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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 | Technorati

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I think the netroots should conduct a last-minute fundraising campaign for Busby similar to the one that steered $140,000 to Ciro Rodriguez in the final days of his primary battle. I think the only thing that can prevent us from winning in CA-50 and taking back the House in November is the large Republican fundraising advantage. Right now Busby only has $91,766.98 on ActBlue. That is much less than Ned Lamont, Ciro Rodriguez, Joseph Sestak Jr. and Eric Massa have raised on ActBlue, and her election is only ONE WEEK AWAY! I think that's ridiculous and we should all pitch in to her campaign to make our goal one seat easier in November.

Posted by: SamKessler [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 29, 2006 09:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, if you think that Busby only raised $92k from the netroots, that's a little misleading. She's raised $92k on Actblue.com, yes, but she's also raised another $26k through DFA, and certainly more through her Moveon.org endorsement. But yeah, I hope that Busby gets all the resources she needs.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 29, 2006 09:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yes! You missed an important June 6th election...

NM-AG: With current Attorney General Patricia Madrid term limited out and running for Congress against Heather Wilson, the Democratic nomination is up for grabs. Former Asst. Atty. Gen. & former chief legal counsel to Governor Richardson Geno Zamora is facing off against conservative perenial candidate Gary King and Sandoval County D.A. Lemuel Martinez. This race will be a test of Richardson's continued strength in New Mexico. King and Zamora are considered the front runners. King, the son of a popular former governor, ran against Richardson for the Dem Gov nod in 2002 before dropping out at the state convention. Zamora has received backing from the Gov's major donors and having worked as his chief legal counsel, is clearly his favorite. Richardson and his allies are watching this race very closely - if Zamora can pull it off, Richardson's hand is strengthened moving into 2008. If King wins, he could be a thorn in Richardson's side when he goes national. Should be an interesting race to watch and I hope SSP and MyDD cover it on Election Day, at least!

Posted by: imaPROgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 30, 2006 09:37 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ooh! imaPROgressive, glad you caught that one! That definitely is a race to watch, especially considering Richardson's national potential!

As for the Montana senate . . . I'm certainly hoping for a Tester surge. In order to counter the charges of corruption against Conrad Burns, we need to run a candidate who is completely untainted. Morrison's recent scandal prevents us from having that strength against Burns, so it has to be Tester if we want to win!

I'm wondering . . . has Brian Schweitzer backed either of the senate candidates, or is he, like Mark Warner, staying out of it until someone is nominated? Just curious, if anyone knows.

Posted by: The Caped Composer [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 30, 2006 11:41 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Gov. Schweitzer has remained neutral. He held a fundraiser for both of them that said "Elect a Jo(h)n"

I'm hoping for a Tester win as well. Next week will be itneresting. I sure hope Tester and Busby come through.

Posted by: trowaman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 30, 2006 01:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for your posts on the CA races. Big LOL on your Angelides/Westly comment, also not amused at the tone of the campaign and hope it does not negatively impact the type of turnout that would profit Busby. I see both Angelides and LG Candidate Garamendi are listed on her Endorsements page (neither of whom I am supporting). Though I'm sure we Westly/Speier voters will give her support.

CA-42 (Yorba Linda) will be a tough one for any Dem, it is considerably more repub than CD-50:
2004 Presidential Vote
Bush (R) 164,998 (62%)
Kerry (D) 98,108 (37%)

2000 Presidential Vote
Bush (R) 139,655 (59%)
Gore (D) 92,169 (39%)

So, best of luck with this write-in campaign.

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 30, 2006 02:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The incumbent in CA-06 is Lynn Woolsey. The Lynn Woolsey/Dianne Feinstein hybrid you allude to will be on the market in early 2009 once the infrastructure is built out. (I kid.) For my myself, I have tired of Woolsey's complete inability to turn promotion into legislation--small bits of pork notwithstanding; her support and buck-passing for the nasty No Child Left Behind trip-up compounded that flaw.

Posted by: Eric Anderson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 31, 2006 01:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hehe, thanks Eric. I didn't catch that flub.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 31, 2006 07:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Actually, I thought it was an intentional joke, but then again, Woolsey is closer politically to Boxer than Feinstein. LOL.

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 31, 2006 10:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Please check out this political commentary on the status of the CD-50 race, by Professor Carl Luna (USD), appearing in the San Diego Union Tribune. It is insightful, hilarious and, he has changed his prediction from Bilbray by 2% to Busby by "a toe on the nose".

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 31, 2006 11:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

de nada, James!

Posted by: Eric Anderson [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2006 10:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment