devereux said. “And I'm sure they will be waiting to hear Eric's decision.”

I explained the craziness surrounding the possible June 6th primary in this earlier post. As far as a Roach challenge goes, my fingers are crossed, knock wood, don't walk under any ladders, and all of that!

Posted at 05:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

House 2006: Challengers Outraising Incumbents

Posted by DavidNYC

Continuing with the theme of my earlier post - and aided by numerous commenters - here are some Democratic challengers who out-raised Republican incumbents in the first quarter (alphabetically by district):

Courtney (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $275K/$674K
Simmons (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $222K/$894K

Farrell (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $515K/$832K
Shays (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $354K/$1.1M

Mahoney (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $173K/$303K
Foley (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $154K/$2.4M

Walz (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $127K/$124K
Gutknecht (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $105K/$680K

Moul (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $210K/$179K
Fortenberry (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $85K/$416K

Craig (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $157K/$151K
Bradley (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $104K/$339K

Hodes (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $146K/$232K
Bass (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $102K/$301K

Massa (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $93K/$121K
Kuhl (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $82K/$440K

Lois Murphy (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $499K/$982K
Gerlach (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $266K/$1.2M

Patrick Murphy (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $251K/$327K
Fitzpatrick (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $234K/$1.3M

Burner (D) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $334K/$357K
Reichert (R, inc.) 1Q Raised/Cash-on-Hand: $268K/$725K

A bunch more came awfully close, like Sestak (PA-07), Madrid (NM-01) and Gillibrand (NY-20). Great work in CT, the Philly 'burbs and New Hampshire. Already, the no-brainer Northeast Strategy shows its worth. However, a strong cautionary note: As you can see, every last one of these challengers trails in cash-on-hand, including many by large margins. One strong fundraising quarter won't be enough to unseat these incumbents - nothing less than non-stop hard work from now until November will cut it.

There is one race on this list that I'd actually like to comment on specifically, NY-29. I can't say I am terribly impressed with Massa's numbers - they're alright, but not great. However, I've got to believe that media is cheap in the Southern Tier, so perhaps it doesn't take a lot of cash to raise name rec. And in fairness to Massa, he doesn't have quite the access to national sources of money the way a bunch of other names here do.

But the real amazing figure is Kuhl's showing - a mere eighty-two grand? Eight-two grand? For a potentially endangered freshman incumbent? That's beyond pathetic. But what makes it even more embarrassing is that Bush visited the district during the quarter, specifically at Kuhl's request! I can only hope that Karl Rove is mighty pissed right now, seeing as he wasted Bush's time on such an obvious slacker.

Anyhow, got any more like this?

(FEC filings available here.)

UPDATE: I just added two more races to this list, WA-08 and NE-01. The latter is definitely something of a surprise - I'm guessing that Fortenberry just isn't taking this race seriously, even though Maxine Moul is a former Lt. Gov.

Posted at 05:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Ciro Rodriguez Still Has $330K Cash-on-Hand

Posted by DavidNYC

[UPDATE: It appears this post was based on a flawed campaign finance report. See here for more information.]

Yeah, the title is not a mis-print. Evidently, Ciro thought it would be wiser to save all that money for a run-off, which of course never happened. Is it 20-20 hindsight to carp about this now? I'm not sure. What I can tell you, though, is that Cuellar spent $1.1M on the race. Ciro spent a mere $422K. The campaign had to know it was being badly outspent.

A fair response here might be to say, What good would a run-off have been if Ciro had been flat broke? To that I can only observe that Ciro was doing far better in fundraising in the final weeks before the election. From 2/16 on, he raised $282K - Cuellar raised only $150K. If Ciro had held Cuellar to under 50%, I think that he (Ciro) would have continued his strong fundraising.

If anything, we knew (or should have known) that what Ciro really needed was more time, and a run-off would have given him some, whether he was broke or flush. You can't, as they say, take it with you. At least that $330K can now wind up in the hands of other deserving Democrats. Indeed, I daresay it had better.

(Hat tip: House Race Hotline.)

Posted at 03:47 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, April 17, 2006

NH-02: Hodes (D) Outraises Incumbent Bass

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, I love it when this kind of thing happens, on multiple levels. Just the other day, I suggested that Paul Hodes, the Democrat running in New Hampshire's second Congressional District, might be someone to keep an eye on. Well, Paul did us all a solid by out-raising the incumbent, Charlie Bass, in the most recent quarter. So I get to look smart and we have another competitive race on the radar:

Hodes (D) 1Q Raised: $146K
Bass (R, inc.) 1Q Raised: $102K

Hodes Cash-on-Hand: $232K
Bass Cash-on-Hand: $301K

(Sources: Hodes | Bass)

Hodes beat Bass by almost 50%. Not too shabby. Even in the CoH department, Bass doesn't exactly have a huge lead - and if the fundraising trends continue, that gap will vanish shortly.

Now, to be forthright, Hodes did get spanked last time around, losing to Bass 58-38. As it happens, though, that's exactly one point better than Francine Busby's tally the first time she ran for CA-50 - and Busby might very well win this time. Melissa Bean, meanwhile, improved nine points between 2002 and 2004, in a much more conservative district. My point is that a first run against an incumbent can serve as a sort of trial, a way to hone your skills and strategies, a way to probe for weaknesses. Smart challengers use those lessons the second time out, and from what I can tell, Paul Hodes is no slacker. And the word on the ground is that he's running a much better, more tightly-managed campaign than last time.

Moreover, there's the macro situation. I don't mean national polls showing Bush and Congress in the dumpster - I think people read too much into those. Rather, I'm talking about what's happened in New Hampshire over the past two decades. It's one of the few states you can confidently say has trended blue. A state that almost always voted Republican, New Hampshire voted for Clinton twice in the 90s. Then, in 2000, the Gore + Nader vote exceeded the Bush vote. In case there was any doubt about the direction of this trend (perhaps, you think, it's not fair to lump the Nader vote in with the Gore vote), NH was the only state in the nation to switch from Bush in 2000 to Kerry in 2004.

It's certainly true that this trend is lagging on the Congressional front. But I don't expect it to lag much longer. New Hampshire is a growing state - indeed, in the first half of the decade, it grew faster than the nation as a whole. Many of these migrants are from more liberal states, particular Massachusetts. But it actually turns out that newcomers from all regions (PDF) are less Republican than native-born New Hampshirites (scroll down to page 13). The state is changing, and there's no avoiding it.

Let me put things another way: In the 90s, NH-02 had a PVI of D+1.0. It's now up to D+2.7. The state's other CD has also followed suit, going from R+1.6 to an almost dead-even R+0.1. What's happening here is an inverse of what happened in the South to members of our party. Republicans who once were right at home in their districts are now being left behind by demographics. It's not just that Charlie Bass represents a Dem-leaning CD - it's that he's getting more out-of-step with his constituents every passing year. According to CQ, Bass voted with the Republicans 87% of the time in 2005. NH-02 is not that conservative.

And perhaps that all points to why he did so abysmally this quarter in fundraising. Whenever an incumbent rakes in so little cash, and especially when he gets beat by a challenger, you've got to ask yourself: Is his heart really in it? Does he really want to stay in office? NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds has been putting vise-like pressure on his caucus-members not to retire. But for a guy like Bass - whose re-election campaigns will only get harder and harder each cycle - party loyalty may not trump personal convenience. Certainly if Bass's fundraising continues to lag, people will start asking if he's going to quit, and he's gonna have to answer `em.

In the meantime, Paul Hodes can keep kicking ass.

P.S. If you know of any other races where the challenger outraised the incumbent this past quarter, please post `em in comments.

Posted at 12:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 13, 2006

House 2006: Where Our Targets Are (For Starters)

Posted by DavidNYC

This is going to be a brief companion piece to my entry the other day on Dem-held, R-voting seats. Here, conversely, I'll talk about GOP-held, Dem-voting seats. Unfortunately, there are a lot fewer of these (25) than the reverse (of which there are 41):

State CD Member PVI
CT 2 Simmons D+7.6
IA 2 Leach D+6.9
DE AL Castle D+6.5
CT 4 Shays D+5.4
IA 1 Nussle D+4.8
NJ 2 Lobiondo D+4.0
CT 5 Johnson D+3.7
FL 22 Shaw D+3.6
IL 10 Kirk D+3.6
PA 7 Weldon D+3.6
NY 25 Walsh D+3.4
PA 8 Fitzpatrick D+3.4
NJ 3 Saxton D+3.3
NH 2 Bass D+2.7
NM 1 Wilson D+2.4
KY 3 Northup D+2.4
WA 8 Reichert D+2.3
CO 7 Beauprez D+2.3
PA 6 Gerlach D+2.2
NY 3 King D+2.1
PA 15 Dent D+1.6
FL 10 Young D+1.1
NV 3 Porter D+1.0
NY 13 Fossella D+0.8
IA 4 Latham D+0.4

Note: Districts where members' names are in italics were won by Bush in 2004 (though they still retain a D+ PVI).

Despite the fact that it's much shorter than its GOP counterpart, many of our hottest targets are on this list: Rob Simmons in CT-02; Chris Shays in CT-04; Jim Nussle's open seat in IA-01; Clay Shaw in FL-22; Heather Wilson in NM-01; Bob Beauprez's open seat in CO-07 and Jim Gerlach in PA-06. Thanks in part to strong fundraising, a number of other races on this list have lately heated up, including Joe Sestak vs. Curt Weldon, our newest favorite nutter, in PA-07; Patrick Murphy vs. Mike Fitzpatrick in PA-08; and Darcy Burner vs. Dave Reichert. And a few more competitive contenders might yet emerge, such as Paul Hodes in NH-02, Tessa Hafen in NV-03 and Chris Murphy in CT-05.

Chris Bowers - who today approvingly writes of a "northeast strategy" - notes, however, that a number of these seats are going untargeted. Some of these districts are home to super-popular, seriously entrenched incumbents, like Mike Castle in DE-AL or Jim Leach in IA-02. As far as the other seats go, I really don't believe it's for lack of effort on the part of Rahm Emanuel or local leaders. Dick Gephardt promised everyone the moon every cycle for a decade. After ten years of failing to recapture the majority, I can understand why top-drawer potential candidates would be gun-shy. I mean, do you really think we don't have a candidate in 50-50 PA-15 for lack of trying?

But Chris is right - these are races we need to be pounding. It just makes too much sense not to go after Dem-leaning districts. Some of these districts might not be worth pursuing until certain incumbents retire, but otherwise, this group of seats (over half of which are in the northeast) should be prime targets. Guys like LoBiondo and Walsh should definitely be in our crosshairs.

A far wiser man than I told me that if the Dems have a good year this year (something I'm not yet convinced of), we'll have a much easier time recruiting in 2008. I think that's probably right. And then we can really let `er rip.

P.S. Just a quick aside: Many solid Dem targets, including a few bona fide top-tier races, are not on this list. I hope to get to those in a later post, but for now, I'll just note that Democrats are clearly better at making inroads into Republican territory than vice-versa, as this post and its companion demonstrate.

Posted at 09:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Incumbents With No Major-Party Opposition

Posted by DavidNYC

CQ has the complete list:

Republicans (7)

• Spencer Bachus, Alabama 6
• K. Michael Conaway, Texas 11
• Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania 15
• Jim Leach, Iowa 2
• Gary G. Miller, California 42
• Charles W. “Chip” Pickering Jr., Mississippi 3
• Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania 9

Democrats (20)

• Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey 1
• Xavier Becerra, California 31
• Earl Blumenauer, Oregon 3
• Robert A. Brady, Pennsylvania 1
• G.K. Butterfield, North Carolina 1
• Jim Costa, California 20
• Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, Alabama 5
• Henry Cuellar, Texas 28
• Artur Davis, Alabama 7
• Lloyd Doggett, Texas 25
• Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania 14
• Charlie Gonzales, Texas 20
• Al Green, Texas 9
• Juanita Millender-McDonald, California 32
• George Miller, California 7
• Donald M. Payne, New Jersey 10
• Silvestre Reyes, Texas 16
• Hilda L. Solis, California 32
• Maxine Waters, California 35
• Diane Watson, California 33

Filing deadlines have closed in all of these states. Howver, some of the names on this list are present due to a technicality (eg, a ballot access snafu in IA-02 has caused a temporary delay, but we will indeed have a Dem running there). In a few others (eg, PA-15), it's still possible to get a candidate on the ballot via alternate means, and that may yet happen.

Also, beware of this bit of information:

The list of unopposed House members almost certainly will increase in the coming weeks, following filing deadlines in Virginia this Friday, Georgia on April 28 and Florida on May 12. These states in 2004 produced a combined total of 20 House winners who had no major-party opponent.

Florida was a particular embarrassment in 2004, with 9 out of 25 CDs going totally unopposed. Things like this happen when you have a too-cozy relationship between the major parties. Hopefully history won't repeat itself this year when the rosters for these three big states come due.

Posted at 07:20 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Republicans Fracturing?

Posted by DavidNYC

Here's a bit of good news:

Even before Brian Bilbray appeared to clinch a narrow victory Tuesday over 13 other Republican rivals to run against Democrat Francine Busby in eight short weeks to replace disgraced former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, supporters called on the field to "unite" behind Bilbray's candidacy.

But a day later, it appeared that unity could be slow in coming.

Eric Roach, Bilbray's nearest Republican rival, said Wednesday through campaign managers that he might ask for a recount of votes cast in the sprawling 50th District ---- a move that would delay Republican solidarity in the weeks of campaigning left before June 6.

If the final tally is especially close - as I'm sure it will be - Roach might even challenge Bilbray in the Republican primary in June. Wait, did I just say "Republican primary?" I must be crazy, right? Actually, no - it's not me who's crazy. It's the California electoral system.

Turns out there are actually two ballots in the June 6th run-off. One is the special "general" election ballot - Busby vs. (as of right now) Bilbray. Whoever wins that becomes a member of Congress immediately. However, it's a brief tenure - there's another general election in November. The candidates on that ballot will be determined by the second of the two June 6th ballots, which constitutes a primary election for the November general election. Confusing, I know.

But the bottom line is this: Bilbray, say, could conceivably beat Busby in June but lose to Roach on the same day. Or vice-versa, if Roach emerges victorious after a recount of Tuesday's vote. Even if something that absurd doesn't come to pass, the very possibility of the GOP duking it out once again warms the cockles of my heart - and it would undoubtedly make Francine Busby's life much easier.

P.S. Stuart O'Neill has a hugely important post up at Political Dogfight about the enormous importance of absentee ballots. In states with generous absentee ballot provisions, this is now where battles are lost and won. A huge percentage of the voter "turnout" on Tuesday actually came in the form of absentee ballots. Please read Stuart's post, because it has wide application - far beyond just Busby's race.

Posted at 05:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CA-50: Post Mortem

Posted by DavidNYC

We all know the results of last night's election. This of course means we have a run-off scheduled for June 6th. I'd love to do a full post-mortem right now, and I definitely have plenty of thoughts. Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of preparing for our Passover seder tonight so I just don't have the time. However, I am sure all the usual suspects (MyDD, Kos, Hotline, CQ, etc.) have a lot to say, so go check `em out.

And to everyone observing the holiday tonight, chag sameach.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CA-50: Election Results Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Polls close in just a few minutes. However, as is usually the case, we probably won't have results for a while - perhaps not for an hour-and-a-half.

Results: SD County | SD Union Tribune | North Country Times

Christine Pelosi will be updating live from Busby HQ at Trail Mix. And Chris Bowers has promised to follow the results into the wee hours, if necessary, over at MyDD. As for me, I'll obviously be keeping a close eye, but tonight won't be a repeat performance of the Tracy-and-David tag-team duo for TX-28 - there's only so many frenetic "live bloggings" one can do in a lifetime.

UPDATE: Gah! Hard to resist the siren lure of live blogging. Results for early voting are in, showing Busby with 42% and Bilbray and Roach neck-and-neck at 14%. These might be the only results we see for a while. But if Busby is to reach 50%, she seriously has her work cut out for her. So far, 64,715 ballots have been cast. There are 360K RVs in the district, so that's an 18% turnout. I've put together a chart which shows how much of the remaining votes Busby would need, depending upon possible election-day turnouts:

If 20% turnout, 119% of election-day vote (ie, impossible)
If 25%, 70%
If 30%, 62%
If 35%, 58%
If 40%, 56%

You may want to check my math, but I think that's what it looks like. By way of comparison, Steve Young won only 25% of the early vote but won 35% of the election-day vote in the CA-48 special run-off. So large spreads are indeed possible, but, as you may recall, the configuration of that election was very unusual and rather different from what we've got today.

UPDATE: I'm headed to bed. This race seems likely headed for a run-off. But even if Busby were to win tonight, she'd still face another election in November. So please consider helping her out - she'll need it no matter what happens tonight.

Posted at 11:10 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX Runoff Results

Posted by DavidNYC

With everyone (rightly) focused on CA-50, you might have forgotten that Texas held a run-off primary election today for a few races. A couple of these were somewhat interesting, and both bring good news.

In TX-Sen, Barbara Ann Radnofsky beat perpetual candidate Gene Kelly for the Dem nomination. Though Radnofsky has, charitably, a mega-super-uphill fight on her hands against incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison, she's at least a serious candidate and will make Hutchison sweat a bit. (Kelley is 80 years old and refuses to make public appearances. His main claim to fame is that he has the same name as the famous - and dead - dancer.)

Also, in TX-10, Fighting Dem Ted Ankrum beat Paul Foreman. This district went 62-38 for Bush, so obviously we have to be realistic here. Nonetheless, I think Ankrum, like Radnofsky, probably stands a decent chance of forcing Michael McCaul to get off his duff and spend some time campaigning.

Several other state races also had run-offs. You can get complete results here.

Posted at 11:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: Open Thread

Posted by DavidNYC

Today's the day.

• SUSA just released a new poll putting Busby at 47%. An outright victory could just happen, but the pessimist (realist?) in me thinks a finish in the 40s is more likely.

• Chris Bowers has a detailed post here, titled "What To Look For In CA-50 Tonight." He explores his predictions and the shape of the GOP field.

• Polls close at 8pm Pacific (11pm Eastern). Sign On San Diego, the official site of the SD Union Tribune, says it will carry live results, but they haven't posted a specific link yet. If you know of any other sites which will carry live results, please post them in comments.

Please use this thread to discuss any and everything pertaining to today's election. Go Francine!

UPDATE: SD County official election returns site is here. (Thanks to Predictor.)

Posted at 02:39 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, April 10, 2006

House 2006: Where Their Targets Are

Posted by DavidNYC

One factor you always look at when targeting House races are the simple demographics - in particular, what's the partisan breakdown on the presidential level? Naturally, your inclination is to go after districts where there's a mismatch - ie, where the Congressperson is of one party, but his/her district voted for the other party for president.

What does it look like on our side? Forty-one Democratic members of the House sit in districts which were actually won by George Bush in 2004. Here they are:

State CD Member PVI
TX 17 Edwards R+17.7
UT 2 Matheson R+16.9
MS 4 Taylor R+16.3
ND AL Pomeroy R+13.1
MO 4 Skelton R+10.8
SD AL Herseth R+10
VA 9 Boucher R+7
KY 6 Chandler R+6.6
PA 17 Holden R+6.6
AL 5 Cramer R+6.4
WV 1 Mollohan R+5.7
SC 5 Spratt R+5.6
CO 3 Salazar R+5.6
MN 7 Peterson R+5.6
IL 8 Bean R+5.2
OK 2 Boren R+4.9
LA 3 Melancon R+4.8
KS 3 Moore R+4.2
TN 6 Gordon R+3.8
TN 4 Davis R+3.2
NC 7 McIntyre R+2.8
GA 3 Marshall R+2.7
NC 2 Etheridge R+2.7
MI 1 Stupak R+2.4
FL 2 Boyd R+2.2
TX 15 Hinojosa R+1.4
GA 2 Bishop R+1.1
TX 27 Ortiz R+1.1
AR 2 Snyder R+0.1
TN 8 Tanner D+0.1
WV 3 Rahall D+0.3
WA 3 Baird D+0.3
OH 6 Strickland D+0.4
AR 4 Ross D+0.5
AR 1 Berry D+0.5
OR 5 Hooley D+0.5
TX 28 Cuellar D+0.6
IA 3 Boswell D+1.4
NY 1 Bishop D+3.3
CA 18 Cardoza D+3.4
CA 47 Sanchez D+4.7

You'll notice that the bottom twelve seats have D+ PVIs. Recall that the PVI combines the last two presidential election results and compares them to the national average. In these twelve districts, this means that Bush won the district, but did so by less than his national average and/or that Bush made a considerable improvement on his 2000 showing. In any event, quite a few of these districts - including those with R+ PVIs - went only very narrowly for Bush.

Regardless, this is the list where you'd expect to find the GOPs top targets, especially at the top of the list. But surprisingly few of these people are under any kind of serious attack. Here are some names that stand out, one way or another:

TX-17: Chet Edwards (who represents the 21st most-conservative district in the nation, amazingly) does have a spirited challenge from an Iraq War vet - but Van Taylor has no prior political experience, and Edwards has incredibly good relations with the veteran community. I'm sweating this one out, but this race still favors Edwards.

ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy just dodged a (fairly lazy) bullet when the ND GOP decided to nominate a political unknown instead of an experienced state legislator. Hey, if they wanna shoot themselves in the foot, I won't stop `em.

SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth similarly faces a weak challenger.

SC-05: The GOP is making a very serious effort here, raising tons of money for one-term state Rep. Ralph Norman. But an internal poll by John Spratt's campaign showed him totally cruising. If Spratt was able to hang on in 1994, when everything went against us, why does the GOP think it can knock him off now, when everything is against them?

IL-08: Melissa Bean is, of course, a freshman who improbably knocked off a zillion-year incumbent last time out. She faces a rich self-funder, and she's probably among our most vulnerable reps.

LA-03: Ah, the mystery district. No one is quite sure what happened to LA-03's demos after the devastation of Katrina. This big unknown is what keeps me up at night, considering that Charlie Melancon, a freshman, won by just 600 votes in 2004. A friend experienced in Louisiana politics assures me that things look good for us here, but I'm still nervous.

GA-08: This is the former GA-03 (Georgia Republicans, worshipping at the altar of St. DeLay, also did their own mid-decade redistricting). The new district supposedly gave Bush 61% of the vote, up from 56%. Jim Marshall faces a strong challenge from a well-funded former Congressman, Mac Collins. That said, Marshall won the seat by just one percent in 2002, only to win a rematch two years later by 26 points. Collins will need more than redistricting to carry him over the top.

GA-12: Not on this list, but could be. (See explanation immediately above.) It went for Kerry 53-46, but might narrowly be a Bush district now. John Barrow (along with Bean) was one of only two Dems to beat GOP incumbents last time out, and he's facing a rematch from the guy he beat, one-termet Max Burns. This race, however, does not present the same kind of challenge that GA-08 does.

IA-03: Leonard Boswell has not been in good health of late, sadly. Bos has a pretty strong challenger, Iowa Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti. But Bos is leading in the money race (so far), and as you can see, the district is still lean-Dem.

As far is this list goes, that's it. What I mean is that I haven't even heard a whisper of a serious challenge to anyone else on that list - and even some of the names I did mention aren't facing real opposition. Moreover, look how Republican a lot of these districts are! Jim Matheson, Dan Boren, Ben Chandler - they're just letting these guys walk. The only other places I'm aware of that the GOP is seriously contest are the open seats in OH-06 and VT-AL.

Now, don't get me wrong here: I am absolutely, absolutely not counseling complacency, or suggesting we've got this one in the bag, or anything like that at all. We have tons of work cut out for us. Rather, I'm pointing out the simple fact that the GOP has forty-one prime targets and is only mustering a serious assault against a handful of them. This just empirically confirms something we've probably all felt to be true for a while: The GOP is very much on the defensive this year. And that gives us a lot of opportunities to expand the playing field.

Posted at 04:24 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, April 09, 2006

House News Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a few things that have caught my attention:

• The Sacramento Bee editorial board tells Rep. John Doolittle - who's been paying his wife a 15% cut of all campaign funds received - that he must "end this unacceptable practice". They nail him really good on his claims that this scam has been approved by the FEC (it hasn't) and that "everyone does it" (the only other person who does is Rep. John Sweeney of NY-20). It's really delightful to see such a clear-minded editorial which doesn't fall for any B.S. spin.

• Speaking of Sweeney, I have a contest for you: Go find his campaign website. No, not his official House website. His campaign site. Take as long as you want. Still looking? I'll wait. Okay, okay - you can stop now. It was a trick question: John Sweeney has no campaign website. For a Republican candidate in a contested race, in a year like this, and in New York, no less, that's pretty amazing. A campaign flack says he'll have one "soon". With all the rumors swirling about Sweeney dropping out due to ill health, that doesn't exactly present an image of vigor and a desire to fight this one through to the end.

And some news on Sweeney's challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand: She's actually announced her 1Q totals early, and she hauled in an impressive $345,000. That's quite a lot, especially for a challenger, and especially when you consider that Sweeney's only raised $368K in the same time-frame. For an incumbent - on the all-powerful Approriations Committee, no less - to pull in only $20K more than a challenger is weak, weak.

• As far as other House challengers who've announced their fundraising totals early, you may have alread seen that Joe Sestak has raised a monster $420,000, compared to Curt Weldon's $450K.

Do you know of any other campaigns which have released early fundraising figures? If so, please post `em in comments.

