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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 | Technorati

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I guess I should have waited and posted my Iowa senate district 31 comments in this thread, as they're more pertinent. As I don't want to little the place with repetitive messages, I'll just link to the last thread (my comment is the last there).


Posted by: James B [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 4, 2006 07:24 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The Des Moines Register ran a story last week saying that enthusiasm for the gubernatorial primary was very low, which portends disaster in the fall as well, particularly if that sentiment is national. Culver has a lead in the primary field, but as I've suggested so far, his support is the thinnest. If his supporters stay home on Tuesday, Blouin could very easily win. I pontificated the advantages and disadvantages of both candidates (and Fallon) last weekend. I'm not sure whether Culver or Blouin would prove to be stronger against Nussle, but in the short term, I'd be happy with either one.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 4, 2006 11:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hi everyone, I was not sure where to put this message, but in this thread seamed as good a place as any. I just finished a 1/2 hour of phone banking through MoveOn.org for the Francine Busby campaign. http://political.moveon.org/phone/volunteer/
(The link is from Mydd.) I would have gone longer but I have to recharge my phone. I just wanted to let everyone know how easy it was. It seems we are calling Busby supporters to remind them to vote more than convincing people to vote for Francine, which i personally hate doing and I'm sure a lot of you fellow readers do as well. But this was very easy and as I said, the people generally seem happy to hear from you that people are working for Francine and a lot of them have already voted. I hope some of you decide to help out in this manner who are not close enough to help out through the actual campaign.
P.S. I did it from outside Philadelphia.

Posted by: stebu [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 4, 2006 04:24 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Now Randa is running a push poll against McCoy, right before the primary.


Posted by: James B [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2006 10:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment