2006 Elections - Senate Archive:


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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

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Chris Bowers has managed to score a stunning leak from the GOP: a seemingly full list (although it looks about a week out of date) of seats that the NRSC and NRCC are defending and targeting this cycle, complete with internal "rankings" of the likelihood of these seats changing hands.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

Friday, October 20, 2006

MO-Sen: Michael J. Fox's Powerful Message

Posted by James L.

It's not difficult to imagine the political fatigue of Missourians after months of negative ads cluttering the airwaves, but it's hard not to find a message like this resonant.

You can help Claire here.

Posted at 06:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 19, 2006

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

HOUSE RATINGS CHANGE:
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

Monday, October 16, 2006

CT-Sen: Schlesinger (R) Hits it Out of the Park

Posted by James L.

Or, at least, that's what I've been hearing about today's three-way debate between Ned Lamont, Joe Lieberman and Republican stalwart Alan Schlesinger. I was in class, but all of the post-debate reports I've read have said that Schlesinger projected intelligent, principled conservative ideas, genuine emotion, and spirit. If I were Joe Lieberman, I'd start getting nervous about chunks of Republicans returning home to vote for the principled conservative of this race: Alan Schlesinger.

Posted at 03:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 09, 2006

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CT-Sen: Cutest Ad Ever

Posted by James L.

Just watch:


Ain't nobody who can do it like Hillsman can.

Posted at 11:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 29, 2006

VA-Sen: Say Hello to Spitgate

Posted by James L.

First it was Macacagate. Then it was Deerheadgate, and, uh, Rugbygate. The slow drip of questions surrounding George Allen's racist past have turned into an all-out deluge this week with witness after witness stepping out of the woodwork and revealing more incidents of Allen's legacy of racism.

But forget about all that stuff for a moment. Lost in the shuffle of these explosive revelations is another one of Allen's nasty habits that speaks volumes to his character: George Allen likes to spit on women's feet. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but bear with me and say hello to Spitgate.

First, check out this Dailykos diary posted by a former writer for a Southwest Virginia newspaper to set the mood (emphasis added):

Mr. Allen visited our town to announce a major contract for the local defense plant. I was there because my editor had sent me. [...]

Governor Allen rode up in a big recreational vehicle. He looked so tall as he came out of the house-on-wheels. He was wearing a nice suit and his hair was neatly combed. He smiled and worked his way into the platoon of defense workers, who seemed to be all men. I looked around and realized I was the only female standing on the pavement in the sunshine. How about that?

I listened to what the governor was saying. My editor had told me Mr. Allen would talk about jobs and how wonderful this new defense contract was. I listened carefully, but the governor did not say a word about jobs. Instead, he made a few jokes with the workers, then he pulled a small, flat can from his jacket pocket. He asked if anybody else "dipped." One of the workers said yes, he dipped, but not the same brand, and all the men laughed.

Mr. Allen used his fingers to pinch out a clump of the finely chopped tobacco; he mashed it into his mouth and grinned, licking his lips. His bottom lip pooched out where he had lodged the tobacco. The other men chuckled like they were having a grand time.

Then the governor walked toward a building with some men who were not part of the platoon of workers. These other men were clearly Important; they wore suits. One of the suits had already told me I was not allowed to go into the building because a defense plant has Secrets.

I followed along as the governor walked, waiting to hear him say something about jobs. The situation began to look as if I would have to return to the newspaper office without hearing him say anything about "our fine workers." I didn't understand; I had to ask a question.

I stepped near the governor and smiled, told him my name and that I wrote for the local newspaper. Then I asked him a softball question, what some reporters call a "set-up."

"Does Southwest Virginia need these jobs?" I asked.

He stopped and looked straight at me. He had to look down at me, because he stood so tall in those cowboy boots. I thought I spotted a twinkle in his eye, and for a moment, I suspected he might give a humorous, light-hearted answer. Then he leaned forward and looked all the way down at the pavement. I figured he was planning a perfectly crafted answer to my question. I put pen to paper, ready to take it down. His lips puckered as if he might speak.

Then, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia gathered up a glob of tobacco-laced saliva. He used his lips to squirt it out, as if he had practiced. The spit landed just at the tip of my shoe. He grinned, but didn't say a word. Then he walked into the building.

Rude, boorish, and completely disgusting, to be sure, but it's just a weird isolated story, right? Wrong. You don't have to dig deep to find numerous eerily similar stories on Allen's behavior around women when he's got a nasty gob of tobacco in his mouth. In fact, when I first read that diary, my mind was jarred as I recalled a story that Sarah Carter, the daughter of Nevada Senatorial candidate Jack Carter and granddaughter of President Jimmy Carter, shared in a July DailyKos comment:

My husband’s family lives in Virginia. Several years ago, his little sister went with a friend to a parade where George Allen was making an appearance, and her friend’s Mom got a chance to speak to Allen. While they were talking, he was chewing tobacco. He spit on the ground and a fleck of brown spittle landed on my sister-in-law’s shoe. She was horrified.

So now you know: George Allen spits on little girls.

Sarah

Seeing a pattern emerge yet? No? Well, here's some more, courtesy of the New Republic's Ryan Lizza:

It's credible enthusiasm given that, this afternoon, Allen resembles a froufrou version of Toby Keith. He is wearing a blue button-down shirt and brown pants accented with a fat brass belt buckle that says virginia in stylized, countrified letters. And, of course, he's wearing the cowboy boots. They are black, broken in, and vaguely reptilian. From his back pocket, he removes a tin of Copenhagen--"the brand of choice for adult consumers who identify with its rugged, individual and uncompromising image," according to the company--and taps a fat wad of the tobacco between his lip and gum using an impressive one-handed maneuver. As the scrum breaks up, Allen turns away and spits a long brown streak of saliva into the dirt, just missing one of his constituents, a carefully put-together, blonde, ponytailed woman approaching the senator for an autograph. She stops in her tracks and stares with disgust at the bubbly tobacco juice that almost landed on her feet. Without missing a beat, Allen's communications director, John Reid, reassures her: "That's just authenticity!".

"Authenticity," John, or just another one of George Allen's disturbing personal habits? Or just another one of his ways of demeaning people?

No, I'm not done yet. There's yet another story of Allen's salivary dark arts, this time from the letters section of the Bristol Herald Courier. The original page seems to be scrubbed, but luckily Google's cache caught it for posterity:

I was not surprised by Sen. Allen’s crude remarks aimed at a Democratic campaign worker. Several years ago, while I was engaged in research at the Dickenson County courthouse, I heard that then-Gov. Allen was on his way to a groundbreaking for the new Red Onion prison. A friend and I drove up to the site, not realizing until we arrived that it was a Republican-only event.

Allen was escorted by a politician who, noting our presence, made some comment to him and pointed at us. We stood with a small semi-circle of onlookers waiting to shake Allen’s hand, but he deliberately skipped the two of us and continued shaking hands with others in the line.

He made a few remarks to the crowd and then stood with his back to us, turning once to aim a jet of tobacco spit directly at our feet. Although he had never met us before, he made us well aware of his sentiments. A small incident, yes, but very revealing of his attitude. He did not intend to treat Democrats with the slightest common courtesy.

So there you have it. Four separate stories of people stepping forward with George Allen's saliva on their shoes. The consensus is pretty clear: George Allen gets his kicks by spitting on or at people. Coincidentally, all of them have been women.

Posted at 01:03 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, September 28, 2006

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns Continues to Enjoy Taste of Own Feet

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man. Conrad Burns must surely have the worst case of pedontophilia (aka "foot-in-mouth disease") known to man. He just can't shut up and stop making inappropriate remarks:

Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, who has gotten into hot water before for comments seen as disparaging various groups, joshingly remarked Thursday on the number of Italian-Americans at the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Montana senator, facing a tough re-election fight against Democrat Jon Tester, was heading an aviation subcommittee hearing of the Commerce Committee when two FAA officials, Michael Cirillo and Nicholas Sabatini, introduced themselves as witnesses.

"I'm wondering if that's all they're hiring," Burns said of the federal agency.

Jebus. Burns is lucky the WaPo is covering for him, because these remarks are pretty awful. ("Joshingly" remarked? Man is that stilted.) Just imagine if he had said something similar about two black men or two Jews. This really is an addiction for Burns, though:

Also during Thursday's hearing, Burns asked witness Matt Andersson, senior aviation consultant for CRA International, about the spelling of his name. Andersson said it's the Swedish spelling.

"Oh, ja," Burns replied in a mock Swedish accent.

Republicans will tell us, as they always do, that we can't take a joke - in fact, that's the line Burnsie's flack is already taking. But if Conrad wants to keep making inappropriate statements in public settings, that only makes our job easier.

(Hat tip.)

Posted at 08:57 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CT-Sen: PFAW Endorses Lamont

Posted by DavidNYC

The People for the American Way just endorsed Ned Lamont. They sum up the case for him - and against Joe Lieberman - with devastating brevity:

“Ned Lamont strongly backs public schools, while Joe Lieberman has voted for vouchers,” Collins said. “Ned Lamont fully supports privacy rights, while Joe Lieberman said legislative intervention was appropriate in the Terry Schiavo case. Joe Lieberman voted to confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court and voted against a filibuster of the Samuel Alito nomination; Ned Lamont would forcefully oppose far-right nominees. And on other issues, from church-state separation to marriage equality to demonstrating a willingness to stand up to President Bush, Ned Lamont is clearly the better choice.”

It's heartening to see a progressive interest group understand the importance of caucus unity. I'm sure it must be tempting for many organizations to endorse "independent" Joe Lieberman to prove their foolish "non-partisan" credentials, so I'm glad to see that PFAW did not take the bait.

Ned Lamont, netroots candidate!

Posted at 03:56 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | 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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pick a Patriot, Any Patriot...

Posted by James L.

Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots PAC is having another round of voting in its Pick a Progressive Patriot competition, this time for Senate challengers. More than just a $5,000 PAC donation, the winner will get a fundraising appeal by Feingold and his PAC. There are lots of good choices here who could use the scratch: Brown, Tester, McCaskill, Lamont, Carter, Webb... I don't know how you'll be able to make your mind. But once you do, vote here.

Posted at 05:57 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Fundraising | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

AZ-Sen: Pederson (D) Gains Ground on Kyl... But Why?

Posted by James L.

Riddle me this...

SUSA has a new poll on the Arizona senate race showing some pretty surprising mo' for Democratic challenger Jim "Uncle Moneybags" Pederson (likely voters, July in parens):

Jim Pederson (D): 43 (40)
Jon Kyl (R): 48 (52)
MoE: ± 4.3%

So how, exactly, does a race that's only been competitive in the fantasy world of Zogby Interactive, with an incumbent Senator whose approval rating has been trending upward in the last few months (admittedly, 53% isn't stellar, but it's fairly solid), and a challenger who's been swamping the airwaves with TV ads for over five months to little noticeable effect in the polls, suddenly tighten to a five-point margin?

I'll be damned if I know. But I won't complain if this isn't an outlier:

Kyl gets 81% of Republican votes. Pederson gets 79% of Democrat votes. Independents break 5:3 for Pederson. Kyl leads by 13 points among White voters. Pederson leads by 16 points among Hispanic voters, who make up 16% of the Arizona electorate in SurveyUSA's turnout model.

Those are some rock-solid indie numbers for Pederson. In July, Pederson trailed Kyl by 10 points among independents. Why the sudden and dramatic conversion?

As an aside, Kerry edged Bush by 13 points among Latino voters in Arizona in 2004, which was a nine point improvement for Bush over 2000, according to CNN's exit polls. I'd like to think and hope that Pederson can post some better numbers from this community against a reactionary like Kyl. The long-term success of the Democratic Party may hinge on maintaining and solidifying a strong political association in this emerging voter bloc.

Update: The Phoenix Business Journal offers a hypothesis:

That spread is tighter than most previous polls and comes after a barrage of advertisements by Pederson faulting Kyl for failure to support a minimum wage hike and for being too cozy with oil and pharmaceutical companies.

A few weeks ago, I heard that the DSCC had earmarked something in the ballpark of $1.6m for this race. At the time, I thought that move was crazy, but if this poll is accurate (check out the comments section for some healthy skepticism), maybe it isn't such a bad idea after all.

Posted at 10:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, September 17, 2006

HI-Sen: Akaka Leading Case by 13

Posted by James L.

The Honolulu Advertiser has a new poll out showing incumbent Democratic Senator Daniel K. Akaka leading his Liberesque conservative Democrat primary opponent, Rep. Ed Case, by a pretty comfortable margin over a week a way from the Sept. 23 election:

Daniel Akaka (D-Inc.): 51
Ed Case (D): 38
Undecided: 11
MoE: ±4%

Depending on how those undecideds will break, Akaka is looking pretty good on the 23rd. Thank God.

Posted at 01:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Hawaii | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

VA-Sen: Help Support the Most Effective Ad of the Year (and New SUSA Poll)

Posted by James L.

I just want to reiterate what's been said by Markos and Stoller. This ad by VoteVets PAC is by far the most brilliant and effective ad I've seen this cycle:

Truly chilling. VoteVets has already gone up on the air in Virginia to help defeat George Allen, but they'd like to expand their air war to other states with vulnerable incumbent Republican senators up for re-election who voted against proper body armor. If you have the means, please consider donating to VoteVets PAC. If you contribute directly via their website, you'll get a chance to vote for the next senator who'll receive their own version of this ad aired against them. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have an ad this crystal clear and effective on our side this year, but we need to expand this battle beyond Virginia. So if you've got any Big Money friends who are itching to help the Democrats take back the Senate this year, tell them to cut a $5,000 check to VoteVets PAC. It could be the most effective political investment you'll make this year. VoteVets is the real deal, too; just check out their list of advisors: Gen. Wesley Clark, Paul Hackett, Bob Kerrey, Leslie Gelb, etc.

And we'll need effective ads like this one by VoteVets in order to counter right-wing hysteria messages like this one.

UPDATE: Via the Political Wire, SurveyUSA has a new poll out today showing Allen edging Webb 48-45, with a 4.6% MoE. This is the exact same result as a poll done by SUSA three weeks ago, during the height of the macaca controversy, showing that Allen's racist gaffe has not been erased from the minds of voters (and given that Allen apologized again for the incident today, he knows he's in trouble).

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CT-Sen, TN-Sen: New SUSA Polls

Posted by James L.

SUSA just released two new Senate polls today, one on the Tennessee Senate race (likely voters):

Harold Ford, Jr. (D): 48
Bob Corker (R): 45
MoE: ±4%

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first SurveyUSA poll of the Tennessee Senate race, so I don't have any trendlines for you, but this confirms the general tightening of the race shown in the (far less reliable) Rasmussen and Zogby Interactive polls, as well as Ford's own internals. Like I've said before, Democrats have a silver bullet that they can use against Corker--namely, the fact that he's completely unfit to hold public office after his abysmal record on providing emergency services as mayor of Chattanooga came to the fore. The Ford campaign and the DSCC should drive this theme hard, because America can ill-afford someone as irresponsible and reckless as Bob Corker in the Senate.

The second poll is far less heartening, but unsurprising:

Ned Lamont (D): 38
Joe Lieberman (Con. for Lie.): 51
Alan Schlesinger (R): 7
MoE: ±4%

Lamont allowed Lieberman to shape the post-primary narrative by taking a week off for a family vacation. While I'm sure Ned was exhausted, I'm afraid that this wasn't a tactically smart move. Ned has some catching up to do. Here's some key data:

Lieberman leads 6:1 among Republicans, 3:2 among Independents. Lamont leads 3:2 among Democrats. 83% of the Democrats who voted for Lieberman in the 08/08/06 Democratic Primary, which Lamont won by 4 points, stick with Lieberman as an Independent in the General Election. 16% of Democrats who voted for Lieberman in the Primary switch to Lamont in the General. 17% of Republicans support the Republican Party's nominee, Schlesinger.

It's been suggested on DailyKos and elsewhere that Ned should offer Schlesinger the chance to debate. At this point, why not? Anything to build up Schlesinger's profile and raise awareness of his conservative stances in order to shave off some support for Lieberman from his right flank would go a long way towards helping Lamont right now. I'm sure Schlesinger would jump at the chance (he needs all the free media he can get), and Lamont could bill it as a "major parties debate" separate from the three-way debates with Lieberman that should come later.

Posted at 06:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut, Tennessee | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, September 11, 2006

PA-Sen: Finally, Casey Shows Some Teeth

Posted by James L.

You remember that saucy book by Rick Santorum? It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good? It was filled with such pearls of wisdom like this one:

Santorum questions whether both parents really need to work:

In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them really don't need to, or at least may not need to work as much as they do. And for some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. [Pg. 94]

It's filled with tons of wingnutty shit, like saying that it's inappropriate for unwed mothers with low levels of eduction to go back to college in order to better their job prospects. And holding it against mothers of any kind to hold a job outside their home in order to support their family. And calling public schools "weird". And supporting Social Security privatization.

Really, his whole book was filled with about two dozen negative ads waiting to be written. I've been waiting for Democratic challenger Bob Casey to release a few, but I guess he felt he didn't need to so far (and, when you've been 10 to 20 points ahead in the polls for months, maybe he had a point). However, in the last few weeks, Santorum's thrown a significant amount of resources into an effective barrage of TV advertising across the state, and the insiders are buzzing about a rumoured Casey internal poll showing Santorum trailing by only three points. It could very well be a b.s. story, but somehow, I wouldn't be surprised if it were true--especially now that I see Casey baring some fangs. A visit to the DSCC's website shows a new attack ad on Santorum prominently on the page, and it goes right for the jugular, attacking Santorum for criticizing working moms for earning the necessary incomes in order to put food on the table for their families. Bob Casey has the ad up on his website here, but the tech genius responsible for the website did a horrendous cropping job with it, so I'd recommend the DSCC version instead.

I'm not sure what kind of excuses Santorum will throw up for his shameless attacks on working families, but who knows, maybe he'll get his kids to defend himself again.

Update: Thanks to Mike at the DSCC, we now have the ad up on YouTube:

Again, good stuff. Casey is starting to hit where he needs to hit.

Posted at 01:22 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NV-Sen: Jack Carter Hospitalized, Jimmy Steps In

Posted by James L.

First off, our thoughts go out to Jack Carter, who was hospitalized on Thursday for complications from colitis. Thankfully, Jack's doctor says that he's responding well to treatment. Let's wish Jack a speedy recovery so he can go back to pounding the pavement in the Nevada Senate race this fall.

That said, the Carter For Nevada campaign couldn't have found a better substitute for Jack at his recent campaign events:

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, delighted the crowd as a surprise guest speaker this afternoon at the Fiestas Patrias (Mexican Independence Day Festival) at Freedom Park in Las Vegas.

President Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter arrived in Las Vegas this morning to visit their son at Summerlin Hospital, where he is recovering from complications from severe colitis. However, by midday, Jack Carter – the Democratic nominee for United States Senator – was responding well enough to treatment that his father felt comfortable leaving his bedside to speak on Jack’s behalf.

The President – accompanied by his grandson, Jason Carter -- addressed the crowd in Spanish, urging those who haven’t already done so to register and then to vote in this fall’s election. He directed members of the largely-Hispanic audience to a tent at the festival at which they could conveniently register.

Later, President Carter told reporters that his son’s campaign is not deterred by his illness, and that Jack is eager to resume campaigning. The President said, “The campaign is well organized.” He added that he is upbeat about his son’s chances in the November 7th election.

"Jack’s opponent has been among the most subservient members of the United States Senate," President Carter said, pointing to John Ensign’s voting record, which is in nearly-total support of Bush administration policies.

How cool is that? Anyway, please put Jack Carter and his family in your thoughts this week. Get well soon, Jack!

Posted at 09:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nevada | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Mason-Dixon Has Webb Within Four

Posted by James L.

Mason-Dixon, one of the best in the biz, confirms what we've been seeing in the recent SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls (with Zogby Interactive being just a little too optimistic for Webb)--Webb has the big mo' (likely voters, July in parens):

Jim Webb (D): 42 (32)
George Felix Allen, Jr. (R): 46 (48)
Undecided: 12 (20)
MoE: ±4%

Here's the Macaca Effect at work:

While most voters said the “macaca” comment did little to change their minds about the race, Allen’s unfavorable rating increased from 23 percent to 31 percent between July and September. The percentage of undecided voters dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent, with Webb the apparent beneficiary of that shift. Webb’s support among black voters increased from 39 percent to 73 percent.

“It’s pretty easy to draw a straight line from that to the 'macaca,’ ” said Brad Coker, the managing director of the Mason-Dixon poll.

[...]

Allen has a 9-point lead over Webb in Southwest and Southside Virginia and greater margins in the Shenandoah Valley and the Richmond area. But Webb holds a 13-point lead in vote-rich Northern Virginia, an area that was critical to the 2005 victory of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

If Webb can energize the NoVA vote, Allen is in for a world of pain in November. The best part about these numbers is that they were taken before Webb got on the air in any meaningful way. Webb's first TV ads start tomorrow, I believe, and, as MyDD notes, Schumer has hooked up Webb with Tim Kaine's ad guy. Webb is still a relative unknown quantity in Virginia; as his fundraising and airtime escalates, the chances of this race tightening, or even shifting to Webb are much greater.

The recipe for victory is here. All we need is for Webb and the DSCC to step up and make sure it happens.

Posted at 12:53 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

CT-Sen: It's a Trap!

Posted by DavidNYC

Turns out old Admiral Ackbar was right.


"It's a trap!"

From the LieberBlog (no link, find it yourselves):

Democratic deliberation

Is this the Lamont campaign's idea of civil discourse?

[Some snarky comment.]

(Posted in our comments by LiebermanForLieberman at 1:23 pm on 09.06.06 - )

So predictable, those Con-for-Lie folks.

Posted at 06:52 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Gallup Releases Eight New Gov & Sen Polls

Posted by DavidNYC

And fortunately for us, TPM Cafe has handily collected them in one place:

Race Dem GOP
MN-GOV Hatch (D) 44% Pawlenty (R) 43%
PA-GOV Rendell (D) 57% Swann (R) 35%
OH-GOV Strickland (D) 52% Blackwell (R) 36%
PA-SEN Casey (D) 56% Santorum (R) 38%
OH-SEN Brown (D) 46% DeWine (R) 40%
MT-SEN Tester (D) 48% Burns (R) 45%
MO-SEN Talent (R) 50% McCaskill (D) 44%
MN-SEN Klobuchar (D) 50% Kennedy (R) 40%

In fact, it looks like TPM Cafe's Election Central is pretty serious about rounding up all manner of polls, so this may be a good resource to bookmark.

Posted at 01:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

TN-Sen: Ford's Silver Bullet

Posted by James L.

I haven't blogged much about the Tennessee Senate race so far this cycle, mostly due to the fact that I've never viewed it as particularly competitive--or even potentially competitive. Harold Ford, Jr. has been on the air with an ever-changing array of (impressive) campaign commercials for a long time, and yet his polling numbers remained flatlined in the low 40s (at best) against his potential Republican opponents during the primary. That's starting to change now that Tennessee Republicans have selected former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker in a nasty three-way primary. Fragments of the conservative Republican base in Tennessee have been less than enthused over a nominee who was on record as a supporter of abortion rights in his first run for the Senate in 1994 (he's since changed his tune), but discontent among the conservative base in Tennessee is not what's making me feel optimistic about Ford's chances this November. Instead, it's Bob Corker's absolutely galling record of incompetence as mayor of Chattanooga. DailyKos diarist and Ford booster R o o k has more here and here. But if you want the 30 second Sparknotes version, just watch this:

In 2001, when Bob Corker took office, understaffing of Chattanooga's 911 emergency repsonse center was already a problem, with 8.8% of 911 calls going unanswered. Over his tenure, that rate steadily increased, hitting 14.9% in 2004 (Corker's last full year as mayor). In 2005, the year in question for the DSCC's ad, unanswered calls hit 16.9%, or 31,000. Now, Corker's campaign is raising an absolutely ridiculous defense, saying that blaming Corker for the gross shortcomings of 2005 is "misleading" because Corker's term expired four months into that year. Well, excuse me, Bob, it was your failures as mayor that caused the 911 emergency response rate to drop during your term and beyond. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press (03/30/06):

A retired Chattanooga police chief said former Mayor Bob Corker thwarted efforts to improve 911 operations by refusing to fund more communications positions.

"I asked for communications officers in every budget, especially under the Corker administration, and each time it was denied," former police Chief Jimmie Dotson said this week from Houston, Texas, where he now lives. "(We) spent many, many, many hours battling the Corker administration asking for communications officers."

Not only that, but Corker's budgetary irresponsibilites as mayor actually resulted in fewer 911 operators on shift at any given time:

In March 2004, Lt. Tara Pedigo wrote in a Chattanooga Police Department internal memo that there was not "sufficient" staffing to prevent unanswered or abandoned emergency phone calls.

Eight months later, Lt. Pedigo, who since has retired, announced that minimum staffing levels would be lowered, as she had been instructed to cut back on overtime within the communications division, according to a document.

There are some things that a mayor just has to do. Ensuring a properly staffed and managed emergency response system is one of them. Under Bob Corker, a bad 911 system in Chattanooga got even worse, and the lives and saftey of thousands of Tennesseans was put at risk. To be blunt, the buck stops with Bob. If he can't ensure life-or-death services to his constituents as mayor, he has no business being in the United States Senate, let alone any public office, anywhere.

Ford has now been handed an absolutely potent line of attack to make against Corker, and the NRSC is scrambling to get this ad off the air with the threat of completely frivolous lawsuits against the TV stations airing the DSCC commercial. National Republicans have been saying for months that their incumbents are safe because they will employ their strength on "local issues" to survive low approval ratings for President Bush and his Republican Congress. If they want to play that game, fine. With Bob Corker's appalling record on local issues now on the ballot, Harold Ford has an excellent opportunity to prove that Democrats can play the local game and win.

If I were Ford, I would ride the issue of Bob Corker's reckless incompetence relentlessly until November 7.

Posted at 06:52 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Tennessee | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Avoid the Noid

Posted by DavidNYC

Joe Lieberman's new blog is supposedly going live tomorrow - but given their success with matters technical, I'll take the over on this one. Anyhow, as soon as I heard about this bold new venture from Joementum, I figured it had to be a set-up, some kind of rope-a-dope. Atrios has already explained why, so I'll let him take it:

It's basically going to be a trap to entice people to say mean things about the Last Honest Man so they can go whine to the press about how mean everyone is unlike Stay the Course Joe. I give it about 36 hours until they send out a press release along those lines. I don't know why they're obsessed with pointing out how nobody likes Joe, but it seems to be their campaign strategy for some reason.

Exactly right. So please, please don't feed the trolls. Or, as Domino's Pizza used to say back in the 80s, Avoid the Noid. There are a thousand other blogs where we can spend our time - we don't need to take the bait and wallow in the inevitable muck of the LieberBlog. Just stay away. You'll be much happier that way. I promise.

Posted at 12:16 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, September 01, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman Respected Primaries... Six Years Ago

Posted by James L.

Via CT Bob:

From an appearance on CNN'S Larry King on October 31, 2000, immediately before the 2000 election. Hat tip to UptownNYChick on FDL.

Larry asked Joe about the fact that he was running for Senate reelection and VP simultaneously. Here's the transcript:

KING: Any second thoughts on staying on the ballot in Connecticut for the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: No, it's over. I did what the folks in the Connecticut Democratic Party who nominated me asked me to do. I will abide by the decision of the people of Connecticut.

So what's changed in the past six years that has made you lose respect for the people of Connecticut, Joe?

Meanwhile, SSP alumnus Tim Tagaris at the Official Lamont blog shares a giddy Fox News clip about Joe Lieberman's ass-headed campaign that's attempting to boost GOP incumbents statewide:

My favorite part: Lieberman whispering in Republican Congressman Chris Shays' ear to hold off from slipping him the tongue in front of the cameras. Gross.

Meanwhile, populist progressive Democrat Ned Lamont continues to show why he's a party builder by sending out a fundraising appeal for CT-05 Democratic challenger Chris Murphy.

Posted at 03:33 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 31, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb's Son Deployed to Iraq Early

Posted by James L.

From a campaign e-mail:

I wanted to send a note to you today, as a supporter of Jim's campaign and someone who cares about the direction of this country. As many of you know, Jim's son Jimmy, an infantry Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps, has been scheduled to be deployed to Iraq for a number of months. In the last few days, Jimmy learned he would be deploying next week. While Labor Day is the traditional kickoff to the Election and Jim already made many commitments to do events throughout the state, including events with Governor Tim Kaine and Governor Mark Warner, we hope you understand at this time that Jim wants to have time with his son. He will be taking Jimmy back to Camp Lejeune on Monday and will spend time with him and his unit before their deployment.

Jim wishes to emphasize that he is not unlike the thousands of parents and families who are sending their children and loved ones to war but that it is important to him that he has some private moments with his son before he deploys. Regardless of the political aspects of this war and your feelings towards it, it's important we keep our thoughts and prayers with the soldiers we are sending into harm's way.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Let's all put Jim Webb and his family in our thoughts this week.

On the web: Jim Webb for Senate

Posted at 07:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

RI-Sen: Laffey 51, Chafee 34

Posted by James L.

So says a new Rhode Island College poll (likely Republican primary voters; June in parens):

Lincoln Chafee (R-Inc.): 34 (36)
Steve Laffey (R-Club For Growth): 51 (39)
MoE: ±5.1%

Whoa. Now, I've been hearing a lot of whispers that Chafee has been running a surprisingly poor campaign, including a completely uninspired debate performance, but still, this poll comes as something of a shock. This isn't my favorite kind of poll for two reasons: 1) that MoE is just too darn high, and 2) it doesn't attempt to identify independent voters who will cast ballots in the Republican primary. There's no way for us to tell how many of these indies will turn out, and whom for.

Check out this money quote, though:

"Since early summer, Senator Chafee has been unable to expand his base of support from roughly one third of the likely Republican primary voters. The Lieberman phenomenon, where a partisan base closes ranks around the 'true partisan' candidate, seems to be at work in Rhode Island, as it was on the Democratic side in Connecticut. Laffey's efforts to link Chafee with the extremely unpopular President Bush also appear to be paying off," said Profughi.

Confounding. Laffey is somehow tying Chafee--the only Republican Senator who was consistently against the Iraq War from the very start--to Bush, and it's working. Not only that, it's working to sour the Republican base on Chafee. Damn, I guess Bush's 76% disapproval rating in Rhode Island cuts pretty deeply into the insignificant base of registered Republicans there, too.

As you may know, Swing State is collectively rooting for Club For Growth's Steve Laffey to crush Chafee in the primary. If you still don't know why, just refer back to these poll numbers to give yourself a better idea as to why a Laffey candidacy will be a windfall for Democratic nominee Sheldon Whitehouse (as well as the DSCC, who can afford to channel money elsewhere should Laffey win).

Posted at 03:27 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

VA-Sen: Here Comes the Cavalry

Posted by James L.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

With three polls showing the U.S. Senate race close after George Allen's alleged racial remark, national Democrats yesterday pledged dollars to Jim Webb.

The latest survey, by Zogby International, gives Webb, once a long shot, a statistically insignificant lead over the Republican incumbent, who has been sidetracked for two weeks for addressing a Webb volunteer staff member of Indian descent as "macaca."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his group -- the political arm of the Senate Democratic Conference -- will donate an unspecified amount to Webb.

Schumer earlier this summer was noncommittal about directing cash and services to Webb.

"We think this is a neck-and-neck race," Schumer told report- ers when asked about the impact of the Allen controversy. "We plan to provide Jim Webb with the kinds of resources he needs to win."

Schumer's promise comes amid a dramatic shift in the Virginia contest, one triggered by Allen's oral blunder, which apparently has cost his re-election effort momentum and threatens to derail his presidential ambitions in 2008.

Webb has badly trailed Allen in fund raising. After the June primary, he had $424,245 in cash to $6.6 million for Allen. Webb said yesterday in Norfolk that he has collected $2 million since winning the nomination.

"We think we have a very good chance of winning in Virginia," said Schumer.

In related news, Webb's netroots coordinator, Lowell Feld, has a Dailykos diary up highlighting some big names headlining upcoming fundraisers for Webb: 1) fellow authors Stephen King and John Grisham in Charlottsville on Sept. 24 and 2) Gov. Mark Warner on Sept. 21 in Old Town Alexandria. However, he doesn't give any specifics on the upcoming President Clinton fundraiser for Webb.

Let's hope this late push is enough. The last thing I want to see is the DSCC kicking itself over waiting this one out too long.

Posted at 01:04 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

CT-Sen: ARG Shows a Tight Race

Posted by James L.

Great news for Netroots candidate Ned Lamont: a new American Research Group poll shows Lamont and Lieberman neck-and-neck in the general election, contrasting with the latest QPoll that showed Lieberman up 53-41. From the ARG (August 17-21, likely voters, no trendlines):

Ned Lamont (D): 42
Joe Lieberman (I): 44
Alan "Gold" Schlesinger (R): 3
Undecided: 11
(MoE: ±3.5%)

ARG shows Ned's favorability rating at 47-34, and Lieberman's at 56-41. More interestingly, Lamont is picking up 18% of Republican voters (to Lieberman's 57%), while Lieberman's edge among independent voters is only 10 points (48-38)--not a daunting edge at this stage of the game.

Word on the street says that these numbers closely mirror the latest Rasmussen poll, which also shows a narrow two-point lead for Lieberman. Not that I put much stock in Rasmussen, but two nearly identical polls can't be discounted completely. If anything is clear right now, it's that the Connecticut Senate race is still well within reach for Lamont, and Lieberman's much-vaunted general election invincibility is nothing more than a myth.

Support Ned Lamont and the Netroots candidates today.

Posted at 11:16 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 18, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman Hires Democrat Slayer

Posted by James L.

From the Hotline:

Joe Lieberman's indie CT SEN campaign sent out a release to announce the hiring of two new consultants: media/direct mail consultant Josh Isay and pollster Neil Newhouse. Isay mostly works with Dems, with his most prominent former employer being Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the current DSCC chair...

The more curious hiring, of course, is Newhouse, a partner in one of the most prestigious Republican polling firms in the country, Public Opinion Strategies. On the merits, Newhouse is a great hire as he and his firm have one of the best reputations in the business, both with their clients and with the media, including us. But what makes the hiring curious is that Newhouse is a Republican and has a slew of clients who will likely raise the ire of Democrats, particularly activist Democrats.

This cycle, Newhouse's most notable client is PA Sen. Rick Santorum. (Subscribers, click here of The Hotline's consultant scorecard.) The Lieberman release, of course, makes no mention of Santorum, but does note Newhouse's client relationship with the very popular GOP CT Gov. Jodi Rell. Newhouse is also the chief pollster for one of the Democrats' top House targets, CT 02 GOP Rep. Rob Simmons.

In '04, the firm worked for the biggest Dem killer of the cycle, John Thune, who knocked off Tom Daschle. And in '02, the firm's biggest name client? None other than a Bush, Jeb Bush, that is, in FL.

Unbelievable. For a full list of Public Opinion Strategies' clients, see here. You'll instantly notice that there are no Democratic clients to be found. What you will find is a laundry list that includes some of the most odious Republicans of our times: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (the guy who smeared triple-amputee Max Cleland as Bin Laden enabler), creaky old bigot Sen. Jim Bunning, and of course, Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. John Thune (the Daschle slayer).

The most troubling bit about the news may rest in the fact that Newhouse's other Connecticut client is Rep. Rob Simmons, who is a top target of the DCCC and Joe Courtney. Lieberman is now essentially using Republican tools, Republican capital, and Republican consultants to mobilize the same Republican voters that Courtney and the other Democratic challengers need to de-energize in order to win. The pure gall of this move is disgusting, and it paints a sharp picture that Lieberman is for himself and himself only. He doesn't care about electing three new Democrats to the House--he's more than willing to toss them overboard if it means he can work the Republican field and win.

I wonder how Lieberman's Senate Democratic colleagues feel now that they know that Lieberman is paying the same guy who ended the political careers of Tom Daschle and Max Cleland. I wonder if they feel as good about letting Lieberman keep his seniority and committee assignments.

Posted at 04:19 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CT-Sen: Q-Poll Shows Lieberman Up Twelve

Posted by DavidNYC

Quinnipiac's latest (likely voters w/leaners, no trendlines):

Lamont (D): 41
Lieberman (I): 53
Schlesinger (R): 4
(MoE: ±3%)

Quite clearly, Lieberman is the GOP candidate at this point - at least, from the perspective of Republican voters. Even the pollster agrees:

"Sen. Lieberman's support among Republicans is nothing short of amazing. It more than offsets what he has lost among Democrats. As long as Lieberman maintains this kind of support among Republicans, while holding onto a significant number of Democratic votes, the veteran Senator will be hard to beat," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.

But note this: Among registered voters (as opposed to likely voters), Lieberman's lead is similar (49-38). Yet just a month ago, it was 51-27. That's some serious shrinkage. The good news for Lamont: 32% of respondents still hadn't heard of him at the time the survey was conduct, so he has more room to grow.

The bad news: His favorable-unfavorable rating stands at 23-27. You never like seeing a challenger in negative territory. Meanwhile, Joe's is 43-28. But that's actually not especially good news for Lieberman: At the start of the year, he was at 53-14 - he's been sliding downward ever since. The question is, does he have much further to go? Or will CT Republicans and right-leaning indies prop him up from this point forward? If the latter (and I worry that might be the case), then Lamont has to be able to up his favorables in order to win - again - this fall.

Posted at 02:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Earth to Biden

Posted by James L.

From a Hardball interview with Joe Biden:

Asked where he stands on the CT SEN race: "Well, I stand for the Democratic candidate. Joe is my good friend. I told Joe when I went up there campaigning for them, I want to lead the Democratic Party. I've got to abide by the Democratic Party's ruling."

Asked if he will take "any active role" in getting a Dem elected in CT: "Yes, but I'm not going to take an active role by being against Joe. I'm not going to take an active role by discouraging any of Joe's friends. I'm going to take an active role in trying to elect the Democrat" (MSBNC, 8/16).

You are not taking an "active role in trying to elect the Democrat" if you do not do all in your power to discourage Joe Lieberman and his Republican lobbyist "friends" from running a kamikaze race against the Democratic nominee. Plain. And. Simple.

If Biden can't be serious about standing up strongly for good Democrats nationwide, he can't be trusted as Presidential material.

Posted at 11:06 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb Snags the Big Dog

Posted by James L.

From the Richmond-Times Dispatch:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb has snared the big guy -- former President Bill Clinton -- to help him raise money for his Senate race.

A spokeswoman said the time and place for Clinton's visit have yet to be worked out.

Webb is running against U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican, who ended the June 30 fundraising period with a $6 million edge over Webb.

But Webb just completed what his aides say was a successful fundraising trip to Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Money, so far, has been Webb's biggest hurdle that he has yet to clear. A visit from the Big Dog will not only rake in a significant dollar sum for Webb's campaign, but it will also send the signal to national donors that Webb may well be worth the investment. Furthermore--and we saw this attempted by Joe Lieberman a few weeks ago--a Clinton visit will hopefully help boost Jim Webb's appeal among African-Americans (a group that Webb's primary opponent, Harris Miller, sought to carve away from his camp). Now that Sen. Allen is knee-deep in macaca, you've got to believe that minority communities all across Virginia are shopping around for someone a bit more respectable.

Posted at 09:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PA-Sen: Tightening

Posted by James L.

Lordy, I sure do hope that this is an outlier (Quinnipiac, June in parens):

Bob Casey (D): 47 (52)
Rick Santorum (R-Inc.): 40 (34)
Undecided: 11 (12)
MoE: ±3.1%

In a three-way general election match-up that includes "Green" Party candidate Carl Romanelli, the lead is ever so slightly narrower:

Bob Casey (D): 48
Rick Santorum (R-Inc.): 42
Carl Romanelli (Green): 5
Undecided: 5

I'll say this delicately: if Bob Casey allows Rick Santorum, one of the creepiest and most off-the-wall members of the Senate, to somehow dig his way out of his political tomb, then Casey will prove himself to be one of the most incompetent and disastrous challengers of the 2006 cycle. Casey has a reputation for being the sleepy Mr. Rogers of Pennsylvania politics; he's going to have to learn to go for the kill and not let Santorum get away with inoculating himself with warm 'n' fuzzy TV ads. Remember Santorum's recent book in which he sung the virtues of "conservative family values", including making sure that women stay barefoot in the kitchen? This guy's entire career is just one big negative ad waiting to write itself. If Bob Casey thinks he can casually stroll to victory based on a year's worth of very favorable poll results, he may be in for a rude awakening.

Fortunately, Casey's still got a very fertile field to play in: 49% of Pennsylvania voters believe that Santorum doesn't deserve to be re-elected. That's insanely bad for an incumbent. But if Casey lets what could have been a blowout turn into a nailbiter, we're going to see a lot more resources and manpower spent on shoring up his campaign that could have been directed elsewhere by the DSCC. Still, we should wait to see if this trend is verified by other polling outfits before we get ahead of ourselves. If one thing can be said about this race, it's that there's never been a shortage of polls on it.

Posted at 10:51 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 11, 2006

MO-Sen: 15/100

Posted by RBH

In the state of Missouri in the 2004 Presidential elections, 14 counties (and St. Louis City) cast 68% of the votes, and the 100 smaller counties cast 32% of the votes. In the top 15 counties, John Kerry led 51-48. In the lower 100 counties, George W. Bush blew Kerry out of the water by a 64-35 margin.

Here's a map of the "top 15" counties (all in yellow):

There's probably not a lot of explanation needed here. The highlighted county in the Southwest is where Joplin is located. That's close to Greene County (Springfield). The five highlighted counties in the west is the KC area with Buchanan County (St. Joseph) on top of that. The two highlighted counties in the middle are Boone (Columbia) and Cole (Jefferson City). The highlighted counties in the east is the St. Louis area (but you knew that, I'd hope). The highlighted county in the southeast is Cape Giraudeau County, birthplace of Rush Limbaugh.

Now, why I decide to mention 15/100? Because Claire McCaskill's campaign is working to improve her standing in counties similar to the ones indicated on the map in sky blue.

In the 2004 Gubernatorial election, we find a big split in the results in the 15 larger counties and the other 100 counties.

Top 15: 53/46 McCaskill, Lower 100: 61/38 Blunt. Overall, Blunt won by almost 81K votes (a 51/48 margin).

In the Lt. Governor's race between Bekki Cook and Peter Kinder, the split was narrower.

Top 15: 52/45 Cook, Lower 100: 56/41 Kinder. The overall result there: Kinder wins by almost 14K votes (a very narrow 49-48 margin)

And in the Secretary of State's race between Robin Carnahan and Catherine Hanaway

Top 15: 55/43 Carnahan, Lower 100: 54/43 Hanaway. Overall, Carnahan won by a 51/46 margin.

So, it's nowhere close to fishing in a dry pond. There's enough people in the small towns of Missouri who are willing to vote for Democrats to win elections. Although it takes a lot of good fortune for Democrats to break 60% in state election. Jay Nixon beats unknown opponents with around 60%. Claire McCaskill beat an unknown Republican with 59.95%.

I'll say this in the best way possible, if you held an election between a mannequin running as a Republican and a Democrat, in some parts of Missouri, a majority of people would vote for the mannequin.

Here's a map to demonstrate that theory (McCaskill v. Hanson, 2002):

From 1900 to 2004, 5 Missouri counties never gave a majority or plurality to a Democrat. Those 5 (for reference) are Douglas, Gasconade, Putnam, Stone, and Taney. Four of those counties went to Hanson in that election. Granted, by pretty small margins.

I was inspired to write a bit about the Senate election and targeting rural areas from an e-mail sent by the Talent campaign. Here's the relevant paragraph, with my own notes on it.

We're encouraged by the fact that Claire McCaskill's rural makeover tour clearly isn't fooling Missourians.

Well, when your party is having a lot of bad days, sometimes it doesn't take much to encourage you.

In fact, McCaskill barely managed to get 80 percent of the vote versus a virtually unknown opponent.

In the 2002 Democratic primary, Jean Carnahan got 83% against an unknown opponent. In the 2000 Democratic primary, Mel Carnahan got 78% against an unknown opponent. In Missouri Democratic primaries, it seems to be an unofficial tradition for Missouri Democratic voters to cast votes for obscure people.

Her results were particularly poor in rural Missouri: in 19 counties her unknown opponent garnered 30 percent of the Democrat vote or better.

I'll note that in the Democratic primaries in those 19 counties, 30K votes we cast.

Also, in 13 of those counties, that unknown Democrat recieved more votes than Jim Talent recieved in his primary. That's not a sign of any special doom for Talent, considering the number of local elections in those counties, but it's not exactly the best line of derision. The Republican primary wasn't a ghost town, Talent got more votes than McCaskill, and both primaries had over 300K votes (with the Democratic primary having around 20K more votes).

If I wanted, I could probably go into more depth about how local primaries are held in a lot of those counties (such as the ones in dark blue on the second map) and how that caused 80% of voters to pick the Democratic primary.

In these areas and others, Republicans and Democrats alike have recognized that Claire McCaskill doesn't believe in the common sense, conservative values of the heartland.

Conservative Values? So how come Jim Talent's record veered to the middle in time for the election year? and how come Jim Talent's running from his party? From what I can tell, Talent will use the twelve letter C word, but not the ten letter R word. After all, he doesn't want to remind people of Bush and Matt Blunt.

When it comes to a rural strategy in Missouri. It's worth it. Considering the typical closeness of Missouri elections, it's smart to make sure that you don't get walloped in large parts of the states. It's also smart because the "other 100 counties" are not hostile to Democrats. They don't vote for Democrats these days, but that's not a permanent thing. It takes the right approach and enough timing to defy and destroy the Republican-created images of Democratic candidates. Sure, Democrats may not win in those counties, but it'll make it easier for them to win in the entire state.

Posted at 02:26 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

CT-Sen: Don't Forget What Jake Javits Did

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Political Wire, Ken Rudin makes the following observation:

For the record, 24 senators have been denied renomination in the past half-century; only one, Jacob Javits (R-NY), attempted to keep his seat in November, and he didn't come close.

Javits lost to Al D'Amato in the Republican primary in 1980. Old, sick, suffering from ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) and badly out of step with the increasingly conservative GOP, Javits was handily dispatched (56-44) by the upstart D'Amato, who was as much a nobody then as Lamont was in January. Javits went on to get crushed in a three-way race in November, running on the now-defunct Liberal Party's line.

But that only tells half the story. Take a look at the results for the senatorial general election in New York in 1980:

Al D'Amato (R): 44.88%
Liz Holtzman (D): 43.54%
Jacob Javits (L-inc.): 11.05%

There is pretty much no question that Jake Javits played the spoiler for Elizabeth Holtzman here. Though he was indeed a member of the GOP, Javits was also a member of that dying (and now fully dead) breed: The liberal Rockefeller Republican. While the ostensibly left-wing Liberal Party had a long history of betrayal which included giving its line to decided non-liberals like Rudy Giuliani, most of the people who actually pulled the Liberal lever would have otherwise ordinarily been voting for Democrats.

In other words, if Javits hadn't run in November, most of his votes would have gone to Holtzman. And as you can see from the percentages alone, that would have pretty much guaranteed victory for the Democrats. If you have any reason to doubt that, spend a few minutes perusing the Lexis archives. You'll see that Democrats - not Republicans - were pleading with Javits to drop out.

Now, all that said, I absolutely don't think that Joe Lieberman could throw the election to Republican Alan Schlesinger, who by all accounts is, charitably, a C-list bum. But he could still screw us by complicating things for CT's three Democratic House challengers. For one thing, the Republican incumbents can simply endorse Lieberman and look like "centrists." For another, he turns what should be a cakewalk election for Lamont into a relatively serious contest, drawing money, time and resources away from other races (including, again, our three House pickup opportunities). I'm sure you can think of other sorts of unpleasantness likely to flow from an indy Joe run.

My point, ultimately, is that, like Jake Javits, Joe Lieberman could and probably will wind up hurting the Democratic Party in the fall if he continues his third-party bid. Of course, Jake Javits was a Republican and owed us nothing. Lieberman, if he has even a shred of dignity left, will drop out for the greater good.

Posted at 06:58 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Schumer and Reid Back Lamont

Posted by DavidNYC

Joe's row just got a lot tougher to hoe. Statement by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer (via e-mail):

“The Democratic voters of Connecticut have spoken and chosen Ned Lamont as their nominee. Both we and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) fully support Mr. Lamont’s candidacy. Congratulations to Ned on his victory and on a race well run.

“Joe Lieberman has been an effective Democratic Senator for Connecticut and for America. But the perception was that he was too close to George Bush and this election was, in many respects, a referendum on the President more than anything else. The results bode well for Democratic victories in November and our efforts to take the country in a new direction.”

The language in the second paragraph echoes Rahm's combative rhetoric from last night, albeit in much more muted form. The more I think about it, though, the smarter I think it is, both what Rahm said and what Chuck and Harry are saying here. The GOP can make big ugly noises about how Lieberman's loss means the Dems "aren't serious about national security." Yawn.

But individual Republicans know that they have to run away from Bush this year. The fact that even a Democrat could lose for being too close to Bush must scare the pants off of them. Rahm & Co. are smartly blunting the GOP's predictable line of attack, and rank-and-file Republicans must realize there is a lot of truth to what they're saying.

UPDATE: As I expected, Howard Dean also just came out for Lamont. Schumer, Reid, Rahm, Dean - getting those four to agree on anything is pretty amazing.

Posted at 10:40 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

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

CT-Sen: Love Child

Posted by DavidNYC

Rahm wastes no time in harshing on Joe:

“This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. “This is not about the war. It’s blind loyalty to Bush.”

Calling an ex-Democrat sitting senator George Bush's "love child" is the tradmed equivalent of dropping an f-bomb. Rahm doesn't want Joe messing up our chances of taking up to three CT House seats from the GOP. He wants Joe to be forgotten like a bad hangover. With Hillary reportedly throwing down in favor of Lamont, Lieberman is going to find himself almost friendless by the end of the week. He may yet soldier on, but it's going to be very tough going indeed.

Posted at 01:15 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | 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

Saturday, August 05, 2006

CT-Sen: Sad

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man, this is just sad:

Joe Lieberman, to sullen youth wearing headphones in the lobby of the New London (Conn.) Senior Center: "So, what are you hearing?"

Sullen youth: [pause] "Rap."

Joe: "Ah. [chuckle] That's what I do a lot. I rap."

Sullen youth: [silence]

Joe: [turns toward reporters, gives thumbs-up, heads for the door to find older people]

[scene]

You sure do, Joe. You sure do.

Posted at 04:09 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, August 04, 2006

TN-Sen: Corker (R) Wins, Will Challenge Ford

Posted by DavidNYC

The results of last night's TN-Sen GOP primary (thanks, Craig):

Bob Corker: 48
Ed Bryant: 34
Van Hilleary: 17

So former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker earns the right to take on Democrat Harold Ford for the Tennessee senate race. Any thoughts on what this means for Ford?

Posted at 03:18 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Tennessee | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 03, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont Widens Lead in New Q-Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Quinnipiac's newest poll (likely voters, July 20 in parens):

Lamont: 54 (51)
Lieberman: 41 (47)
Undecided: 5 (2)
(MoE: ±3.3%)

You can feel the Nedmentum, but what really matters is whether Quinnipiac's likely primary voter model is up to snuff. As people have often noted, predicting turnout in a weird mid-summer primary is tough business. Remember all those polls which showed Busby leading in CA-50, which was a similarly unusual election?

I've heard a rumor that Quinnipiac might try to squeeze in yet one more poll between now and election day, but that would involve weekend polling, which as you may know is considered less reliable than weekday polling. I'm also not sure it would even add much to our understanding at this point.

The bottom line is that it would be a mistake for Lamont or any of his supporters to act like this thing is already won. A lot can happen in five days. (Again, remember Busby's "you don't need papers to vote" gaffe?) Quinnipiac could be wrong. Joe could find a way to turn it around. What's more, the bigger the victory, the greater the pressure there will be on Lieberman to drop his indie bid. If he loses 51-49, he can make a good whiner's case. But if he gets thumped, then only the worst bitter-enders will continue to support him.

So let's win, and win big.

P.S. If you are in the area, please consider heading up to CT for a day to help out. Everything you need is here.

Posted at 11:06 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

MO-Sen: No Shame

Posted by DavidNYC

I always thought that the only people who don't experience any shame are very little children and sociopaths. Well, you can add Republican operatives to the list. Check this out:

It began with a Missouri Republican Party press release accusing Democrat Claire McCaskill of failing to file a routine campaign finance report on time.

The release included an Internet link to a July 28 letter from the Federal Election Commission to McCaskill saying she "may have failed to file" the pre-primary finance report. Missouri GOP spokesman Paul Sloca said the FEC letter exposed McCaskill's "incompetence and her willful disregard for the law."

Sounds like a pretty typical political ploy. But, since we're dealing with the GOP here, it's no surprise that this is all bullshit:

Adrianne Marsh, spokeswoman for the McCaskill campaign, said Berridge's records show she sent the report on July 24, as required, and produced a certified receipt to prove it. Marsh said the filing may have been lost in the mail, but the campaign is working it out with FEC officials.

Of course, since the Post Office is obviously a liberal institution (socialist, even, what with that "universal service" requirement), certified receipts can't be trusted. But this story is actually a whole lot worse than typical Republican mendacity:

McCaskill's campaign denounced the Republican statement as inaccurate - and unprofessional, in light of the death Saturday of Melissa Berridge, the campaign's compliance director.

Berridge, 38, of St. Louis, was among six skydivers who died Saturday in the crash near the eastern Missouri town of Sullivan.

The GOP attacks a dead woman who of course cannot speak for herself. That is as base as it gets. And when called on it, what is their response?

Marsh called on the Republican Party and incumbent Sen. Jim Talent - McCaskill's opponent - to issue "an immediate apology to Melissa's family and retract their insensitive release."

Sloca declined.

"It's unfortunate that Claire McCaskill has turned this into an issue about the unfortunate death of a staffer to hide from her incompetence," he said.

Like I said, these people have no shame, none at all. Melissa's brother James writes in a comment at FiredUp Missouri that all his family is seeking is a simple apology, and yet the GOP can't even bring itself to offer one. I hope Claire McCaskill beats the stuffing out of Jim Talent, for all our sakes, and especially to honor the memory of Melissa Berridge.

(Hat tip: BriVT.)

Posted at 11:21 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MT-Sen: Deeper and Deeper

Posted by DavidNYC

I always knew Conrad Burns hated working people. I just didn't realize his hatred ran this deep:

The report contained an account by Gabe Templeton, one of the Augusta Hot Shots, describing what happened to him and fellow team members Jeff Cleek and Jude Waerig. It said the three men were sitting in the Billings airport waiting for their flight when Burns approached them with an outstretched hand and asked if they were firefighters.

"I shook his hand and replied yes," Templeton wrote. "He shook my hand introduced himself and then replied, 'What a piss poor job' we were doing. I replied, 'Have a nice day.' The senator mentioned that we were 'wasting a lot of money and creating a cottage industry.' He also told us that we needed to listen more to the ranchers. I replied that 'we are pretty low on the totem pole.' Then he walked off."

Just like the Bush administration prefers to blame rank-and-file soldiers for command failures, Conrad Burns likes to castigate hard-working firefighters when his beef is about policies drawn up in air-conditioned conference rooms. To me, that represents a deep sickness of the soul - to attack the people on the very bottom of the totem pole for the failings of their higher-ups. But, of course, if you already view those people with contempt, then it's easy to treat them like dirt. I'm sure Burns is equally odious toward the people who clean out his office at night or prepare his coffee in the morning. You can tell a lot about a person from the way he treats others - and in Burns' case, none of it is good.

Anyhow, I'm still asking: Will Sen. George Allen defend the August Hotshots (based in Virginia) from Connie Burns' outrageous attack?

Posted at 02:44 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 31, 2006

CT-Sen: Crunch Time

Posted by James L.

So Lieberman's going to hire 4,000 paid field workers by August 8th. Holy crap. Do you realize that the only way Lieberman could have a bigger field organization is to hire every registered voter in Connecticut?

Kidding aside, that's a huge freakin' ground game that Lieberman's assembled at the 23rd hour. The only way we're going to combat this is through grassroots engagement. Fortunately, the Lamont campaign has a great tool that I hope you've all signed up for: the Family, Frends and Neighbors program. You can look up any registered voter in the state and send them a personalized postcard encouraging them to lend their votes to Ned on August 8. It's exceptionally quick and painless. You probably know someone from Connecticut, or at least know someone who knows someone who does (my girlfriend sent cards to eight of her friends on the weekend using this tool, for example). It's important to make as many personalized contacts as possible, and to get the word out beyond our blog bubble, so invite your friends to look up their family, friends and neighbors and get them on board the good ship Lamont. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is: you have until Thursday to use this tool.

What are you waiting for? Spread the word!

Posted at 10:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, July 28, 2006

MN-Sen: You Can't Hide From CQ

Posted by DavidNYC

So Republican Mark Kennedy has his first ad up on TV, which suggests to me that this long-dormant race is about to heat up. Especially with recent polling tilting toward Democrat Amy Klobuchar to a startling degree, Kennedy can't afford to remain quiet any longer. And with the GOP about as appealing as a twenty-pound goiter these days, it's no surprise that Kennedy is touting his "independence."

But as Pat Kessler of WCCO is quick to point out, you cannot hide from CQ. In fact, it's easier to fight City Hall or make a horse drink water than it is to hide from Congressional Quarterly's presidential support rankings. And Mark Kennedy is no exception:

2005: 87%
2004: 97%
2003: 97%
2002: 97%
2001: 86%

What do these numbers refer to? Well, every time the president takes a "clear position" on a piece of legislation, CQ tracks whether legislators vote for or against it. So over the first five years of his House career, Mark Kennedy voted for George Bush's preferred position 93% of the time.

Kennedy can squawk about his vaunted "independence" as much as he likes. But as the famous line from the Princess Bride goes, I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

Posted at 03:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 27, 2006

MT-Sen: Burns Attacks Firefighters, Face-to-Face!

Posted by DavidNYC

What an unbelievable ingrate! Conrad Burns had the gall - the unthinkable gall - to approach a bunch of undoubtedly weary firefighters at Billings Airport last weekend and tell them, right up to their faces, that they had done a "poor job" fighting wildfires in Montana. Amazing! These firefighters had trekked all the way from Virginia to help Montana put out a 92,000-acre forest fire. And instead of thanking these hard-working souls, Conrad Burns went out of his way to insult them. I suppose he's lucky he didn't wind up with a fat lip - most first responders are not exactly known for taking kindly to gross insults.

Of course, I expect nothing less from Burns: He's the ultimate privileged, entitled, out-of-touch fop who has no appreciation or understanding of how hard ordinary people work. It's one thing to, say, criticize Forest Service policy. But to attack the very firefighters who just helped your own home state? That's like dissing the ambulance driver who takes you to the hospital. Unreal.

Oh, and no word yet from Sen. George Allen (R-VA) as to whether he plans on defending these hard-working Virginia firefighters - or, in the alternative, whether he wishes he were born in Montana.

Posted at 10:06 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 24, 2006

MN-Sen: Klobuchar Still Leads Kennedy

Posted by RBH

In a followup to the poll putting Amy Klobuchar up by 19 points, a DSCC poll puts the margin at 16 points.

Amy Klobuchar (D): 50
Mark Kennedy (R): 34
Undecided: 15
(MoE: TBD)

(i'm sure the MOE will be mentioned soon enough, but I haven't seen it yet)

But after the talk from the Kennedy camp that the 19 point margin was proof of "liberalmediabias," I'm sure that they're relieved to hear that the margin is just "very wide" instead of "extremely wide".

MN Publius notes this point about the Minnesota polling in general:

The GOP and the right wingers are going to scream bloody murder over these numbers and their coming from the DSCC. But it is important to remember that this poll was conducted by Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal who only make money as long as they're accurate. It is not in the DSCC's, or any other political orginization or candidate for that matter, interest to collect inaccurate data. Polls are used for formulating strategy and if those polls are wrong, the strategy will be flawed.

Respondants in this survey also prefered "A Senator who challenges Bush" over "A Senator who does what Bush says" by a 61/32 margin.

I sense the best case scenario for Minnesota involves the state becoming "The Land of 10,000 polls showing Amy Klobuchar with a wide lead" around October.

Posted at 03:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 20, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont Surges Ahead of Lieberman

Posted by James L.

Just a quick update before I start my work day. The latest Quinnipiac poll on the Connecticut Democratic primary is out, and it looks very ugly for Lieberman (likely voters, June in parens):

Ned Lamont (D): 51 (40)
Joe Lieberman (D-Inc): 47 (55)
MoE: ±3.8%

Lamont has made major gains over the past month, and Lieberman is in a steady free-fall. It's really quite breathtaking. However, in a 3-way match-up this November, Lieberman still holds the edge, but Lamont is shifting upward:

Ned Lamont (D): 27 (18)
Joe Lieberman (I): 51 (56)
Alan Schlesinger (R): 9 (8)
MoE: ±2%

Given Lamont's major surge, I find it increasingly unlikely that Lieberman's last-minute ground organization can deliver the votes he needs to win the primary. Lieberman has brought on some big guns to get him organized on the ground, but he should have been doing this three months ago, not three weeks before primary day. He'll throw everything he's got against Lamont, but this trend is ugly.

Update: If anyone's going to save Lieberman, it's probably going to be this guy.

Posted at 10:54 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Senate '06: Stem Cell Roll Call

Posted by James L.

So, the Senate voted in favor of the embryonic stem cell research bill by a veto-vulnerable 63-37 margin.

Here's a list of the nay votes, with Senators up for re-election this year in bold:

Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Coleman (R-MN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagel (R-NE)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Nelson (D-NE)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)

Of all the top-tier targeted Democratic races, only Sen. Chafee (R-RI) voted in favor the bill. With a veto more than likely, Democratic challengers now have one more salient attack to make in these key states. Even "second tier" races, like those of Jim Pederson's in Arizona and Jack Carter's in Nevada, should be made much more interesting if these guys launch an effective attack.

UPDATE: You can read Jack Carter's statement here. It really hits all the right notes.

You can read the Jim Webb campaign's statement here. Jim Pederson has a petition up on the issue. It's good to see some rapid response on this. Now how about the rest?

Posted at 06:20 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, July 14, 2006

CT-Sen: Wes Clark's Take

Posted by James L.

From a liveblogging session on Dailykos:

I am a proud member of the Democratic Party, and I believe it is our party's responsibility to support the will of the Democratic primary voters in Connecticut. I personally look forward to supporting the candidate CT voters elect as the Democratic nominee. Though, as an aside, I must say I find it ironic that Senator Lieberman is now planning a potential run as an independent after he continually questioned my loyalty to the Democratic Party during the 2004 presidential primary.

Oh, snap, General! I love it.

(Thanks to My Left Nutmeg.)

Posted at 07:09 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 10, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont's Ads Just Get Better and Better

Posted by James L.

I've made a decision to prioritize my limited blogging time away from the CT-Sen race--it's not my ideal preference (I wish I could get paid to sit around and blog all day), but since the primary is already well-covered by the likes of DailyKos, MyDD, LamontBlog, and My Left Nutmeg, I figure there's no shortage of commentary and news out there for all you Nedheads. But that's not to say I won't share some thoughts on the race if I feel I can. Today I'd like to share with you not a thought, but a campaign ad--the latest by the brilliant outsider ad consultant Bill Hillsman (of Wellstone/Ventura/Nader fame), who's proving he's worth every penny:

Hilarious, brilliant, refreshing. Stuffy ol' Lieberman and his merry gang of inside-the-beltway ad consultants couldn't come up with an ad this funny no matter how many focus groups they screened it for.

Posted at 04:52 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-Sen: Hackett Endorses Brown

Posted by James L.

It's about 5 months later than I would have liked to see, but hey, at least the hatchet is buried:

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown will finally win the endorsement today of his former Democratic rival for U.S. Senate, Mr. Brown's campaign said late yesterday.

Mr. Brown, a Democrat from Avon who faces incumbent Republican Mike DeWine this fall, is scheduled to receive the endorsement of primary election opponent Paul Hackett at a "unity rally" in Cincinnati, the Brown campaign said. Mr. Hackett could not be reached for comment.

(Hat-tip to pontificator.)

Posted at 01:23 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, July 06, 2006

HI-Sen: Akaka on Shaky Ground

Posted by James L.

I know, I know. It's really hard not to think about the explosive events surrounding the Lamont/Lieberman battle this week. But we shouldn't forget about the other Democratic Senatorial primary battle happening a few thousand miles to the west between Hawai'i Senator Daniel Akaka and Rep. Ed Case. Case is interesting--in many ways, he's kind of like a bizarro Ned Lamont. His bid for Governor in 2002 drew support from a deep reservoir of discontent with the atrophied Hawai'i Democratic Party, while the old guard watched him with an unfriendly eye. While he lost a close primary, he won election to the House on Nov. 30, 2002 in a special election following the death of Congresswoman Patsy Mink. However, in Congress, Case has left a mediocre-to-disappointing record, ranking as 164th in the Democratic caucus on progressive issues. Akaka, meanwhile, is ranked 12th in the Senate. I'm not in favor of litmus tests or ideological rigidity, but replacing an anti-war incumbent with someone who boasts about how he would have voted for the Iraq War Resolution (had he been in Congress at the time) is borderline insane. If Akaka is knocked out on the Sept. 23 Democratic primary, we may be finding ourselves taking one step back for the step forward that we may get with Ned Lamont.

Can Akaka be beaten? Yes, it's not undoable. For starters, Akaka has acquired a something of a reputation for not getting much accomplished in the Senate compared to his colleague Sen. Daniel Inouye. Akaka's failure to move his keynote Native Hawai'ian federal recognition bill past a procedural vote for the fourth consecutive Congress only weakens his argument that Hawai'ians should preserve his all-important seniority in the Senate.

Still, Case has campaigned mostly to ensure that Akaka's seat is held by a younger, healthier Democrat with more gas in the tank, so to speak. And, given that Akaka is all of 81 years old, the message has gained a bit of traction: a recent Honolulu Advertiser poll (likely Democratic primary voters), while showing Akaka with a respectable 64% approval rating, nevertheless shows a tight race:

Daniel Akaka (D-Inc.): 51
Ed Case (D): 40
Undecided: 9
MoE: ±5.3%

I don't like that MoE, but I don't see any reason to doubt these results. Case has run one statewide campaign before, and two half-statewide campaigns (as Hawai'i only has two congressional districts, half the state, at least, is fairly accustomed to voting for him); he's already a serious threat. I wonder when folks like Ken Salazar and Ben Nelson will fly down to help out Akaka.

(I woulda had this one up earlier but I was at the Neko Case show tonight.)

Posted at 01:29 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Hawaii | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CT-Sen: Devious Timing

Posted by James L.

So egomaniac Joe Lieberman decides to gather petitions for his increasingly likely independent bid for Senate this November while the Swing State Project was on vacation.

Coincidence? I think not. I think he knows that People Power will destroy him.

(All kidding aside, I think Lieberman stands a good chance of being 2006's Jacob Javits if he loses the primary.)

Posted at 04:53 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, June 30, 2006

VA-Sen: Senator Dude Ranch

Posted by James L.

Steve Jarding of the Jim Webb for Senate campaign cracks me up:

Jarding also took issue with [Allen campaign manager Dick] Wadhams’ attempt to attack Webb as a “Hollywood movie producer” for Webb’s role in the film “Rules of Engagement.”

“What part of ‘Rules of Engagement’ did George Felix Allen Jr. and his insensitive mouthpiece Dick Wadhams not respect – military service? Patriotism? Honor? Valor? We know that George Felix Allen Jr. spent much of the Vietnam War years on a dude ranch in Nevada and chose not to serve, but his continued silence as his key staff dismiss military personnel and their patriotism is beginning to shine a very unfavorable light on Senator Dude Ranch,” Jarding said.

If nothing else, this is gonna be one of the most amusing races to watch this cycle. Heh. "Senator Dude Ranch".

Posted at 11:47 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 29, 2006

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman's Kamikaze Assault on the Democratic Party

Posted by James L.

Today, the Senate is debating the merits of two competing Democratic resolutions for troop withdrawal--one hardline proposal by John Kerry to remove all U.S. forces by July 2007, and, of course, a much more moderate (read: tepid) amendment by Sens. Levin and Reed. (My favorite description of the latter proposal comes from the always-scathing, always-awesome Las Vegas Gleaner: "a proposal to sort of begin thinking about maybe at least phasing out by the end of this year, or something like that.")

This situation puts Lieberman in a bind:

If the Connecticut Democrat goes along with his fellow party members' plan to urge the Bush administration to begin redeploying troops by the end of the year, it could look like he's flip-flopping on his stay-the-course stance just six weeks before his primary with Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont.

But if he votes against the measure, he's likely to be one of only a handful of Democrats siding with virtually all the Senate's Republicans - thus giving Lamont and anti-war Democrats fresh ammunition for attacking him.

So what did he end up doing? Duck out of the chamber? Keep his head low and quietly vote one way or the other? Nope. Instead, he rallied around the Republican flag and actually led the charge against both proposals:

Kerry and Feingold - the authors of one amendment - were forced to cut short their speeches at the request of the Sen. Warner who is managing debate for the Republicans. Warner then immediately yielded time to Sen. Lieberman to speak. Yes, Lieberman opened up debate for the Republicans. He opposed both amendments, even the exceedingly moderate Levin amendment, which is co-sponsored by Senators Biden, Clinton, Feinstein, Obama, and Salazar. At the end of his speech, Sen. Warner slobbered all over Joe, basically reading a love letter to him on the floor of the senate, in thanks for his help in killing these Democratic amendments. Santorum, the next speaker up, also fawned over Lieberman.

Yes, Lieberman probably won't be the only Democrat to vote against these resolutions. Whatever. But will you see any other Democrat leap at the chance to lead the charge for the Senate Republicans by taking over their debating duties? Lieberman's been so good at talking like a Republican that now he's accepted their position as Senate spokesman.

You've got to wonder whether Lieberman has the worst political instincts in the world, or whether he just has a deathwish in the Democratic primary (where his support is dropping like a stone) so he can rise like Lazarus as an Independent.

Posted at 07:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-Sen: Kyl Maintains a Comfortable Lead

Posted by James L.

From a local Arizona State University/KAET poll (registered voters, April in parens):

Jim Pederson (D): 29 (31)
John Kyl (R): 43 (42)
MoE: ±5%

Now, I have issues with a sample size of only 384 voters for a poll like this, but given what looked like a major boost of momentum for Jim Pederson's campaign last month on the heels of his latest ad campaign, numbers like these have got to be frustrating. Still, even if this poll isn't an outlier, a 43% re-elect is shaky ground for any incumbent Senator. There's still plenty of time for this race to tighten up, but I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

PS: If you're looking for a reason to doubt generic congressional ballot polls, it should be this:

Finally, more voters in heavily Republican Arizona now say they would prefer to see the Democratic rather than the Republican party control Congress after the elections this November. Forty-five percent said they would like to see the Democrats control Congress, 39 percent prefer the Republicans and 16 percent were not sure which party they would prefer.

Funny how, when push comes to shove, that same 45% who would prefer Democratic control of Congress can't completely bring themselves to voicing support for Pederson. However, the silver lining is that, with some persuasion, the Pederson campaign has an opportunity to convince these Democratic leaners to, you know, actually vote for a Democrat.

Posted at 12:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns is Out of His Mind

Posted by James L.

Seriously:

Burns, in fact, started his speech Saturday by noting the immediate intensity of the general election campaign after the June 6 primary.

"June 6 of this year is as good as June 6, 1944, D-day," he said. "We launched another attack."

No need to rub your eyes. Conrad Burns just compared Jon Tester and the Montana Democrats to Nazis. (Hat tip to Left in the West)

(PS: Sorry of the lack of postings lately--between the Stanley Cup Finals, work, and studying for the LSAT, I'm starting to feel as swamped as DavidNYC!)

Posted at 06:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, June 19, 2006

Why Can't California Be More Like Montana?

Posted by DavidNYC

Montana:

Montana Democrats Barnstorm for Unity

After what could have turned into a divisive primary election, Montana Democrats rallied in four cities Friday to show that the state the party is united behind Jon Tester in what promises to be a no-holds-barred U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Conrad Burns this fall.

California:

Tension Builds Between L.A. Mayor, Angelides

Tension between Antonio Villaraigosa and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides surfaced Friday as the Los Angeles mayor declined to say whether he backed his own party's candidate to unseat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It looks to me like Dems in Cali are living up an old credo: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. All I can say is, someone better bash a few heads in over on the left coast before Angelides and Villaraigosa give the media any more fodder for one of their favorite evergreens, "Dems in Disarray." Maybe we should send Brian Schweitzer over there to whoop some ass.

Posted at 03:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, California, Montana | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, June 17, 2006

NJ-Sen: Tom Kean, Jr. is a Lightweight and a Coward

Posted by James L.

Scott Shields has a great diary up on Dailykos that I thought spoke volumes about the kind of guy we're facing in the New Jersey Senate race this year--namely, a lightweight and a coward. It's a great diary that I encourage you to read, but my favorite part is Shields' description of Kean's (dis)-ability to handle a forceful counter-attack by Bob Menendez to recent Republican smears at a NJ Association of Counties meeting:

What was Kean's response to the speech? Well, even though he was supposed to be sitting on the stage with Senator Menendez, he chickened out and waited outside until the Senator was done speaking. He then went up to the podium and delivered the same canned speech he'd been planning all along, with absolutely no response to the Senator's comments. After Kean, Jr. spoke, reporters tried to get him on the record. No such luck. As Josh Gohlke of the Bergen Record put it, Kean and his crew "stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator."

Several reporters managed to keep up, blurting out questions the candidate was determined not to answer.

Did he care to respond to Democratic candidate Robert Menendez's scathing speech just a few minutes earlier in the same ballroom? Was he, as Menendez charged, a lightweight armed only with empty attacks?

The Kean contingent stampeded down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator. The reporters and questions squeezed into it with them. Kean kept repeating a few slogans.

"I'm proud of both my record and my vision for the future of the country," Kean reiterated, this time with finality, as everyone spilled back out of the elevator and he hurried off. "Thank you very much!"

After talking for a few minutes, the reporters realized they had entered and exited the elevator on the same floor. So ended a strange episode in a campaign that is reaching impressive levels of absurdity, given that it's only June.

Stunts like hiding in an elevator say a lot about your character, Tom. And the worst thing you could have done is show your cowardice to members of the press. It's stories like these, as well as the results from this week's latest Quinnipiac poll, that have me breathing a little easier on this race (registered voters, April in parens):

Robert Menendez (D): 43 (40)
Tom Kean, Jr. (R): 36 (34)
Undecided: 17 (20)

The only way that the GOP can win this race is if they trick voters into thinking that the Kean brand is one of feel-good moderation, as exemplified by former Gov. Tom Kean, Sr. I think that we can feel a little bit more assured that Bob Menendez isn't the type of guy to play the kind of softball that would let the Republicans get away with this sort of nonsense.

Posted at 05:58 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont-Lieberman vs. Toomey-Specter, Revisited

Posted by DavidNYC

A while back, I compared Ned Lamont's primary challenge against Joe Lieberman to Rep. Pat Toomey's somewhat similar challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in the PA-Sen GOP primary two years ago. Now, the two races are by no means identical, but they do, as Mark Twain might say, rhyme. (For a full account of the differences, please read the older post.)

That rhyme got a bit more distinct last week, as Quinnipiac released a new poll on CT-Sen. Quinnipiac also surveyed PA-Sen in 2004, so we have some nicely comparable polls. Anyhow, check this out:

63 days before CT-Sen primary
Lieberman: 55
Lamont: 40

23 days before PA-Sen primary
Specter: 52
Toomey: 37

Now ain't that somethin'. Both incumbents show identical leads of 15 points among likely primary voters. And as you know, Toomey came within two points of winning - different weather that day, and Arlen Specter is prematurely retired. On the flip-side, as you may also know, most of the key differences between PA-Sen and CT-Sen relate to the fact that Toomey was in a stronger position than Lamont is.

But look at the linked lines in that blockquote. The CT-Sen poll concluded 63 days before the primary - a full two months. The comparable PA-Sen poll was taken just three weeks before the primary there. If Pat Toomey, with all his advantages over Lamont, could close a 15 point gap in just 23 days, then it's starting to look quite plausible that Ned Lamont could close a 15-point gap in 63 days.

Again, the odds still favor Lieberman - the odds almost always favor the incumbent. But these Q-Poll results show us that at least we've got a serious race on our hands.

Posted at 12:50 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Virginia Primary Results

Posted by James L.

VA-SEN: 41.66% 56.22% 59.43% 65.29% 73.53% 85.14% 92.38% of Precincts Reporting

Harris Miller (D): 26,831 (52.60%) 40,916 (49.18%) 43,641 (48.58%) 48,025 (47.68%) 52,148 (47.73%) 59,266 (47.08%) 63,354 (46.75%)
Jim Webb (D): 24,179 (47.40%) 42,276 (50.82%) 46,185 (51.42%) 52,703 (52.32%) 57,117 (52.27%) 66,606 (52.92%) 72,165 (53.25%)

It looks like it's gonna be Webb. It's Jim Webb. Kudos to the VA netroots and the Jim Webb campaign for winning this one despite being heavily outspent.

Posted at 07:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Lamont Scores Labor Support; Lieberman Laying Groundwork For Indy Bid?

Posted by James L.

From AFT Connecticut:

AFT Connecticut, the state’s second largest AFL-CIO union representing more than 26,000 professionals, including healthcare, higher education, and public employees, has endorsed Ned Lamont for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

The full text is available for AFT.org registered users, but DailyKos diarist pavlov dog has the full text, if you wish to see it.

This is great news for Lamont. Just a few weeks ago, before the party convention in which Lamont won a surprising 33% of the vote, Labor in Connecticut was a great deal less commital:

Observers predict that the convention will endorse Lieberman while giving Lamont, a Greenwich businessman who's challenging Lieberman from the left, enough votes to force a primary in August. Even after the convention, though, you can expect most unions to stay on the sidelines.

About a dozen unions, mostly smallish locals, have endorsed the the three-term incumbent. But Lieberman's in-your-face support for an unpopular war and an unpopular president has turned many working people against him, especially union activists.

At the same time, labor Democrats are more interested in unseating a Republican governor and three Republican members of Congress than in replacing a generally pro-labor Democrat Lieberman's lifetime AFL-CIO voting record is 84 percentwith a kinder, gentler Dem.

AFT-CT's endorsement of Lamont is another great sign of just how much traction he's getting as of late.

UPDATE: Why am I not surprised? Taegan Goddard's Political Wire has the inside scoop:

Political Wire has learned that key allies of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) are making contingency plans for the three-term senator to run as an independent in this fall's U.S. Senate race in Connecticut. Lieberman faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from businessman Ned Lamont.

Posted at 04:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-Sen: New SUSA Poll Shows Brown Leading By 9 Points

Posted by James L.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why the OH-Sen polling is all over the place. Just when you think DeWine has a powerful lead, another firm comes out with a poll showing Brown on top, sometimes by equally powerful margins. And vice versa. Over, and over, and over again. Stop the insanity! What, pray tell, could possibly be swinging this race back and forth so much?

Anyway, here's the latest take from SUSA (likely voters, no trendlines):

Sherrod Brown (D): 48
Mike DeWine (R): 39
(MoE: ±4.4%)

As far as I can tell, this is the first Survey USA poll on the race. Conventional wisdom says that one should disregard the wild fluctuations of these polls until a clear trend one way or the other is seen. Until then, I'm going to still consider this a tight one.

Posted at 02:09 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, June 10, 2006

CT-Sen: Major Movement For Ned Lamont

Posted by James L.

Just in case you missed it (after all, a lot of the major blogs are more focused on some kind of weird comicon that I wasn't invited to), Quinnipiac released a poll this week that's showing some huge movement for Ned Lamont against Joe Lieberman.

Among registered Democrats (May 2 in parens):

Ned Lamont (D): 32 (19)
Joe Lieberman (D-Inc.): 57 (65)
(MoE: ±3.6%)

Among likely primary voters (no trendlines, includes leaners):

Ned Lamont (D): 40
Joe Lieberman (D-Inc.): 55
(MoE: ±4.5%)

The numbers really speak for themselves. Lamont's strong performance at the recent state party convention gave his campaign a huge lift in terms of credibility and coverage, and CT Democrats are increasingly viewing Lamont as a viable alternative (you can even sense it in the tone of the local news coverage, as seen in the YouTube clip linked above). The best part is that Ned only has room to grow: a full 73% of Democrats in the state haven't heard enough about him to form much of an opinion. From my point of view (and from Josh Marshall's, apparently), the more you hear about Lamont, the more you like the guy as a person, and as a Senatorial candidate.

However, Lieberman's got a ripcord ready, if he chooses to pull it before facing the primary. As an Independent candidate in a three-way match-up between Republican Alan Schlesinger and Ned Lamont, Lieberman has a huge edge (registered voters, May 2 in parens):

Ned Lamont (D): 18 (13)
Alan Schlesinger (R): 8 (10)
Joe Lieberman (I): 56 (56)
(MoE: ±2.1%)

All hell would break loose if Lieberman were to do this, with the state Democratic Party and the DSCC being forced to make some difficult choices, but that doesn't matter to Joe. As of today, he's still keeping his options open, caring more about self-preservation than supporting his own party.

Frankly, I never expected Lamont, a guy who began this campaign with zero name recognition, running against a third-term Senator with a deep history in state and national politics, to hit this level of support, especially not this early. If Lamont can do this well with a full three quarters of the Connecticut electorate not knowing enough about him to form an opinion, then he's got a fighting chance--not only in the primary, but in a potential three-way free-for-all in November.

Posted at 02:05 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tester Wins

Posted by James L.

Wow. What a fantastic showing of broad support for Jon Tester tonight. From longshot to upstart to competitor to steamroller, Jon Tester has, without a doubt, scored an absolutely stunning victory in Montana tonight. On Dec. 31, 2004, when Swing State Project dropped his name for the first time, few could foresee that Tester, an organic farmer from Big Sandy, could absolutely wallop one of the most popular and well-funded Democrats in the state, Auditor John Morrison, and do so without slingling mud, without creating an intra-party rift, or without a massive warchest. Jon Tester accomplished what he did today by getting people to genuinely like him, which is a damn rare thing in politics these days. And that's exactly how he's going to convince Montana voters that he should be the next Senator from Montana.

The rebirth of the Democratic Party begins in Big Sky Country.

Posted at 12:54 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

MT-Sen: Tester Edges Morrison in Billings

Posted by James L.

From the Tester Time blog:

9:05 p.m. MT
Results from Yellowstone County:
Tester 2349, Morrison 2207

This is huge. Recall what Matt Singer wrote about Billings, the population capital of Yellowstone County yesterday:

he Ohio of Montana, Billings is the swing city that often decides the winner of the general election, but it's relatively low primary turnout and its swing status makes it slightly less important in the primary election. County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, the only D on the Commission, is Morrison's treasurer (reportedly, he's got his eye on the Auditor's office is Morrison somehow pulls this thing off). Kennedy and Morrison have been working this town hard and it's been an admitted weak spot for Tester's campaign.

This is Tester at his weakest, folks. He's going to win this thing.

Posted at 11:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (2) | 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

New Mexico, South Dakota Results Open Thread

Posted by James L.

Hmm, okay, how about this: given everything else going on, I don't care what happens in New Mexico tonight. But if anyone's dying to discuss who the GOP nominee to take on Sen. Bingaman is this year, feel free to liveblog that baby in the comments. Anyway...

SD-Gov, 18.12% 67.99% Precincts Reporting:

Jack Billion (D): 5,455 (64.78) 16,616 (61.44)
Dennis Wiese (D): 2,966 (35.22) 10,430 (38.56)

The AP's calling it for Billion.

Posted at 09:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, New Mexico, South Dakota | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

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 | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, June 05, 2006

RI-Sen: Chafee and Laffey in a Dead Heat?

Posted by James L.

The Providence Journal reported new polling numbers released by the far-right Club For Growth last week on Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey's primary challenge to vacillating Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee (May 21-24, likely voters, no trendlines):

Lincoln Chafee: 45.7
Stephen Laffey: 44.3
(MoE: ±5.66%)

At a sample size of 300 "very likely" Republican primary voters, and a Margin of Error of 5.66%, that's a pretty crappy poll to begin with, nevermind the fact that it was commissioned and released by the Laffey-boosting Club For Growth (a PAC with a habit of supporting some of the most unpleasantly extreme elements of the Republican Party). So take it for what it's worth.

Posted at 07:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, June 03, 2006

MT-Sen: Getting Out the Vote in Big Sky Country

Posted by James L.

If San Diego is a little too far out of reach, and you live in--or within driving distance of--Montana, Andy Tweeten of Montanans For Tester writes in to get the word out on how you can help Jon Tester get out the vote in the last few days before the primary:

Volunteers in Montana can contact us at (406) 454-2006, (406) 449-0117 or info@testerforsenate.com to help out. We have activities happening across the state that we'd be happy to direct people to--including literature drops, phone banks, and visibilities.

Unfortunately, we do not have capacity to do GOTV phone calls from out of state.


Tester has been getting a remarkable surge of momentum in the last week--racking up big endorsements, including a few from several former staff members of his opponent, MT State Auditor John Morrison. If you have the means, the campaign would greatly appreciate any effort you can make to ensure that Jon Tester comes out on top this Tuesday and keeps this race competitive against the vulnerable Conrad Burns.

Posted at 01:03 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | TrackBack (0) | 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

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New SUSA Senate Approval Polls

Posted by James L.

Enjoy. Highlights: Jim Talent (R-MO) is in the negatives for the first time, as is John Kyl (R-AZ). Santorum's prognosis looks pretty grim, too.

Posted at 06:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Polls | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, May 19, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont Is On the Ballot

Posted by DavidNYC

Looks like Nostradamus Lieberman was right: As of this moment, Tim Tagaris is reporting that Ned Lamont has the votes of 497 convention delegates, while Lieberman has 1014. Lamont only needed 15%, but he now has 33%, which is exacly in the range Lieberman predicted Lamont would get. Such powers of prognostication!

Of course, this means I was wrong, way wrong - but I'll gladly be wrong like this from now until November. So congrats to Ned Lamont and his entire team!

Posted at 08:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, May 18, 2006

AZ-Sen: Jim Pederson Cuts Kyl Lead From 29 to 7

Posted by RBH

A new survey from Behavior Research Center/Rocky Mountain Poll (voters, January in parens):

Pederson (D): 33 (26)
Kyl (R): 40 (55)
Undecided: 27 (19)
(MoE: ±4%)

KPHO is reporting this. Expect this to show up in Arizona papers tomorrow, with all sorts of quotes from both sides.

Basically, my reading of this poll is that it's a mix between a nosedive for Kyl and Republicans and Pederson's ad campaign. January 2006 was when Bush was in the low 40s, before the DPW situation, and before various other situations which have hurt the Republicans.

Pederson leads Kyl amongst Independents, 31-19, a massive shift from a 43-25 Kyl advantage in the January poll.

This could be a slight radar blip, but the candidate with momentum isn't hard to identify. A lot of people are fleeing from Kyl and the Republicans when it comes to 2006.

UPDATE (DavidNYC): So it turns out there is some solid support from another poll to back up these results. Take a look at this graphic. Kyl's disapproval among Dems has shot up like a bottle rocket. In the last month alone, he blasted from -12 to -34. Dems are coming home to Pederson. (Credit to Matt.)

Posted at 08:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Democratic Party Convention Starts Tomorrow

Posted by DavidNYC

Connecticut's state Democratic convention begins tomorrow. The main event is candidate selection, which is done by a vote of the delegates. If any candidate gets 15% or more, s/he wins at automatic spot on the August primary ballot. Unsurprisingly, Joe Lieberman is trying to play the expectations game, making ridiculous, grandiose predictions that Ned Lamont will take 30% or or move of the delegates. To its credit, the Hartford Courant is aware of the shtick Joe is trying to pull, but I wouldn't be surprised if other tradmed outfits fall for this pathetically transparent gambit.

While it would be terrific if Lamont got 15%, and extraordinary if he did hit 30%, we need to be realistic here. Lieberman has been an institution in CT politics for decades. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to support him. Anyone interested in a future in Connecticut politics has to realize that if they back Lamont and Lamont loses, they'll be pariahs for as long as Lieberman is alive. Backing Joe is the safe move. Remember, we're talking about Democrats here - these are not the people who are usually inclined to ever take risks.

But there's also some very good news: Getting 15% doesn't matter. Not only does it not matter, it might even be salutary if Lamont doesn't hit that mark. No, I didn't just get fitted for rose-colored contact lenses. Here's why: Lamont has been working hard to get on the ballot via an alternate route: gathering signatures from 15,000 of the state's Democrats. It's an expensive and difficult process, but well worth it.

When you have to petition to get on the ballot, that does two things for you. First, you're forced to ramp up your field operation early. That means you've got a bigger volunteer base, more experienced campaign workers, and a field team that runs like a proverbial well-oiled machine months ahead of schedule. Second, you get the names of tons and tons of supporters. The law requires 15K sigs, but because of the inevitable challenges and invalid names, you generally want about twice that. And psychological research shows that the mere act of getting people to sign a statement of support (which is what a petition is) makes it much more likely that they'll continue in that support at a later time.

Successfully petitioning to get on the ballot would also be a nice feather in Lamont's cap because it would be the first time any major-party statewide candidate has done that in CT. Connecticut used to not have a petition process at all - you had to get 15% at a convention or you were out of luck. That system was recently ruled unconstitutional, so Lamont could make a little bit of history here.

As I've often said, the odds on Ned beating Joe in the primary are still long. But whether it's by delegates or petitions, as long as the tradmed doesn't get suckered by Joseph Isadore's gamesmanship, Lamont will indeed be on the ballot.

Posted at 02:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Local Boy Makes Good

Posted by DavidNYC

Just as the Swing State Project welcomes two new bloggers on board, one of our top alums fires up a new blog himself. Tim Tagaris is now, among other things, running the official Lamont for Senate blog. They've got all kinds of multimedia over there, including Ned's ads and his special campaign video. There's also a really good blogroll of sites covering this race, including a couple I had not yet heard of. Definitely adding this one to my RSS feeds. No comments, though - guess they don't trust us punks in the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Check this out!

A growing cast of prominent activists is backing Mr. Lamont. ... Tim Tagaris, recently the Democratic National Committee's Internet outreach coordinator, has become director of Internet operations for the Lamont campaign.

Tim Tagaris, prominent activist - and yes, folks, that's the New York Times talkin'.

Posted at 01:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

FL-Sen: Bense Not Running

Posted by DavidNYC

Well whaddya know. Alan Bense just said today that he will NOT run for FL-Sen. I think I oughta stay out of the predictions business! Anyhow, I can certainly understand why Bense isn't interested. It's a seriously uphill fight, and he's got little name rec. All I can say now is, go Kathy Harris!

Posted at 02:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

FL-Sen: Friday's the Deadline

Posted by DavidNYC

Friday is the deadline for Alan Bense to file for the Florida senate race. With talk like this coming from Gov. Jeb, it's just gotta happen, right?

Even if Bense does jump in, though, he's got a tough row to hoe. The CW says he'll need $20 million to have a shot in a big state like Florida. Sounds about right to me. And since Harris doesn't seem likely to drop out, he'll need to beat her and Bill Belson. Florida's got a very late primary (Sept. 5th), making that dual task even harder. Good luck with that.

Posted at 02:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, May 04, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman Swamping Lamont in New Q-Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Quinnipiac finally has a new poll out on the Dem primary in Connecticut (registered voters, Feb. in parens):

Lamont: 19 (13)
Lieberman: 65 (68)
Undecided: 14 (17)
(MoE: ±4.3%)

That's pretty terrible for Lamont. I had been hoping he might crack 30%, but he inched up only 6 points. His name rec barely budged either, going from 93% D/K to 90%.

We're now a little over three months out from the primary. The only spot of hope I can offer is that in mid-February of 2004 (about seventy days before that year's PA-Sen GOP primary), Pat Toomey had a D/K of 79% according to Quinnipiac. (They didn't ask a Toomey-Specter head-to-head that month.) And Toomey, of course, came within a hair's breadth of unseating Arlen Specter.

As always, my usual loud-and-clear disclaimer about the distinctions between these two races applies. I'd say they are coming into even sharper contrast now. The big guns are (perhaps somewhat slowly) lining up behind Lieberman - Dodd's been firing away for a while now, and Harry Reid has gotten Lieberman's back as well. This is exactly what the GOP establishment did for Specter. Ted Kennedy may be next. And maybe even Hillary Clinton, too. While I'm sure Bill can't stand Lieberman, Hillary's all about proving her centrist cred these days.

And on the other side, no one's lined up with millions for Lamont like the Club for Growth did for Toomey, and no one will, in part because no one can.

I'm also aware that Rasmussen recently had a poll out which showed a much more favorable result for Lamont, with Lieberman ahead 51-31. I don't have much faith in Rasmussen, and I would counsel against embracing it just because it shows prettier numbers. However, the folks at the LamontBlog raise a very good point: Rasmussen polled "likely primary voters," while Quinnipiac talked to registered Democrats. In that light, the big spread between the two surveys is plausible. And if Rasmussen's likely voter methodology can be trusted, well then it makes a lot more sense than just asking RVs. Of course, predicting likely voters is one of the toughest tasks in all poll-dom.

One additional detail of note: Swing State Project alum (and now-former DNCer) Tim Tagaris is going to work on the Lamont campaign, doing netroots & grassroots outreach. Tim is easily the most qualified person there is for a job like this. I'm not a blog triumphalist, but if Lamont is to win, it'll happen from the ground up. And Tim is exactly the right person to help make this happen.

Posted at 10:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Todd on the Senate

Posted by DavidNYC

Chuck Todd says he thinks the Senate is more likely to flip control than the House, acknowledging that this is a minority view. While I'm inclined to disagree, his argument is worth mulling over. He does point out that, since the direct election of senators began, the House has never flipped without the Senate flipping, too. Interesting, but I'd be wary of falling prey to Hirdt's Law (because something hasn't happened in the past, it won't happen in the future).

Todd also has his new Senate race rankings out, available here. He thinks Brown's departure from RI-Sen is actually a net positive for Linc Chaffee (because Dems might now cast votes for Linc in the GOP primary), but I'm not sure I'm buying that - or the claim that "Brown's exit seems to have given Chafee a small perception lift." This strikes me as a little too much like talking about a baseball player's "intangibles," which as anyone who's ready Moneyball knows, is a load of B.S.

Chuck also thinks that a win by Pete Ricketts in the NE-Sen GOP primary would is the "nightmare scenario" for Ben Nelson. This isn't a race I've been following closely - can anyone tell me what Todd is talking about here? I wasn't aware that anyone considered Nelson vulnerable, despite Nebraska's redness.

One thing you can do on Todd's ranking page is offer your own rankings, in the left-hand column. Go for it.

Posted at 04:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, April 28, 2006

FL-Sen: My Spidey Sense Is Tingling

Posted by DavidNYC

The other day, ye olde blogger DavidNYC said this:

Ten days left in the legislative session, but nineteen until the filing deadline. Something about Bense's phrasing - the fact that he allegedly refuses to look further than ten days into the future - makes me think he really is serious about jumping in.

Yesterday, ye olde Gouverneur of Florida said this:

Once again undercutting U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris, Gov. Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that House Speaker Allan Bense ``would be a great United States senator.''

Tingle, tingle.

(Thanks to Political Wire via McJoan.)

Posted at 03:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 27, 2006

VA-Sen: Holy Moly

Posted by DavidNYC

From Taegan Goddard:

Political Wire received an advance copy of a New Republic profile of Sen. George Allen (R-VA) in which author Ryan Lizza finds many of Allen's high school classmates surprised that he's considering running for president because of the racist tendencies he displayed as a teenager. They say he "plastered the school with confederate flags" and drove a red Mustang with a confederate flag on the front. Then Lizza got a copy of Allen's high school yearbook:

I stared closely at Allen’s smirk in his photo, weighing whether his old classmates were just out to destroy him. And then I noticed something on his collar. It’s hard to make out, but then it becomes obvious. Seventeen-year-old George Allen is wearing a Confederate flag pin.

When confronted with this evidence, Allen sent an email through an aide with this explanation: "When I was in high school in California, I generally bucked authority and the rebel flag was just a way to express that attitude.”

Wow. Just wow. And Allen can't even offer the meager excuse that he was "embracing his heritage" or anything like that - he grew up in California, his dad is from Detroit, and his mother is from Tunisia. If there is any justice in this world, Allen's aspirations for higher office would completely vanish today. Since I'm not that optimistic, I can at least hope that Jim Webb crushes him come November.

Posted at 12:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

RI-Sen: Matt Brown Dropping Out?

Posted by DavidNYC

A blog called Rhode Island's Future is reporting that Matt Brown will drop out of the senate race today. Can anyone confirm this? Brown's having a press conference at 3:30pm, so I gather we'll know soon.

UPDATE: Brown has indeed dropped out. He did the right thing and immediately endorsed fellow Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. I think this was probably the right move for Brown - he was struggling for cash. And it's also probably a net-positive for the Democrats, as RI has a very late primary. Whitehouse does still have some token opposition, but now he can spend most of his time focusing on the general.

Posted at 03:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-Sen: Finally, Some Good News for Pederson (D)

Posted by DavidNYC

ASU & KAET-TV have a new poll out on the Arizona senate race (registered voters, Oct. 2005 in parens):

Pederson: 31 (28)
Kyl: 42 (50)
Undecided: 27 (22)
(MoE: ±5%)

Just about every poll had shown terribly disappointing results for Jim Pederson, so this one is a nice change of pace. Of course, one marginally decent poll does not a victory make. Pederson is still down eleven points; the trendlines are terribly old; and most of his improvement came in the form of Kyl dropping. Still, seeing Kyl under 50 - especially this far under 50 - is a good sign. I'll wait to see some other polls before I even think about getting excited.

(Via Midterm Madness.)

Posted at 01:52 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

FL-Sen: Will Bense Jump In?

Posted by DavidNYC

Every month or so, for the past half year, the Florida GOP has sworn up and down that the Republican senate nomination belongs to Kathy Harris alone. Whenever someone suggests that maybe this isn't such a great idea, they get smacked down. But now with Harris at levels not seen since the USS Maine sank to the bottom of the ocean, the tide may be turning.

Florida State House Speaker Alan Bense has long been a possible alternative to Harris. The St. Petersburg Times blog notes some rumblings from his quarter:

[Bense] called the idea of a challenge against the better-known Harris intriguing "because all my life I've loved a good challenge."

"I'm thinking about it," Bense said when asked what he tells members who quiz him about his plans. "I'm thinking about it but I'm focused on what I'm doing now."

With 19 days until the Senate candidate qualifying deadline, Bense would not directly say whether he would consider taking on Harris in the primary. "I really don't want to focus on that," he said. "We've got 10 days to go in the session."

Elaborating on his much-talked-about comment of last Friday when he said there was a "50-50" chance, Bense said he meant 50-50 "that I might do something else down the road. It wasn't the Senate race." (Bense is widely rumored to be on a long list of potential lieutenant governor candidates).

Ten days left in the legislative session, but nineteen until the filing deadline. Something about Bense's phrasing - the fact that he allegedly refuses to look further than ten days into the future - makes me think he really is serious about jumping in. If he does, our biggest risk is that Harris drops out. But if there's a competitive primary, that might not be such a bad thing, considering that Florida's primary is not until Sept. 5th.

Posted at 09:33 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, April 21, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman Now in Negative Territory Among "Liberals"

Posted by DavidNYC

Via LamontBlog, something rather non-trivial:

Self-indentified "liberals" now oppose Lieberman by a 49-46 margin - and as you can see, the current spread represents just the latest point in a pretty clear trend. As LamontBlog notes - and as I've argued before - self-ID'ing liberals are the closest stand-in you are likely to find for "likely Democratic primary voters."

Because I had to deal with so many frustrating misunderstandings when I first made this observation, let me say the following: No, it's not a perfect stand-in for Dem primary voters; no, not all primary voters are self-ID'ing liberals; yes, the composition of voters in the primary is going to be hard to predict because of the unusual forces at work here; and no, a narrow disapproval rating does not mean Joe Lieberman is going to lose.