Posted at 08:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, April 08, 2006

CA-50: New Datamar Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Datamar (PDF) has a new poll out on CA-50 ("high-propensity" registered voters, March 22-24 in parens):

Francine Busby (D): 39 (36)
Eric Roach (R): 17.5 (11.2)
Brian Bilbray (R): 16.4 (11.7)
Howard Kaloogian: 9.5 (10.6)
Bill Morrow: 6.8 (4.8)
Alan Uke: 4.3 (3)
Other: 6.3 (18)
(MoE: ±3.03%)

A few important things:

1) Datamar uses an automated call system. Some times this methodology works well (SurveyUSA) and sometimes it doesn't (Rasmussen). The verdict is still out on Datamar.

2) The sample is skewed very Republican: 55R-33D-9I. Voter registration in the district is 44R-30D. The district voted 55-44 for Bush. What's more, with half of all absentee ballots sent in, the current breakdown so far is 46R-37D-14I. (I have those numbers directly from the campaign.) So basically, I ain't buyin' a 22-point GOP advantage.

3) Perhaps most importantly, the NRCC would not parachute in with an emergency $360,000 ad buy if they thought Busby was going to get 39% on Tuesday. The only reason to hit the panic button this early is if you think Busby can wrap it all up with 50% in round one. The guys at the NRCC aren't idiots - remember how they bailed Jean Schmidt's ass out at the last minute? This time, though, we've got a stronger candidate, a former Congressman in jail and the national wind at our backs.

Francine's campaign is now all about GOTV. If you're anywhere near the San Diego area at all, please consider volunteering. We may just have a chance to drive a serious nail into the GOP coffin right here.

UPDATE: Chris makes a good observation. When you multiply candidate preference (as expressed in the SUSA and Datamar polls) by the partisan breakdown of the absentee ballots, Busby clocks in at 44%. However (and this is a big however), Republicans generally seem to do better at turning out the early vote. This happened in both the CA-48 special and the TX-28 primary. (Okay, technically Cuellar wasn't a Republican. But I still think the analogy holds.) So Busby may indeed get closer to 50%. Bowers is thinking 47%, but I'm not making any predictions.

Posted at 12:21 AM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, April 07, 2006

PA-07: Cook Report: "Weldon More Vulnerable Than Ever This Year"

Posted by DavidNYC

Amy Walter, Senior Editor for House races at the Cook Political Report, writes about PA-07 in her column today, titled "New Races On The Radar." It's subscription-only, so I'll just quote a few excerpts - but you're gonna like what she has to say. This is the theme of her piece:

When it comes to incumbent retention, party strategists on both sides admit that what worries them most are not the incumbents who have been targeted year after year (think Republican Anne Northup or Democrat Dennis Moore), but incumbents who have not been tested in years. These folks tend to be overconfident and underestimate potential threats, are not as sensitive to the changing demographics of their districts, and are often out-of-touch with modern campaign technology (one insider told the story of a longtime incumbent who had his fundraising contacts on note cards). Examples include former GOP Rep. George Gekas who lost re-election for an 11th term in 2002 and Democrat David Minge who lost his re-election bid in 2000.

Walter identifies Curt Weldon (along with Republican JD Hayworth in AZ-05 and Democrat Allan Mollohan in WV-01) as one such untested incumbent:

Rep. Curt Weldon is getting his first significant contest since winning this seat in 1986.


Republicans concede that the underlying political environment and Weldon's lack of experience in a competitive campaign environment are liabilities for the Republican congressman. While there is no doubt that Weldon is readying himself for a tough fight - he told The Hill newspaper that he is going to unleash the "Army of Curt" - his rusty campaign skills have already been revealed. Weldon's zeal to define his opponent went over the top in early April.

Army of Curt - LOL. Goofy and crazy as he may be, Weldon won't be a pushover:

Yet, labeling Weldon's voting record as out of touch with these suburban voters isn't going to be easy. According to the National Journal vote ratings, Weldon's voting record was pretty evenly divided between liberal and conservative. His composite voting score was 57 percent conservative and 43 percent liberal - not much different from the other two Republican Reps. in the Philadelphia suburbs, Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach. CQ pegs his party unity score at 85 percent.


Given the ugly numbers for President Bush nationally, it's not too much to believe that Weldon is more vulnerable than ever this year. But to knock off a well-known, well-liked, and entrenched incumbent like Weldon, Democrats need more than just a good political environment. Sestak also needs to prove to be a strong and well-funded candidate with an effective message who can break through the clutter of the crowded (and expensive) Philadelphia media market.

I think Sestak has the potential to be exactly that guy. And I think "rusty" Weldon could be in for a bit of surprise this campaign season. Remember, Sestak's now on the netroots page, so please consider contributing or volunteering.

Posted at 09:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-07: Curt Weldon Sells Access via His Daughter

Posted by DavidNYC

What is it with Republicans setting up their inexperienced family members with lucrative gigs in the GOP money machine? First we learned that Reps. Doolittle and Sweeney let their wives - who had no consulting experience - skim off the top and collect a percentage of all funds raised for their campaigns. Now it turns out that Curt Weldon's daughter (also neophyte) has earned scads of money as a lobbyist by helping her clients to "develop relationships" with none other than her father.

TPM Muckraker gets credit for pointing us to this LA Times story from 2004 which lays out all the sordid details:

Karen Weldon, an inexperienced 29-year-old lobbyist from suburban Philadelphia, seemed an unlikely choice for clients seeking global public relations services.

Yet her tiny firm was selected last year for a plum $240,000 contract to promote the good works of a wealthy Serbian family that had been linked to accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic.

Despite a lack of professional credentials, she had one notable asset — her father, U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who is a leading voice in Washington on former Eastern Bloc affairs.


Karen Weldon said her father "developed a rapport" with the Karics and introduced her to them. But her firm, Solutions North America Inc., won the consulting contract on its merits, she said. Her father declined to answer questions for this article.

The congressman also has gone to bat for at least two of Solutions' other clients, both struggling Russian companies.

Together, the three contracts are worth almost $1 million a year to her firm for services that have included joining her father on congressional trips and in meetings with clients.

Nice work, if you can get it. This whole charade may technically be kosher, but as is often the case, the real crime is that it's legal in the first place. As they say, there oughta be a law. If you wanna make that happen, support Joe Sestak.

P.S. Sestak's been added to the combined netroots-wide ActBlue page. He's very much worthy of our support. He's running in a lean-Dem district (D+3.6, the seventh-most Dem CD held by a Republican), he's shown himself to be a strong fundraiser, and - as should be clear to everyone by now - he's taking on a seriously crazy mouth-breathing wingnut. If there is indeed a Democratic wave this year, one place the Republican dominoes will surely fall is in the Democratic-leaning suburbs of Philly - ie, exactly where Sestak is running. Bowers has more here.

Posted at 03:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 06, 2006

TX-22: Lampson Supports Special Election, Perry Doesn't

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, did I read this one wrong. So it turns out that Nick Lampson is in favor of a quickie special election (on May 13th), while Gov. Rick Perry opposes one.

In retrospect, this makes sense: Lampson has been building up name recognition and a big warchest. If a special election took place a month from now, any Republican opponents would be seriously lacking in both. By waiting until November, the GOP can rally around a single candidate and get him - whoever he is - up to cruising speed.

And of course, the answer is that there won't be a special, because Perry holds all the cards. He's under no legal obligation to call one - as I noted previously, it's entirely discretionary. In media-whore parlance, I've flip-flopped on the issue, but, in real life, I've simply admitted I was wrong. I now see the virtue of Lampson's position - not to mention the fact that TX-22 will have to go without representation for the better part of a year under Perry's plan.

Posted at 07:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-07: Curt Weldon a Moonie Cultist

Posted by DavidNYC

When I got an e-mail yesterday from Admiral Joe Sestak's campaign about Curt Weldon's depraved attack on Sestak's four-year-old, cancer-stricken daughter, I wanted to throw things. What kind of disturbed, twisted nutbag could stoop so low? Well, as community member Predictor reminds us in the comments, this kind of nutbag:

Weldon spoke at the coronation of Sun Myung Moon "as humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent", on March 23, 2004. His office originally vehemently denied his attendance, then when he was revealed to be a co-chair organizer of the event claimed that he had intended to attend but could not because of a scheduling conflict; then when a photo surfaced of him speaking at the event while standing next to a lifesize photo of him pinning a Unification Church medal on Moammar Al Qadhafi, stated that he had left immediately after the speech and had no knowledge of what else went on.

That whole Moon coronation thing seriously, seriously creeped me out. I mean, it was really beyond insane. Get this:

• It was freakin' coronation for cryin' out loud! Since when do we have coronations in this country, except at Burger King?

• It was in a Senate office building! The United States Senate! Hell, Art. I, Sec. 9 of the Constitution even forbids Congress to grant "titles of nobility." I realize this was not some kind of legislative act, but jeez.

• Rev. Moon declared himself to be the Messiah?!? Look, man, I don't know about you, but in my religion, worshipping false gods is a serious no-no. Oh wait, Weldon's a Christian. So that means the Ten Commandments apply to him, too. Weldon even voted for something called the "Ten Commandments Defense Act," a bill to let states display the decalogue in government buildings. And man, even I know that Christianity accepts Jesus as the Messiah, not Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

• And Moon himself? How could any serious person ever be associated with someone so sick? This is a man who has called gays "dirty, dung-eating dogs," declared that "the Jews" killed Jesus, and thinks that "Satan is clinging to our sexual organs." How is it acceptable for politicians to even get near this freak?

Personally, I think the whole Rev. Moon story is just too weird for the media. Crazy tax felon billionaire with delusions of being the Messiah publishes major DC paper, holds Washington power-players in his thrall? That's the plain n' simple truth, and yet because it's so bizarre, I just think the traditional media has no interest in touching it. If they ran honest stories about Moon, I think ordinary folks would assume they were made up.

Of course, that doesn't excuse the media turning a blind eye to this savage cult - and it certainly doesn't get sicko Curt Weldon off the hook for being a Moon lackey. As noted above, Weldon denied attening Moon's "coronation," but only later fessed up when photos emerged - including a photo of another photo of Weldon pinning a medal on that well-known American hero, Col. Muammar Qadafi.

Busted, you sonofabitch. Now how about apologizing to Joe Sestak and his daughter?

UPDATE: Another photo of Weldon giving a plaque (or as Monty Burns would style it, "the plague") of some sort to Qadafi. I gotta say again, what the hell? What American - let alone what American politician - would want to be within 100 feet of a terrorist-supporting dictator like Qadafi? This is so topsy-turvy that even I can hardly believe it.

Posted at 11:16 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-02: Schmidt Lied on Resume

Posted by DavidNYC

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer's politics blog:

The Ohio Elections Commission will determine whether U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt intentionally lied on her political resume last year to help herself get elected to Congress.


At issue is Schmidt's claim that she has two academic degrees from the University of Cincinnati when in fact she only has one. Her campaign has offered various explanations for the mix-up.

A small panel of Commission members on Wednesday reviewed a complaint against Schmidt from a McEwen supporter filed just two days ago and decided there is probable cause for the full commission to consider the matter.

More details here. I expect nothing less from good ole Schmitty. (Remember this little footnote to the whole Murtha flap?) Fortunately, we'll still have Mean Jean to kick around for at least a little while to come - a new SUSA poll showed her leading primary challenger Bob McEwen by 55-30. Let's not kid ourselves: Like Katherine Harris, we're much better off having her around than not.

(Thanks to Walt for the CPD story.)

Posted at 10:59 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

TX-22: Any Special Election is Illegitimate

Posted by DavidNYC

Special elections ought to be held in special circumstances: If a candidate falls seriously ill, dies, or retires for a good reason early in an election cycle. When an incumbent uses legal loopholes to bail on his constituents late in the game, that most certainly does not qualify as an appropriate special circumstance.

Fortunately, Texas law recognizes that not all vacancies are created equal. The governor may choose whether or not to call a special election - holding one is not mandatory. Gov. Rick Perry must now exercise his discretion wisely and refuse to squander taxpayers' dollars on such a wasteful exercise. To do otherwise would be to blatantly serve the naked partisan purpose of forcing Nick Lampson, the Democrat, through two elections - and possibly three, since a special might require a run-off - in just a few months time.

Of course, I'm not naive - Perry will do whatever his Republican overlords tell him to do. Therefore, if he does call a special election, I think all Democrats - including Lampson - should boycott it completely. Don't run in it, don't vote in it, don't even talk about it. If the TX GOP wants to waste time and money on a special election, then we shouldn't accord the "winner" any legitimacy whatsoever. The real election - as it has been all along - is still in November, regardless of what the Texas Republicans try to do.

I realize this is a potentially radical and controversial path to take. But it's certainly far less radical than everything Tom DeLay has done to undermine democracy in Texas. Regardless of what DeLay does now, there only needs to be one election to determine who represents TX-22 in Congress, and that election will take place on November 7th, 2006 - and not a day earlier.

Posted at 06:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: Bugman Bugs Out

Posted by DavidNYC

That, of course, should have been my original title last night. Anyhow, some more legal analysis on how DeLay might be replaced, from Rick Hasen:

With news that Tom DeLay is withdrawing from his House reelection contest, the question is what happens now in his race. It appears that the following is the applicable Texas law (putting aside any caselaw that might affect interpretation of these chapters):

Under Texas Election code section 1.005(7), DeLay was running in a 'General election for state and county officers' [, which] means the general election at which officers of the federal, state, and county governments are elected." Section 145.031 et. seq. set forth the rules for "a candidate who is a political party's nominee in the general election for state and county officers except a candidate for president or vice-president of the United States." DeLay is the party's nominee in a general election for state and county officers and he's not a candidate for president or vice president, so these rules apply.

Under 145.032, DeLay can withdraw because it is more than 74 days before election day. If he withdraws, under section 145.035, his name is omitted from the ballot. Under section 145.036, the political party's executive committee can only fill a vacancy under limited circumstances (such as catastrophic illness), none of which seem to apply to DeLay. So this route does not look like it would work for DeLay.

Instead, reports suggest he will move from Texas, thereby becoming ineligible to serve. (See section 145.003 on declaration of ineligibility.) If he is "ineligible" rather than "withdraws," section 145.036 gives the party the right to name a candidate to fill the vacancy.

There are also rumors that the governor could call a special election. Under 204.021, "An unexpired term in the office of United States representative may be filled only by a special election in the same manner as provided by Chapter 203 for the legislature, except that Section 203.013 does not apply." (203.013 sets forth a timetable for the election.) Chapter 203 sets forth the requirement of a special election, the requirement of a majority vote (meaning a runoff will be necessary if no candidate gets a majority of the vote), etc. But this would only apply to the unexpired term. There's this provision that appears to allow a replacement to run for the full term, but only if the vacancy occurs after the general election. So even if the governor calls a special election that chooses someone to serve out the rest of DeLay's current term, that does not appear to affect the nomination rules for the upcoming general election.

Slinking off to Virginia, tail tucked between legs, utterly defeated. The true Tom DeLay reveals himself.

(Tip to Adam B.)

Posted at 09:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, April 03, 2006

TX-22: DeLay Retiring!

Posted by DavidNYC

Commenters at DailyKos are saying that CNN & MSNBC are reporting that Tom DeLay is retiring. Can anyone confirm?

UPDATE: The banner on CNN confirms it. Now, to brass tacks. Can DeLay be replaced? At first blush, the answer looks like "no." Here's why I say that. The one part of the Texas Election Code which covers replacement can be found here. There's just one problem: I don't think it's applicable to House races. That's because §145.036 is governed by §145.031, which says:

APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter applies to a candidate who is a political party's nominee in the general election for state and county officers except a candidate for president or vice-president of the United States.

A House seat would qualify as a "district" office, not a "state" or "county" office. Now, another section of the code, §145.091, does purport to cover all other races:

APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter applies to a candidate in a general or special election, except the general election for state and county officers.

However, this section of the code, while it permits for withdrawals, contains absolutely no provision for replacements. Yet I'm still baffled, because a number of the sub-sections that fall under the sway of 145.031 (which purportedly only applies to "state and county officers") specifically mention "district offices." This is the full definition of "district office":

"District office" means an office of the federal or state government that is not voted on statewide.

So maybe 145.031 applies only to state district offices? (There is no definition of "state office" in the definitions section of the election code.) That would mean that 145.091 governs federal district offices - a very strange way to do things. No matter what, this is all totally cockamamie. And it just goes to show you that when Republicans holler for judges to "apply the law as it's written," half the time you're left asking, "Well, what the hell does the law even say in the first place?"

So the real question is, did DeLay pull a Gallegly? I find that hard to believe. Then again, DeLay is accused of violating Texas election law, so maybe he's not too familiar with it. Somehow I doubt that Nick Lampson just waltzed into a freebie in TX-22, but who knows? I'm sure we'll know more as the night unfolds.

UPDATE: I think PantsB in comments just clarified everything. There is a specific definition for "general election for state and county officers," and it's a wee bit unexpected:

"General election for state and county officers" means the general election at which officers of the federal, state, and county governments are elected. (Emphasis added.)

So somehow, the phrase "state and county" includes "federal." Weird. Well, that would mean that §145.036 would definitely apply to DeLay, and a replacement can indeed be made.

Posted at 10:24 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (35) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

ND-AL: That Was Quick

Posted by DavidNYC

Just last week, I fretted a bit about ND-AL, thanks to a post at CQ Politics. The local GOP was backing state Rep. Duane DeKrey and touting him as a top-tier challenger. Turns out, not so much:

North Dakota Republicans picked Mechtel, a rural Cass County resident who has never sought political office, on Sunday as their candidate to run against U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. Mechtel defeated state Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone, by 15 votes, 270 to 255.

Pretty amazing that an experienced politician with establishment backing would get whooped at a party convention by a soybean farmer, but there you have it. Mechtel apparently ran a clever, charismatic mini-campaign to get the GOP nod, but he's a total newcomer who doesn't even appear in the FEC databases yet. I'm thinking Pomeroy ought to be just fine this year.

And, in a related but out-of-left-field aside, incidents like this suggest that Ned Lamont might be able to accomplish some interesting things at the CT Dem convention.

(Thanks to Predictor.)

Posted at 04:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, North Dakota | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, March 31, 2006

NY-29: Just $2,000 More

Posted by DavidNYC

Yesterday, Eric Massa said he needed $15,000 more by tonight's filing deadline. The netroots swing into action, here, here, and here - and that's just the sites I'm aware of. I'm sure others have jumped on board as well. When we started the push just yesterday, the combined netroots page showed 40 total donations for $1,856.54, and 721 donations across all ActBlue pages for a total of $57,584.43.

As of right now, we've clocked in an even 200 donations on the netroots page, adding up to $6,556.10. Meanwhile, the entire ActBlue community now stands at 930 donations, equalling $69,678.06 raised. Pretty impressive - but we're not done yet. Massa still needs another $2,000 to hit his goal. I think we can definitely help him across the finish line here. I just gave $25.01 myself. If you are able to contribute, now is the time. Let's do this thing!

UPDATE: We did it! We more than did it, in fact. Eric's ActBlue total stands at just a couple bucks shy of an even $75,000. That means he raised some $17,500 online in under a day-and-a-half, exceeding his goal of $15K. Can't wait to see what his final total quarterly numbers are. Great work, everyone!

Posted at 04:54 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, March 30, 2006

NY-29: End-of-Quarter Netroots Push for Eric Massa

Posted by DavidNYC

As you may have seen on DailyKos, the combined netroots fundraising page has added Eric Massa to its list of candidates. I'm really pleased with this decision - it was one I supported - and I'll tell you exactly why:

• Massa is running against a freshman, Randy Kuhl, who was only elected with 51% of the vote in 2004.

• New York's 29th Congressional District has a Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of only R+5.2, which means that over the last two presidential elections, the CD was 5.2% more Republican than the nation as a whole. That's not very much. For instance, two freshmen Dems who won seats last time out - Melissa Bean in IL-08 and John Salazar in CO-03 - ran in districts with almost identical PVIs.

• Randy Kuhl is a totally insane nutbag, who threatened to shoot his ex-wife with TWO shotguns in the middle of a dinner party at their own home! Please click the link - I swear I am not making this up.

• Massa is not only a Fighting Dem - he served in the Navy for twenty-four years - but he's been at the forefront of his band of brothers and sisters. He authored the founding pledge (MP3) which forty fellow Fighting Dems all united behind on Feb. 8th in Washington, DC. In short, he is a leader among leaders.

• Massa's already done a decent job fundraising. He had raised $218,000 by the end of last year, which is a very solid sum for a candidate who isn't on the radar screen of the major establishment players.

• To continue with that theme, the fact that this race isn't considered "top-tier" makes it a perfect opportunity for the netroots to get involved. In a race where both sides will raise millions, the marginal difference we can make is small. But for races which aren't receiving tons of attention, our time, resources and money can have a very big effect.

• Finally, I don't usually make predictions, but I am confident that Democrats in New York are going to have a huge year. With Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer at the top of the ticket - both of whom should easily clear 60% - there will be major Dem coattails all the way down the ballot. Guys like Massa are exactly the sort of people who are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this - if they have enough help from people like us.

And speaking of help, the campaign just sent out an e-mail explaining that Eric Massa needs to raise $15,000 by tomorrow night. March 31st is the end of the fundraising quarter. Like it or not, big organizations and major donors put a lot of stock in those quarterly fundraising reports. Undoubtedly, this final chunk of change will help push Massa over an important threshold.

So let's make it happen. While this blog may not be able to do it alone, we can definitely reach this goal with a widespread push from the netroots. As always, donations of any size are appreciated.

P.S. If you're a blogger and you'd like to get involved with this end-of-quarter drive, please feel free to use the combined netroots page. If you want to make sure your site is credited properly, you can use ActBlue's handy referral codes, which are explained at the top of the netroots page.

Posted at 02:47 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CA-50: Kaloogian is a Liar

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man. This is WAY more fun than polls. Just a day ago, Kossack AnthonyLA saw a photo on Howard Kaloogian's website. This was the photo:

And this was the smug caption, worthy of the trashiest right-wing blogs:

We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

A whole lot of people agreed with Anthony that Kaloogian's photo of "downtown Baghdad" actually looked rather Turkish. There was a lot of evidence to support this belief, but the final, incontrovertible proof wound up looking like this:

Another Kossack, jem6x, found this photo (with the help of a friend) on the website of a Turkish photographer, Faruk. Faruk's photo does indeed capture a slice of Turkey - the Istanbul suburb of Bakirkoy. As this montage shows, there's no question that Faruk's and Kaloogian's photos describe the same place:

Or, as Josh Marshall waggishly puts it, it's at least a four-point match. So much for that "calm and stable" Iraq, huh? I'm hardly surprised that conservatives would go to such lengths to lie about the state of affairs in Iraq. But you'd think they'd try a little harder, no? Anyhow, serious props to all these enterprising citizens of the blogosphere - and just add this to the list of things which prove that Howard Kaloogian is a liar.

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-50: SUSA Poll Puts Busby at 45

Posted by DavidNYC

Survey USA has a new poll out on the CA-50 congressional race (likely voters, no trendlines):

Busby (D): 45
Roach (R): 14
Kaloogian (R): 12
Bilbray (R): 10
Morrow (R): 5
Uke (R): 5
Other: 6
Undecided: 3
(MoE: ±5%)

What's interesting is that SUSA shows a better peformance by Busby than even her own campaign's poll did. However, the sample here is much more Democratic than, say, the recent Datamar poll. SUSA has a 46-38 GOP-Dem split while Datamar was at 54-33 (PDF). I'd like to believe that this poll means that Busby has a shot at clearing 50% on April 11th, but I still think there will be a run-off.

Also, none of these three polls can agree on the posture of the GOP field. Bilbray, for instance, had a strong lead in the Busby poll, a narrow lead in the Datamar poll, and a third-place showing in the SUSA poll. On this front, I won't hazard a guess as to the likely winner - it's just too up-in-the-air.

Posted at 02:50 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

OH-15: Internal (D) Poll Shows a Close Race

Posted by DavidNYC

This is nice to see. Challenger Mary Jo Kilroy just did an internall poll (sub. only) on her race against Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce (likely voters, no trendlines):

Kilroy: 41
Pryce: 44
(MoE: ±4%)

What makes these super-close results even more amazing is that Pryce has far greater name recognition. She has a 53-30 favorability rating while Kilroy clocks in at 34-17 - fully a 32% edge. If Kilroy gets her name out there, this seat is definitely in play. Kilroy's raised $170K so far (and still has that much on hand), which seems decent for a challenger. (Pryce, though, has almost a million in her warchest.)

What's more, this district trended heavily Dem in 2004. Bush won 52-44 against Gore but had an even 50-50 split against Kerry. The Almanac of American Politics attributes this to a big Dem registration and GOTV drive in Columbus, which is mostly within the 15th CD. Hopefully these gains will stick.

CQ rates this seat as "Republican Favored," which makes it functionally a third-tier race. Charlie Cook, however, puts it in his "Lean Republican" category (PDF), which is his second-tier ranking. And Chuck Todd (via House Race Hotline editor Josh Kraushaar) calls it a "mid-major" race and ranks it 29th overall. But if Kilroy can show a good quarter, that - combined with this strong poll showing - might inspire a few of these gurus to bump this race up a few notches.

(Thanks to Tracy Joan.)

Posted at 10:53 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

IL-17: Lane Evans (D) Retires

Posted by DavidNYC

As some commenters in the previous thread noted, Democratic Rep. Lane Evans (IL-17) is retiring due to health reasons. He's been slowed by Parkinson's disease in recent years. This is a very serious neurological disease with several treatments but no known cures. I know everyone joins me in wishing Rep. Evans the very best in what are no doubt extremely difficult circumstances.

Of course, we can't ignore the political implications of Evans' departure. This is a definite swing district - it went just 51-48 for Kerry. However, Charlie Cook does give it a D+5 rating. Because Evans dropped out after the filing deadline, his replacement will be chosen by party officials. It remains to be seen if the proverbial smoke-filled back room can produce a candidate as strong as Evans, who ran 10 points ahead of Kerry last time out. One name under discussion, according to CQ, is state Sen. Mike Jacobs. If you know anything about him, let us know in comments.

One person we do know about is the GOP candidate, a woman named Andrea Zinga. She got crushed by Evans in 2004 and barely eked out a win in the primary this year. She's best known for her ghoulish remarks about Evans' health:

"He becomes less effective all the time, probably because of his declining health," Zinga told an individual recently at an event she attended in Dunfermline, a small village south of Canton. She said voters should be aware of his health status.

"The fact of Mr. Evans’ health is a fact and we stated it as a fact: He is not well," Zinga said Tuesday.

It's widely believed that Zinga's attempt to make Evans' health an issue backfired badly on her, and I don't doubt it. I'm sure her last campaign won't be forgotten - or forgiven. And at the very least, it suggests she's not a very wise politico. That said, CQ knocked this race down a notch, from Safe Dem to Lean Dem. No matter how weak our opponent, our task just got that much more difficult in IL-17.

Posted at 07:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Illinois | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, March 27, 2006

CA-50: Two Polls Show Busby With Wide Leads

Posted by DavidNYC

The first poll is an internal poll taken for the campaign. Unfortunately, there is no link available yet, but here it is (likely special election voters, no trendlines):

Francine Busby (D): 39
Brian Bilbray (R): 15
Howard Kaloogian (R): 7
Eric Roach (R): 7
Bill Morrow (R): 4
Alan Uke (R): 3
Paul King (L): 2
Richard Earnest (R): 1
Chris Young (D): 1
Victor Ramirez (R): 1
Bill Hauf (R): 1
Undecided: 19
(MoE: ±3.5%)

Seven candidates scored zero percent in the Busby poll. The second survey (PDF) was taken by an independent company called Datamar ("high-propensity" registered voters, no trendlines):

Francine Busby (D): 36
Brian Bilbray (R): 11.7
Eric Roach (R): 11.2
Howard Kaloogian (R): 10.6
Scott Orren (R): 5
Bill Morrow (R): 4.8
Alan Uke (R): 3
Bill Hauf (R): 2.7
Richard Earnest (R): 2
Bill Boyer (R): 1.7
Paul King (L): 1.5
William Griffith (no party): 1.3
Scott Turner (R): 1.3
Chris Young (D): 1
Delicia Holt (R): 0.6
Jeff Newsome (R): 0.5
Victor Ramirez (R): 0.3
Milton Gale (R): 0.1
Undecided: 3.6
(MoE: ±4.07%)

It's nice to see an independent poll largely mirror the results of the internal poll. Don't get too excited, though. In case you aren't familiar with how California special elections work, the problem is this: The top finisher from each party advances to the next round, unless someone gets 50% the first time around. Busby may be in the lead, but she's well off the fifty-percent mark, so we're almost certainly headed to a run-off (which would take place on June 6th).

In the run-off, this enormous field will get whittled down to just two serious players: Busby, and whoever wins the GOP "nomination." The Republicans will have two months to unite behind their guy, and they'll be able to pump tons of money into this race. Busby's done well financially, but she faces the simple natural disadvantage of running in a district that tilts pretty solidly Republican. As you can see from both polls, Busby would necessarily have to win over some people who are currently voting for a GOPer in order to win in June.

Some people have made a comparison to the San Diego special mayoral election last year. There, Democrat Donna Frye pulled in 43% of the vote in the first round, but lost 54-46 in the final round to a candidate who had only gotten 27% in the first round. For whatever reason, Frye was only able to add three percent to her vote totals, while her opponent doubled his score. It's possible a similar scenario could play out in CA-50.

We do have a few things working in our favor, though. The big one is felon Duke Cunningham's long, scabrous shadow. Busby will be able to remind voters what party Cunningham belonged to at every opportunity. The second thing is that the GOP "primary" has taken some nasty turns - including, as I've mentioned, Republican groups openly attacking front-runner Brian Bilbray. And lastly, by all accounts, Busby has run a very sharp, mistake-free campaign. She raised over half a mil before January and will probably show solid numbers when the current quarter comes to a close. I look forward to seeing what those look like.

Posted at 06:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, March 24, 2006

CA-50: GOPer Sends Out Possibly Illegal Mailer (& More!)

Posted by DavidNYC

Fun stuff. Until recently, the CA-50 special election had been a surprisingly low-key affair. However, with the election now less than three weeks away, the Republicans are - unsurprisingly - resorting to dirty tricks. When it comes to sending out campaign communications, there's a little thing called "the law," and one GOPer candidate (Eric Roach) looks to have broken it. Check out 2 USC § 441d:

Whenever a political committee makes a disbursement for the purpose of financing any communication through any... mailing... such communication... if paid for and authorized by a candidate... shall clearly state that the communication has been paid for by such authorized political committee....

In other words, if you send out a mailer, you've got to put one of those little disclaimers on it, saying who authorized and paid for the mailer. The Roach campaign sent out a two-page letter - purporting to be from his wife, Meg - but didn't include any disclaimers at all. Not on page one, not on page two, not on the front of the envelope, not on the back of the envelope.

What's even more pathetic is the visual presentation of the letter itself. It's a lame-ass attempt to make the letter look like a true "personal note" from Meg Roach. Check out how cheeseball it looks, from (as the SD Dem Party put it) the "folksy letterhead to the faux-handwritten printing":

Between the typeface (I think they used the font "Teenage Girl 12 point") and the absence of any campaign indicia, this letter is seriously misleading - and, as far as I can tell, illegal. Fortunately, the aforementioned San Diego County Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the FEC. Given how glacially the FEC moves, I'm sure nothing official will come of it until long after the election is over. But this is a big black eye for Roach (who was the second-place GOPer in the most recent known poll).

In other CA-50 news, a major conservative group called the California Republican Assembly has launched a website attacking... a fellow Republican, front-runner Brian Bilbray. It's pretty hilarious - the site tries to make the claim that Bilbray is both a "liberal" and in bed with Jack Abramoff. I'm more than willing to buy the latter argument, but as to the former... well, if the Republicans want to savage one of their own with ridiculous claims, who am I to argue? (The CRA has apparently endorsed Bill Morrow, one of the straggler candidates.)

Lastly, Francine Busby has released a new ad. You can check it out here.

(Hat tips to McJoan, Juls, and the SD County Dems.)

Posted at 07:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Montana: The Field Is Set

Posted by DavidNYC

Today was the filing deadline in Montana. You can see all the Senate and House candidates listed here. Bob Keenan did indeed file to challenge Burns. (as promised). Meanwhile, Denny Rehberg did not jump into the senate race - he filed to run for his House seat once more.

In other words, we probably wound up with the best of all possible scenarios, or close to it. Burns now faces a decidedly non-trivial primary challenge, which is awesome. If Burns wins, he's wasted money and gotten even more bloodied than he already is. If Burns loses, well, Keenan is no Racicot or Rehberg. (Those were the two names which whooped our two guys in the latest Rasmussen poll.) I'm sure Keenan doesn't have comparable name recognition. Speaking of which, Matt Singer speculates that Keenan is simply trying to up his name rec for an eventual run against Brian Schweitzer. Good luck with that, buddy.

The only person who loses out here is Monica Lindeen, who still has to face Rehberg in November. It's a tough fight, but Rehberg's got his own Abramoff problems. If the Montana press stays on this story as aggressively as it has vis-a-vis Conran Burns, Rehberg is going to have some serious troubles.

UPDATE: When a perfect 100 really just ain't too good.

Posted at 07:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, March 20, 2006

OH-06: Trusting Republicans With Money, Revisited

Posted by DavidNYC

Where there's smoke, I suppose, there's fire. Just last Friday, we were talking about Chuck Blasdel - Republican hopefull for OH-06 - bouncing a $500 tax check. It turns out, however, that Mendacious Chuck may owe one hundred times that amount in back taxes:

The state says state Rep. Charles Blasdel, a Republican in the 6th Congressional District race, owes $20,986.23 or $54,915.87 in estimated delinquent taxes and fees on two defunct businesses he co-owned.

The issue is a huge misunderstanding, and will be cleared up, said Jessica Towhey, Blasdel's campaign spokeswoman.

The state attorney general's office on behalf of the Ohio Department of Taxation filed 13 tax judgments between Nov. 24, 1995, and Aug. 8, 2001, totaling $20,986.23 against Blasdel Cline Inc. and Executive Cigar Inc., according to records at Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.


Based on its records, Mark Anthony, an AG spokesman said the two companies owe $54,915.87 in estimated delinquent taxes and fees as of Friday.

WOW! Fifty grand in upaid taxes. I think they send people to Leavenworth for less. It looks to me like Mendacious Chuck Blasdel just wrote his political obituary. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

(Thanks to Ansatasia P for the alert.)

Posted at 03:48 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-24: Meier (R) Announces He'll Run

Posted by DavidNYC

Republican state Senator Raymond Meier has announced that he'll run to succeed outgoing Rep. Sherwood Boehlert in NY-24. This is important for a few reasons. First, the GOP wagons are likely to circle around Meier. Second, Meier is quite a bit more conservative than Boehlert, who often faced primary challenges from the right. This may cause Meier some difficulty in this swing district, especially since he probably will have his own primary to deal with. And third, this means there's a new Repubican-held open seat in the NY State Senate. I hope the NY DSCC is ready to target this one.

Posted at 03:38 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-21: What Every Campaign Should Have

Posted by DavidNYC

This post isn't really about TX-21, but it's inspired by that race. The Democratic challenger - a Fighting Dem by the name of John Courage - has put out a prospectus on himself and his race. It's a fantastic document. It's very professional-looking, it contains tons of detailed information, and above all, it answers a lot of common questions in advance. Simply put, every campaign needs something like this. If you have one of these ready to hand or e-mail to potential donors, endorsers, etc., you'll just look a lot more serious, and you'll be taken more seriously, too.

UPDATE: At the request of the Courage campaign, I've taken down the link to the document. If you're interested in seeing it, try contacting them.

Posted at 12:53 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, March 17, 2006

OH-13: Capri Cafaro, Are You Kidding Me?

Posted by DavidNYC

This is unreal:

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Capri Cafaro for Congress at a time when the 28-year-old Youngstown shopping mall heiress says she is thinking about packing heat.

Cafaro, a Democrat, who says she is a dedicated defender of the Second Amendment, opposes the assault weapon ban and favors Ohio's concealed-carry law. She also plans to take a class to learn how to fire a handgun, and might carry a weapon after she completes the course.

"As a woman who comes from means, I'm in some tough neighborhoods sometimes," she says.

If you're gonna support gun rights, fine. But this is just extremely naked pandering. And that last line? What the hell is that even supposed to mean? As a woman from extremely wealthy means, you are NEVER in tough neighborhoods, Capri. Or are you saying you might get mugged walking around your district because people know you're super-wealthy? Whatever she means, it's either snobby in the extreme or totally senseless.

Cafaro, for those of you who don't know, blew $2 million of her personal fortune (she's a shopping-mall heiress) to get 37% of the vote against Steve LaTourette in neighboring OH-14 last cycle. Now she's decided to try for something a bit safer (OH-13 is Sherrod Brown's seat). Frankly, I'll doubt she'll win the hotly contested, zillion-candidate primary. I just wish she'd spend her money more wisely.

Posted at 06:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-06: Trusting Republicans With Money Dept.

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, Charlie Wilson must be feeling pretty good about this. What's the only thing dumber'n not getting 50 signatures to get on the ballot? Bouncing a $500 check for your property tax bill. And that's exactly what Chuck Blasdel, the main Republican candidate in OH-06, did just recently. As the Wilson campaign put it:

"Because of this, [Blasdel] is the perfect Republican candidate for Congress — fiscally irresponsible and a deficit spender," said Jason Burke, campaign manager for state Sen. Charles Wilson, a Democratic write-in candidate for the 6th District seat. "It's no wonder Washington, D.C., Republicans recruited him."

With any luck, we may yet snatch victory from defeat's scaly jaws.

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-24: It's Gotta Be Retirement

Posted by DavidNYC

Sometimes, the obvious just doesn't click. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert scheduled his announcement for 3pm today. Today is (duh) a Friday. And what kind of news do you release late on a Friday afternoon? News you want to bury. Elton Gallegly announce his retirement late on a Friday. Joel Hefley made his announcement on a Friday. Bill Jenkins was the exception, announcing on a Wednesday.

But man, there's no way you announce good news late on a Friday. I don't often make predictions, but I'm feeling pretty sure about this one - Boehlert is gonna retire. Start your engines, because this is going to be one hot race.

UPDATE: Retirement it is!

More here:

Three Democrats, including Oneida County District Attorney Michael Acuri, have already announced they will run for the seat. Representative Rahm Emanuel, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has said Acuri is one of his key recruits this year. Republicans who have expressed interest in the seat include New York State Senator Ray Meier.

Posted at 12:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, March 16, 2006

NY-24: Boehlert Announcement Tomorrow

Posted by DavidNYC

GOP Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, long speculated to be on the verge of retirement, will make an annoucement about his future tomorrow at 3pm. If he leaves (and I lean toward thinking he will), then this seat becomes a top-tier pickup target for us. It went for Bush by just 53-47 and gets a mere R+1 rating from the Almanac. I don't know much about the potential Dem candidates (and there are several). How 'bout you?

Posted at 02:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dropout News Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

There are two media events going on today in races swirling with confusion. One is taking place as we speak: Elton Gallegly is conducting a press conference right here in DC. We should hopefully get press reports back soon.

The other takes place at 9 o'clock tonight, when Kathy Harris seeks the warm, lickspittle embrace of Sean Hannity to announce her future plans. The rumour du jour is that she will resign from the House to focus only on her Senate race. Personally, I wonder why more people don't do this - after all, it's not like she gets to keep her House seat if she loses the Senate race. But doing so might also require a special election (something I haven't looked into yet).

In other dropout-related news, Markos points to this short note at the Hotline blog which says that Conrad Burns just hired a political director - not the sort of move someone on the verge of dropping out tends to make.

UPDATE: Gallegly will indeed run again. I still say he bails shortly after winning, forcing a special election. We should be ready for that eventuality. What Dems in the area might make strong candidates?

UPDATE: Harris is staying in, too. Haven't heard anything about her resigning from the House, though.

Posted at 04:20 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, California, Florida, Montana | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

SC-05: Spratt Crushing Norman in New Internal Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

The GOP got all excited when they got a one-term state Rep. - a fellow name of Ralph Norman - to take on Rep. John Spratt, who's represented SC-05 for two dozen years. They've been talking up his candidacy like mad, especially of late. Bigwigs (such as Cheney and Rove) are even raising money for him. Their causes for optimism are two-fold: One, Bush won this district 57-42 and two, last cycle, the Republican garnered 37% of the vote while spending nothing. Ordinarily, I'd say hey, yeah, you've definitely got a good target.

But not this time, papitos. The Spratt campaign just released a new internal poll. I got it off Hotline, so sorry about the lack of a link (likely voters, no trendlines):

Spratt: 61
Norman: 21
Undecided: 18
(MoE: ±5%)

I'm sure Norman will do better than the nobody who ran in 2004, but he's not gonna win. This might be the kind of seat you pick up in a good Republican year, but this ain't one of those. Spratt's got the wind at his back, especially with Bush's approval rating cratering in SC (he's now in negative territory). Norman was even dumb enough to go on record supporting the Dubai ports deal. When local experts are saying that even South Carolina Republicans have to run away from Bush, you know that's not a good move. I think Pratt's gonna be just fine, and Norman's political career will come to an abrupt end before long.

Posted at 05:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, South Carolina | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-05: Harry Mitchell to Challenge Hayworth

Posted by DavidNYC

AZ State Sen. Harry Mitchell is apparently set to challenge Rep J.D. Hayworth, who represents Arizona's 5th CD. For whatever reason, Mitchell is delaying a formal announcement until April (why the wait?), but regardless, this move would make him the second AZ Dem Chair to seek office this year (the other being Jim Pederson). Apparently, Mitchell is regarded as a top-tier candidate, and it would be fantastic if he could put this race in play, especially since things took a serious turn for the worse in AZ-01 with the departure of Jack Jackson.

In Mitchell's own district, Republicans have a slight registration edge, which indicates he must have some crossover appeal (at least to independents) since he won his last contest with over 60% of the vote. The 5th CD, meanwhile, went for Bush 54-45, which I'd say is decent in the scheme of things (not many districts are much closer), but still fairly daunting. Registered Republicans outnumber Dems 156K to 100K, but there are 96K independents in the district as well (PDF). Given that indies nationwide have turned against Bush, this suggests that there may be some opportunities here.

One interesting detail: As I say, Bush got 54% of the vote here, but Hayworth got "only" 59%. A 59-38 win might seem quite crushing, but here's another set of numbers to look at: $1,356,723 vs. $4,898. The former is how much Hayworth spent last time out - the latter is how much his opponent shelled out. I'm pretty amazed that Hayworth would spent $1.4M against a nobody in the first place, but, moreover, that he'd have so little to show for it. A 277-to-1 spending margin should net you more than just five points on top of Bush. By way of contrast, take a look at OH-16, a district with almost identical presidential numbers (54-46). Ralph Regula spent $600K vs. Jeff Seemann's $100K-or-so and still racked up 67% of the vote. I think Hayworth must have some kind of as-yet-unidentified weakness.

One quick aside: You may last have heard of Hayworth this past fall, when he told Don Imus he didn't want Bush campaigning with him. Within a couple of weeks, Luca Brazi had left a horsehead in ol' JD's bed, and he was singing a different tune. But let's see if Hayworth sticks by his newfound love for President 34% come November.

Anyhow, I don't believe Mitchell has his own webpage up yet, but check out Draft Harry Mitchell in the meantime. This race may yet become one to watch. CQ rates this race as "Safe Republican" for now, but let's see if that call changes soon.

UPDATE: Forgot about this. An internal DCCC poll last month showed Mitchell leading Hayworth, 43-42.

Posted at 04:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-24: Gallegly Back In?

Posted by DavidNYC

Roll Call is reporting that Gallegly has changed his mind and will seek re-election. This comes from an anonymous source, so we'll see how good this rumor really is. My take: Gallegly will "run" for re-election and then resign to force a special election, giving local GOPers another bite at the apple.

Posted at 10:29 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, March 13, 2006

Band of Brothers: Firing Back with Our Own Ad

Posted by DavidNYC

If you haven't heard of "Midwest Heroes" or seen their ads, prepare to get pretty steamed. Their "Remember" ad recycles two of the most insidious - and most widely discredited - right-wing talking points on the war in Iraq: First, that we're "making great progress" in Iraq and second, that we had to go to war with Saddam because he was backing Al Qaeda and, of course, was responsible for 9/11. Midwest Heroes tries to insulate itself from criticism by having veterans and the family members of dead soldiers speak, but it won't fly - not least because they've openly lied about who's in their ads.

Turns out one of the "mothers" extolling her "son's" sacrifice is actually the poor guy's step-mom. Warrant Officer Erik Kesterson's real mother is a Gold Star mom who is opposed to the war. In their ad, MH conviently leaves out this fact, but on their website, they actually refer to Erik's step-mom as his mom. They haven't even had the sense - or decency - to change it. You won't be surprised at all to learn that some of the people behind this new group hail from the original Swift Boat vets (including GOP Court Street lawyer Ben Ginsburg).

Recycled, discredited talking points. Phony testimonials. Hiding behind the uniform. Par for the course for the GOP - which is why we're firing back. Band of Brothers has put together its first ad, which you can view here. The online version is in long form - there's a shorter, made-for-TV version as well. It consists entirely of Fighting Dems explaining what they stand for and why they've joined this battle. Needless to say, there's no bullshit here - it's just veterans telling the truth.

We'd be grateful for your feedback (be honest!). If you want to help get this ad on the air, you can donate here.

(Thanks to Hesiod for his invaluable series of muck-raking diaries on Midwest Heroes.)

Posted at 05:50 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-24: Tenenbaum vs. Martinez

Posted by DavidNYC

As you probably know by now, somehow another GOP candidate managed to file by the deadline in CA-24. It's rather odd - did this fellow, a political nobody named Michael Tenenbaum, really plan on challenging Gallegly in a primary? That would have been worse than hopeless - it would have put him on the outs with the local establishment. So that suggests one of two things to me: Tenebaum either has poor political judgment or he's extremely lucky. And no one's that lucky.

Gallegly's people say they tipped a few local bigwigs about Gallegy's medical retirement, but none of them were interested in running. I doubt they called up Tenenbaum (and they don't claim to have), but perhaps Tenenbaum found out through the grapevine and seized an opportunity. That would, conversely, indicate that he's one sharp S.O.B.

The bottom line is, Tenenbaum's presence on the ballot makes this a far less attractive situation. With no GOPer running at all, we had a chance to win this one on cruise control. But now, Gallegly will likely endorse Tenenbaum, and the local establishment will make sure the latter wins the Republican primary. Our only candidate, Jill Martinez, is also an unknown, and in a showdown between two neophytes, straight-ticket voting is going to determine the outcome. And all you need to know is that this district went 56-43 for Bush.

There's only one bit of hope I can offer: There's a chance that Gallegly could still win the primary, in a "Jeff Johnson"-type situation. Since many local Republicans appear pretty steamed at Gallegly, they may choose not to help Tenenbaum out of pique (and perhaps the belief that they'd have an easier time beating Martinez in two years). But Tenenbaum and Gallegly have three months to clear up the Jeff Johnson problem, so I'm not optimistic.

UPDATE: Ah, a little bit of news from the optimism department:

But it remains an open question whether Gallegly would support Tenenbaum, who held a press conference Friday expressing his dissatisfaction with the congressman’s 20-year House record.

“The incumbent’s current record speaks for itself. He is wasting taxpayer dollars, doesn’t recognize the importance of securing our borders and he has pursued a legislative agenda that is misguided at best,” said Tenenbaum. He also contends that Gallegly’s supporters tried to bully him out of the race.

So it looks like Tenenbaum is the tilt-at-windmills sort - and that he did not get any kind of inside information prompting him to run. Taking on a popular twenty-year incumbent is not usually the way to endear yourself to party insiders. Gallegly may yet get behind Tenenbaum to defuse the anger over his screw-up (that whole "five day extension" thing doesn't apply to federal races), but it looks to me like the local GOP will have to navigate some rocky shoals in the days ahead.

Posted at 03:46 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, March 10, 2006

CA-24: Gallegly (R) Retiring - But There's More!

Posted by DavidNYC

Alright, so I'm done studying. Here's a bit of interesting news: Yet another GOPer - in this case, Rep. Elton Gallegly (CA-24) - has announced his retirement. Gallegly says it's for medical reasons. Here's what makes this case interesting:

1) Today was CA's filing deadline. According to the Secretary of State (PDF) (whose website may not be completely up-to-date) and media reports (which may not be accurate) and Gallegly himself (who may be mistaken), there are no other Republicans running.

2) My reading of CA election law says that Gallegly's name has to stay on the ballot unless he either dies or gets appointed to fill a different ballot vacancy.

3) Here's where things get tricky: It's not clear whether Gallegly can simply be named to some random, vacant GOP line in some election somewhere in California, or whether the vacancy he gets appointed to has to exist only as the result of someone else's death. Sections 8802 and 8803 of the CA election code appear to be in direct conflict, and I can't find any caselaw on the matter.

4) If Gallegly dies or if he can be appointed to fill another empty ballot line, then a fellow GOPer can replace Gallegly. If not, then Gallegly must stay on the ballot.

5) Conceivably, a write-in candidate could oppose Gallegly in the primary. If that happens, then it's time for local Democrats to do what otherwise would have been unthinkable - support Gallegly!

6) If Gallegly can't be appointed to another ballot line, and he wins the primary, then his name stays on the ballot right through the general election. Conceivably he could even win that election, but I very much doubt it. A different GOPer could also run write-in for the general, but good luck with that plan.

If the GOP can't get Gallegly off the ballot and/or they don't have a stealth candidate who has actually filed (but that we don't know about yet), then this is a mistake to rival what happened in OH-06. Gallegly obviously hoped to bury the bad news by releasing it late on Friday. Hopefully we'll hear more over the weekend, but we may not get clarity from the SoS until Monday.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, CA-24 went for Bush by 56-43. Ordinarily, that's quite a steep hill to climb - but it should be a hell of a lot easier if we don't have to face a real opponent! Stay tuned!

(Via liberalminded.)

Posted at 11:37 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

TX-28: Post-Mortem Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

A few of the post-mortems on last night's election:


Chris Bowers (part I)

Chris Bowers (part II)

Jane Hamsher

CQ Politics

If you've read (or written) any other good post-mortems, please let us know in comments. As for me, I'm not sure I have much to add right now, though I may post my own thoughts later.

I do want to offer my enormous thanks to Tracy Joan. Live-blogging last night's results was just one of the many things she did for Ciro and the netroots. Though she had many other duties on the campaign, she still managed to keep the blogosphere tightly involved through an endless stream of diaries, e-mails, IMs and phone calls. I doubt that the Ciro-netroots relationship would have developed as strongly as it did without Tracy there to foster it. She defines hard work and commitment - and she did it all in excellent good cheer.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't thank Ciro as well. In politics, you wind up supporting lots of Democrats simply because they have a (D) after their names. It was truly a pleasure to get behind someone who made you happy to lend that support. So, thank you, Ciro, and thank you, Tracy, for everything you've done.

