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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

MT-Sen: Optimism in the Tester Camp

Posted by James L.

Matt Singer of Left in the West gives a personal anecdote on why the Tester camp is feeling upbeat today:

Yesterday, after spending the day at work, I reviewed historical turnout numbers. I spoke with a friend about the size of the two paid media operations. I felt like vomiting. I was terrified, terrified because despite how things felt like they were going, I’ve seen too many victories slip away.

That was before I hit the phones.

Understand this, I’m calling Yellowstone County. The most prominent Democratic official in Yellowstone County hasn’t just endorsed John Morrison. He’s serving as his treasurer and has been working hard for him. This is supposed to be among our worst territories.

Twenty calls in and I can’t find anyone voting against us. A friend of mine running another phone bank across town calls, excited. He’s talked to twenty people. He’s got 19 Tester supporters and one person voting for Morrison.

The numbers start piling up. By the end of the night, our phone bank has talked to 150 live ones and left hundreds more messages. Tester supporters outnumber Morrison supporters 4-to-1. If you give Tester the “undecided” voters who have said they lean our way and give Morrison the rest of the undecided voters, we’re up 5-to-2. The margins are unreal. And our people are excited.

We call it a night at 8:45. I talk to a friend on the other side of the state. His calls are going the same way, overwhelmingly favoring Tester.

I hear from someone who knows a Morrison volunteer. Her list in Helena struck out. People are even telling the Morrison campaign that they are voting for Tester.

Meanwhile, our volunteers in Helena can’t find Morrison supporters and our folks in Great Falls are getting positive feedback from across the state.

Honestly, this is my third cycle in Montana politics. I’ve made a lot of calls over the years. I’ve never literally felt like I was witnessing the ground shift under my feet the way it has felt here in recent weeks.

One week ago, calling on the same batch of lists we called on last night, our support-to-oppose ratio was 1:1 or maybe 3:2. Every night it has improved. We’re now talking close to 5:1.

The big question on everyone's mind is whether Tester's late surge will be enough to counter the apparent organizational advantages of Morrison's campaign (which started earlier, and with better funding throughout), not to mention Morrison's broader name recognition. I'm still expecting this one to be tight tonight, but stories like this one are great to hear.

Posted at 12:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

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