In fact, pretty much no matter what happens between now and August, barring Lieberman dropping out, the odds are very much against Lamont. As you all probably know, sitting senators almost never, ever lose in primary challenges. The few examples in the past thirty years all involved odd-ball circumstances, none of which obtain here. Nonetheless, this new SUSA poll is still good news for Ned. And just to show you we're not the loony left, Lieberman's support has taken a sizable recent hit among "moderates" and "independents" as well, especially among the latter.

One other detail: I believe that CT has a closed primary system - ie, you can only vote in your own party's primary. Some people have suggested that Republican Joe-lovers (and they are legion) might switch parties just to cast a vote for him in the primary. Fortunately, the GOP primary just became competitive, as Alan Schlesinger joined Paul Streitz in seeking the Republican nomination. I don't know how much of a draw this race will be, but at least there are two GOPers who dislike Joe enough to want to run against him.

UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more significant this is in my mind. Look again at Lieberman's performance among indies. Notice anything? It stands at 53-41 - a point worse than his approval among Dems! And Joe didn't just "take a hit" (as I say above) with independents - he utterly cratered in the last month. He was at 63-29, a 34-point spread. Since then, he dropped a whopping 22 points to just +12 - his fall with Dems was only from +21 to +13. I'm not sure what bearing this might have on the primary, but the numbers are pretty stunning in my mind.

Posted at 12:27 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 20, 2006

RI-Sen: Sierra Club Endorsing Chafee (R)

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm sure you've already seen this elsewhere on the Internets today: The Sierra Club is endorsing Lincoln Chafee, the Republican Senator from Rhode Island.

I have one very, very simple response to this: My goal in life is to elect and support Democrats. My corrollary goal, naturally, is to oppose Republicans and boot them from office. Barring the most extraordinary of circumstances, if your goal ever involves electing or supporting Republicans, I will never support you. I don't care what your rationale for bipartisanship is - it's one I will never share.

The Sierra Club can do what it likes. If they think supporting Chafee is the bees' knees, they can be my guest. They are, of course, incredibly and totally wrong. But I have no interest in debating them on their own terms. They're engaged in a different project than I am. If they care, I can tell them that I'll never give them money if they continue to support Republicans. But they probably don't - I think they've come to the cynical conclusion that they're apt to rake in more dollars if they appear bi- or non-partisan.

Anyhow, let me draw on a little bit of history which I think is instructive. When many American Jews felt that the most prominent pro-Israel organizations in this country were too right-leaning, what did they do? They went out and founded the New Israel Fund, a much more progressive group which today plays an important role in American-Israeli affairs. People committed to environmental activism and the election of Democrats would do well to heed this lesson. The Sierra Club may one day find itself with a serious rival if it insists on being this out-of-step with reality.

Posted at 11:09 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NV-Sen: LV Mayor Oscar Goodman (D) Won't Run

Posted by DavidNYC

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Sarah R. Carter:

Mayor Oscar Goodman said he will not seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, ending years of speculation among political insiders about the popular mayor's future.

"I love Las Vegas, I love being mayor of Las Vegas," Goodman said in an interview Wednesday with the Review-Journal. "I have a lot on my plate, I want to see it come to fruition, and I can only do that at home."

Sarah notes:

This means that Carter is the only Democrat who is likely to run. The filing deadline is May 19, and no other Democrats have expressed interest.

I like Jack Carter, but unfortunately, this seat is an exceptionally tough nut to crack - and not just because John Ensign is swamping Carter in the polls. In small states, the major players from opposing parties can often have too-cozy relationships. This was the case for many years with Joe Biden and William Roth in Delaware, for example - and it seems like it's happening in NV, too. All I can say is that I hope I'm wrong about this.

Posted at 09:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nevada | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, April 09, 2006

CT-Sen: What Is Joe Thinking?

Posted by DavidNYC

Friends, I know we've been down this path before. But it's not my fault Joe Lieberman keeps making me play whack-a-mole. Amazingly, Joe - in his clearest statement to date - has held open the idea of running as an independent if he were to lose the Democratic primary:

I hope there's not a primary. I'm confident if there is one, I'll win it, but I'm not gonna rule out any other option for now....

Kids, if Joe loses the Dem primary, he just can't, can't re-file as an independent. Let me 'splain once again:

[I]ndependent candidates have to submit petitions by August 9th, 2006. It just so happens that the Connecticut primary is on August 8th. In other words, if Joe loses the primary, in order to run as an independent in the general, he'd have to file petitions the very next day.

This is all but a literal impossibility. Joe would have to collect petitions while still running in the Dem primary. Can you imagine such a spectacle? It would be beyond unheard of for a sitting senator to do such a thing. The only real way Lieberman could run as an indie would be if he abandoned the Democratic Party (save your jokes) well in advance of the primary. Otherwise, he's just talking smack. If he loses the primary, he's done, finished, tostada del dia.

Let me tell you this: If Lieberman starts collecting petitions to run as an indy candidate, all hell will break loose. Somehow, though, I very much doubt anything like that would ever come to pass.

Posted at 09:58 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MD-Sen: Can Steele Actually Draw Black Votes?

Posted by DavidNYC

Conflicting reports:

An internal document prepared by a top Democratic strategist warns that a majority of African American voters in Maryland are open to supporting Republican Senate candidate Michael S. Steele and advises the party not to wait to "knock Steele down."

The 37-page report says a sizable segment of likely black voters -- as much as 44 percent -- would readily abandon their historic Democratic allegiances "after hearing Steele's messaging."

"Governor Ehrlich and [Lt. Gov.] Michael Steele have a clear ability to break through the Democratic stronghold among African American voters in Maryland," says the March 27 report by Cornell Belcher, polling consultant for the Democratic National Committee, which bases its findings on a survey of 489 black voters in Maryland conducted last month.

Versus:

If the findings of the poll are correct, they paint a somewhat different vision of the black electorate from what has been commonly understood to this point, said David Bositis, a senior research associate at the D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Bositis said nothing in his research suggests that an African American Republican will be able to grab a significant segment of the black vote.

The DNC survey finds that 22 percent of black voters support Steele when matched against a "generic" Democrat.

"There's just no way it's that high," Bositis said, noting that Steele's performance among black voters in the 2002 election did not approach that number. "If he was that much of a draw then it's doubtful he would only have received 13 percent of the black vote."

I don't want to believe only that which I'd like to believe, hence I remain vigilant about Steele's chances among the African American community. However - and this is a big however - the internal DNC poll sounds like a classic message-testing poll. We all know that those kinds of polls, with their captive audiences listening to a candidate's entire messaging package, don't reflect how politics works. Few voters will ever seriously tune in to a single message of Steele's, let alone the entire kit-n-kaboodle. Message-testing polls are great for precisely that - testing a message, not taking the temperature of the electorate.

Of course, when Cornell Belcher says we shouldn't wait to knock Steele down... well obviously, on that front, I couldn't agree more. And it shouldn't be too hard:

A message that resonated with black voters identified Steele as "George W. Bush's hand-picked candidate," the survey found. It's a message Democrats have tried to exploit. Even as Walker discussed the findings, he pointed to a photograph hanging in his office -- it shows Steele and Bush arm in arm.

The poll finds that only 8 percent of black voters in Maryland approve of the president's performance. And it signals that early support Steele has received from Bush and his advisers will rub black voters the wrong way.

Now that's a simple message that's easy to push and easy for voters to take home.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CT-Sen: Shhh!

Posted by DavidNYC

This is pretty funny. Lieberman's plodding build-up to his oh-so-obvious non-joke at the end is just brutal. The crickets are more than appropriate.

Posted at 12:00 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, April 03, 2006

CT-Sen: Lowering Expectations

Posted by DavidNYC

Take a look at this:

Lamont will need the votes of at least 241 (15 percent) of those delegates [to the statewide nominating convention] or signatures from 14,000 (2 percent) of the state's 700,000 registered Democrats to force an Aug. 8 primary against Lieberman. Signatures must be collected by June 5.

Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith conceded that a primary against Lamont is likely inevitable.

"We think it won't be a problem for him to get 15 percent of the delegates," Smith said. "He's been working at this for several months, and he's been bragging about his grass-roots army."

Wow, Lamont has been at this all the way since the end of January! Poor Joe's only had eighteen years to get his act together. It almost goes without saying that Lieberman is nakedly trying to lower expectations here. Expected in politics, but pretty sad for an incumbent Senator.

Also, mocking the grassroots? Not a smart move. Every time they rile us up, it just makes us want to work that much harder for Lamont. Lieberman would be wise to present a smaller target and not give the grassroots/netroots more fodder. The fact that his campaign manager doesn't seem to realize this, though, is a good sign for Lamont.

(Via DailyKos.)

Posted at 10:12 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, March 25, 2006

NY-Sen: Hillary's Newest Opponent: Stark Raving Nuts

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, I just could not resist this. The New York GOP is having an awful, awful year. They have no serious candidates for either Governor or Senator. They are trailing badly in the Attorney General's race. Their dwindling House delegation is also in weak shape, with one recent retirement and several vulnerable incumbents. Their former stronghold of Nassau county has been completely taken over by the Dems. And even their one-time leader, the odious Al D'Amato, is backing Eliot Spitzer in all but name.

If this isn't rock-bottom, what is? I truly, truly did not think it could get worse for the NY GOP. But guess what, sports fans? It just did:

A Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is bizarrely claiming that the former first lady has been spying in her bedroom window and flying helicopters over her house in the Hamptons, witnesses told The Post yesterday.

Former Reagan-era Pentagon official Kathleen "KT" McFarland stunned a crowd of Suffolk County Republicans on Thursday by saying:

"Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures," according to a prominent GOP activist who was at the event.

"She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom," added the eyewitness, who is not involved in the Senate race.

Wow. This is just too, too good. (And, in case you don't click the link, several non-anonymous sources also confirmed McFarland's remarks.) At this point, I'm actually feeling sorry for McFarland and the Republicans, so I thought I might offer them some helpful information, in the form of this chart:

Hope this helps! Have a nice day!

(Post story thanks to SusanG. Graphic from One World Government resistance manual courtesy Field Commander Plutonium Page.)

Posted at 01:44 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Comments (11) | 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

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MT-Sen: Keenan to Challenge Burns

Posted by DavidNYC

So Bob Keenan will indeed challenge Conrad Burns for the MT-Sen GOP nod. Tomorrow is Montana's filing deadline, so we'll see how things finally shake out. (Denny Rehberg is still the question mark.) I think that Burns is definitely in this for the long haul, though, and Keenan's move may wind up being a gift from heaven. If you're about to bail, you don't send forth your minions to say stuff like this:

"Conrad Burns has voted to lower taxes; Bob Keenan has a record of voting" to increase taxes, Jason Klindt said.

Let the games begin!

Posted at 06:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

NJ-Sen: Counting the Cars on the New Jersey Turnpike...

Posted by DavidNYC

They've all gone to look for a Thomas Kean...

In the biggest campaign fund-raiser yet on behalf of State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to New Jersey on Monday and praised Mr. Kean as someone with "the experience, the values and the vision to be a superb United States senator."

But there was one problem: Mr. Kean was a no-show.

Actually, Mr. Kean did show up at the event, which was held at the offices of the IDT Corporation in downtown Newark. But he did not make it until 6:15, roughly 15 minutes after Mr. Cheney's motorcade had left.

...

For his part, Mr. Kean said he had been in Trenton all day, voting on important bills, because "I would not miss votes in order to make a political event." As soon as the Senate wrapped up, around 4 p.m., he traveled north "as quickly as I could." But instead of taking the New Jersey Turnpike, like any regular commuter between Trenton and Newark, he and his driver chose Route 1, which is usually crawling with bumper-to-bumper traffic at that hour.

Mr. Kean said he did so because there were delays on the Turnpike in the morning. But at 6 p.m., there were no reported delays between Exit 7A, not far from Trenton, and the George Washington Bridge, according to the Turnpike's Web site.

This is like Briscoe and Curtis busting a shabby alibi on Law & Order. Too good, just too good. I have nothing else to add.

Posted at 09:11 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, March 17, 2006

MT-Sen: All Hell About to Break Loose?

Posted by DavidNYC

Wow. This whole race might be on the verge of getting a lot more interesting. The top Republican in the MT state Senate, Bob Keenan, says he's mulling a challenge to Conrad Burns in the primary. Keenan can't run again because of term limits, and he said he won't seek a state House seat as an alternative. When a prominent Republican considers challenging a sitting senator of his own party in a primary, that means said senator is even weaker than you might have imagined.

But things may actually be even crazier still, if you can believe it. Matt Singer noticed this unusual detail:

Speaking of Burns’ race, does anyone find it odd that Rehberg still hasn’t filed for the House seat? With Burns’ seat in a free-for-all and both Max and Brian looking solid for ‘08, Rehberg just may decide that it’s time to cash in his chips. Given that the D.C. establishment reportedly doesn’t want Burns in this race and that they are likely to pick Dennis the Menace over Bob Keenan, it looks like Montana’s Congressman may be weighing the merits of picking a fight with the man he got into office.

Interesting catch indeed. I doubt that anyone is this clever, but maybe this is just a brilliant ploy by Keenan - goad Rehberg into challenging Burns, and then run for Rehberg's seat. Regardless, if Rehberg jumps in against Burns, then we'd really wind up with a sweet deal: Burnsie staying in, Burnsie getting wounded in a primary - or even losing, and an open seat in MT-AL to boot. We might just hit the trifecta!

Posted at 01:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WY-Sen: Kempthorne Tapped for Interior

Posted by DavidNYC

So it looks like Dick Kempthorne will replace Gail Norton as Secretary of the Interior.

Yes, Kempthorne is the Republican Governor of Idaho, but I've prefaced the title of this post with WY-Sen. It's not a mistake. As several commenters pointed out in an earlier thread, Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas was rumored for this job as well. If he had been tapped, that would have created a potentially interesting open seat in WY. But with Kempthorne getting the nod, nothing changes. He was term-limited out of running for ID-Gov again. CQ has some color on that race if you are curious (they rate the race Safe Republican).

Posted at 05:23 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Wyoming | Comments (2) | 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 07, 2006

TN-Sen: Ford Slips Against Three GOPers

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen (likely voters, January in parens):

Ford: 36 (40)
Bryant: 45 (42)

Ford: 35 (37)
Hilleary: 43 (43)

Ford: 35 (40)
Corker: 39 (42)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

The usually terse Rasmussen provides a few internals, but doesn't offer much of an explanation for Ford's slippage. As for myself, I keep vacillating on whether I think TN-Sen will turn into a legit pickup opportunity this year. Obviously, a poll like this makes you lean "no," but just a month ago, the same survey tilted toward "yes." What do you think?

Posted at 09:15 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Tennessee | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, March 06, 2006

FL-Sen: Time to Start a Dead Pool

Posted by DavidNYC

Go read this post on Kathy Harris over at Kos. Then come back here and tell me it isn't time to start a political dead pool. But I'm not in the least bit happy at this development - I've long been rooting for this kind of thing not to happen. If Harris goes, someone with a lot less baggage (like FL state House Speaker) Alan Bense will jump in. Florida's filing deadline isn't until May 12th, so a lot could happen before then.

Posted at 11:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

RI-Sen: Chafee Pulls Spectacular Double Blunder

Posted by DavidNYC

So Lincoln Chafee and his erstwhile primary challenger, Steve Laffey, are having a pissing contest over who supports Israel more, better, louder, etc. It's nothing more than a crass attempt to pander to Jewish voters, as though Jews will reflexively support whomever is most hawkish. Hint: 75% of Jews voted for Kerry. This ploy's not gonna work. Moreover, there are only some 16,000 Jews in RI - barely 1.5% of the population. So why bother? Well, Laffey's shilling for right-wing PAC money, and Chafee is trying to deny it to him. But along the way, Linc went a-blundering.

Indeed, check out this exceptional double blunder on Chafee's part. Trying to bolster his pro-Israel credentials, Chaffe apparently made the following remark:

Linc Chafee says the Christian right, increasingly active in Republican politics, also has a strong, Biblically inspired interest in Israel.

Whoa there! It's almost hard to unpack the enormous gaffes here. Let me try:

• Blunder #1: My good buddies in the GOP - those right-wing Christian fundamentalists - are super-mega-pro-Israel. Judge me based on the company I keep!

Wow. For a guy whose entire political career rests on pretending he's some kind of moderate, this is an outrageously glaring admission to make. We always knew that Chafee was in thrall to the far right. Now he's gone and admitted it.

• Blunder #2: Hey, Jewish voters! I know you'll like my stance on Israel because I'm good friends with Christian fundamentalists. Remember them, those guys who want to use Jews as kindling for their rapturous end-times fantasies?

Seems obvious to me, but Linc seemed to forget that fundamentalist "support" for Israel is perhaps Exhibit #1 when it comes to explaining why the modern GOP can never - and will never - tap the Jewish vote.

So congrats, Linc. In just one sentence, you managed to put the lie to your claims of being a moderate, and you helped turn off Jewish voters to your campaign. Good work! The DNC oughta put you on payroll.

Posted at 10:18 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, February 23, 2006

MO-Sen: Talent Flip-Flops on Stem Cells

Posted by DavidNYC

As I've written in the past, I ordinarily hate the phrase "flip-flop" - it's gotta be okay to change your mind about things. But sometimes, a change in position is so starkly craven, so basely political that it deserves to be labelled a flip-flop. And here, friends, is one of them:

Sen. Jim Talent attempted an election-year pirouette Friday on stem-cell research, an issue that has split the Missouri Republican Party.

Talent withdrew his four-year support of federal legislation that would ban human cloning, including what opponents call embryonic therapeutic cloning that most researchers see as key to early stem-cell study. Talent’s pro-life supporters adamantly oppose the technique.

I've written about this issue before, mainly in the context of a pro-stem cell MO ballot measure - one which Talent's opponent, Claire McCaskill, supports, and which he has refused to give a firm answer on. Talent still won't say whether he supports or opposes the initiative, but his flip-flop on Sen. Sam Brownback's anti-stem cell legislation is already causing plenty of ire:

The pro-life movement also is confused by Talent’s rationale for pulling his support for Brownback’s bill.

Talent said he was concerned that the bill’s wording would inadvertently ban altered nuclear transfer research that did not involve the cloning of human embryos.

Nonsense, said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose group helped Brownback write the bill.

“This doesn’t make any sense to us,” Doerflinger said. “The Brownback bill … clearly allows research other than cloning human embryos. … I think this man is very confused.”

...

“There’s been a lot of support for Jim Talent from the pro-life community,” said Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference. “Today he stepped off that platform. At this point, it’s essentially vacant with respect to the U.S. Senate election. His candidacy gave pro-life voters something they could gravitate towards. Unfortunately, it’s just not there any more.”

The business community is also pissed at Talent, for precisely the opposite reasons - his wishy-washiness is hurting the prospects of the state's bio-industries. That's a pretty rare feat for a Republican to be able to pull off: Piss off the conservative religious base AND the Chamber of Commerce in one fell swoop. I think this issue is going to keep hurting him all election-season long, especially as moneyed interests visibly crank up their support for the ballot initiative.

Posted at 02:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

FL-Sen: Second Finance Director Bails on Harris

Posted by DavidNYC

Kathy Harris' second finance director quits - and just when things were looking up:

Just as her wobbly campaign for the Senate appeared to be steadying itself, Katherine Harris lost her finance director.

Mike Miller, a veteran Republican fundraiser, resigned Friday. He is the second finance director to leave the Harris campaign since she started running to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, but Miller said his departure is purely for personal reasons.

Personal reasons - or was he pushed out?

In December, Harris hired Anne Dunsmore and her California company, Capital Campaigns, to lead a national fundraising effort.

"We're thankful for all Mike has done, but Anne is setting up her own team, her own structure," said campaign spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs, who, like Miller, downplayed his departure.

Now that's interesting. In fact, I think I'm seeing a pattern here. In MD-Sen, the national boys march in and instantly cause turmoil, leading to the departure of several local hands. Is the same thing going on here? What I'm sensing is that as the DC-based GOP leadership grows more and more nervous about its election prospects this year, it marches in the infamous "outside consultants" into races which are looking bad. It's a sign of desperation, and it also hasn't been working out very well.