Posted at 05:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: A Statement from Ciro Rodriguez

Posted by Tracy Joan

This morning Ciro Rodriguez released the following statement:

“Last night we didn’t receive the outcome we had hoped for. The end result was true to the intentions of Tom Delay when he carved out this district for his friend — geographic rivalries won out over a true discussion of the issues for working families.

I congratulate Mr. Cuellar on his victory, however, and I hold no bitterness or ill will.

I do hope, however, that he takes seriously the message sent by over 47% of the voters — and by a community of progressive donors from across the country — that a Democratic congressman’s first responsibility is to stand up for the needs of seniors, of children and of working families.

Especially in South and Central Texas, where so many mothers and fathers have sacrificed their whole lives for their children, and so many veterans have answered the call of their country, we need a Democratic congressman to put his personal political ambitions aside and take a stand for Social Security, for quality, public schools, and for affordable health care for all.

The driving force behind our campaign was a group of volunteers who took such a stand — students, retirees, and working people from all parts of the District. For their commitment and dedication, Carolina and I will be forever grateful.

And I believe I speak for all our supporters and campaign team when I say that we were profoundly touched by the thousands of regular working families from throughout the country who helped fund our effort with their checks of $5, $10, and $20. They looked beyond geographic and cultural differences and sent a message that we are all Americans and that we must stand and act together to reclaim our government.

As educators, that inspiration will forever stay with Carolina and I as we take the next step in our lifelong commitment to public service.”

Posted at 11:59 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

TX-28: Cuellar Improving in Every County

Posted by DavidNYC

Some bad news. With 189 precincts reporting, I compared things to last time out (2004). Henry Cuellar is performing better in every county in TX-28 compared to the previous race:

County 2006 2004 Change
ATASCOSA 29.27% -25.92% 55.19%
BEXAR -57.18% -59.63% 2.45%
COMAL -27.92% -44.98% 17.06%
FRIO 19.63% -7.87% 27.50%
GUADALUPE -25.27% -45.65% 20.38%
HAYS -26.45% -28.89% 2.44%
LASALLE 30.54% 14.34% 16.19%
MCMULLEN 69.41% 20.34% 49.07%
WEBB ??? 68.27% ???
WILSON -10.01% -29.62% 19.61%
ZAPATA 70.70% 46.75% 23.96%

The first column (2006) is Cuellar's county-by-county margin this year. The second column (2004) contains his margins from two years ago. The third column shows the delta - how much Cuellar improved by. As you can see, he's done better in every single county this time out. I have to say that at this point, I'm not sanguine about Ciro's chances once the Webb Co. results finally come in.

P.S. This only looks at the margin between Cuellar and Rodriguez and doesn't include Morales or anyone else, for either year. And obviously, I'm relying on incomplete data for a lot of the counties in 2006, so things could conceivably change.

Posted at 11:39 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Live from Ciro’s Campaign Headquarters in San Antonio

Posted by Tracy Joan

Note: All times are local (Central) time.

It is 5:45 and we have an hour and 15 minutes until the polls close on the first Primary of the 2006 cycle. You may have read some of my updates on this race over in the diaries at DailyKos or MyDD, but they have been pretty sporadic, so if you missed them, the short of it is that I have been working with Ciro Rodriguez in the 28th District since late January. Tonight, as we await the results of today’s Election, it’s my huge honor to bring you the results live from the campaign’s headquarters.

[6:58 p.m.] The polls are closing in a few minutes. Ciro is still out there, last I heard at a local high school poll site. The office is humming with preparations for an eveing watching the returns. Lots of food being prepared by our fantastic volunteers and a lot of tired feet. More very soon.

[7:05 p.m.] The polls are closed. Before I move to a new thread for the rest of the evenings results I want to make sure each and everyone of you know that this could never have transformed into the race it has become without the support of the progessive community. Not only has this campaign been the benefit of friends in national labor with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win Unions, the League of Conservation Voters, NARAL, DFA, MoveOn.org, and the thousands of readers who make the liberal blogosphere what it is day in and day out. That has been a crucial part of making this into a national cause and one that I know I am proud to be a part of.

Early vote numbers in Bexar County are starting to roll in.


Ciro D. Rodriguez. . . . . . . . 4,910 - - 73.39%

Henry Cuellar . . . . . . . . . 1,395 - - 20.85%

Victor Morales. . . . . . . . . 385 - - 5.75%

Posted at 06:24 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Live-Blogging the Results from Campaign HQ

Posted by DavidNYC

Guys, an exciting announcement: It's my pleasure to let you know that Tracy Joan Russo - who wears many hats for Ciro's campaign, chief among them netroots outreach director - will be live-blogging the TX-28 results straight from campaign headquarters tonight, here at the SSP. Polls close at 7pm local time - we probably won't know much for at least an hour after that. But Tracy will be covering it all. So please give her a warm welcome! And let's go Ciro!

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, March 06, 2006

TX-28: This Is Crunch Time

Posted by DavidNYC

This is crunch time.

All campaigns eventually reach this point - the final few hours before the election, when every staffer, volunteer and supporter pushes as hard as he or she can. Get-out-the-vote operations are in full swing, field is working around the clock, the remaining undecideds are aggressively being courted. The last few boxes of literature are cut open, battle plans for election day are finalized.

That's today. No one will sleep tonight.

Tomorrow, the already-frenetic pace will get ratcheted up several notches. Phone bankers will call people all day reminding them to vote. Van drivers will ferry people to and from polling places non-stop from morning till night. The candidate will try to shake as many hands as possible as the daylight hours wane. And as the last flyer is finally handed out and the last voter casts her ballot, everyone has left their hearts on the field. In campaigns, it's the only way anyone knows.

I'm talking about people like Beatrice and Lupe, two grandmothers - age 77 and 71 - who have shown up to HQ every day to make calls for Ciro. They should be an example to us all - never, ever, ever stop fighting! And it's not too late to help, not at all.

• If you haven't contributed yet, the campaign could still use your help. There's a strong possibility that this race will go to a run-off (which would take place on April 11th). If it does, Ciro will need plenty of cash. If there is no run-off, Ciro has said he'll donate all of today's proceeds to ActBlue.

• If you're anywhere even remotely near the district and you haven't yet offered to volunteer, click here to do so.

• If you can't volunteer in person, join the virtual phone-banking brigades. Calling is fun and easy.

• If you live in the district and aren't sure where to vote tomorrow, consult your local county election board (websites | phone numbers).

Like I say, this is crunch time - but we may yet go into overtime. So be ready for anything. But no matter what, tomorrow will be an exciting day.

Go Ciro!

Posted at 04:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Weekly Open Thread: What Races Are You Interested In?

Posted by DavidNYC

With the Texas primaries on Tuesday, I'm having a hard time thinking about anything but TX-28. Same with you?

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, March 05, 2006

TX-28: Early Voting Looks to Favor Ciro

Posted by DavidNYC

Early voting has concluded in the Texas primaries. Chuco, in a DKos diary, crunches the numbers. He compares turnout this cycle vs. 2004:

Webb County (Cuellar's base): Decrease of 2.5%
Bexar County (Rodriguez's base): Increase of 7.3%

Cucho points out a few other salient facts:

• A hot sherrif's race in Laredo (Webb Co.) last cycle increased turnout and helped Cuellar. No such luck for him this time.

• Cuellar's performance in Webb Co. might actually be weaker than the numbers indicate. That's because a contested county commissioner's race in Webb may be driving up overall county turnout this year - but that commissioner's district doesn't overlap with TX-28 at all.

• On the flipside, Ciro's showing may well be stronger. People are turning out for a major state senate race in the San Antonia area (which is in Bexar Co.). Unlike the commissioner's race, this senate district does overlap with TX-28.

But for all thse early voting ruminations, Chuco's final point is the most important: This ain't over yet - not by a long shot. We've got a lot more work to do: Contribute | Volunteer.

Posted at 04:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, March 02, 2006

TX-28: Clearly to the Right

Posted by DavidNYC

Because a picture is worth a thousand votes:

(Source: CQ Weekly, subscription only.)

Posted at 08:10 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

HI-02: Candidate Run-Down

Posted by DavidNYC

When a Democrat in a heavily Dem district (or a GOPer in a heavily Republican district) decides to move on, there's always a mad scramble to replace him. With Rep. Ed Case's absurd decision to challenge Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary, a huge number of potential candidates have emerged. Skaje has written a diary to help you keep track of all the players.

Posted at 07:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Hawaii | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MS: One of Two

Posted by DavidNYC

Thanks to the prescient RBH, here's the MS SoS press release on which congressional candidates have filed. There are several Democrats running against Wicker in MS-01, but alas, no Dems filed to run against Pickering in MS-03. Still, for a state as red as MS, I'll take it.

Posted at 04:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Mississippi | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

TX-28: Michael Schiavo's TerriPAC Sends Contribution to Ciro

Posted by DavidNYC

In the wake of Congress's obscene intrusion into his family's personal affairs, Michael Schiavo decided to take action. He created TerriPAC (named after his late wife) to help make sure that the kind of politicians who saw fit to play politics with his wife's life get defeated - and to help those politicians who respect personal and medical privacy.

Henry Cuellar, you won't be surprised to learn, falls into the former category. When Terry Schiavo's last days should have been spent in quiet dignity, Cuellar instead sided with Bill Frist in treating her like a political football. Michael Schiavo has therefore decided to support Ciro Rodriguez, and he's directed TerriPAC to make a contribution to him.

I should add that even Frist has since acknowledged he was wrong to support the federal government's intrusion on a personal family matter. I haven't heard a single apologetic word from Cuellar.

Posted at 01:50 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Poll Shows Tight Race; Big Mo' for Ciro; Runoff Likely

Posted by DavidNYC

Sports fans, it's late - and it's close. I've just gotten my hands on a new internal poll from the Rodriguez campaign, and the results are hugely exciting (primary voters, Oct. in parens):

Rodriguez: 34 (30)
Cuellar: 39 (45)
Morales: 8 (?)
Undecided: 19 (10)
(MoE: ±4.9%)

Ciro goes up, Cuellar goes down. A fifteen point gap closes to just five. That's an enormous improvement from October, and you can be sure that we (remember, Ciro's special interest friends?) had a big hand in that.

Getting down to brass tacks: If no candidate wins 50%-plus-one, then we go to a run-off, which would take place on April 11th. That's looking fairly likely right now because of the presence of newcomer Victor Morales (who was not included in the October poll). So yes, this means that, in all likelihood, we get right back up again on March 8th and fight this one out for another month. The good news is that all the momentum will be with Ciro, and the vast majority of Morales voters will break his way, too.

In the mean time, we still have work to do: Contribute | Volunteer. Go Ciro!

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NC House Races: Got `Em All Covered

Posted by DavidNYC

It was looking dicey there just a week or two ago, but as of today's deadline, Dems have filed to run against every incumbent Republican in North Carolina. Courtesy of RBH:

NC-01 (57/43 Kerry): Butterfield (D) unopposed
NC-02 (54/46 Bush): Etheridge (D) v. Dan Mansell (R)
NC-03 (68/32 Bush): Jones (R) v. Craig Weber (D)
NC-04 (56/44 Kerry): Price (D), Kent Kanoy (D), or Oscar Lewis (D) v. Steve Acuff (R)
NC-05 (67/33 Bush): Foxx (R) v. Mark Glen (D), Syndi Holmes (D), Roger Kirkman (D), or Roger Sharpe (D)
NC-06 (70/30 Bush): Coble (R) v. Rory Blake (D)
NC-07 (56/44 Bush): McIntyre (D) v. Shirley Davis (R)
NC-08 (54/46 Bush): Hayes (R) v. John Autry (D), Tim Dunn (D), Larry Kissell (D), or Mark Ortiz (D)
NC-09 (64/36 Bush): Myrick (R) v. Bill Glass (D)
NC-10 (67/33 Bush): McHenry (R) v. Richard Carsner (D)
NC-11 (57/43 Bush): Taylor (R) or John Armor (R) v. Michael Morgan (D) or Heath Shuler (D)
NC-12 (63/37 Kerry): Watt (D) v. Ada Fisher (R)
NC-13 (53/47 Kerry): Miller (D) v. John Hendrix (R), Vernon Robinson (R), or Charlie Sutherland (R)

Good work, NC Dems. Now we just need to win a few of these!

Posted at 04:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House, North Carolina | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 27, 2006

OH-06: Wilson Pursuing Write-In Route

Posted by DavidNYC

CQ Politics is reporting that Charlie Wilson will try to win the Democratic primary in OH-06 as a write-in candidate. This is probably the right move for Wilson, though it's merely the best of a bad set of choices. CQ thinks that Wilson "should be able to outpoll" the other two Dems running for the nomination because they are "little-known," but needless to say, write-in candidacies are pretty tricky things to pull off. Wilson should pay a call to DC Mayor Anthony Williams to see how Tony managed it in DC a few years back.

(Thanks to reader Ohanon.)

Posted at 04:26 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, February 24, 2006

TX-28: Ciro Has More Cash-on-Hand Than Cuellar

Posted by DavidNYC

From pre-primary FEC reports released today, which cover the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 15:

Rodriguez Cash-on-Hand: $257K
Cuellar Cash-on-Hand: $208K

Rodriguez Total Raised: $272K
Cuellar Total Raised: $319K

The picture is actually even better for Rodriguez. Since the end of this reporting period, the campaign has raised another $170K - and that was as of two days ago. I'm sure that the newest total is higher still. Ciro has the money to compete, and the money to win.

But oh wait, what was the Cuellar campaign saying just a couple of weeks ago?

Strother, Cuellar’s campaign spokesman, does not expect Rodriguez to bring in the funds he would need to legitimately compete in the waning days of the race....

Oops - wrong! Now Cuellar's changed his tune, though. Instead of saying that Ciro won't have enough money, he's attacking the people giving him money. Ah, that would be us:

“Ciro and his special interest friends have arrived at the 11th hour and we think there will be a strong voter backlash to their vitriol,” said Colin Strother, the general consultant to Cuellar’s campaign.

You know you've really riled someone but good when they start calling you "special interests." Of course, we here in the blogosphere are the farthest thing from a special interest group - we're just ordinary citizens trying to make a difference. Go ahead and attack us. It just makes us want to support Ciro more.

Contribute | Volunteer

(FEC reports: Rodriguez | Cuellar.)

Posted at 07:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

TX-28: Kerry Endorses Ciro; Campaign's Raised $440K+ Since Jan. 1

Posted by DavidNYC

I just got a press release from the Rodriguez campaign. Sen. John Kerry is endorsing Ciro, plus he's also backed that up with a contribution. And check out this list of current Members of Congress who are all supporting Ciro as well:

Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Congressman Charles Gonzales (D-TX)
Congressman Gene Greene (D-TX)
Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA)
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Congressman John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Congressman David R. Obey (D-WI)
Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Congressman Edward Pastor (D-AZ)
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Congressman Sylvester Reyes (D-TX)
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA)
Congressman Ted Strickland (D-OH)
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)

I count twenty-one, plus Kerry. I wonder how many Henry Cuellar's got backing him?

P.S. Markos has an update from the campaign on how much they've raised since the start of the year. So far, it comes to over $440K - not too shabby for a campaign that most people weren't paying attention to just weeks ago. And that figure does not include independent expenditures by groups like the LCV. So our side's total firepower is actually much greater than that number alone.

UPDATE: Ciro on Majority Report on Air America Radio tonight at 7:45pm.

Posted at 05:00 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

OH-06: Bad News, Sports Fans

Posted by DavidNYC

Via reader Earl:

Charles A. Wilson Jr. doesn't have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions to run in the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District race, The Vindicator has learned.

The Columbiana County Board of Elections is left with no other choice but to disqualify Wilson's candidacy for the seat at its meeting today.

Wilson has only 48 valid signatures on his nominating petitions, according to two Democratic sources and one Republican source with knowledge of his petitions. Congressional candidates need 50 valid signatures from registered voters in their districts to get on the ballot.


1) Appeal to the Columbiana elections board, then to a court if that fails. I doubt that will work.

2) Run as a write-in. Difficult and expensive.

3) Run as an independent. Requires getting 1,886 signatures. Why am I not confident about that route?

4) Wait until after the primary, then convince the winner to step aside and let Wilson take his/her slot. This might be legally permissible, but good luck making it work in practice. And any move like this will also surely garner negative media attention.

It's looking bad all around. What a colossal screw-up.

Posted at 02:29 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: It's All About the Company You Keep

Posted by DavidNYC

The Club for Growth got the Washington Times to pimp the $150 large it's tossed Cuellar's way. Is that really a wise move? It's sort of like the old "troll goal" on Blog for America - every time we hear that this uber-winger organization is helping Cuellar, it makes us support Ciro even more.

Meanwhile, who else has got Ciro's back? The League of Conservation Voters, as you well know. And today, they upped the ante, making Cuellar the inaugural member of their ignominious "Dirty Dozen" list. From an e-mail:

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the independent political voice for the environment, today named Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) as the first member of its 2006 “Dirty Dozen” list of anti-environmental candidates. LCV also announced that it will run an aggressive, multi-layered independent campaign to defeat Rep. Cuellar and help elect Ciro Rodriguez in the March 7th Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District.

Rep. Cuellar, who earned an abysmal 33% on LCV’s 2005 National Environmental Scorecard, voted against the environment on a number of occasions last year, including voting with indicted Rep. Tom DeLay to let MTBE polluters off the hook for drinking water contamination, and opposing real, clean energy solutions, such as fuel efficiency for automobiles. He also supported the deeply flawed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which threatens clean air and water standards for Central American nations – one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions.

Oh, and a few more details on the LCV's pro-Ciro campaign. It's not just TV ads:

LCV’s independent campaign includes television ads to begin airing on Friday, as well as direct mail, phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.

If you didn't know anything else about this race, but you knew that the CFG was supporting one guy while the LCV was backing another, that would tell you everything you needed to know. Like I say, it's all about the company you keep.

Contribute | Volunteer

Posted at 02:15 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TX-28: League of Conservation Voters Doing $50K Ad Buy in Laredo

Posted by DavidNYC

Some sweet news straight from the campaign: The League of Conservation Voters - which endorsed Ciro Rodriguez last week - is putting its money where its mouth is. The LCV is putting up $50,000 worth of ads in the Laredo, TX television market. I am very excited to see another serious establishment player get involved in this race. And give Henry Cuellar's abysmal voting record on the environment, it only makes sense.

Of course, you can chip in, too: Contribute | Volunteer.

Posted at 07:10 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Cuellar's Terrible Environmental Record

Posted by DavidNYC

Last week, the League of Conservation Voters endorsed Ciro Rodriguez over Henry Cuellar. Today, they've released their 2005 environmental scorecard. Not surprisingly, Cuellar's record is wretched. In fact, of Texas Dems, he's tied for the worst score, voting the right way just 33% of the time. By contrast, Ciro had ratings of 61, 68 and 77 in the prior three sessions of Congress - a darn sight better than Cuellar, and one of the better records in Texas.

P.S. Early voting begins today in Texas. If you live in the 28th CD, cast your ballot for Ciro now!

Posted at 03:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 20, 2006

OH: 18 of 18

Posted by DavidNYC

Pending any challenges, we have candidates running in 18 of 18 Ohio congressional districts. CQ did the hard work of going around to every relevant county office to collect these filings. What a cockamamie system Ohio has! The only person without a challenger is Democrat Tim Ryan in OH-17.

North Carolina is next (filing deadline 2/28). Barry Welsh says we have three seats unfilled (5,6 & 10), but the DCCC site says that we do indeed have a candidate in NC-10.

The following day, both Mississippi and Nebraska have their deadlines. In MS, we don't have challengers to either of the two GOP-held seats. However, in NE, we have challengers in all three seats.

After that, we've got a few empty spots in PA and quite a bunch in CA. You can see the complete list of filing deadlines here.

Posted at 04:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, February 19, 2006

OH-06: We'll Know on Wednesday

Posted by DavidNYC

Wednesday is the day when the Columbiana County Board of Elections will (or won't) certify Charlie Wilson's petitions to get on the ballot for the 6th CD race. (Ohio has a crazy filing system whereby you have to file with the BoE of the most populous county within your CD. Of course, many counties are split into pieces, some CDs contain parts of 10 counties, etc. It's nuts.)

But here's the thing. Charlie Wilson only needed fifty signatures. It's beyond pathetic not to be able to amass that many. In New York, for example, you need 1,250. To be on the safe side, you actually go for four times that many. You assume that a bunch won't actually be registered Dems; that you won't be able to find some on the voter rolls altogether; that some won't live in the right CD; that some will fill out the forms incorrectly.

In New York, that means you want 5,000. For Ohio, that means a whopping 200. Wilson's biggest problem, apparently, is that a bunch of signers aren't residents of the 6th CD. Yeah, blame it on redistricting - but that was four years ago. We've had two congressional elections since then. There's just no excuse for this. And don't expect much love from the Ohio courts - check out this sob story brought to our attention by commenter Ohanon.

For all candidates everywhere, please just follow this one simple rule: Get your freakin' petitions done properly.

Posted at 02:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, February 17, 2006

Indiana: One Big Problem

Posted by DavidNYC

Even though Indiana's a very red state, we actually have several competitive House races brewing here. One, in Indiana's 9th CD, features a comeback by former Rep. Baron Hill, who lost by just a handful of votes in 2004. It's one of the most competitive and most-watched House races in the nation. There are also good matchups in IN-02 (Joe Donnelly) and IN-08 (Brad Ellsworth).

Unfortunately, we have a big gaping hole - right at the top of the ballot. Reader Christopher elaborates in comments:

The other somewhat sombre note on the 50-state strategy is that Indiana's filing deadline is today, and no one appears to have filed for the Senate race.

Lugar, of course, is unbeatable... barring the unforeseen. But this is February and the election isn't until November. The unforeseen occasionally happens - witness the Carnahan/Ashcroft Missouri race. With no dog at all in the race, Democrats will be unable to exploit any unexpected opportunity that might crop up later in the year.

I wish they had worked harder to twist an arm and get *somebody* signed up for the ballot. Roehmer. Hamilton. Poor old Jill Long. Kathy Davis. Joe Kernan. Graham Richards. Jonathan Weinzapfel. *Some*body.

Running as Senate cannon fodder in Indiana is no fun, but it can have its rewards - people forget, but that's how Baron Hill got his seat in Congress. He let the state party put him up against a GOP Senate incumbent, went down in flames... but then he had the name recognition to win a House seat in the next cycle.

It's a shame to see a blank that close to the top of a ballot.

Indeed. And with the filing deadline today, it looks like this big black hole is going to be unavoidable. This makes us look quite bad, and leaves Lugar free to waltz through the 2006 cycle without so much as having to put out a press release. Sigh.

UPDATE: I want to add that I think the Dems this year have done a pretty darn good recruitment job throughout the country. We have competitive races in several red states, which would not have happened without candidates like Claire McCaskill taking the plunge. That said, though, I'd rather have a candidate in Indiana than not have one.

Posted at 01:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Indiana | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CO-05: Hefley (R) Retiring - Band of Brothers' Fawcett Ready to Go

Posted by DavidNYC

Republican Rep. Joel Hefley (CO-05) announced today that he is retiring. That makes him the second Republican to announce a retirement this week (the first was Bill Jenkins, TN-01). Both districts are very conservative, but CO-05 is different. For one, we actually have a Dem already running. And for another, he happens to be a member of the Band of Brothers, Lt. Col. Jay Fawcett.

Lt. Col. Fawcett is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. He also earned a Bronze Star for his service during the Gulf War. I should add that Fawcett was also at the Band of Brothers rally in DC last week.

Now, this is a very Republican district, as I say - it went for Bush 66-33, which makes it roughly OH-02 territory. However, Hefley's retirement is the perfect illustration of why you run candidates in every district, no matter how hopeless the territory might seem at first blush.

• First off, open seats are always easier to win. Especially in a difficult district, it's a major plus. Sometimes, retirements are announced after filing deadlines have passed because some states allow late candidate substitution, but not late candidate filings. If you don't have someone already running, you're completely out of luck.

• Second, even though Fawcett still faces a tremendously uphill challenge, the fact that it's now an open seat race affects how the media will cover the campaign. With an open seat, the media are more likely to portray the race as a genuine challenge. That frame is more interesting for reporters, and Hefley's retirement lets them buy into it. A gadfly nipping at an entrenched incumbent is a boring story. An open seat always carries the chance for an upset.

• Third, it also means that Fawcett is likely to get a lot more media attention, which translates into greater name recognition should he want to run for office again later.

• Fourth, the GOP will waste money on a big primary here. (CO's primary is Aug. 8th.) It could also get very negative and ugly - Republican hopefuls will really be hungry for a potentially safe lifetime seat. This possibility increases the chance of a Dem upset.

• And fifth, if it looks like there's even a shadow of a possibility that Fawcett pulls off an upset here, the GOP may be forced to commit resources to defend this seat. Of course, that's not a heartening scenario for Fawcett, but it does mean that $100K of Republican money spent in CO-05 isn't being spent elsewhere. And there is a possible flipside to this: The GOP, with 231 seats open all at once, may not have the resources to defend CO-05 in the same way it (embarrassingly) had to do in OH-02. This could allow Fawcett to sneak in under the radar.

The bottom line is, Hefley's retirement is nothing but good news for us - and the fact that Fawcett's already running makes it even better news. Just like that, this race just got a lot more interesting.

Posted at 12:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers, Colorado | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-06: Dem Candidacy in Jeopardy

Posted by DavidNYC

A few days ago, over at MyDD, I wondered out loud if we were at any risk of losing OH-06, the seat Ted Strickland is vacating to run for governor. It's an evenly split district, which was the source of my concern. But people assured me that it would stay in our hands, not least because the Ohio GOP isn't all that popular right now.

Problem is, you gotta have a candidate in order to win. And, in some truly awful news, state Sen. Charlie Wilson may have seriously screwed up:

The only Democratic hopeful in a key U.S. House race submitted a revised petition for candidacy with more signatures Thursday in a move the Ohio secretary of state's office called "problematic."

Ohio state Sen. Charlie Wilson withdrew a batch of signatures he filed Monday because he thought he could gather more signatures and resubmit them to the county election board before Thursday's deadline, said his son and campaign manager, Jason Wilson.

But a state law changed in December 2002 states: "No petition may be withdrawn after it is filed in a public office."

A spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell suggested the maneuver could jeopardize Wilson's candidacy.

I'd expect some kind of court challenge here, but with Blackwell on the other side, I'm certainly not sanguine.

Posted at 12:06 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

KY-04: Internal Poll Puts Lucas Up 10

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Mark Nickolas at BluegrassReport (likely voters, no trendlines):

Lucas: 47
Davis: 37
Undecided: 16

Now this is the kind of margin you like to see in internal polls. I don't think Lucas would win by 10 points on election day, but I find the idea of him leading at this point eminently plausible. The poll's other questions are in line with independent numbers. Both George Bush and Gov. Ernie Fletcher's ratings are in negative territority (especially the latter) in both this district-wide poll and in national polls.

Beating an incumbent is almost always a monstrously difficulty task, though. Even in 1994, the year of the GOP landslide, only 15% of Democratic House incumbents lost. (There were 258 Dems in the 103rd Congress, but by my count, 33 did not seek re-election. Thirty-four incumbent Dems lost.) That's a figure you'll hear me repeat over and over this year. I think we'd be very lucky if we even hit half that total this year. Lucas has his work cut out for him, to be sure.

That said, I think he has just about every advantage a challenger could have: High name rec, personal popularity, a record to run on, a broad network of supporters, and a deeply unpopular KY GOP headed by a totally flailing and corrupt governor. KY-04 is definitely one of our top five takeover opportunities this year.

Posted at 04:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: League of Conservation Voters Endorses Rodriguez

Posted by DavidNYC

Good news (via an e-mail):

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the independent political voice for the environment, today announced its endorsement of Ciro Rodriguez in the March 7th Democratic primary in Texas’ 28th Congressional District, citing his impressive environmental credentials during his previous service in the House of Representatives.

“LCV is proud to endorse Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary,” said LCV Western Campaign Director Andy Schultheiss. “Mr. Rodriguez’s environmental record is head and shoulders above Representative Henry Cuellar’s record.”


Mr. Cuellar, on the other hand, voted against the environment on a number of occasions last year, including voting with Tom DeLay to let MTBE polluters off the hook for drinking water contamination and opposition to real, clean energy solutions, such as fuel efficiency for automobiles.

Why am I not surprised that, in addition to everything else, Cuellar has a horrible environmental record?

If Ciro is to win this primary, he'll need the help of the big boys. The blogosphere can only do so much - but we did what we are best designed to do. We helped generate widespread attention to this race and provided some "angel" money. In other words, we got the ball rolling. (Chemists would say that we provided the "activation energy.") Now it's up to the established players to bring in the big guns and help seal the deal.

That doesn't mean we here in blog-land are finished working - to the contrary. We need to keep focusing on this race so that we can convince other major organizations to get involved. Also, today is an FEC filing deadline for the campaign, so please consider contributing so that Ciro can file a bang-up report.

Posted at 02:20 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 13, 2006

OH-Sen: Rahm Urges Hackett to Drop Out, Run for OH-02

Posted by DavidNYC

Whoa man, this could get ugly:

National Democrats are turning up the pressure on Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, openly asking him to leave his campaign for U.S. Senate and take a second shot at a Cincinnati-area House seat that he nearly won last summer.

Democrats have privately suggested for some time that Hackett, who has a national Internet following but faces the more experienced Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in a Senate primary, would be better off running again for the House seat held by GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt. Democrats acknowledge their chances of winning a district that voted 64 percent for President Bush in 2004 are slim without Hackett.

"This isn't talking behind the scenes; I'm saying it publicly. ... I'm petitioning Paul Hackett to run for Congress," Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Sunday.

The Ohio filing deadline is just three days away, so this is a hell of a time for Rahm to start talking about this openly. Personally, I don't really think this is about getting Hackett to run for Congress. OH-02 is a total booby prize, especially if Jean Schmidt isn't the Republican nominee. I think this is Rahm trying to damage Hackett by making him look like the "undesired" candidate, the guy who lacks institutional support.

Of course, I could be wrong - it's possible that Hackett could completely switch gears over the next couple of days. (The filing requirements in Ohio are pretty minimal.) After all Jeanine Pirro did something similar in NY. Then again, Pirro had Pataki pushing her, and Rahm is not the Democratic Governor of Ohio. (Though in some ways, Rahm might be more powerful, given that he's a serious party power-broker, and Pataki is a lame-duck presidential wannabe.)

If Hackett does indeed run for OH-02, and if Schmidt is still the nominee, then we might, possibly might have a fight on our hands. However, I just want to point out two recent examples which align with this scenario. In 2004, Ben Chandler in KY and Stephanie Herseth in SD both won special elections to the House and then both faced quick rematches that November. Herseth won her special 51-49 and the rematch 53-46. Chandler was 55-43, then 59-40. In fact, Herseth's opponent was the same both times. This is a small sample size, but it is not reassuring. The power of incumbency - however brief - can be strong indeed.

(Thanks to desi.)

Posted at 01:56 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NM-01: Dem Internal Poll Shows Tie

Posted by DavidNYC

Not long ago, I talked a bit about my beefs with internal polls and why I don't like to report them. If I do write one up, it's usually because it's a House race poll. Why the special treatment? It's simply a question of scarcity: Independent House race polls are incredibly rare. I'd rather have some data - even if it needs a large dose of salt for consumption - than nothing at all. Needless to say, all the usual caveats about internal polls still apply.

All that said, there's yet another interesting internal poll today, though this one has (fortunately) been made public by the campaign which commissioned it. Democrat Patty Madrid, running against incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson in NM-01, put out some very appealing numbers (likely voters, no trendlines):

Madrid: 43
Wilson: 44
Undecided: 13
(MoE: ±4.9%)

The reason I find these numbers credible is because Madrid is an unusually - I would even say exceptionally - strong candidate. For those of you not familiar with her, she is New Mexico's Attorney General. It's very rare for people at the AG level to take on House races, let alone one with an incumbent. (Some people joke that "AG" stands for "Aspiring Governor.") Madrid deserves tremendous credit for instantly putting this seat in play.

Doubtless, she did some polling before she jumped in, and she must have liked what she saw. This latest survey only reinforces the top-tier nature of this race, as does the fact that George Bush is visiting Wilson soon. Undoubtedly, Bush will raise a ton of money for Wilson, but with his approval ratings in the dumpster, Madrid's campaign literature can benefit if any photographers capture a Henry Cuellar moment.

Since you were wondering, Kerry actually carried this district in 2004, 51-48, making it one of very few GOP-held blue CDs in the nation. Wilson also owes her Congressional career to the Green Party, which ran a candidate not once but twice in 1998 (special election and general election) who provided her with the winning margin both times. The Green got double digits in both cases, which gives you a sense of how left-leaning this district is, or at least, can be.

According to this listing (which I surely can't vouch for), the Greens aren't running anyone in NM-01 this year - yet. I just hope it stays that way. Madrid may be a strong candidate, but our quest to take back the House is already tough enough. We don't need any unnecessary difficulties.

Posted at 10:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Mexico | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Support Max Cleland & the Band of Brothers in DC Tomorrow

Posted by DavidNYC

For all you DC-area folks, a reminder:

Rally with Sen. Max Cleland & Forty Fighting Dem Candidates

When: 10am, Wednesday, February 8th
Where: 7th st. SW betw. Madison Dr. & Jefferson Dr., on the National Mall

As I've said before, if you're angry about the swiftboating of Rep. Murtha, the lack of body armor for our troops, cuts in veterans benefits, and the simple, undeniable fact that George Bush has made us less safe, this is your chance to help make a difference. Let's make this a major media event and make sure these issues stay on the table throughout the 2006 elections and beyond.

(P.S. Please note the location change. This rally will be held on the Mall, not at the Capitol.)

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Band of Brothers | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

OH-16: An Update

Posted by DavidNYC

Two items of note on OH-16:

First, I'm told that two people have been petitioning here, Kim Kendall and William Smith. I don't know anything more about these individuals, but at least it's looking like we may have a candidate.

Second, I've also received some internal polling numbers. They are very interesting:

Party Preference
Vote Dem: 46
Vote GOP: 42

Re-Elect Numbers
Re-elect Ralph Regula: 39
Consider someone else: 20
Definitely someone else: 23

Amazingly, people say they prefer a Democrat to a Republican in this district! Moreover, Regula's support is soft - just 39%. That said, I think it would be very hard to beat him even in what will be a very bad year for Ohio Republicans. His job approval (63-23) and favorability ratings (66-26) in this poll are quite high.

However, Regula is almost certain to retire after this final run (he's already 81). That means we'll have a very winnable open seat in 2008. These poll numbers demonstrate that we can't abandon this district this cycle, even if our prospects for 2006 are daunting. We need to engage in party-building activities now so that we can compete here later. And at the very least, we need to start by giving the residents of OH-16 a Dem to vote for this year.

Posted at 01:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 06, 2006

OH-07, 08 & 16: We Need Candidates

Posted by DavidNYC

Barry Welsh's Congressional race tracker site is a terrific resource. However, in some cases, it's over-inclusive, listing candidates whose names have been floated but who aren't necessarily running. For instance, I can tell you that Sharen Neuhardt is not running in OH-07. Tony Bourne, another listed potential candidate, no longer seems to have a working website. Fortunately, a knowledgeable reader tells me that a fellow named Dan Saks is planning on getting into the race. Hopefully this is in fact the case and this candidacy will pan out.

I haven't heard a peep about OH-08, the home of the new GOP Majority Leader John Boehner. We need someone to run here so that we can keep pressure up on Boehner and make sure he stays linked to the GOP's corruption scandals. Yes, this is a super-red district, but simply running against the GOP's top guy ensures you'll get at least some media coverage.

But I'm even more concerned about another district, one that is actually winnable: OH-16. It has actually gotten more Democratic recently: It went to Bush in 2000 by 11 points, but in 2004 by just 8 points. You may recall that this seat is held by Republican Ralph Regula, who demolished one-time blogosphere darling Jeff Seemann the last time out. (Regula won 67-33.)

Welsh's site lists Seemann as our candidate for this district once again, but there are a lot of problems here:

• Seemann's website isn't working.

• His Blogspot blog hasn't been updated since 2004.

• His TypePad blog hasn't been updated in over two months.

• He never filed his final FEC report in 2004. Seemann's girlfriend (apparently), posting under Seemann's name, claimed he raised $130K in 2004. However, the reports he did file only cover some $60K in expenditures. That leaves $70,000 unaccounted for.

• He has received a whopping six notices for his failure to file from the FEC, on 10/22/04, 12/17/04, 2/16/05, 5/2/05, 8/2/05 and 11/01/05.

• He was fined $9,075 by the FEC in October of 2005 for his failure to file.

In short, this is not the portrait of a responsible candidate. There is simply no way anyone will take you seriously if you're in arrears to the FEC and haven't even completed all your legally mandatory filings. Moreover, Seemann (with his $130K and broad netroots support) did only two points better than the Dem in 2002 - and that guy didn't raise any money. The bottom line is that we need someone else to run in this district.

Ohio's filing deadline is just 10 days away (Feb. 16th), and we're three candidates short. Given the toll that scandal has taken on the OH GOP, and the seemingly resurgent fortunes of the Ohio Democratic Party, it would be a tragedy if we let three Republican seats go uncontested. Hopefully we'll see some last-minute filings, because 2006 is the year to be a Dem in Ohio.

Posted at 05:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, February 04, 2006

CA-50: Angelenos, Join Wes Clark & Support Busby

Posted by DavidNYC

From SoCal Grassroots:

Saturday, February 04, 2006 @ 11:00 AM-2:30 PM
Hollywood United Methodist Church
6817 Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, CA, 90028
(at the corner of Highland and Franklin)

Come to a FREE rally where General Wesley Clark will inspire the troops and lead the charge to take back the House of Representatives in 2006! We are bringing Democrats together from all over Southern California to support Democrat Francine Busby, who is running for indicted Republican Duke Cunningham's old seat (CA-50) in a special election April 11th.

Join Democratic candidates from red districts all over Southern California to support Busby's quest, including: Jill Martinez & Mary Pallant (CA-24), Russ Warner (CA-26), David Roth (CA-45), Roberto Rodriguez (CA-25), Florice Hoffman (CA-40) , Louie Contreras (CA-41)and Jim Brandt (CA-46). They will unite behind her by sending "Buses For Busby" - filled with local activists - to San Diego this Spring to help win this first important battle in the war to clean up the House and reclaim a majority for Democrats.

Hekebolos has more info here.

Posted at 03:13 AM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Band of Brothers: Chris Carney is Coming on Feb. 8th. Are You?

Posted by DavidNYC

From Lt. Commander Chris Carney, running in PA-10:

Next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., Chris Carney, democratic candidate for Congress, will stand with over 40 fellow veterans on the Capitol West Lawn to call for a change of direction in Washington.

Today Chris Carney issued this statement:

Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy take a simple oath: Do not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do. Those are the values we learn and live by when we fight for our country. Those are the values that we will take to Washington.

Our band of brothers and sisters is leading the charge to empty the sewers of Washington. We will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do.

It is time for change of direction in Washington, time for Americans to stand proud again. The bribery, the money laundering, and the high crimes of the highly placed cannot continue.

We are talking about reform on a personal scale. We need the right people in Washington–people who can tell right from wrong, and honorable from dishonorable.

Without the right people, all the rules and reforms in the world will amount to nothing. I will make the 10th District proud of its representation in Washington.

Chris Carney will be there on Feb. 8th. Will you?

Posted at 10:16 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers, Pennsylvania | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-28: Could Cuellar Switch Parties?

Posted by DavidNYC

In my opinion, no.

Background: Rep. Henry Cuellar is a Bush-worshipping "Democrat" who is facing former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez - a bonafide Dem - in a primary on March 7th. There's some speculation these days that Cuellar might try to switch parties, especially if he loses the primary - and indeed, I bet he wants to.

However, he's out of luck this year. I spent some time tonight reviewing Texas election law, and here's what I can tell you:

• The filing deadline to run as a Republican or a Democrat was Jan. 2nd. When you file, you specifically have to pick a particular party - you can't file for one party and then switch to another after the filing date. (See Rep. Ralph Hall, who switched his affiliation in 2004 on literally the last day possible before the filing date.)

• The filing date for independent candidates is in May - but (and this is a big "but") you need to have already filed a "Declaration of Intent to Run as an Independent Candidate" by Jan. 2nd. Don't worry, Cuellar doesn't have a secret indy declaration in his back pocket - you can't file for the same office twice.

Cuellar could run as a write-in candidate, but of course, his name wouldn't appear on the ballot. (The only time I can think of a write-in candidacy ever working was the bizarre situation in DC a few years ago involving Mayor Anthony Williams and a botched petition.) There are also provisions for replacing candidates, but the Texas GOP hasn't fielded anyone in the 28th CD, so there's no one Cuellar could even replace.

So, assuming my reading of the law is correct, if Cuellar loses the primary, he's screwed in 2006. However, I'm sure he'll land on his feet, netting a nice appointed Republican gig somewhere, until he can run for office again. If he wins the primary (which means he basically automatically wins the general), then I'd expect Cuellar to switch parties, probably after the elections in November.

Posted at 07:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

The Band of Brothers WANTS YOU!

Posted by DavidNYC

Next week, something pretty unusual is going to take place in Washington, DC. Over forty veterans - all Democrats, all running for the House - will join forces to kick off the 2006 campaign season. There hasn't been a gathering like this since just after World War II. And here's what they'll be doing:

• Showing their unqualified support for their brother, Rep. John Murtha, in the face of despicable swift boat attacks.

• Developing a positive message to unite the Band of Brothers as a political force.

• Raising much-needed awareness on issues of importance to both veterans and troops.

Here's the key part for anyone reading this: We want you there, too. If you're anywhere in the DC area, and you're as outraged as I am about the attacks on Col. Murtha, the lack of body armor for our troops, cuts in veterans benefits, and the simple fact that the Bush presidency has made us less safe, less strong, and less secure, then join us on the steps of the US Capitol (west lawn) at 10am on Wednesday, February 8th.

Wait, it gets better: The keynote speaker for the event at the Capitol is none other than former Sen. Max Cleland, a true American hero in every sense of the word, and a man who knows a thing or two about campaigning as a veteran. There will be lots of cameras and lots of reporters, so it's crucial that we show our support. If you're free, come on by. And if you work in the area, take an early coffee break. It'll be well worth your while.

But if you can't join us in the morning (and even if you can), you have a second chance to meet all these veterans at a fundraiser at the Frederick Douglass House (320 A Street NE), from 6-8pm, also on Feb. 8th. This will be a lot more fun than your ordinary campaign fundraiser, where if you're lucky you get to talk to the candidate for 90 seconds. There will be dozens of candidates here to meet-n-greet, and all of them have interesting stories to tell.

To purchase tickets, go to the Band of Brothers ActBlue page. The contribution levels are:

Supporter - $5,000
Patron - $1,000
Sponsor - $500
Guest - $100

Your name will automatically be placed on the guest list.

I hope you can make it - either in the morning, evening, or both! And if you're a Swing State reader (which you are, since you're reading this right now), I'll be there, so please be sure to introduce yourself.

UPDATE: Tickets are now available only at the door - my apologies. If you already paid, though, you're fine.

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

TX-28: Il Bacio Della Morte

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, the kiss of death:

That's George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, giving a big ol' smooch to Rep. Henry Cuellar, the first-ever "Democrat" endorsed by the Club for Growth. If and when he's beaten in the primary by former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Cuellar switches parties. Of course, the TX filing deadline has passed, but I'm sure the GOP could, you know, work something out.

(Thanks to reader Tracy for the tip. Photo credit to Rich Lipski of the Washington Post.)

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

MN-06: Wetterling Won't Run for LG, But Might Run for Congress

Posted by DavidNYC

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Patty Wetterling has declined to run for Lt. Gov. with AG Mike Hatch. However, she's apparently still considering a run in MN-06 (the seat she tried for in 2004). Current 6th CD Dem candidate El Tinklenberg is claiming that Wetterling said she wouldn't run against him - but was this a "looked him in the eye" or a "go for it"?

Soon enough, we'll see both candidates' 4Q fundraising figures. Remember, through the end of the quarter, Wetterling was running for Senate. If Tinklenberg's House numbers are comparable, then perhaps Wetterling should consider staying out of the race.

Posted at 10:24 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Minnesota | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, January 30, 2006

KY-04: Ken Lucas Is In!

Posted by DavidNYC

Fantastic news, friends: Former Rep. Ken Lucas is indeed running to reclaim his old seat, Kentucky's 4th Congressional District! This move automatically makes KY-04 a top-tier race this year. Also, kudos to Mark Nickolas and his grassroots Draft Ken Lucas effort. Keep your eyes on this district - it's gonna be a good one!

P.S. This also means we have candidates running in all six KY districts. In the four states whose deadlines have passed or are about to pass - IL, TX, WV & KY - there are Dems running in 59 of 60 spots. So far, that's excellent.

Posted at 03:59 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, January 29, 2006

WV, KY & FEC: Some Filing Deadline Notes

Posted by DavidNYC

• WV's deadline was yesterday - 1/28. Two additional Dems have filed to run against Shelley Moore Capito. One, Mark Hunt, gave the Raelian cult half a million bucks to try to clone his son. The other, Richie Robb, just switched from the GOP - in fact, when you Google him, the first result is a campaign site which calls him a "Republican with Results." I'm sticking with Mike Callaghan on this one.

• WV's two Democratic reps, Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall will have GOP challengers, but I'm not sure how serious either effort is. Sen. Robert Byrd also has a challenger, wealthy businessman John Raese, whom some people seem to think presents a credible foe. However, Raese is legally a resident of Florida and has also lost two statewide races before.

• Kentucky's filing deadline is Tuesday the 31st. The KY Secretary of State has a very good website, including a page which lists all candidates who have filed in a nice, clean, readable format. Mark Nickolas is hinting that Ken Lucas will file on Monday - if he doesn't, we may not have a candidate in KY-04. On the flip-side, no Republicans have filed to run against the popular Ben Chandler in KY-06. If Chandler is unopposed, that would be quite a statement - Bush won the district by 17 points. I personally think Chandler should consider taking on Fletcher again in 2007.

• The FEC filing deadline is also the 31st. The fourth quarter in an off-year is typically slow (winter holidays and all), but campaigns which did well will probably release some preliminary figures tomorrow or Tuesday (ie, before they are obligated to do so). In any event, the FEC will be cranking out the official figures before long.

Posted at 04:29 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Kentucky, West Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

House Dems: Pay Your DCCC Dues!

Posted by DavidNYC

This, my friends, is unacceptable:

Democratic House Members anted up more than $11 million in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005, but there remain 21 Caucus members who have not contributed a dime in the 2006 cycle and 13 others who have given less than 10 percent of what the DCCC is seeking from them.

While the numbers suggest that Democrats are making progress toward compliance, they are still $20 million short of the $32.1 million they would reap if every member meets his or her obligations.


In addition to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the DCCC’s chairman, just four of the 201 Democrats have paid in full: Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Bill Delahunt (Mass.) and Tom Udall (N.M.). (Emphasis added.)

This is, as I say, just a totally unacceptable state of affairs. We need the DCCC to be flush if we want to compete - and yet House Dems have only contributed one-third of the total they are obligated to pay in. It's rarely my style to go after fellow Dems, but come ON, people! We need to be team players on this one. So I'm going to call out the deadbeats, as listed by Roll Call:

Rep. District $ Given $ Due Committee Warchest
Jesse Jackson, Jr. IL-02 $0 $150K Appropriations $1.1M
José Serrano NY-16 $0 $150K Appropriations $46K
Sherrod Brown OH-13 $64K $250K Commerce $2M
Jim Davis FL-11 $0 $150K Commerce $27K
Ted Strickland OH-06 $0 $150K Commerce $498K
Edolphus Towns NY-10 $0 $150K Commerce $221K
Julia Carson IN-07 $0 $150K Financial Services $271K
Emanuel Cleaver MO-05 <10% $150K Financial Services $194K
Harold Ford TN-09 $0 $150K Financial Services $1.7M
Darlene Hooley OR-05 $0 $150K Financial Services $548K
Gregory Meeks NY-06 <10% $150K Financial Services $146K
Brad Miller NC-13 $0 $150K Financial Services $210K
Ben Cardin MD-03 $0 $150K Ways & Means $299K*
Pete Stark CA-13 $1K $150K Ways & Means $400K
Robert Brady PA-01 $0 $100K $841K
Tim Holden PA-17 $0 $100K $329K
Jim Marshall GA-03 $0 $100K $626K
Ike Skelton MO-04 $5K $100K $600K

Now, a few things: First, I'm sure these aren't the only Dem reps who are short on their dues - they're simply the ones listed by Roll Call. If you come across any reputable sources which indicate that there are other Dems who are in arrears, let me know, and I'll add them to this list. Also I'm not saying that any of these guys are bad people - they just need to fulfill their obligations.

So, to that end, if you live in any of these districts, call & e-mail your reps and politely ask them to pay what they owe the DCCC. Take a look at those warchests - for many, this is couch change, so there are no excuses. That a well-funded D-Trip benefits us all is so obvious as to be not even worth mentioning.

(A couple of notes about the table: 1) Members on five select committees - the four listed here plus the Rules Committee - are required to pay extra. 2) Warchests reflect cash-on-hand as of 9/30/05, except for Jesse Jackson, Jr., whose cash-on-hand figures are current as of 12/31/05. 3) Ben Cardin's total cash-on-hand is unclear, as his House and Senate campaign committees reflect different totals. His Senate committee shows a cash-on-hand of $1.5M. 4) The "amount due" that I list for each member is based either on specific Roll Call figures or on general DCCC dues rules. Where I have employed the latter, some of my numbers may be off, probably to the low side.)

P.S. Dennis Kucinich was also mentioned by Roll Call, but from the article's language, it wasn't clear how much he had already given, so I did not include him in the table.

Posted at 10:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats | Comments (10) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, January 23, 2006

NV-03: Reid Staffer Mulling Challenge to Porter

Posted by DavidNYC

Nevada's third CD is one of those super-tantalizing districts. It's virtually 50-50 on the presidential level. Yet somehow, we haven't been able to find a serious challenger to incumbent Rep. Jon Porter. Via Hugh at the Gleaner, we're told that may soon be changing:

Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's press secretary Tessa Hafen resigned Monday to consider challenging Nevada Rep. Jon Porter for Congress, two Democratic sources said.