In any event, it's pretty sad-sack that Harris has to hire someone from out-of-state to run her anemic fundraising operation. It certainly opens her up to the easy charge that ordinary Floridians don't want to donate to her. Meanwhile, Bill Nelson has raised the third-most ($7.5M) of anyone seeking election to the Senate, behind only Clinton and Santorum. Plus, he's got $8M cash-on-hand, while Harris has just $1M.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MD-Sen: Cardin Chalks Up 14-Point Lead Over Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen warms the cockles of my heart (likely voters, January in parens):

Cardin: 49 (40)
Steele: 35 (45)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Rasmussen believes the January poll was an outlier because the November results (49-41 Cardin) are much more in line with these. (To believe all three polls are accurate would imply a level of volatility in this race that's just not borne out by other available evidence.)

Oh, and by a 73-11 margin, Maryland voters reject Say Anything Steele's comparison of stem cell research to the horrors of the Holocaust. For once, I'm not surprised - in a good way.

Posted at 08:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PA-Sen: Santorum's Ethics Mire

Posted by DavidNYC

We all knew how much of a joke it was when Bill Frist tapped Dick Santorum to be the GOP's "ethics point man." It almost seemed like a perverse set-up job at the time - Li'l Ricky was sure to crash and burn on the ethics front. And indeed, that fate has come to pass:

SEN. RICK SANTORUM and his wife received a $500,000, five-year mortgage for their Leesburg, Va., home from a small, private Philadelphia bank run by a major campaign donor - even though its stated policy is to make loans only to its "affluent" investors, which the senator is not.

Good-government experts said the mortgage from The Philadelphia Trust Co. raises serious questions about Santorum's conduct at a time when he is the Senate GOP's point man on ethics reform. They said it would be a violation of the Senate's ethics rules if Santorum received something a regular citizen could not get.

A campaign spokeswoman for Santorum, who is seeking re-election, said the couple's mortgage interest rate was "market-driven," but she refused to offer specifics, as did officials from Philadelphia Trust.

Reminds me of a great episode of Law & Order where a wealthy family bribes a judge by pressuring their bank to offer him a low-interest loan available only to the uber-rich. But wait, there's more:

• A political-action committee chaired by Santorum, America's Foundation, spends less money on direct aid to GOP candidates - its stated purpose - and more on expenditures than similar PACs. And its expenditure reports are littered with scores of unorthodox expenses for a political committee, with charges at coffee and ice cream shops and fast-food joints as well as supermarkets and a home-hardware store.

For example, America's Foundation made 66 charges at Starbucks Coffee, almost all in the senator's hometown of Leesburg, Va., and 94 charges at another D.C.-area vendor, HMSHost Corp. Virginia Davis, the campaign spokeswoman, defended all the charges as campaign-related, saying the senator prefers to meet political aides in coffee shops rather than on Senate property.

• A little-publicized charity founded by Santorum in 2001, the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation, is not registered in Pennsylvania, even though the majority of its fundraising and spending takes place here.

What's more, three years of public tax returns show the charity spent just 35.9 percent of the nearly $1 million it raised during that time on charity grants, well below the 75 percent threshold recommended by experts. The group's Web site says it has distributed a total of $474,000 to groups, many faith-based, that fight social ills and urban poverty.

The part about the charity really steams me. So many charities in this country are near-scams, spending most of what they raise on expenses, rather than directing their contributions to the people and groups who really need the money. I'm hardly surprised that someone like Santorum is engaged in that kind of activity, but it still infuriates me.

Fact is, though, wittingly or not, Bill Frist shone a bright spotlight on Santorum's own ethical record, and it's an ugly, ugly sight. I seriously hope DC Democrats can make some hay out of this one, because this particular story is not just about one senator's misdeeds. The storyline here is that the Republican tasked with cleaning up ethics practices himself is an unethical scoundrel. That's definitely man-bites-dog - or should I say, man-on-dog?

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MD-Sen: The Wheels on the Bus Fall Off, Off, Off

Posted by DavidNYC

Yet another key staffer bails as Say Anything Steele's campaign comes apart at the hinges:

In a matter of weeks, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele lost his campaign manager, offended an audience of Jewish leaders by comparing stem cell research to Nazi experimentation and then confounded a conservative talk show audience by saying he actually supports embryonic research.

Yesterday came more turmoil, as the Republican with the best chance of winning a U.S. Senate seat from Maryland in two decades lost his communications director, Leonardo Alcivar, who resigned.

The public signs of disarray have exposed what campaign insiders confirmed yesterday are even deeper internal problems, stemming from a rift between Steele's longtime loyalists and the professional consultants who trooped to Annapolis to run his first big-league campaign.

As I suggested a few days ago, bringing in the big boys from DC wasn't likely to work. I had no idea it would get this bad this quickly, though:

The lieutenant governor's longtime supporters said yesterday that they have tried to fend off a national GOP "consultant culture" that espouses a cookie-cutter approach ill-suited for Maryland, a state dominated by Democratic voters.

National advisers, however, described Steele loyalists as rigid and unsophisticated about the needs of a campaign of that scale. They said a parochial approach being counseled by Steele aides was destined to fail in a media-driven race that has drawn national attention and could cost more than $10 million before it's done.

And yes, there is justice in this world:

The professional staffers argued that, had Steele been better prepared to face unanticipated questions, he might have avoided the kind of lengthy, stream-of-consciousness reply that left him equating the research to Holocaust experimentation.

Those closely monitoring the race said the resulting firestorm has left some Marylanders, and some national Republicans who have considered pouring cash into his Senate bid, reexamining whether Steele is ready for the race.

Ah, I could spend all day quote bits of this article. Go read the whole thing, and watch an allegedly top-tier Republican campaign crumble to dust before your very eyes.

Posted at 03:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | 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

Thursday, February 16, 2006

MD-Sen: Steele's Campaign Manager Quits

Posted by DavidNYC

Campaign in disarray:

Campaign manager Graham M. Shafer made a quiet exit earlier this month, citing family obligations, a campaign spokesman confirmed yesterday. His departure highlighted a growing tug within the Steele campaign between the candidate's Washington advisers and his coterie of longtime loyalists from Maryland, of which Shafer was one.

That internal struggle intensified last week, sources said, as Steele sought to minimize damage caused when he equated stem cell research to the experiments Nazi doctors conducted on Jews during World War II while speaking to a Baltimore Jewish group.

As criticism of the remark had Steele hustling to issue profuse apologies, national GOP officials were clashing with Steele's longtime advisers on how to handle the crisis, said three well-placed sources, all of whom spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were divulging internal campaign deliberations.

Nothing like having the big boys from DC come in and try to bail Say Anything Steele's ass out. After national GOP figures lambasted Coretta Scott King's mourners and lectured them on how they ought to behave, do guys like Ken Mehlman have any realistic chance whatsoever at convincing black voters to go Republican? That seems to be the Steele campaign's entire strategy. Good luck with that one.

Posted at 12:27 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

VT-Sen: GOP Astroturf Blog Uncovered

Posted by DavidNYC

In my Blogger Spotlight interview, I made the following observation:

Q: How do you see the new media and old media affecting and influencing each other in the next five years?

A: In the traditional media, you have outlets like the New York Times and outlets like the New York Post. One is reputable, the other isn't, and everyone's figured out which is which by now. The same is true of the blogging world: You have Times-style blogs and Post-style blogs. Most bloggers try to verify what they post; some peddle in rumor. Most blogs are run by honest folks; some are run by paid shills.

My biggest concern, though, is that the traditional media will fail to distinguish between the two. I think we saw this happen in 2004 in South Dakota, where bloggers who were on campaign payrolls were wrongly treated as independent sources. When a story appears to originate in the blogosphere, traditional media reporters need to ask, "Is the source reputable? Is it a Times or a Post?" And if you can't answer in the affirmative, then pass on the story. This isn't always an easy question to answer, but one good place to start is the list of past winners of the Koufax Awards.

Who knew the next astroturf Republican blog would be discovered so quickly? Kudos to Peter Freyne of Seven Days, "Vemont's Alternative Webweekly," for sleuthing this one out (and to Kagro X for bringing it to our attention).

Posted at 06:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Vermont | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-Sen: I Didn't Say What I Said

Posted by DavidNYC

You might have been a bit confused if you read this AP story from yesterday:

“Hackett would have probably won this seat,” [DavidNYC], one of three founders of the liberal Web site SwingStateProject.com, contended in a blog posting Tuesday. “It's much harder for me to envision the 'northeastern Ohio liberal' Sherrod Brown breaking the 49-percent barrier, particularly with DeWine moving to the center.”

As it turns out, the quote in question belongs to SSP community member & regular commenter Mark. And actually, this is not a case of a lazy reporter failing to understand the difference between posts and comments.

I contacted the author (David Hammer) and he explained what happened. I had written the comment just above Mark's, which makes it plausibly look like the text below my name belonged to me, as opposed to the text above my name. Forgiveable, and no lasting harm done. (Though Mark, I'm sorry you missed your chance to have your name in lights!)

Anyhow, for the record, I don't agree with what was attributed to me. :) I think Sherrod is the stronger candidate - but that is the subject for another post.

P.S. I'm the sole founder of the SSP - you have only me to blame for this site!

Posted at 05:33 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

FL-Sen: Harris Makes Up Ground

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen (likely voters, Jan. in parens):

Nelson: 49 (54)
Harris: 40 (31)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Now, that's a monster leap. Harris went from being down 23 points to being down just 9 in one month. Rasmussen's explanation is that the GOP has stopped trying to push Harris from the race and that big-timers (like Jeb) are backing her. But man, that's just way too much inside baseball - who even pays attention to that kind of crap (except us) this far out? I refuse to believe this kind of thing is responsible for a 14-point swing. (The one bit of bright news is that Nelson leads among independents, 64-18.)

When you have situations like this, you're always left with the same question: Which poll was out of whack? Without a third month's worth of data, we can't know. (I'm pretty sure the January poll was Rasmussen's first on FL-Sen.) If this newest poll is accurate, though, then this worries me. Nelson is still the favorite, but I was hoping we wouldn't have a serious fight on our hands here.

Posted at 02:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-Sen: Hackett Out

Posted by DavidNYC

So Paul Hackett's out of the Ohio Senate race, and he's not running for OH-02, either. I agree with Adam B at DailyKos: Sherrod Brown better win this.

I also hope Hackett's supporters can get behind Sherrod, too. I was a big Dean supporter during the primaries, and when he lost, I was seriously bummed. But I took a week, got over it, and then got right behind John Kerry. Like I said in a post just below, we're all on the same team here, and we've all got to work together to beat Mike DeWine.

Posted at 12:25 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 13, 2006

MD-Sen: "Say Anything" Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

"Say Anything" Steele. That's my new nickname for MD Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele, and I hope it sticks.

In the midst of my fury over his remarks comparing Holocaust victims to stem cell research, I spouted the following about Say Anything Steele.:

You think nothing through, you say anything for political gain, you have no sense of right and wrong and decency.

Look how right I was!

In his latest comments, [Steele] said, "I support embryonic stem cell research," a position that seemed to be at odds with his previous remarks.

Unbelievable. I was right on all counts. How could a man who thinks that stem cell research is the kin of Dr. Mengele's experiments actually support such a thing? That's the "think nothing through" part. But obviously, he doesn't actually feel that way if he now supports stem cell research. That's the "say anything for political gain" part. And either way you slice it, he triggers the "no sense of right and wrong and decency" part, too.

However, I just want to make one thing clear: My outrage at Steele's remarks had nothing to do with his personal views on stem cell research. If he wants to oppose it, that's his perogative. And if he wants to delusionally believe it's anything like the horrors of the Holocaust, he's free to think that, too.

My anger was directed at the fact that he was telling others what they ought to believe - that Jews ("of all folks") ought to think the way he does precisely because so many of us have such close links to the Holocaust. That being touched by the Holocaust ought to mean you want to foreshorten the lives of those who might be saved by stem cell research. That is what disgusted me. The notion that he could presume to speak for people like my father - and attribute such callous, hateful views to them - was beyond outrageous.

Of course, now that stem cell research is hunky-dory in Say Anything Steele's world, I guess we can chuck all that out the window. What a pathetic hack.

Posted at 02:50 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Poll Has Morrison Leading, Tester Tied with Burns

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Rasmussen (likely voters, Jan. in parens):

Tester: 46 (45)
Burns: 46 (45)

Morrison: 50 (43)
Burns 43 (46)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Two strong months in a row for both Dems, with Morrison picking up some more steam recently. Bottom line is that either man could beat Burns. (It wasn't too long ago when things looked like this.) Of course, I'm not saying this is any kind of foregone conclusion - Burns has a lot of money, and much of the year remains. All I'm saying is that both Tester and Morrison could beat him.

The issue, really, is who wins the primary. Right now, Morrison is probably the favorite, by virtue of his higher name rec and better fundraising. We still haven't seen any independent polls on the primary, though. (I don't understand why Rasmussen can't tack that question on to his survey.)

As everyone who reads this site well knows, I'm supporting Tester. But I'll get behind whoever wins the Dem nomination. I mention this because supporters of both candidates need to be considerate of the other side - if Tester wins, he'll need to cultivate Morrison supporters and vice-versa. We're all on the same team here - let's not lose sight of that.

Posted at 02:35 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

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

Friday, February 10, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb's Website is Up

Posted by DavidNYC

Get ready for a season of non-stop bad Webb/web puns: James Webb's, uh, website is up. It's a start, but I think they need to start using Media Mezcla's Campaign Engine. All the cool sites are using it!

Posted at 10:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MD-Sen: Fuck You, Michael Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm not sure I've ever used profanity in the title of a post here, but I am beyond outraged right now. Beyond outraged. This is what Republican Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele said about stem cell research to the board of the Baltimore Jewish Council:

"You of all folks know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool."

You goddamn motherfucking sonofabitch. You dirty, filthy, rotten scumbag. That you would dare, DARE make this comparison tells me that you are a warped, crippled, self-hating human being. You think nothing through, you say anything for political gain, you have no sense of right and wrong and decency.

Let me put it another way. My father is a Holocaust survivor. My fiancee has Type I diabetes. Do you think for a fucking SECOND that my dad doesn't want to see stem cells used to cure the love of my life?

Of course not, you fucking asshole. You don't know what my father - "of all folks" - knows, but I'll tell you. He hates to see life cut short. His father was murdered - murdered! - when my dad was just 11 years old. He'd hate more than anything if my bride-to-be was taken from me prematurely because of illness - especially if something could have been done to prevent it. You not only fail to understand that, but you presume the opposite.

A rabbi once told me something very interesting. In Jewish tradition, if you harm someone, only that person can forgive you. Not a rabbi, not God, not someone else - only the person you've wronged. Michael Steele, you've desecrated the memory of people who can no longer speak. Only they may forgive you. But I don't expect you'll ever be able to ask them for forgiveness, because I don't believe you'll be joining them up in Heaven.

Posted at 04:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb is In!

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man, this is exciting news:

Former Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr. said yesterday that he will file papers this week to seek the Democratic nomination to run for the U.S. Senate this year.

Webb, who lives in Arlington County, would join Harris N. Miller, a Fairfax County computer executive, in seeking the party's nomination.

The nominee will oppose U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican who is seeking a second six-year term in the Senate. Allen is a strong favorite.

Webb, who was secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, resigned in protest of cutbacks in the Navy fleet. He has been a strong critic of the war in Iraq, saying that the Bush administration has never developed an exit strategy.

As I've said repeatedly, I think Webb will make a great candidate with a compelling storyline (former Reagan official turns Dem). As you may also know, Webb is a graduate of Annapolis - perhaps he'll put in a surprise appearance at tomorrow's Band of Brothers event in DC. I'm not hinting - just hoping!

(Thanks to Jambon.)

Posted at 01:08 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont Creates Candidate Committee

Posted by DavidNYC

Ned Lamont's campaign is heating up, at least a little bit:

Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont moved closer Monday toward a challenge of U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as he created a candidate committee, named a campaign manager and began searching for a headquarters.

"It is a significant step forward," said Tom Swan, who is managing what he says is still an exploratory campaign. "I am happy that Ned asked me to play a role within this campaign."

Swan, a liberal activist and longtime critic of Lieberman, took a leave of absence Monday from his job as executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group so that he can work full time for Lamont.

The citizen group's political director, John Murphy, also will be joining the Lamont campaign.

So he's got a committee, and some staff (who sound experienced). That's a good start. However, note this:

Lamont has said that he will not move beyond an exploratory campaign until at least 1,000 volunteers sign up on his campaign website, nedlamont.com.

Still hasn't reached 1,000. Maybe I'm basing this too much on personal experiece, but I still really feel like 1,000 names is not a lot. When I was running New York for Dean three years ago, we had over a thousand local e-mail addresses in just a couple of months - and we weren't promoted on the million-visitors-a-day DailyKos, nor did we have our URL mentioned in newspaper articles. I would have expected Lamont to get 1K inside a week - but maybe I'm being unrealistic. Bottom line is, though, he'll get his 1,000 before too long.

Posted at 10:18 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, February 03, 2006

VA-Sen: Wait - Webb's Not Out!

Posted by DavidNYC

A few days ago, I passed along an item from Raising Kaine which said that James Webb was out of the running for VA-Sen. But wait, not so fast!

As you all know, earlier this week I reported that James Webb had decided not to run for U.S. Senate from Virginia this year. This was based on direct contact with Webb, and was information that was rock solid at the time. However, times change. Today, I met with James Webb for 3 hours, along with my colleagues Josh Chernila and Lee Diamond, and I am authorized to say the following on Webb’s behalf: “Webb is definitely not out. Stay tuned for an announcement next week.”

This is good news. As I've said in the past, I think Webb is the most attractive candidate we can offer for this race. If you agree with me, you can head over to his website and send a brief friendly note encouraging him to run. You can also fill out the Draft James Webb petition.

(Hat tip to thegools.)

P.S. Speaking of VA-Sen, this man seriously wants to be president?

Indeed, here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them."

We always knew you were a lightweight, Sen. Allen. Thanks for the extra evidence.

(Thanks to HoosADem.)

Posted at 11:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hotline's Senate Fundraising Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

The excellent Hotline blog has a fundraising roundup for all Senate candidates. They also note a few highlights as well. The subscription-only version of Hotline also has a bunch of House numbers, but hopefully the good souls will publish that to the (free) blog soon, too.

Posted at 03:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

MT-Sen: Morrison Swamps Tester, Burns Way Ahead of Both

Posted by DavidNYC

Bad news, Tester fans:

Tester 4Q Fundraising: $89K
Morrison 4Q Fundraising: $407K
Burns 4Q Fundraising: $814K

Tester Cash-on-Hand: $167K
Morrison Cash-on-Hand: $753K
Burns Cash-on-Hand: $3.4M

Morrison raised almost 5x as much as Tester, and Burns almost 10x as much. Tester really has got to turn things around, and soon. You can help him by going here.

P.S. Markos rounds up fundraising numbers from a whole bunch of top-tier Senate races. The numbers don't look great for us.

Posted at 03:19 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Lamont is Looking for CTers

Posted by DavidNYC

Ned Lamont says he'll run against Joe Lieberman if and when he gets 1,000 CT residents to sign up on his website. According to Markos, he's gotten 300 so far, plus another thou from outside the state. Considering that Lamont's website has been pimped on the front page of DailyKos multiple times since Saturday, those numbers don't strike me as terribly strong. I mean, the guy's not asking for contributions - just name, e-mail and ZIP. Then again, CT is a small state, and Lamont is (apparently) limiting himself purely to people who are in the thick of online activism. Nonetheless, I expect he'll hit his millennium mark soon enough.

Posted at 12:57 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Is James Webb Out?

Posted by DavidNYC

Lowell at Raising Kaine is reporting that James Webb won't take on George Allen in VA-Sen this year. I have no reason to doubt the folks at RK, but I haven't been able to find an official confirmation from Webb. If true, though, then this is bad news indeed. James Webb is an exciting guy to me - I just can't say the same about Harris Miller, who is a Herb Kohl at best.

Posted at 11:19 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | 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

Friday, January 27, 2006

NY-Sen: Cox Out; Spencer, Seemingly, In

Posted by DavidNYC

No one, it seems, wants to take on Hillary Clinton. With Jeanine Pirro vanishing into the ether, the NY GOP turned (once again) to Ed Cox, most famous for being the son-in-law of Dick Nixon. Cox, who actually had either the sense or grace to bow out when Pataki endorsed Pirro, decided it wasn't worth bowing back in. So they're down to a guy named John Spencer, who I always thought was a recently-deceased star on West Wing. Turns out, he's also a former mayor of Yonkers.