Hugh has the full run-down on Hafen's strengths and weaknesses here. The basic 411: Her family name is well-known in the district (her dad is a local politician); she's very young (only 29); and obviously, she's tied in with Harry Reid, which can cut both ways. In any event, it's heartening to see a real candidate emerge here - as I've often said, there's no way we can take back the House unless we challenge the close districts.

Posted at 06:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Nevada | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CA-11: Former Rep. McCloskey in Against Pombo

Posted by DavidNYC

As we had previously discussed, former Rep. Pete McCloskey has decided to tap himself for a primary challenge against corrupt Republican radical Rep. Dick Pombo.

However, I'm appalled at McCloskey's involvement with the Institute for Historical Review, a notorious cabal of Holocaust deniers (something I did not know about when I first wrote about him). In a 2000 speech, he told the group, "I don't know whether you are right or wrong about the Holocaust...." Needless to say, this kind of talk disgusts me in the extreme. McCloskey's remark a few days ago that he "will go and speak to any group" doesn't signal very good judgment or contrition, either.

If McCloskey helps unseat Pombo, fine. But my father is a Holocaust survivor. My grandfather (after whom I am named) was murdered by the Germans. So you'll understand that when it comes to such matters, I'm pretty intolerant of guys like McCloskey. I don't treat with such people, and I'm not going to be making common cause with this guy.

Posted at 05:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, January 20, 2006

OH-18: Ney to OH GOP: I'm Taking You Down with Me

Posted by DavidNYC

Whoa. Now THIS is something:

Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett said Thursday that he'd ask Rep. Bob Ney to resign from Congress if he were indicted on felony charges.


"No party boss tells my constituents what to do," Ney said. "They will decide this thing."


Asked if Ney planned to step down if Bennett urged him to do so, Ney said: "I would say if he asked me to step down that he'd better look in the mirror because glass houses break easily." (Emphasis added.)

Did I read that right, or did Bob Ney just accuse the entire Ohio GOP of corruption and threaten to take them down with him? Cuz that's what I think I read. Wow. This could really be explosive. I fully expect Ney to be indicted. If he is, and he carries through on his threat, we will see some serious freakin' fireworks.

(Thanks to OHDemVoter.)

UPDATE: Like cockroaches scurrying from the light! Bob Bennet has already caved in to Ney at warp speed:

Bennett backed off Thursday, saying: ``Rep. Ney has said he believes a fair and thorough investigation will help to clear his name, and I take him at his word. It's important to let that process play out and to get all the facts on the table.''

Bennett also told Fox the party would find a candidate to oppose Ney in a primary if he were indicted and refused to step down. Bennett also backpedaled on that statement Thursday.

``We are actively working toward his re-election, and I am confident that he will handle this challenge with the best interest of his constituents in mind,'' Bennett said.

Ney must have something on this guy - on all these guys - for Bennet to backpedal so quickly. What an unbelievable admission of guilt! Now, imagine if Ney gets indicted and refuses to resign. That's gonna get nas-tay!

(Thanks to RBH.)

Posted at 01:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio, Republicans | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

HI-Sen: Rep. Case to Challenge Sen. Akaka in Primary

Posted by DavidNYC

In some very unusual news, Democratic Rep. Ed Case (HI-02) has announced that he'll challenge incumbent Sen. Daniel Akaka in a primary. While I don't know nearly as much about Hawaiian politics as I do about New York's, this move strikes me as a pointless Tom Suozzi gesture. Akaka is one of the most popular senators around, and HI's even-more-beloved Sen. Daniel Inouye is rallying around him, as is the rest of the Dem establishment:

Inouye and Abercrombie both said they would stand behind Akaka, which could isolate Case within the party.

"I intend to continue to give Senator Akaka my support," Inouye said in a statement. "I hope Congressman Case will reconsider his decision to challenge Senator Akaka, and will instead seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Also, I have been advised that Senator Akaka has the full support of the leadership of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee."

I think Case has literally zero chance of knocking off Akaka. In the past two-and-a-half decades, only three incumbent senators have lost primaries, and all were under freakish circumstances. And unlike Toomey-Specter, Akaka-Case hardly presents the kind of ideological and stylistic rifts that could even give Case the slightest toehold.

Moreover, Akaka's won his last two elections with over 70% of the vote. (In a primary challenge in 2000, he came away with 91%.) If Case hopes to hang his hat on the issue of Akaka's age, good luck. Akaka's no addled Jacob Javits - and do you think he even looks close to his age? Man, I hope I look that good when I'm an octogenarian!

Inouye is counselling patience, but I doubt Case will listen any more than Suozzi did. As I did with Suozzi, I predict this futile run will really damage Case's future in Hawaiian politics.

As far as Case's seat goes, I think Dems should be able to hold it. The district (probably the slightly more Democratic of Hawaii's two seats) went for Kerry by 56-44, and Case won his last election by over 30%. Simply because it's an open seat, it'll be more competitive than it would otherwise be, but I'm pretty confident. (And I'm not really sure the HI GOP has all that much of a bench.) One friend who is knowledgeable about the HI political scene tells me he wants to see State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa take the seat. (She came in third in a special election in HI-02 in 2003.) Who do you like to replace Case?

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Hawaii | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 19, 2006

CA-11: Former Rep. McCloskey to Announce Primary Challenger to Pombo

Posted by DavidNYC

Rep. Dick Pombo is one of many, many ethically challenged GOP poster boys. He's one of CREW's thirteen most-corrupt members of Congress not named Tom DeLay. He's also the target of a spirited, multi-way Democratic primary. And now, he's got a primary challenger of his own to deal with - only, we won't know who it is until Monday.

Former Rep. Pete McCloskey - a moderate Republican from back when the term actually meant something - is fed up with Pombo and has been recruiting a challenger for quite some time. If he can't find anyone else, McCloskey has said that he would run, despite his age (he's 78). While I doubt any Republican could unseat Pombo, a nasty Republican primary is only good news for us. (And primaries where challengers take on incumbents necessarily have to be nasty, assuming they get on the radar screen in the first place.) Since McCloskey's candidate (or McCloskey himself) will be making an issue of Pombo's ethical malfeasance, I'm sure the Republicans will churn up fodder for our side to use after the primary.

Say No to Pombo is rooting for McCloskey himself to enter the race - the sole fact that the guy is a former Congressman makes him at least somewhat credible (even if he hasn't held office in ages), and thus able to command some media attention. In any event, I encourage you to follow this race at SNTP.

Posted at 12:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

OH-02: McEwen to Challenge Schmidt

Posted by DavidNYC

Former Rep. Bob McEwen has announced that he'll challenge Rep. Jean Schmidt in a primary. McEwen lost to Schmidt in the special election primary last year. He also used to represent southern Ohio's 6th district, but lost to Democrat Ted Strickland (now running for OH-Gov) after redistricting in 1992. (He was actually a rare Republican victim of Newt Gingrich's hyping of the House check-kiting scandal.)

Anyhow, I'll bet that McEwen won't be the only one to take on Schmidt. She's incredibly vulnerable (at least in a primary), given her abysmally weak win over Paul Hackett and her atrocious performance on the floor of the House. However, win or lose, I doubt that lightning will strike twice and that we'll see another competitive race in OH-02 in November.

(Thanks to Georgia10.)

Posted at 10:40 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NE-01: Moul (D) Makes it Official

Posted by DavidNYC

Former NE Lt. Gov. Maxine Moul has filed to run against Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in Nebraska's first Congressional District in the eastern part of the state. Though Moul stepped down from her job in 1993, I have to imagine that a former Lieutenant Governor running for Congress ought to make a pretty strong candidate. (Moul beat four other candidates in her original Lt. Gov. primary.)

Furthermore, Fortenberry is a freshman, which means he's at his most vulnerable. Nebraska's Democratic Party has also been reinvigorated of late. That said, this district went for Bush 63-36, so we're talking Chet Edwards territory (ie, very thin air for Democrats). However, Fortenberry dramatically underperformed Bush in 2004, winning by just 54-43.

Moul doesn't appear to have a website yet, but she's going on a launch tour. If you live in NE, you can check out her event locations and dates here.

Posted at 03:17 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Nebraska | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

WI-08: NRCC Picks a Candidate

Posted by DavidNYC

The current rep of WI-08, Republican Mark Green, is running for Governor. The district went for Bush 55-44, which means a Dem could possibly win there, especially since it's an open seat. Mindful of that - and Wisconsin's late primary date, in September - the NRCC has decided to get involved on the GOP side. It's unusual for groups like the NRCC, DCCC, etc. to take sides in contested primaries, but sometimes they do.

In any event, they've tapped WI Assembly Speaker John Gard. Gard's opponent, state Rep. Terri McCormick, is obviously pissed and may yet cause trouble. On our side, we've got three people running: Wealthy self-funding doctor Steve Kagen, Ex-GOPer Nancy Nussbaum, and Jamie Wall, an economic development director for current Dem Gov. Jim Doyle.

A contested primary has both positive and negative aspects. However, I think the negatives can start to outweigh the positives in situations where a) the primary is very late and b) one side doesn't have a primary. If the Dem primary is expensive (which it may well become, especially with Kagen's presence), the short turn-around time may leave Dems short of cash in the final stretch run. I'm not suggesting the DCCC follow the NRCC's lead here, but if this is looking like a top-tier pickup opportunity, they should keep some cash stashed away to be deployed after the primary.

Posted at 02:54 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Wisconsin | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, January 15, 2006

OH-18: Ney Resigns Cmte. Chairmanship; Other Shoe in Mid-Drop

Posted by DavidNYC

As expected, today Rep. Bob Ney stepped down (allegedly temporarily) as chairman of the House Administration Committee. Pretty embarrassing that the head of the committee responsible for House governance and oversight is so wickedly corrupt, but that's the modern GOP for ya. This says to me that it can't be long before Ney gets indicted. With Abramoff singing like Maria Callas at karaoke night, Ney's gonna wanna cooperate, too, lest he face an actual jail sentence - that is, if there's even anyone for him to give up. Sometimes it's lonely indeed at the top.

Anyhow, I haven't focused much on the electoral fallout of all this, but nothing could be better for a potential Democratic challenger than a badly wounded, criminally indicted incumbent - OH-18 could be the Rust Belt version of TX-22. The big difference is that this district, while strongly GOP, is nowhere near as Republican as DeLay's: It went 57-43 for Bush. A tough margin to overcome, but within the realm of imagination. (Democrat Tim Holden's PA-17, for instance, was 58-42.)

According to the DCCC website, three people have filed to take on Ney: Zack Space, Joe Sulzer, and Jeff Woollard. What have you heard about these folks?

Posted at 08:45 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: Lampson Leading in Wide-Open Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

An interesting - if hard-to-read - poll on TX-22 from the Houston Chronicle (registered voters, no trendlines):

Lampson: 30
DeLay: 22
Stockman: 11
None: 11
Undecided 27
(MoE: ±4.1%)

Steven Stockman is a former one-term GOP Congressman (swept in in `94, booted in `96 by Nick Lampson, actually) who is thinking about a possible independent challenge to DeLay. Presumably, he'd drawn Republican votes from the Bugman.

With crazy numbers like these - nearly 40% not even expressing a preference - it would probably be a mistake to read too much into this poll, at least as far as the horserace numbers go. But the Chron asked several other relevant questions. DeLay's favorability rating is a brutal 28-60. (Sixty? Ouch!) And 47% of respondents said he should withdraw from the race (vs. 40% who said he should stay in). That would actually be a bad thing for Lampson, as TX-22 is a very Republican district and Tom DeLay is by far the most beatable candidate he could face.

Wackily, DeLay only gets 21% in a question on the GOP primary (there are some Republicans running against him), with 68% undecided. Perhaps district voters are just unaccustomed to having to vote for DeLay in a primary - but perhaps it's also a sign of tremendously weak support among his putative base. That 21% is identical to his total in the general election matchup. Incumbents lose primaries even more rarely than they lose general elections, so I really, truly doubt that DeLay could get knocked off in a primary. But this number is really startling, and must be giving him indigestion.

(Thanks to Evan at Tom DeLay vs. the World. Full list of questions is here.)

Posted at 12:25 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, January 14, 2006

PA-12: Don Bailey: Biased, Bitter & Bonkers

Posted by DavidNYC

Former Rep. Don Bailey ("D"-PA) is making up stories about conversations he allegedly had with Rep. John Murtha. Why do I know that Bailey is bullshitting?

Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District Primary - May, 1982

John Murtha: 52%
Don Bailey: 38%

That primary was a poignant election - Bailey and Murtha, both incumbent Congressmen, were pitted against each other because Pennsylvania had lost seats after the 1980 census. No one feels more entitled to his next victory than an incumbent - and because incumbents lose re-election campaigns so rarely, failure is exceptionally galling to them. I am sure Bailey has been carrying around a grudge - "It should have been him, not me!" - against Murtha for over twenty years. Bailey's so embittered he's become delusional: He thinks that a one-sided recollection by an obviously biased party constitutes legitimate news.

Oh, and how angry was Bailey after his loss in May of 1982? Angry enough that the Republicans were courting him to run against Murtha in the general election that fall!

Democratic Rep. Don Bailey is doing nothing to discourage growing speculation he'll run for Congress as a Republican in November. Bailey, a casualty of reapportionment this year, lost to fellow Democratic Rep. John Murtha by more than 8,000 votes in the May primary.

Talk of a Murtha-Bailey rematch has been growing since Clair Saylor, the GOP nominee, withdrew from the race, citing lack of support and money. [UPI, 7/5/1982]

Bailey's been peddling his lies since 2002, when Murtha was once again involved in an incumbent-vs.-incumbent race. Yet if Murtha supposedly made some confession to Bailey during the ABSCAM goings-on in 1980 (as Bailey claimed to the National Journal), why didn't Bailey use that against Murtha in 1982? The answer doesn't change: The story is bullshit, and Bailey hadn't bothered to invent it yet. Rather, Bailey - after spending two decades losing a whopping four more races - dreamed up his tale in 2002 as a way to settle an old score against Murtha. (He failed, badly: Murtha won the primary that year 54-30.)

I obviously expect every gutter-dwelling conservative website... but I repeat myself. I obviously expect every conservative website to fawn all over Don Bailey's every phony word. He's a less credible witness than a nun-beating crack dealer - in other words, perfect for the non-reality-based community. But if the traditional media wishes to pay attention to Bailey's pedigree, they'll realize there's no way he could be telling truth. His story doesn't add up, and his motives are so nakedly venal that it should be plain for anyone to see.

Posted at 05:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, January 13, 2006

Band of Brothers: Evaluating Races

Posted by DavidNYC

This is an auspicious time for veterans: There are now close to forty running for the House as Dems this year, with more filing each week. For an organization like Band of Brothers - tasked with helping these candidates - the sheer numbers present an unusual challenge. Every office-seeker, every district, every campaign is different. What might be useful to one candidate may not be so for another; what might resonate in one part of the country may be irrelevant in another.

Our mission, therefore, is to evaluate each race so that we can deploy our resources most efficiently. To that end, we're expanding and refining our list of questions that we ask of every candidate, opponent and district. We're talking questions ranging from the simple ("Has the candidate ever run for office before?") to the wonky (eg, nitty-gritty demographic data). This allows us to create a detailed dossier on each race so that we can maximize the effectiveness of our involvement, wherever we are asked to step in.

However, we don't purport to have all the answers - or in this case, rather, all the questions. So Band of Brothers is conducting a survey to see what kinds of questions you would ask regarding all these races. For now, we aren't looking to see which candidates are most popular, or which issues are most important. Rather, we want to hear what you would want to know about each and every Band of Brothers candidate, their likely Republican opponents, and the districts they are running in.

If you'd like to help us with this project, please click here. That link will take you to a simple web form where you can submit questions. (Just bear in mind that we are looking for questions that we'd ask about every race, not any specific race.) Thanks for your help!

Posted at 02:22 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 12, 2006

TX-22: Petard-Hoisting Edition: How Much Bluer Did DeLay's District Get?

Posted by DavidNYC

One seemingly delightful storyline relating to Tom DeLay's illegal mid-decade redistricting scheme goes like this: By making several other districts more Republican, DeLay made his own more Democratic, thus endangering his own electoral safety. The thought alone makes images of golden petards dance through your head. But just how true is this claim, though?

The New York Times weighs in, citing unnamed political analysts who claim that TX-22 got about five percent more Dem. But any good arithmetic teacher wants you to show your work, which the NYT naturally can't do because of space considerations. However, Evan (at Tom Delay vs. The World) has done exactly that. And his conclusions are a little less rosy:

New parts of CD22 voted 51.8% GOP in 2002 congressional races, and 49.6% GOP in 2000 congressional races. The parts DeLay gave up in new CD22: 62.1% GOP in 2002 congressional races, and 56.2% GOP in 2000 congressional races.

The bottom line: DeLay's new district is about 2-3% less Republican than it used to be. Redistricting removed areas that voted around 60% GOP and added areas that vote around 50% GOP.

Yes, we're only talking about a disagreement over a couple or three percentage points, but in a tight race, that can matter a whole hell of a lot. Either way, though, DeLay's district did not change dramatically. Nick Lampson still has huge hurdles to overcome. Even after the DeLay-mander, this district went for Bush 64-36. There aren't many redder districts currently represented by a Dem.

As Evan points out in the same post, DeLay underperformed in 2004. It's possible that this was due to Richard Morrison's insurgent campaign, or DeLay's budding ethical problems. But it also may have been due to the fact that almost a third of the voters in the redrawn TX-22 were new to Tom DeLay. While (a) the ethics issues are far, far worse, and (b) the challenger is much stronger, on the flip-side, (c) DeLay is no longer unfamiliar to those voters. We'll have to see if A + B outweigh C this time around.

Posted at 01:27 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Politics of Billboards

Posted by DavidNYC

Back in November, GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt slandered war hero Rep. John Murtha on the floor of Congress. When we sought to take the fight straight to her back yard, Lamar Advertising refused to run the DNC's billboard, on the grounds that it constituted "negative advertising." (Nevermind this.) That really (once again) dogged my cats. Anyhow, this is what the Schmidt billboard looked like:

To kick off the new year, the Campaign for America's Future has launched a big-time ethics assault on the already-indicted Tom DeLay and the soon-to-be-indicted Bob Ney (OH-18). One feature of this campaign also includes a billboard, stating the simple truth about Bob Ney:

Clear, direct, to the point - and nothing hurts quite like good old Mr. Truth. CAF says that this billboard is already up, "located above the east bound lanes of Rte. I-70 at exit 126, one mile west of State Rte. 37 in Heath, Ohio where Rep. Bob Ney lives." So a pat on the back to CAF, but an obvious question remains: Why were they able to get their billboard up while the DNC was not? Oh CAF, share with us your secrets, so that organizations across the land may torment powerful kleptocrats for the entire election season!

Posted at 09:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Atlantic Monthly on Fighting Dems

Posted by DavidNYC

Josh Green, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, has a piece up on veterans running for Congress as Dems. One thing he does, which I had not yet seen, is put the current phenomenon in historical context. Veterans have a long tradition of running for office, something which ebbed only after Vietnam. What's happening today is not an abberation but rather a return to that noble tradition of service.

(Via Hotline On Call.)

UPDATE: Grr. The original link I got from Hotline led to a full version of the article. Atlantic has asked me not to use that link - the new link instead goes to a truncated version (full version for subscribers only). I know that sort of thing is frustrating, and consequently I very rarely link to articles that are behind subscription firewalls. I wouldn't have done so in this case had I realized the problem. My apologies.

Posted at 03:40 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-05: Johnson Sucking Up to Roy Blunt, aka Tom DeLay, Jr.

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, these "moderate" House Republicans just really dog my cats. Down in DC, they reliably support troglodytes like Tom DeLay, casting vote after vote in support of an extremist right-wing agenda. Every so often, though, the wily GOP leadership lets these so-called moderates appear to "buck" the majority and cast alleged votes of conscience on potentially controversial bills. These moderates then return to their home districts, brandishing their few acts of calculated defiance as proof of their moderation and maverickhood. Aided and abetted by the laziest media the world has ever known, they pull of this ruse time after time.

Of course, it's all bullshit. And we need to call bullshit on those phonies, as loudly as we possibly can. Fortunately, several of these moderate muddlers just made our job a whole lot easier today, the most glaring of whom is Rep. Nancy Johnson (CT-05). She's announced her early support for Roy Blunt to replace Tom DeLay as the Republican's majority leader. If Blunt takes over for DeLay, it wouldn't be a succession so much as it would be a direct cloning process.

You see, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has named Roy Blunt one of the thirteen most-corrupt members of Congress, at their appropriately-named site "Beyond DeLay." The rap sheet on Blunt is longer than an elephant's trunk. He's done all the usual things, like take money from DeLay and Abramoff.

But he's also taken a trip to Korea paid for by a registered foreign agent (that's against House rules); wrote a letter on gambling favorable to an Abramoff client after taking money from Abramoff (that would be against the law); and tried to insert a stealth amendment benefitting tobacco giant Philip Morris into a Homeland Security bill (that's just plain scummy). The Philip Morris stuff is actually very interesting, because his son Andrew lobbies for Philip Morris; his wife Abigail also lobbies for Philip Morris; his other son Matt (governor of Missouri) has received tons of questionable Philip Morris cash; and - wait for it - Blunt's biggest campaign contributor is Philip Morris. See a pattern here?

I should also add that Blunt voted with DeLay 95% of the time. If there ever was a case of new boss, same as the old boss, this is surely it. I'm gonna call it the "Getting Fooled Again" syndrome. And Nancy Johnson has fallen for it like the sucker - and right-winger - she truly is. According to Hotline, here are some other notable "moderates" who are right there with here:

• Ginny Brown-Waite (FL)
• Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
• Mike Ferguson (NJ)
• Mark Foley (FL)
• Chris Shays (CT)

Johnson's opponent, Chris Murphy, is already making hay of this (at least via e-mail). I hope those challenging these other "moderates" are also covering this one, especially Chris Shays opponent Diane Farrell.

P.S. Chris Murphy now has an update on his campaign blog.

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Kuff on the Texas House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

This is why I love the blogosphere. Charles Kuffner's comment on the Texas House races is worthy of its own post:

1. Sklar is going against Ron Paul in CD14. Paul ran unopposed in 2004 in a fairly new-to-him district, and he's nobody's idea of a moneybags - last I checked he had something like $150K on hand. Sklar is a farmer, something that the Texas Congressional delegation now lacks without Charlie Stenholm and Larry Combest, so he ought to get some support from ag interests. He's already got the Texas Farm Bureau endorsement.

2. Lamar Smith ran against a no-name perennial candidate (Rhett Smith, who is now on the GOP (!) primary ballot for Governor; he also ran for San Antonio Mayor last year) and barely achieved parity with the district's GOP index. He carried Travis County (Austin) by a 50-46 spread (there was another candidate in the race as well), and it's about 40% of the district. If Courage can win Travis and hold his losses in Bexar County, he can win.

3. Former right-wing wackjob Congressman Steve Stockman, who ousted 40-year veteran Jack Brooks in 1994 before being dumped by Nick Lampson in 1996, has entered the CD22 race as an independent. He may provide an attractive alternative for some wingnut voters. Hard to say, since he's been mostly below radar since 1998, and because he's such a freaking nut that predicting what he'll do is a fool's errand, but it's a favorable development for Lampson.

4. Finally, Bush's support in any district is a slight overstatement of GOP strength there, as he generally outperformed all other Republican candidates. The performance of the three other statewide Republicans (Victor Carillo, who won Railroad Commissioner 55.5-41-3.5 against a D and a Lib; Scott Brister, who won a State Supreme Court seat against David Van Os by a 59-41 margin; and Mike Keasler, who won a spot on the Court of Criminal Appeals 58-42) is IMHO a better measure of Republicanness in a district.

You can keep track of all Texas races at Texas Tuesdays. If you have an interest in any race, we welcome your input - it's a CivicSpace blog, so create an ID and join in. Thanks!`

You can also visit Charles at his own blog, Off the Kuff.

Posted at 10:24 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Texas House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

With the field set in Texas, Charles Kuffner (who pens the excellent Off the Kuff, which has been around practically since the birth of the blogosphere) e-mails me to tell me which House races he thinks are going to be among the most interesting:

• TX-14: Shane Sklar vs. incumbent Ron Paul (Bush-Kerry: 67-33)
• TX-21: John Courage vs. incumbent Lamar Smith (Bush-Kerry: 61-39)
• TX-22: Nick Lampson vs. incumbent Tom DeLay (Bush-Kerry: 64-36)

As Kuff notes - and as the 2004 presidential margins make clear - these will all be tremendously difficult races, and winning even one would be terrific. I'll also add that even in big landslide years like 1994, you're lucky to see even 10% of incumbents lose (it's always much easier to win open seats). But to even have a chance, you've got to compete, and that's exactly what the Texas Dems are doing. Kuff also thinks we've got great candidates in several other races, and you never know where surprises can happen.

Speaking of which, on the state level in Texas, we are seriously kicking ass. Almost three times as many Republican incumbents are facing challengers as Dems. This just goes to show that you should never, ever write off a particular state just because it looks hopeless on the presidential level. Politics goes way beyond the race for the White House. Dean's fifty-state strategy looks like it's already paying dividends.

Lastly, Kuff points us to a new single-district blog: Tom DeLay vs. The World. The name alone is a great frame, and I look forward to reading the blog.

Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WV-02: Up Next

Posted by DavidNYC

Here are the next batch of filing deadlines:

WEST VIRGINIA - January 28
KENTUCKY - January 31
NEW MEXICO - February 14
OHIO - February 16
INDIANA - February 17
NORTH CAROLINA - February 28

In West Virginia, despite the fact that Bush won in double digits, most of the top elected officials are Dems: both Senators, the Governor, and two of three Representatives. The lone GOP sore thumb is Shelley Moore Capito, who had enough sense not to take on WV super-legend Robert Byrd in a senate race - but is still facing a tough challenge in her own second congressional district from Democrat Mike Callaghan.

Capito is a Tom DeLay clone - she's voted with him 93% of the time recently. Hardly a surprise given that she's taken $48,500 from DeLay's corrupt-to-the-bone ARMPAC - more than any other member of Congress. Capito's not returning that tainted cash, but she was forced to disgorge $6,000 she snarffed up from ex-Rep. and current felon Duke Cunningham (R-San Quentin). (The company you keep, ay?)

She also likes to play the dirty game of wasting taxpayers' money on "newsletters" to constituents (over $80,000 in 2005 alone). Her fellow WV reps, Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan (both Dems) haven't spent a penny on that kind of crap. Like Howard Dean says, you can't trust Republicans with money. While perhaps a small sin in the overall scheme of things, the abuse of franking privileges is precisely the sort of activity which is a hallmark of entrenched corruption. And I love this justification from a Capito spokesbot:

"The congresswoman would rather exhaust resources available to members of Congress informing West Virginians rather than leaving them in the dark."

The comebacker to this one is, "Does Shelley Moore Capito think her constituents aren't capable of watching TV news, reading a newspaper, or using the Internet?" Combine that with the always-potent "wasting taxpayers' money" charge and you can paint Capito as badly out-of-touch with her district. Like I say, franking isn't a huge big deal - but just remember how much mileage Newt Gingrich got out of a few bounced checks.

As I say, Callaghan is a strong challenger. He was head of the WV Dem Party and previously ran the state's environmental protection agency. I also wonder if Capito will once again get the endorsement of the United Mine Workers, despite her past efforts on behalf of miners, given her coziness with the anti-safety Bush White House. If you're interested in getting involved with Callaghan's campaign, click here.

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, West Virginia | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

TX: 31 of 32

Posted by DavidNYC

Impressive! As of today's filing deadline, Texas Dems have managed to field candidates in 31 of 32 House races this year. (That's 20 out of 21 GOP-held seats, the lone exception being TX-11, which is the most Republican district in the nation.) In 2004 - a much bigger election year, what with the presidential race and all - four seats went uncontested. Hats are off to quite a few intrepid challengers, who are running in districts that Bush won with over 70% of the vote. But like I say, we've got to expand the playing field. Every weekend a Republican incumbent has to spend in his home district is a weekend he could have been out fundraising for a colleague.

Kuff's got more details. And hopefully the DCCC page will get updated soon.

Posted at 06:02 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Band of Brothers: Mission & Framing

Posted by DavidNYC

My post about the pending launch of Band of Brothers has received a very positive response, for which I'm grateful. A lot of e-mails and comments have raised some very thoughtful issues, so I wanted to continue the discussion.

First, I want to make one thing absolutely clear: Being a veteran does not automatically make you a good candidate, and I would never make such a claim. As I noted, there are lots of positives that veteran status does confer. But being a vet doesn't necessarily do any any of the following: make you a good speaker; give you name recognition; give you a "personal touch" when interacting with voters; help you cut good ads; or raise you money. In other words, all of the things which make for a good candidate on the campaign trail.

And that's precisely why Band of Brothers exists. Our goal is to help candidates who have a particular built-in positive - ie, veteran status - become excellent all-around candidates. Veteran status is only one element of a candidacy - albeit an important one. We're here to bolster all the other elements, and to provide a unifying umbrella to let veterans across the country speak together in one powerful voice.

Second, I wanted to address an issue of framing. The lazy media wants you to think that Dems are weak-kneed and wobbly on matters of national security. We all know that's bullshit. So it's important to stress that these fighting Dems are not "exceptions" to this pernicious media stereotype. These men and women are fighters precisely because they are Dems.

Hell, the Democrats have been fighting non-stop since FDR's time - fighting on behalf of the rights of the unrepresented, and fighting against entrenched interests who have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. We've fought - and continue to fight - on behalf of the elderly (Social Security), the disenfranched (the Voting Rights Act), the poor (Medicaid), and on and on. The Republicans, meanwhile, are only interested in more tax cuts. That's not fighting - that's just greed in action.

I don't want to make a facile comparison between political battles and a willingness to potentially sacrifice one's life in service to this country. But I can only imagine that a strong fighting spirit animates any veteran running for office. And that fighting spirit is right at home in the Democratic Party. We saw it with the fiery Paul Hackett, and I can bet you we're going to see it a lot more from 2006's Band of Brothers.

Posted at 01:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Our Band of Brothers

Posted by DavidNYC

Since Paul Hackett's dazzling run in OH-02 over the summer, there's been a lot of talk about "Fighting Dems" - Democratic veterans of the armed forces running for office. (See here, here, and here for just a sampler.) To be sure, savvy observers - like the readers of this site - know that a resume burnished even with the sterling credential of military service is no silver bullet. But anyone with good political horse sense also knows that these veterans are a welcome addition to the nationwide Democratic team, for a number of reasons:

• Veterans' views on matters of war and national security are often accorded greater respect in the public sphere (whether fairly or unfairly). These issues are going to matter a whole hell of a lot in 2006, and we need candidates willing to engage - not avoid - this debate.

• The media typically adores veterans, especially the straight-talking kind. (Think Hackett & McCain.) Moreover, our lazy media has bought into the GOP's smear of the Dems as "weak on security" wholesale. It doesn't matter how sophisticated our think-tank-produced plans on foreign policy are - the media just doesn't care. But if you've worn a dogtag around your neck or have had ribbons pinned to your chest - now that is something the media can understand.

• The American people love our armed forces. The military always ranks at the very top when pollsters ask people how much confidence they have in various public institutions.

• Strength in numbers: It's a lot easier to Swift Boat a lone vet in isolation. While I put nothing past today's GOP, it's much harder to slander your opponents when you're talking about dozens and dozens of men and women across the country. And these guys, I can assure you, will fight back when attacked.

While I am sure we could think of many more positives that veterans bring to the campaign trail, it is that last point in particular which brings me to the main purpose of this post. I'm thrilled to let you all know that I'll be joining the board of a new PAC designed specifically to help veterans get elected as Dems. It's called Band of Brothers and already has some serious backing from major guys like Stan Greenberg, a top Democratic pollster and one-time advisor to Bill Clinton.

Band of Brothers will help all Dem veterans running for the House this cycle. While being a vet carries major positives, as I've counselled in the past, we've got to be realistic. Many if not most of these candidates have never held or run for office before. Few have any name recognition to speak of, or any pre-existing political organizations to rely on. And the DCCC can only do so much. But that's where Band of Brothers comes in.

As I say, it's about strength in numbers. BoB will provide not just money but also expertise and training. The goal is not only to elect individual candidates, but also to spark the development of a genuine Veterans Caucus in Congress - one which can speak forcefully on matters of defense while also working to strengthen our military and protect the often trampled-upon rights of veterans.

One exciting thing is that several big-name donors have offered to match early contributions (up to somewhere in the five figures, I am told). I won't be doing any kind of fundraising push right now, but if you're interested in giving, every dollar you contribute will automatically be doubled. That's some serious bang for the buck, and so I'm adding BoB to the Swing State Project's ActBlue page.

Band of Brothers will "officially" launch early next month, but you can preview the website and (constantly growing) candidate list right now. If you know of a Dem veteran running for the House who ought to be on that list but isn't, odds are they will be added very soon - but you can also send an e-mail, too.

I'm looking very forward to this project, and I'll be writing more about it going forward. And as always, if you have any thoughts, please post `em in the comments.

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Comments (14) | TrackBack (3) | Technorati

Monday, December 26, 2005

NJ-02: DCCC "Actively Recruiting" a Candidate

Posted by DavidNYC

New Jersey's second district is one of those places where we've just gotta compete if there's to be any hope of big Dem gains in the House next year. NJ-02 is currently represented by Republican Frank LoBiondo, who, like most incumbents, manages to win re-election by rather large margins time and again. But Bush carried the district by just 50-49, while Gore previously took it by a huge eleven-point margin.

Legislative aide and preacher Robin Weinstein is running for the Democratic nod here, but it would not be unfair to say that he doesn't have much name recognition. According to the Bridgeton News, though, the DCCC is "actively recruiting" a big-name candidate to run for this seat. The article says that the top two contenders are Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew of Cape May and Assemblyman-elect Jim Whelan of Atlantic City.

Scott in NJ (who deserves the hat tip on this one) makes the case for Van Drew. According to Scott, Van Drew already represents about a third of LoBiondo's constituents. And the first legislative district (which Van Drew serves) is also apparently fairly Republican, which suggests that Van Drew might have genuine cross-over appeal. As to Whelan, I admit I don't know much, but as always, if you have any thoughts, please share them.

One of the biggest difficulties with NJ-02 is that it's primarily served by the expensive Philadelphia media market. (See district map here.) In order for any candidate to have a realistic chance of breaking through, I think DCCC support is probably a must. Hopefully it'll happen.

UPDATE: Scott in NJ has gone and started a new blog devoted exclusively to NJ-02 called Second Thoughts.

Posted at 07:58 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Jersey | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

FL-05: How About a Comeback for Karen Thurman?

Posted by DavidNYC

In the past few weeks, I've written a bit about House race comebacks (see here and here). I think that 2006 is definitely the year for any Democrat who ever lost or retired prematurely to get back in the game. You'll have the wind at your backs, an energized base, a crumbling president whose entire administration is in disarray, and a powerful, ready-made issue (government ethics) that can be deployed in almost any district. This is the time to jump back in.

In that vein, here's a name I'd like to toss at ya: Karen Thurman. Thurman represented Florida's 5th CD for a decade, first winning her seat in 1992. In 2002, however, she became an unfortunate victim of redistricting, as FL-05 was re-drawn to be much more conservative. Nonetheless, Thurman lost the new FL-05 by only two points (48-46) to Republican Ginny Brown-Waite. After losing, Thurman did not sit idly by: Earlier this year, she became chair of the Florida Democratic Party. And according to Hotline (no link available), she's been doing a very solid job:

After a horrible year for the FL Dem Party, signs of improvement are showing. Ex-Rep. Karen Thurman as party chair has helped to reduce the debt and manage to raise $1M during the third quarter of the year - its best off-year posting since the days of Lawton Chiles' GOV tenure in '97. The party, under new exec. dir. Luis Navarro, has begun to consolidate the fundraising arms for its campaign cmtes, and is well on its way to establishing an early coordinated campaign plan for '06.

Of course, if she were to run for Congress again, she'd have to step down from her party chair post in the midst of a big election campaign (the state has both Gov and Senate races this year). But the FL Dems look like they're doing pretty well, and it would certainly be easier to replace her as chair than to find a candidate as strong as she would be in FL-05. The Almanac of American politics once described her as "a Democrat who has shown something like perfect political pitch." The Almanac also says she was known for her constituent services, so at the very least, she'd have strong name recognition in her old district.

Now, the cold bracing dose of reality: The district got a lot more Republican after the post-2000 census round of redistricting. In 1996, it went for Clinton 50-37 over Dole. In 2004, it went for Bush 58-41 over Kerry. By way of comparison, in 1994, the last big "tidal wave" type of year, only two Dem incumbents lost in districts that were as heavily Dem as FL-05 is pro-GOP. One was the scandal-embroiled Dan Rostenkowski in IL-05 (18% Clinton margin in 1992). The other was the ultra-liberal ("Let's grow our own weed") Dan Hamburg in CA-01 (17%). And the guy who beat Rostenkowski (Mike Flanagan) lost the very next time out, while the guy who beat Hamburg (Frank Riggs) retired two terms later. Both districts have since safely been in Democratic hands.

So yes, it's possible to win in such a lopsided district, but obviously, it's pretty rare. Brown-Waite would probably be more formidable than Rostenkowski or Hamburg - but she did take $20,000 from Tom DeLay's PAC, voted for the DeLay rule, and gave $1,000 to his legal defense fund. We could tie that around her neck pretty good.At the same time, Thurman would make for a much stronger challenger than either Flanagan or Riggs - quite possibly on a different plane altogether. With her deep connections throughout Florida politics, she could have an enormous amount of ready-made support.

The filing deadline is May 12th, so Thurman has plenty of time to decide. I should note that two Dems have already filed in the district: Vietnam vet and teacher Rick Penberthy and RN John Russell, who came in second in the Democratic primary for this seat in 2004. But I don't think it would be at all unfair to say that Thurman would make a stronger candidate.

So, what do you guys think? How does a Karen Thurman comeback in FL-05 sound?

Posted at 04:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Florida | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, December 19, 2005

Illinois House Races: Batting a Thousand

Posted by DavidNYC

According to frequent SSP commenter RBH, Steve Waterworth officially filed to run in Illinois' 18th CD today, the last possible day to do so. This means that all eight Republican Congressmembers in IL have Democratic challengers. Great work! Waterworth, an Air Force vet, joins the impressively long list of Fighting Dems to run for office this year.

Next up is Texas, which has a January 2nd filing deadline. Things there are not looking quite so good. The DCCC's site lists 11 GOP-held seats without a Dem challenger; Barry Welsh's page shows potential challengers in three of those seats, but apparently, they haven't filed.

If you're even remotely considering running for one of these seats (1, 2, 3, 8, 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 26, 32), please go here and check out the Texas Democratic Party's checklist for running for office. The main things you'll need are either $3,125 for a filing fee or 500 signatures. Obviously both of those are pretty sizable hurdles - it's a lot of cash, or a lot of signatures on very short notice, during the holidays. (On the flipside, you might be able to snag large throngs outside of malls and the like.)

Just one thing to think about: It's pretty much impossible to get a candidate on the ballot after a filing deadline has passed. But it's usually a lot easier to switch candidates if you already have a name on the ballot. So if you live in one of those Texas districts and have the time or money to get on the ballot, but aren't really sure you want to run for office, your presence as a place-holder is just as important.

UPDATE: RBH, channeling the Texas Dems, says the the outlook is quite a bit better, and that only the following seats remain without challengers:

TX-02 (Beaumont/Houston Burbs)
TX-11 (Midland/Odessa)
TX-12 (Fort Worth Burbs)
TX-13 (Amarillo)
TX-24 (in-between Dallas and Fort Worth, probably Arlington too)
TX-26 (Denton/Flower Mound/Parts of Fort Worth)

Posted at 04:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Illinois, Texas | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 15, 2005

KY-03: Col. Andrew Horne (D) Will Challenge Northup

Posted by DavidNYC

Anne Northup finally has a challenger. Via Roll Call (sub. req.):

Attorney and retired Marine Lt. Col. Andrew Horne (D) said Tuesday that he has decided to challenge Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.) in 2006, after being influenced by the experience of his friend and fellow Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett.

Horne, 44, was in Washington, D.C., this week and met with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) about the race Tuesday. He also began interviewing consultants to work on the contest.

Alright, a few thoughts. I'm excited to see that someone has finally decided to take on Northup. This district, as you know, went 51-49 for Kerry and 50-48 for Gore. And the fact that Rahm Emanuel is meeting with Horne suggests that his candidacy could be a very serious one. I am also thrilled to see so many Iraq war veterans run as Democrats, especially since our military's officer corps has a reputation for being staunchly Republican.

That said, it is pretty much impossible to judge how strong a candidate will be based solely on his or her service in our nation's armed forces. Most of the "Fighting Dems" now seeking office do not have prior public records. Like anyone who hasn't already held office, achieved some level of fame, or made a pile of cash, this means that they don't have name recognition, don't have any pre-existing organization to rely on, and probably don't have ready access to donors.

If the DCCC decides to back a particular candidate, that can change the calculus significantly. But the DCCC can't offer everyone a million bucks. So we're talking about a lot of people who are seeking to do one of the most difficult things in America political life - unseat an incumbent - and who may only have one advantage, ie, a sterling resume. It's not an inconsiderable advantage - there's no question, for instance, that being a Marine gave Paul Hackett a certain amount of instant credibility. But a great resume, without more, versus an entrenched incumbent is always going to be incredibly tough.

In any event, I look forward to learning more about Horne - he may indeed be the real deal. And if we want to even pretend to be competitive, we've got to at least put forth challengers in the 18 Republican-held Kerry districts.

Posted at 02:49 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-03: DCCC Poll Shows King Vulnerable, But Still No Challenger

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Steve Singiser, here's this Newsday story on a poll commissioned by the DCCC and Suffolk County Legislator David Bishop. Incumbent Republican Peter King leads Bishop 55-37, but apparently, those numbers flip-flop after respondents were asked "a series of questions linking King to Bush."

I'm not going to hang my hat on the results of a one-sided "message-testing" poll. But it does confirm something a lot of us have suspected for a long time: Peter King survives only on his phony "moderate" image, and Long Island voters would be more than happy to turn him out of office if only they knew how much of a Bush shill he is. I think a strong, well-funded challenger could make those charges stick. Add to that a) a strong Democratic election year and b) some killer Dem candidates at the top of the NY ballot and you've got a real chance to unseat King.

Right now, there's apparently a squabble between Bishop and the DCCC. But my ideal candidate for the race is Tom Suozzi. He's the best-known Dem on the island who isn't already in Congress. He's got money (or at least access to it) and an organization. Considering that a new Quinnipiac poll just yesterday put him down 69-11 in a Dem primary against Spitzer, this would seem to be the smart move for him.

Posted at 12:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New York | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, December 05, 2005

TX-22: Delay Getting Crushed by "Democrat"

Posted by DavidNYC

Tim at the DNC has word of a new CNN/Gallup poll on the race to unseat Tom DeLay (registered voters, no trendlines):

"Democrat": 49
DeLay: 36
(MoE: ±4%)

Nick Lampson is Tom DeLay's only Dem opponent, so I don't know why Gallup didn't just use his name. But nonetheless, this is very encouraging news for our side, especially coming on the same day as a judge refusing to throw out money-laundering charges against DeLay. (I thought the judge's decision on the conspiracy charge was absurd, but I'll take what I can get.)

Though generic party names tend to poll better than individuals, bear this in mind: The poll also found DeLay with a 37-52 favorability rating. And this is in a district that Bush won over Kerry by 64-36. Youch! (A little aside: This district got less Republican after Tom DeLay's illegal redistricting scheme got forced through. DeLay gave up some of his Republican voters for other neighboring districts. In 2000, TX-22 went for Bush over Gore 67-33.)

Bottom line: Tom DeLay is out as majority leader, and soon enough, he's gonna be out of Congress altogether. Hell, maybe he'll follow the Dukester's lead and just bail now.

Posted at 07:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, December 03, 2005

House Race Comebacks

Posted by DavidNYC

I've already posted about Mark Nickolas's effort to get Ken Lucas to make a comeback. Here are a couple of other related tidbits:

• Democrat Chris John, who lost a Senate bid last year, says he won't run for his old seat, LA-07.

• And in still some more comeback news, The Hotline is reporting that Ron Klink may try to retake his old seat, PA-04, though my understanding is that redistricting has changed the contours of this district.

If you've got any other House race news, post it in the comments.

And, of course, please help out the Young campaign in CA-48 - the special election is on Tuesday. You can do virtual phone banking or volunteer in person. Also, you can check out their live Q&A feature which they've just launched.

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 01, 2005

AZ-08: More Candidates Getting into the Mix

Posted by DavidNYC

With Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) retiring, there's now a big scramble among people wanting to replace him in this pretty evenly split district (40-R, 35-D, 25-I). Here's the current list of possibles. On the Republican side:

Conservative former state Rep. Randy Graf gave Kolbe a strong primary challenge in 2004, calling for a hard crackdown on illegal immigration. Arizona's border is the nation's busiest for such activity.


Graf effectively has kept running since 2004, with support among border-area ranchers and others irate over the continued illegal immigration and worried terrorists could cross the border too.

Other possible GOP candidates include Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, state Rep. Steve Huffman, state Sen. Tim Bee and Mike Hellon, a former national committeeman. Carroll and Bee, a potential Arizona Senate president, have said their considering running.

And for the Dems:

As for the Democrats, state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords resigned Thursday under a state-required law to run. Former Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy, who lost to Kolbe in 1998 by the narrowest margin since the early 1980s, said he's thinking about it too.

Among others mentioned: Eva Bacal, whom Kolbe defeated last year; Tim Sultan, who lost the primary to Bacal, and attorney Fred DuVal, a former aide to President Clinton and unsuccessful congressional candidate in northern Arizona. Jeff Latas, a former Air Force pilot, already has filed.

I know the DCCC is still updating their House race index, but they haven't yet added Latas to the list in AZ-08. No matter what, though, that's the site to keep checking to keep tabs on who's in and who's out.

(Tip to smokeymonkey.)

Posted at 07:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

KY-04: Draft Ken Lucas

Posted by DavidNYC

If you don't know who Ken Lucas is, he's the popular former congressman who used to represent Kentucky's 4th CD - and I say "popular" because he won re-election three times as a Democrat in a district that Bush carried 61-37 over Gore in 2000. In 2004, however, Lucas honored a self-imposed term limit pledge and chose not to run again.

Unfortunately, his replacement turned out to be a total Republican troglodyte (surprise) named Geoff Davis. Davis beat conservative Dem Nick Clooney, father of George, in something of a marquee race last year - but only by ten points. That's pretty far off Bush's victory margin (which I believe was better than his 2000 results). That tells me a conservative Democrat can do better than expected in this district.

And that's why Mark Nickolas, founder of the indispensible Bluegrass Report, has created a new website, DraftKenLucas.com. Mark believes that Lucas could unseat Davis next year, and he's hoping to lure him out of retirement to do so. If you're interested in helping in this effort, click on over to Mark's site and sign up. It looks like he'll be organizing all manner of activities to help pursuade Lucas to get back in the game - and if Lucas does decide to run once more, Mark's team of grassroots volunteers will form a ready-made army.

Let me be totally clear on one thing: Lucas is a conservative guy. I'll wager that he's to the right of many of this site's readers, myself included. In fact, according to Prof. Keith Poole's highly respected rankings, Lucas was the fourth-most conservative Dem in the House in his final term. But I've always been a strong believer in big-tent politics, and when it comes to the House especially, we simply aren't going to gain a majority that consists of 250 Sherrod Browns or Pete Starks. It's going to take a diverse coalition of all kinds of Dems.

Let me put things another way: Geoff Davis has already shown himself to be one of the most conservative Republicans so far this year. If you want to know just how wretched he is, check out the left-hand sidebar on Mark's new site. But really, Davis's remarks on Rep. Murtha are about all you need to read to know how badly he's gotta be booted:

I think it's important to understand the political climate in which these shameful statements have been made. Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, as well as Abu Musab Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can't do that there, so they've brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress. And, frankly, the liberal leadership have put politics ahead of sound, fiscal and national security policy. And what they have done is cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies.

So again I say, Ken Lucas might not conform to your idea of the ideal Democrat. But we're talking about a conservative House district in a red state, not a presidential nominee. No matter what, Lucas is better than Davis - and he can beat him. Let's do our best to help that happen.

Posted at 06:09 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

PA-06: Gerlach Can't Count - To the Tune of $2.2M

Posted by DavidNYC

A little background: Pennsylvania's 6th CD is one of our best pickup opportunities this cycle - Superribbie, for one, ranks it 6th overall. The district went narrowly for Gore in 2000. Our challenger is Lois Murphy; the incumbent is Republican Jim Gerlach.

Alright, so this is kind of an amazing story. At least, I can't recall anything quite like it. Just read:

A million here, a million there, and soon you have a real political war chest.

Or maybe not.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) conceded yesterday that Gerlach had overstated his campaign receipts for this year by $2.2 million.

But it was all a clerical and computer error, campaign spokesman Mark Campbell said.

A clerical error AND a computer error? Oh, that's good. Some flunky entered the wrong number into an Excel spreadsheet AND the software also malfunctioned. Guys, at least keep your phony excuses simple, okay?

The Murphy camp has filed a complaint with the FEC. Unfortunately, FEC "enforcement actions" are pretty toothless (if and when they ever happen). But the sheer embarassment of being off by $2.2 million should give this story the legs it deserves. At the very least, itll be good for a few snarky political ads and a good joke or two in any debate.

More on the Murphy complaint here and here.

Posted at 09:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 28, 2005

AZ-08: Kolbe (R) Retiring

Posted by DavidNYC

I missed this one b/c it hit right before Thanksgiving, but it's important news: Republican incumbent Jim Kolbe, who represents Arizona's 8th CD, is retiring. This is big because Kolbe has long been quite popular, but AZ-08 is otherwise a very close district. In fact, it's the third-most Dem district in AZ, going for Bush by just 53-46.5 over Kerry. (Gore did even better, losing by just two points.)

Kolbe is the fifth Republican incumbent to retire this term. (Jonathan Singer lists the other four here.) This is the sort of race we simply must be competitive in. Though the DCCC doesn't list any candidates, ActBlue indicates that Jeff Latas, a former Air Force fighter pilot, has already thrown his hat into the ring.

Doubtless other names will soon surface, now that Kolbe's departing - and even MoveOn is soliciting "nominations" for candidates to replace the incumbent. (Looks basically like a straw poll, though it's not clear if MoveOn plans to release a finally tally.) Anyhow, this seat just moved on to the list of interesting races. It's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Posted at 01:47 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-05: Taking a Look at Rep. Nancy Johnson (R)

Posted by DavidNYC

It seems like a crime that three of Connecticut's five House seats are occupied by Republicans. With any luck, that'll change next year - and if we have any hope of ever retaking the House, it had better change. Anyhow, most attention has focused on CT-02 and CT-04 so far, but Goldrick explicates an op-ed column on the race in CT-05, currently held by Republican Nancy Johnson. He concludes that Johnson can be beaten, not least of all because her challenger, Democrat Chris Murphy, has already raised a quarter mil. But don't take my word for it - check out Goldrick's diary.

Posted at 01:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-05: Bush Family Demands Show of Loyalty from Hayworth

Posted by DavidNYC

You could call it a run-of-the-mill flip-flop. Or, if you take my view, Don Georgeleone is simply demanding that the undertaker, Bonahayworth, demonstrate his loyalty to the family.

Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Republican incumbent representing AZ-05, just a few weeks ago:

IMUS: Would you just answer my question, would you like [President Bush] to come to Arizona and cut campaign commercials and run them on those TV stations everywhere?

REP. HAYWORTH: In a word, no. At this time.

J.D. Hayworth now:

Despite his earlier statements that the president's slipping popularity make him such a political liability that he didn't want him campaigning for him, Representative J.D. Hayworth will be at President Bush's side when he visits Arizona tomorrow.

Oh, but listen to him scramble!

"If a year is a lifetime in politics, then two weeks has to be (worth) at least a decade," Hayworth said last week on Valley radio station KFYI (520 AM).

Tell us, J.D., what exactly changed in those two weeks? You're still an extreme wingnut. You're district is still only modestly Republican - it went for Bush by only a 54-45 margin. So tell me, how does spending time with President Albatross help you in your re-election campaign against Larry King? (No, not that Larry King. Click the link.)

The answer, of course, to that last question is, not at all. Hayworth is being bear-hugged into submission here. The King campaign better make sure it gets plenty of video of Hayworth with his Don, because it'll make for some great ad footage.

Posted at 12:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, November 25, 2005

OH-02: Primary Challengers for Schmidt?

Posted by DavidNYC

Man. You win a much tougher-than-expected special election in a heavily Republican district and you figure, finally, I've got it made. I'm sure that was exactly the sigh of relief that Jean Schmidt breathed when she narrowly defeat Paul Hackett in August. Her seat should be safe for as long as she likes, right?

Not so fast. It's not just Democrats who are piling on Schmidt for her odious slander of Rep. John Murtha. Republicans are getting in the act, too - and some are not content to let her keep that OH-02 seat all to herself.

But one of Schmidt's fellow Republicans, state Rep. Tom Brinkman, suggested she was out of line.

"I think there is a certain decorum that people are supposed to use on the House floor, just like we do in Columbus," said Brinkman, who lost the Republican primary to Schmidt in June and is considering a rematch against her next year. (Emphasis added.)

According to Josh Marshall, a second potential challenger has been mooting a primary run as well. I think there's every chance in the world that Schmidt will lose.

But you know, I rather like having Mean Jean around. As the publisher of The Hill noted:

"We have said innumerable times that she would go to Washington and open her mouth and create an embarrassment," said Jim Schifrin, the newsletter's publisher. "She will say things that turn people off like nothing you've ever seen."

Anyone who gets Harold Ford, Jr.'s blood up is actually good for our side. No matter how burned she feels right now, and no matter how cautious Schmidt thinks she'll be in the future, I doubt she's capable of changing. I mean, she had the bad sense (or compulsion) to slander the very senior Rep. Murtha, a Marine, in barely her third month in office. I think she's gonna be the gift that keeps on giving.

Posted at 04:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OH-18: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Poster

Posted by DavidNYC

If Bob Ney is the poster-boy for Abramoffian corruption in the House (and you thought it was Tom DeLay!), then, as Jesse Lee says, we're gonna need a bigger poster. All of these stories are from just the last two days:

Rep. Ney Becomes Example in Abramoff Probe [AP]

Plea Deal Ties Ney to Second Tribe [Roll Call] (sub. req.)

Ney’s Troubles Are Mounting [Roll Call] (sub. req.)

If you want to see excerpts from the two Roll Call pieces, head over to the Stakeholder. And start working on that poster.

Posted at 01:27 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Introducing DistrictBlogs.com

Posted by DavidNYC

We've been talking a lot about single-district blogs here lately (see here and here). I'm pleased to announce that SSP reader Chris has launched a great new site to help organize this entire effort, DistrictBlogs.com.

Right now, DistrictBlogs does two main things. First, it aggregates feeds from already-existing single-district blogs, like OH-02 or Dump Mike. Second, it allows people who want to start their own district blogs to create one right away, hosted at DistrictBlogs. The combination of these two features means that DB has the potential to become a very powerful district-level tool.

Chris is looking for feedback on the site, so if you have any thoughts, please e-mail him. Also, if you have a single-district blog and you'd like your feed to be part of DistrictBlogs, let Chris know so he can add you.

Posted at 03:33 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

TX-22: DeLay's Leadership Spot Looking Dicey

Posted by DavidNYC

According to Hotline On Call, Denny Haster told Tom DeLay that he'd hold the wolves at bay until the new year. That is, no leadership election would be held to permanently replace DeLay as majority leader if he extricated himself from legal trouble by January. DeLay had his fingers crossed that the judge overseeing his case would dismiss the charges, but no such luck.

The fact is, criminal charges are very rarely dismissed before trial. Why? A judge can't reach a decision on the facts - that's the jury's job. (Unless you've waived your right to a jury trial.) So that means a charge can only be dismissed if somehow it's malformed (eg, doesn't include a necessary element of the crime), or if there is no way any reasonable jury could ever convict (eg, the activity simply isn't covered by the charge in question). Neither are mistakes that a competent, experienced prosecutor like Ronnie Earle is likely to make. On that basis, I feel like Hotline should probably not have passed along anonymous, self-serving spin with apparently no legal or factual arguments to back it up.

Anyhow, at best that bit of misdirection from Tom DeLay bought him a single day, because the judge said that he wouldn't rule on the motion to dismiss the charges until at least December, and that a trial wouldn't be possible until January. So that means DeLay will lose his leadership post - an extra embarassment to deal with in his race against Nick Lampson. If you are interested in the inside baseball of the Republican majority leader race, check out that first Hotline post linked above.

Posted at 03:10 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

KY-03: Do We Have a Challenger?

Posted by DavidNYC

Some potentially VERY exciting news out of Kentucky's third district. Just a few days ago, it looked like three different top-tier names had declined to run against incumbent Republican Anne Northup, even though her district offers favorable demographics to a Democratic challenger. However, Mark Nickolas of the BluegrassReport is hearing that one of the guys who had previously turned down a chance to run, State Sen. Gerald Neal, may have changed his mind.

Hopefully this bit of news will indeed turn out to be true. If so, I expect that Mark will fill us in with all the details we need to know about Sen. Neal.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 21, 2005

CT-02: "Moderate" Rob Simmons Tells Constituents to Shut Up

Posted by DavidNYC

I always grit my teeth when I hear a Republican described as a "moderate." In modern American political parlance, "moderate" Republican means "right-wing, but not totally insane right-wing" Republican. In other words, it's a total bullshit concept, ginned up by a media which loves to play sides against each other and handicap those various make-believe factions in some mythical horserace.

Rob Simmons is one such Republican "moderate" - House GOP leaders are smart enough to let Simmons play "catch-and-release" on controversial votes to hide his true leanings from his constituents. But his real stripes shone through the other day with his remarks about opponents of the Iraq War and even Rep. John Murtha. This is what Rob Simmons is all about:

On Rep. Murtha: "This is a guy, who like me, is a Vietnam veteran. I assume he knows how demoralizing it can be to soldiers in the field to have people back home questioning the value of their mission when people are getting wounded and killed.... He should know better."

On Congressional debate: "It's appropriate for Congress to have these conversations, but not in public. It conveys a bad message to our troops and our opponents."

On war critics: Simmons said that anti-war politics "undermines their [veterans'] cause and degrades their heroic service and sacrifice."

No doubt many of Rob Simmons' constituents oppose our continued engagement in Iraq. His message to them: Shut up, stop attacking our troops, we shouldn't even be talking about this. Yep, sounds like a real moderate to me.

P.S. This district went for Kerry 54-44. And Simmons has a very strong challenger this year (the same guy who pulled in 46% of the vote against him in 2002, which was a weak Dem year), former State Rep. Joe Courtney. This seat should absolutely, totally be ours - and Rob Simmons just helped make our job easier with his unacceptable remarks.

Posted at 06:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-18: And Representative #1 Is...

Posted by DavidNYC

In case you haven't seen the news yet, Tom DeLay bagman extraordinaire Mike Scanlon (I think that makes him a bagman's bagman - how sad) just copped a guilty plea with federal prosecutors over his role in fleecing Indian tribes who were trying to lobby Congress. The flipside to all this, of course, are the bribes doled out to greedy Congressman - and the fallout that's soon to ensue.

Like the Libby indictment, some key players in Scanlon's indictment go unnamed. But just like everyone knows that Libby's "Official A" is Karl Rove, "Representative #1" in the Scanlon case is none other than Rep. Bob Ney, Republican of Ohio. Ney is claiming he was an innocent dupe of Scanlon's, and also claims he's cooperating with the prosecutor. But Libby "cooperated," too, and the result was a perjury charge.

The bigger deal is that Scanlon is cooperating, and he seems like the kind of guy who'll gladly screw his superiors if it'll help his cause. (Check out the excerpts from his brazen e-mails at the link above.) My federal white collar crime prof. thinks that it's hard to get these guys to flip, because the Republican establishment fanatically worships loyalty above any other virute, and if you betray your superiors, you'll never get another GOP job. That may be true, but only up to a point. If the choice is prison time vs. no prison time, that has a way of making people talk.

And I think Scanlon's gonna squawk indeed, and I think Bob Ney is seriously screwed.

Posted at 05:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, November 20, 2005

LA-02/06: Katrina Changes the Demographics

Posted by DavidNYC

Regular SSP commenter Mark asks an interesting question:

I'll start with LA-06. From what I've heard, tens of thousands of evacuees, mostly African-Americans, are now living in the Baton Rouge area. It's very likely that many will remain there next year at this time. If that's the case, will they required to vote absentee in LA-02? Or will they be allowed to vote in LA-06? If they are allowed to vote in LA-06, I think it creates a unique opportunity to unseat slimeball House member Richard Baker, who famously pontificated that Katrina was God's way of taking care of New Orleans' public housing. With tens of thousands of New Orleans public housing expatriates now living in his district, that strikes me as a rather mind-blowingly stupid thing to say. I can only hope it proves LETHALLY stupid.

On the other hand, what happens to William Jefferson in LA-02? From what I've seen of news footage, New Orleans has pretty much become an all-white town post-Katrina, save for the thousands of Hispanic workers of whom the vast majority will probably be unlikely to have voting rights next year. If New Orleans population is unable to get back at least 100,000 of its African-Americans, does Jefferson have a chance of re-election?

Jefferson won by 79-21 last time out, so I doubt he's endangered. Baker didn't fare much worse, winning by a 72-19 tally (with a second Dem candidate pulling 9%). However, district 2 (Jefferson's) is much more Democratic than district 6 is Republican. LA-02 went to Kerry by a whopping 75-24 margin. LA-06 is still a pretty strong GOP district, but it went for Bush by 59-40.

If 2006 is at all like 1994, then LA-06 would be winnable, especially given its rapid and largely unprecedented change in demographics. But I don't think 2006 will be quite as big as 1994. Nonetheless, the tide is on our side, and the new(ish) LA-06 presents an interesting opportunity for an energetic candidate to make a good showing. Right now, no one's stepped up to the plate there. I hope that changes soon.

Posted at 05:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Louisiana | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Blog in Every District, Part 2

Posted by DavidNYC

Last week, I endorsed Kossack Peacenik23's idea for a blog in every district. Today, I'm gonna highlight a few (though I won't be including individual campaign blogs). Have a look:

Take 19 - Devoted to ousting Republican Sue Kelly from New York's 19th district, not far north of New York City.

Dump Mike - Targeting Republican Mike Ferguson in the NJ-07, which is also not far from NYC.

OH-12 - Names don't get much clearer than this. The incumbent here is Republican Pat Tiberi. I'm especially touched by this effort, because Brian Guilfoos (the author) specifically cited my original post as his inspiration. Awesome!

11th District Demolition - Heh, nice name. They're gonna "demolish" Thaddeus McCotter, the Republican incumbent in MI-11.

Say No to Pombo - A name that would make Nancy Reagan proud, after a fashion. The notoriously corrupt Richard Pombo currently spreads his odiousness in CA-11.

Dump Doolittle - Goal: Get rid of John Doolittle from CA-04. Oh, and have you guys met Dump Mike yet?

If you know of any others, please let us know in comments. And if your district doesn't appear to have one but ought to, start a blog! Blogger (aka Blogspot) is free and super-easy to use. There's no time like the present.

Posted at 02:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (20) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Thursday, November 17, 2005

KY-03: Democratic Recruiting Woes

Posted by DavidNYC

This is the kind of stuff I really hate to see. Kentucky's third district, which encompasses Louisville, is one of those rare CDs which went for Kerry (admittedly narrowly) but is held by a Republican. It should be a prime target for us. The current holder of that seat, Anne Northup, won re-election by just 52-48 in 2002, in fact. Though a weaker candidate got crushed last year, 2006 is shaping up to be the sort of year where a Republican incumbent with a recent history of winning narrowly in a lean-Dem district ought to be very, very endangered.

Unfortunately, two top potential challengers - including the guy who almost beat Northup three years ago, and the son of a former governor - have bowed out in the last week. And prior to all this, a state senator has also declined to run.

I know that running any kind of campaign is tough. And when you're running in a red state against an incumbent, it's even worse: It's brutal and expensive; you'll be the subject of endless cheap shots and unfair attacks, which the media will repeat, free of charge; and after countless days of making fundraising phone calls, you'll probably feel a bit demeaned. Plus your kids will probably wonder where you disappeared to for the better part of a year. Like I say, I have no illusions about how horribly hard this endeavour is.

But I also think that passing up this opportunity is one that these guys might really regret. No one is being asked to take on a suicide mission here. The DCCC itself is getting involved in recruitment, which suggests that they plan to offer financial support as well. The lay of the land here is favorable to us. Republicans nationwide are running away from Bush as fast as they can. And like I say, if 2006 is the big Dem year that everyone - even many on the right - are expecting, that'll be enough to nudge anyone over the top.

Superribbie had this seat all the way up at #11 on his first list of vulnerable GOP districts. Unfortunately, with no challenger, he had to remove it entirely with his second installation. It would be sad indeed if this state of affairs continues much longer. I hope some of the top names reconsider. It would be well worth their while.

Posted at 10:13 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Kentucky | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 14, 2005

CO-04: Bush Doing Musgrave Fundraiser

Posted by DavidNYC

While it's easy to despise just about any Republican these days, Marilyn Musgrave holds a special place in the hearts of most liberals, thanks to her frothing, borderline-insane hatred of gays (it's the only issue she ever talks about). In 2004, Stan Matsunaka gave Musgrave a good run for her money, but came up short. However, the margin is a bit misleading. Stan lost 51-45, but 4% of the vote went to a Green Party candidate, which hints, of course, that the left-wing vote in Colorado's fourth district may be a lot closer to 50 percent than to 45.

CO's 4th district is pretty rural and conservative - it went for Bush over Gore by 56-37 (I don't have the Kerry numbers). So it's a real testament to Matsunaka that he was able to do as well as he did (and to pin down Musgrave and prevent her from raising money for her colleagues). On the other hand, is CO-04 so conservative that Marilyn's constituents will welcome a visit from George Bush? Especially when so many Republicans are running away from G-Dub as fast as they can?

The Stakeholder is aptly calling this their "Radioactivity Watch" - what kind of fallout, if any, will there be from Bush campaigning across the country? Musgrave has been a dominant fundraiser, while her challenger, Angie Paccione, trails by quite a bit. And Bush is still great at pulling in the bucks - Musgrave will no doubt be in an even stronger financial position after Bush sweeps through town. But what price do those dollars come at? Will Paccione be able to use the event to tie the Bush albatross around Musgrave's neck? I sure hope so.

P.S. Geiger counters going berserk: New Gallup poll says "Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues."

Posted at 05:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Colorado | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Superribbie's House Race Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, how did I miss this? Superribbie has two updates to his seminal list of competitive house races. Vulnerable Republican-held seats are listed here, Dem-held seats are listed here. Unlike last time, when he just posted a straight list, Super actually provides some color commentary on every single race on the list. I consider this my first go-to resource when evaluating house races. If you are at all interested in the topic (and I'm sure you are), check it out.

Posted at 03:43 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Blog in Every District

Posted by DavidNYC

Peacenik23 at DKos has the right idea: There ought to be a blog for every House district in the nation. Now, granted, some uber-safe Dem seats could probably afford to be last on the list of priorities. But I like the idea of localization and specialization.

Sites like Swing State can only cover so much, and only in so much depth. And sites like OurCongress, while great for covering premier races, would get swamped if people started filing reports from hundreds of districts. But local folks naturally tend to know the most about local races. (Chris Bowers likes to talk about this concept, too.) They are best-suited to track developments on the ground and research the nitty-gritty of each race.

I don't think this can really be a "project" per se - I don't think it would be fruitful to try to go around organizing 435 different blogs. Rather, I simply think that people should be encouraged to start up blogs on their home districts, especially if one does not already exist. Anyone who does so should still also be encouraged to cross-post their best stuff at OurCongress and MyDD - Jerome and Markos can worry about overload if and when that becomes a problem - or post a comment in the weekly open thread here (or e-mail me). And if you wanted to find a way to unify these sorts of blogs, you could create some kind of aggregate RSS feed.

In that vein, Peacenik is off to a good start at IL-10. Unlike most blogs, I don't think this variety need to be updated daily (though if you feel the urge to post often, don't let that stop you). Everyone realizes that blog-worthy stuff doesn't happen every day in every district. Just as long as you cover the key stuff, you'll be providing an excellent resource. And I am sure the Dem campaigns you'll be covering will be thrilled if you reach out to them. So if it's something you're thinking about, go for it - after all, Blogger is free.

P.S. I am remiss in not mentioning Dump Mike, one of the first such blogs, devoted entirely to NJ-07 and getting ride of the odious Mike Ferguson.

Posted at 12:47 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Illinois | Comments (15) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Sunday, November 06, 2005

CA-50: Indictments Coming Soon for the Dukestir?

Posted by DavidNYC

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R) - embroiled in so many scandals to the point that Tom DeLay is starting to get jealous - has already said he won't run for re-election next fall. But the man is worse than damaged goods, and it looks like he may be just the next Republican to get indicted, joining The Bugman, Scooter Libby, practically everyone who works for Ernie Fletcher, Jack Abramoff, Tom Noe... man, I'm running out of breath here. Check this out:

There are rumblings in Washington that the [grand jury] investigation could be coming to a head. A source close to the investigation contends that prosecutors are "ready to go."

The source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, has been involved in the case since it began, predicted indictments could be coming soon.

Now, DeLay has decided to hold on to his seat despite his indictment, but some of his fellow Republicans are allegedly incensed by that decision, and I don't blame `em - who wants that kind of albatross for a necklace? But while DeLay can probably sink his nails in and cling to life, Cunningham doesn't have a friend in the world. If he has any brains, he'll resign if he's indicted - why would he want to be criminally indicted lame-duck Congressman for a year?

So, question: If the Dukestir does step down, is there enough time for a special election in CA-50? Or will they just keep the seat open until Nov. 2006? It's a matter of state law, but my guess is the former - most states are content to have special elections just months before a general election (see Stephanie Herseth in June, 2004, for example).

Though the Duke won re-election by 58-37 last year, the district is closer than that. Bush carried it by only a 55-44 margin (sub. req.) over Kerry, which actually makes California's sixth-most competitive district. With a big Dem tide, that gap can easily be overcome by even a halfway-decent Democrat.

Right now, we're looking at a reprise by Cunningham's 2004 challenger, Francine Busby. If indictments do indeed get handed down soon, she may be facing an election much sooner than she anticipated. I plan to keep my eye on this one.

P.S. I got my "President Vote by Congressional District" from Dave Leip's absolutely invaluable Atlas of US Presidential Elections. He provides much of his information for free, but certain things (like the by-CD info) require a paid membership so that he can sustain his site. It's only $25/year (or $15 if you're a student, like myself), so I heartily recommend it if you are a serious political junkie.

(Indictment story via anisozet.)

Posted at 07:01 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Comments (3) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Survey of New Hampshire

Posted by DavidNYC

Last year, New Hampshire provided a rare bright spot for Dems nationwide. For one, it was the only state which switched from red to blue on the presidential front. For another, Democrat John Lynch ousted the sitting governor, Republican Craig Benson - and Lynch, too, was the only Dem to oust a GOP governor that year. It marked a nice turn-around from the huge disappointment of two years earlier, when Jeanne Shaheen lost the race for an open senate seat to (shudder) John Sununu, Jr. Of course, nothing can ever soothe our wounds from 2000, when the combined Gore + Nader vote exceeded the total Bush vote... gah. But anyhow. Back to the present.

Like in neighboring Vermont, where Howard Dean seemed to have served 17 terms in a 5-year span, the New Hampshire governorship has a very short tenure - just two years. So Lynch is up for re-election next fall. The good news is that New Hampshirites love him. The University of New Hampshire's just-released new poll (PDF) gives him a whopping 71-9 job approval rating. (Bob Taft must be thinking, "Surely you mean 9-71?") Believe it or not, that's up 10 points from the last poll (in July). These findings are backed up by Survey USA, which shows Lynch at 70-21 - good enough for fourth-best in the nation and tops among Democrats. I have no doubt Lynch will be safe in 2006.

On the flipside, things aren't looking so hot for the members of the state's all-Republican Congressional delegation. I've come to the conclusion that it's pretty rare for sitting senators to have low or negative approval ratings - even Mr. Irrelevant (in this case, Li'l Ricky Santorum) manages to eke out a 45-48 rating. So I think you've gotta look at things on some sort of relative basis. With this in mind, it ain't exactly peachy for the NH GOP.

The odious cheapskate Sen. Judd Gregg (already a multi-millionaire, he just won $800K playing Powerball - can you believe it? - a day after voting against increasing the minimum wage) has a nifty +38 net approval - but that's his lowest mark in the four years UNH has been asking that question, and down 15 points from his high just over a year ago. Similarly, Sen. John Sununu is at +22, down 9 points from his recent high. Unfortunately, neither of these guys is up for re-election for a while.

But here's where it gets interesting. UNH also polled the state's two Representatives, which is nice to see because you don't get independent data on members of the House all that often. Turns out one of the few lucky bastards is incumbent Rep. Jeb Bradley (1st CD), whose favorability has increased of late. (That's not the interesting bit.) However, NH's other Congressman, Charlie Bass (2nd CD), is hurtin'. Bass stands at +24 in his home district, but that's waaay down from July of 2004 when he was at +41. A seventeen-point drop is something to get worried about.

UNH states what is no doubt obvious to all: That NH's GOPers are being hurt by Bush's poor approval - 37-61 at last count. I think the stench of endemic Republican corruption may also be playing a role here. Bradley, the less-endangered of the two Congressman, actually felt the need to give back fiifteen grand in tainted DeLay cash. Bass, who will probably face a stiff challenge, has decided to keep $7500 DeLay StinkyBucks (TM).

The Granite Prof. obliquely suggests that the reverse of the CW might be true - that Bradley caved on the StinkyBucks because he might be more at risk. I just think Bradley is smarter than Bass - and when you're in a safer seat, it's easier to give back money. Speaking of which, Bass's district went for Kerry in 2004, making him one of the few GOPers to hold a Democratic district. Superribbie puts Bass at #22 on his list of the most vulnerable House Republicans.

Now, Bass did win by a 20% margin in 2004. But if 2006 is a big Dem year - and I expect it will be - that's the kind of gap that can be overcome. Why do I say this? Because shifts like this have happened in the past in this very district. In 1992, Dick Swett, the Democrat who represented NH-02, won by a whopping 62-36 margin. One term later, in the Year of the Newt, Swett lost to a guy named - yep, you guessed it - Charlie Bass by a tally of 51-46. If the GOP can move 31 points in two years, then we can definitely move 20.

I'm not sure how the Dem side of things will shape up - it looks like 2004 challenger Paul Hodes is going to run again - but this race will definitely be one to watch.

(UNH poll via the Democratic Governors Association. Good material on the site, but time to start a blog, fellas.)

Posted at 12:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - State, New Hampshire | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

OH-04: More on Oxley

Posted by DavidNYC

Mike Oxley, the Republican who represents Ohio's 4th CD, will be retiring. Doubtless he'll wind up with a nice sinecure. But even though his own seat was surely safe, I'll bet he read the writing on the wall and realized that there was no guarantee that he'd still be in the majority in 2007. And he won't be the last Republican incumbent with a lot of seniority to bail this election cycle.

So what's OH-04 like? Well, a bit like OH-02, at least on the raw numbers. According to the AP, John Kerry only got 34% of the vote here. However, while Rob Portman won his last election by a margin of 72-28, Oxley got a somewhat stiffer challenge from Ben Konop, winning by "only" 59-41. (Konop, you may recall, got a decent bit of attention from the blogosphere - he was a late addition to the DKos Dozen.)

I don't know whether Konop will run again, but I think he definitely should. Retirements like this are exactly why you first run longshot campaigns against entrenched incumbents. You build up name rec, enhance your reputation and then are well