Not that you needed any confirmation, but this race is going to be seriously dull. A few people have noted that HRC is fundraising gold for the right - her name alone in direct-mail solicitations increases the return rate dramatically (or so it's said). Without even a semi-serious challenger for Clinton, she'll be able to fly under the radar for much of the campaign season, so it'll be that much more difficult to milk her name for some good old fashioned hate-bucks. Of course, she's still a celebrity and will get more coverage than most candidates, but this campaign probably won't produce many sparks of the sort which can light a fire under the anti-Hillary base.

Of course, they'll probably just make shit up anyhow.

Posted at 01:45 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 26, 2006

NJ-Sen: Menendez Slips Slightly in New Q-Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

From Quinnipiac (registered voters, Dec. in parens):

Menendez: 38 (44)
Kean: 36 (38)
Undecided: 22 (16)
(MoE: ±3.2%)

Both men have almost identical favorability ratings, with the most salient fact that 64% of respondents say they don't know enough about either guy to express an opinion. My thinking is that as name rec grows for both men, a natural advantage has to accure to Menendez. George Bush just hit his lowest approval rating ever in NJ (36-59). It would be an amazing feat if Kean could avoid being tainted by the GOP's overall poor rep in the state.

Posted at 10:17 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

AZ-Sen: Kyl Swamping Pederson

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, I am not liking this new BRC/Rocky Mountain poll (just plain "voters," Oct. in parens):

Pederson: 26 (30)
Kyl: 55 (54)
Undecided: 19 (16)
(MoE: ±4.2%)

Pederson is supposed to be a great candidate: He's got money, and as chair of the AZ Dems, he's got all the connections you could imagine. Moreover, Kyl is the ultimate super duper conservative wingnut. According to CQ (PDF), Kyl voted with the GOP majority 98% of the time in 2005 - the second-highest rate in the GOP caucus. I've got to believe he's out-of-step with much of Arizona.

And yet Pederson can't seem to gain any traction, at least (twice now) according to this poll. (The Zogby results are clearly from bizarro-world.) If we can't link (and thus hurt) Kyl with the failed Bush administration, whom can we do it with? I'm certainly not writing Pederson off - it's still quite early. We have a lot of good pickup opportunities, and I had hoped that AZ would be one of them. Anything's possible, but for now, I remain pessimistic.

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, January 22, 2006

MO-Sen: McCaskill Leads Talent

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Research 2000 (likely voters, no trendlines):

McCaskill: 47
Talent: 44
Undecided: 9
(MoE: ±3.5%)

The partisan split is just about equal (around 80% of Republicans and Democrats support their party's candidate). The real issue is that independents favor McCaskill by a considerable margin, 50-41. Given McCaskill's consistently strong poll showings, Talent is probably right at the top of the second tier of vulnerable GOP incumbents. The 4Q fundraising numbers will be of especial interest in this race.

Research 2000 also tested MO-Gov, and showed Democratic AG Jay Nixon leading Republican incumbent Matt Blunt, 51-43. Unfortunately, Blunt is not up for re-election until 2008, so any poll here is just way too early. But Blunt, like his father (possibly Majority Leader Roy Blunt), is tainted by corruption and may face a desultory several years as governor (much like Ernie Fletcher in neighboring Kentucky).

(Thanks to hilltopper.)

Posted at 10:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, January 20, 2006

MN-Sen: Wetterling to Make Annoucement Today - Is She Dropping Out?

Posted by DavidNYC

MN's Patty Wetterling is going to make some sort of announcement today about her candidacy for US Senate. I think you only make candidacy announcements in two situations: To tell people that you're running or to tell people that you're dropping out. What I don't get is why she'd scheduled it for a Friday afternoon. If she's gonna drop out and endorse rival Amy Klobuchar, that's newsworthy. And if she's gonna instead run for Congress in MN-06 again, that's also newsworthy. So why try burying the story?

Anyhow, the announcement is schedule for 2pm local time, so it's not for a bit. But the AP is already claiming they know that she'll drop out. Since Wetterling's opponent in 2004 (Mark Kennedy) is now also running for Senate, a race again in MN-06 is particularly attractive because it's now an open seat. The district did go for Bush by 57-42, but Wetterling out-performed that (losing 54-46). She could definitely win this time around. (Though I'll note that there's already a Dem candidate running, Elwyn Tinklenberg.)

In any event, we'll know soon enough.

UPDATE: So Wetterling has indeed dropped out. She endorsed Klobuchar, but refused to discuss possible future plans. Options include MN-06, Lt. Gov. or Secretary of State. Some commenters think the current candidate in MN-06 (Tinklenberg) is strong and that Wetterling ought to run for another office.

Posted at 01:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (17) | 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

CT-Sen: Debating the Wisdom of a Primary Challenge

Posted by DavidNYC

In discussing whether we should support or oppose a primary challenge to Lieberman, there are tons of issues at play. Allocation of resources is far from the only one. Matt Stoller thoughtfully analyzes all the reprecussions we might see if Ned Lamont mounts a challenge to Lieberman, and especially what kind of fallout is likely if the blogosphere (or much of it, anyway) gets behind Lamont. I encourage you to read it in full.

Posted at 12:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CT-Sen: Lamont-Lieberman vs. Toomey-Specter

Posted by DavidNYC

Over at DailyKos, Adam B raises an interesting comparison. But first, a little background. In 2004, conservative PA Rep. Pat Toomey challenged incumbent Republican Senator Arlen Specter for the GOP nomination. Toomey came remarkably close, losing by just 51-49, or 17,000 votes out of over one million cast. If the wind had puffed ever so slightly more in Toomey's direction, he would have pulled off the remarkable feat of knocking out a sitting Senator in a primary.

There are, of course, a lot of differences between Toomey-Specter and Lamont-Lieberman. We can pore over those at length in due time. But if you accept for the moment that we can legitimately compare the two matchups, I wanted to toss some more numbers at you.

The CT primary is around six-and-a-half months from now - Aug. 9th. In October of 2003, also about 6 to 7 months out from the PA primary, Quinnipiac (the same pollster I referred to below) did a poll on the senate race in that state. This time, I just want to look at Dem voters in CT and GOP voters in PA (forget about tags like "liberal" or "conservative").

Job Approval
Specter among Republicans: 57-30
Lieberman among Democrats: 55-29

Favorability (favorable-unfavorable-mixed)
Specter among Republicans: 49-18-25
Lieberman among Democrats: 50-15-28

Six months out, Specter was looking pretty comfortable. But as Adam notes, the race tightened considerably in a very short amount of time, and Specter came within a hair's breadth of an early retirement. Lieberman's numbers are virtually identical.

Now, on to those differences. The most obvious is that Toomey had held political office, whereas Lamont is a newcomer. Toomey also had big money from the Club for Growth and the grassroots. However, Lamont himself is wealthy and has allegedly promised to spend over a million dollars of his own on the race. Plus, MoveOn and perhaps DFA might get behind him, too. Moreover, the entire top-tier GOP establishment (including Bush, Cheney, Santorum and Rove) showed up in PA to bail Arlen's sorry ass. Will Clinton, Kerry, Gore (hah) and Dean (double-hah) do the same for Joe?

Now, we can definitely debate the wisdom of whether Lamont should take on Lieberman. I'm fairly torn, but I'm personally leaning toward "yes." However, I doubt we'll come to any kind of resolution, or shed more light on the subject. I'd wager that we're all very familiar with all the pros and cons - which is why I'm more interested in discussing what's likely to happen, not whether it should happen. And on that score, I definitely think Lieberman is beatable.

Posted at 06:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Is Lieberman Beatable?

Posted by DavidNYC

Let me start by saying I am not trying to debate the issue of whether Joe Lieberman should be challenged by a Dem or an independent. Rather, I'd like to discuss the mechanics of such a challenge - what it would look like, and whether it might succeed.

To that end, I don't think former Gov. Lowell Weicker can beat Lieberman as an independent. Quinnipiac recently released a poll showing Lieberman beating Weicker in a direct head-to-head (with no Republican) by 65-21. I doubt that Weicker could overcome such a huge gap, especially since his favorability rating is negative - he garners only 19% positive and 32% negative. Pretty harsh.

However, I think a primary challenge could succeed. Lieberman gets pretty good job approval from Dems (55-29), while Republican approval of him is a good bit higher (68-20). And his favorability rating among Dems is good as well (50-15). But those numbers only tell part of the story.

By a 52-39 margin, Dems say Lieberman should once again be the senatorial nominee. That's not exactly terrific. But it gets even more interesting. Self-identified liberals - who strike me as being more representative of primary voters than just self-identified Dems - are tied on the question. Forty-seven percent say Lieberman should be re-nominated; forty-seven percent say "someone else."

This is the pivot-point for Ned Lamont. He would only need to move that 47% number just a wee bit in order to dethrone Lieberman. For Lieberman to avoid that fate, he'd either have to tone down his attacks on fellow Democrats or try to put daylight between himself and Bush on the Iraq war issue. It's not clear to me that he could do that successfully, given how stubbornly he's refused to change his ways over the past five years. In other words, I think Lamont would have a chance.

Posted at 02:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CT-Sen: Lieberman Needs to Brush Up on Connecticut Election Law

Posted by DavidNYC

In a recent interview with a local CT newspaper, the Waterbury Republican-American, Joe Lieberman related the following:

He then added, in response to a question, that if he were to lose a primary he would still seek re-election.

"I intend to be on the ballot in November," he declared.

There's only one problem here. Dear Joseph needs to study up on Title 9 of the Connecticut Code, specifically § 9-453i:

Submission to town clerk or Secretary of the State.

(a) Each page of a nominating petition proposing a candidate for an office to be filled at a regular election shall be submitted to the appropriate town clerk or to the Secretary of the State not later than four o'clock p.m. on the ninetieth day preceding the day of the regular election.

This means that independent candidates have to submit petitions by August 9th, 2006. It just so happens that the Connecticut primary is on August 8th. In other words, if Joe loses the primary, in order to run as an independent in the general, he'd have to file petitions the very next day.

This is all but a literal impossibility. Joe would have to collect petitions while still running in the Dem primary. Can you imagine such a spectacle? It would be beyond unheard of for a sitting senator to do such a thing. The only real way Lieberman could run as an indie would be if he abandoned the Democratic Party (save your jokes) well in advance of the primary. Otherwise, he's just talking smack. If he loses the primary, he's done, finished, tostada del dia.

Posted at 04:44 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NJ-Sen: Kean Leads, but Huge Undecideds

Posted by DavidNYC

Sometimes, I think pollsters feel pressure to present "clean" data - they word questions in such a way as to produce definite answers, and push leaners when they waver. This makes poll results easier to analyze, but probably skews the picture. In real life, for non-political junkies, many people don't make up their minds a year in advance, and so it is with Fairleigh Dickinson's latest poll (registered voters, no trendlines):

Menendez: 25
Kean: 36
Undecided: 37
(MoE: ±4%)

Though their overall name rec is similar, Kean's favorability is a good bit better than Menendez's (41-12 vs. 33-17). Kean has the advantage of bearing his father's name - but don't forget that Menendez will soon have the advantage of being an incumbent senator. That 37% undecided could get split up a lot of ways. My gut tells me that ultimately Menendez will prevail due to the favorable partisan split in NJ, but I think this race is going to be tougher than we'd like. I think New Jersey is sort of like the New York Mets: Sometimes the Mets put together decent teams and win a few, but they always make you sweat. Same with Jersey.

P.S. PoliticsNJ is reporting that Frank Pallone won't challenge Menendez. I don't know if PoliticsNJ is a reliable source, but hopefully we'll see an official confirm of that soon. Also, Corzine will soon decide whether to call a special election to fill Menendez's House seat, or just wait until the regular June primary/November general. This is a super-Dem district, so I imagine the real action will be at primary time.

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MS-Sen: Lott to Run Again

Posted by DavidNYC

Unfortunately, MS Sen. Trent Lott has decided to seek a fourth term this fall. I presume that neither of the top-tier Dem names that have been floated (former AG Mike Moore and Rep. Gene Taylor) will try running against Lott. If there is a silver lining, it is because Lott (ever since he was stripped of his leadership post) has become a GOP troublemaker, a thorn in the side of the party establishment. If he returns to the Senate, he'll still be throwing the occasional monkey-wrench into his own side's plans - and he might even really make things ugly by running for majority leader again.

Posted at 02:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Mississippi | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, January 16, 2006

MS-Sen: Lott to Announce Plans Tuesday

Posted by DavidNYC

Trent Lott has allegedly been considering retiring from the Senate, after his family home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Via reader jcb, it looks like he's finally set to make an announcement one way or the other:

BLITZER: We're almost out of time, but a couple questions to both of you. There's word out there that you may be leaving, retiring from the U.S. Senate, making an announcement even in the next few days. Is that true?

LOTT: I spent the Christmas holidays in my state visiting with the people that I love the most, my relatives, my neighbors, people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that were devastated by Katrina.

It's been a complicated decision because of all that we've been through in the last year. But my heart is with the people there and I'm going to do everything I can to be helpful to them as long as it's necessary. And I have that capability.

But, any announcement on that, I plan to begin with announcements in my hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi on the Mississippi Gulf coast Tuesday and then in Jackson later on in the day.

BLITZER: So, you'll make an announcement one way or another whether you're going to seek re-election or retire?

LOTT: That's right.

As jcb observes, why the hell make announcements in multiple cities unless you're barnstorming with an eye on November? I suppose it could be some kind of farewell tour - hit his hometown, then the state capital. But I think jcb is probably right. So here's the question: If Lott does indeed stay in, would former Democratic AG Mike Moore still consider running against him? Lott is one of the most popular senators in the country, so that (plus MS's unfavorable demographics) would probably militate against such a decision.

Posted at 12:34 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Mississippi | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, January 14, 2006

NJ-Sen: Andrews Won't Challenge Menendez

Posted by DavidNYC

Rep. Rob Andrews has said he won't challenge Rep. (and soon-to-be Sen.) Bob Menendez in a primary this year. Tom Suozzi could learn a thing or two from Andrews:

"The idea of engaging in a primary that would drain resources away from our Democratic Party, that would distract us from taking on the fight we ought to be taking on in the fall, is the wrong thing to do," Mr. Andrews said in a news conference at the State House.

No word yet from Rep. Frank Pallone, but I'd guess he'll decline to challenge as well.

Posted at 04:19 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

MT-Sen: Tester Tied with Burns, Morrison Close

Posted by DavidNYC

From Rasmussen (likely voters, Sept. in parens):

Tester: 45 (38)
Burns: 45 (51)

Morrison: 43 (39)
Burns: 46 (51)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

That's a lot of movement, and fantastic news for our side. Burns' cash advantage no longer seems to be helping him, and I can only conclude that the harsh negative fallout from his entanglements with Abramoff is hurting him. Just the other day, Burns had to embarassingly insist that he wasn't going to drop out of the race. He sounded a lot like Janeane Pirro to me - in other words, I wasn't buying his shtick that he was stickin'.

Burns clearly should bail - just think of how much more money he could make (and how many fewer constituents he'd have to worry about) if he took a sweet lobbying job. Doesn't he want to be comfortable in his retirement, and take care of his kids and grandkids? The issue, though, is of course whether he will retire. And here's the thing: If the GOP can't pull a Torricelli on Santorum - hell, if they can't even pull a Gillooly on Katherine Harris - then I don't see how Burns can be pushed aside. The Republican Party is leaderless at the top - Frist is crippled, Liddy Dole is incompetent. I think GOP Senate candidates are just gonna do their own thing from now until November.

Anyhow, as I say, this poll is tremendous for our side, and especially for Tester - Morrison supporters have often said he won't have enough money to compete, but that's clearly not hurting him. I'd love to see an independent poll of the primary matchup, but for now, why not send some coin Tester's way? In the eyes of the traditional media, this poll officially marks this race as a top-tier pickup opportunity, and Tester deserves our help.

Posted at 01:02 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PA-Sen: Santorum to Head GOP Ethics Batallion? Don't Make Me Laugh

Posted by DavidNYC

So Bill Frist has tapped Dick Santorum to, as CREW puts it, "head the ethics charge in the Senate" on behalf of the GOP. Of course, this is the ultimate joke, given Santorum's disgraceful ethics record:

• Sen. Santorum runs the K Street project, created by conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), in which he ensures that all top lobbying and trade association jobs are filled by Republicans.

• Two days before Sen. Santorum introduced a bill that would benefit private national weather companies at the expense of the National Weather Service, the Senator's political action committee, America's Foundation, received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive officer of AccuWeather, Inc., a leading weather data provider located in State College, PA.

• Working to undermine public confidence in the National Weather Service, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Sen. Santorum stated in an interview with a local Philadelphia radio station that the National Weather Service failed to predict the storm's fury and that its warnings were "not sufficient." In fact, the early warnings about Hurricane Katrina issued by the National Weather Service were praised for their accuracy by news organizations such as Associated Press, NBC News and The New York Times.

• Since the 2001-2002 school year, at least three of Sen. Santorum's children have attended a Pennsylvania cyber charter school in Penn Hills, PA, costing local taxpayers about $67,000, despite the fact that the Senator and his family spend most of the year in Virginia.

It's actually number three (in concert with number two) which really gets me steamed. These guys are so removed from the reality-based community that they'll spew outright lies just to benefit lobbyists and screw taxpayers. Yes, our tax money pays for the National Weather Service, but Santorum's bill would prevent the NWS from releasing its information to the public! Imagine how much worse Katrina would have been without the rock-solid NWS.

Fact is, though, Frist only has some 50-odd guys and gals to pick from, and each one is lousier than the next when it comes to governmental ethics. If Frist is saying that Dick Santorum is the best he can do, that is saying a hell of a lot about the modern GOP. And anything which increases Santorum's profile on ethics only drives a few more nails into his already tightly-sealed political coffin.

Posted at 03:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Allen Takes a Page from the Burns Playbook

Posted by DavidNYC

George Allen then:

In 2000, Sen. George Allen hammered Chuck Robb for accepting campaign contributions in 1994 from a controversial donor tied to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. His campaign manager even chided Robb for not pushing for a federal prosecutor to look into the issue: "It's obvious to us why Chuck Robb won't get involved," said LaCivita. "He's just as guilty as Al Gore." ["Robb Trumpets His Role in Fighting Drugs, Crime," Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 24, 2000.]

George Allen now:

When asked about the $3,000 the senator received from Abramoff and friends, Allen’s spokesman told the Virginian-Pilot yesterday that, "[Allen] will neither refund nor donate to charity a $1,000 gift received from Abramoff during Allen’s 2000 Senate campaign. The money was spent long ago and the campaign account closed, said David Snepp, Allen’s press secretary, so 'the money does not exist to give it back.'"

Of course, the last time a Republican Senator started claiming that he couldn't pay back Abramoff money, he changed his tune in just a matter of days. And in Conrad Burns' case, we were talking about $150 large. George Allen can certainly cough up a meager $1,000, so I'd expect an embarrassing flip-flop sometime soon.

P.S. This whole "the money's been spent" notion seems to be just another part of the Republican War on Analogy. In other words, according to the GOP, if you don't literally have the exact same dollars you were once given, you can't return money. Of course, that's the same as someone saying he can't pay his taxes this year because he's already spent his whole salary.

(Hat tip to the DSCC.)

Posted at 01:26 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

VA-Sen: Harris Miller (D) in Against Allen

Posted by DavidNYC

As mentioned yesterday, via Raising Kaine. From WTOP:

The year is only three days old, but already the political season is heating up in Virginia. WTOP Radio has learned Harris Miller will challenge Republican incumbent George Allen in November.

Miller, an activist in Fairfax County, will formally announce his candidacy next week. He describes himself as "a shorter, and poorer version of [Governor] Mark Warner."

The 54-year-old McLean resident is currently the President of the Information Technology Association of America. He wants to see more done by the Federal government.

I'm sure Mark Warner really appreciates the mention of his wealth (a topic, like George Bush and his Connecticut roots, he assiduously avoids). Miller apparently does have money, though, and his biggest virtue appears to be his willingness to self-fund. Anyhow, I wish Miller the best, though I'd still like to see Webb jump into the race.

Posted at 10:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

VA-Sen: Draft James Webb

Posted by DavidNYC

Right now, there are no Dem candidates running against Republican George Allen in this year's VA senate race. Even if Mark Warner were to run (and he won't), it would be a seriously uphill battle - which explains our recruitment difficulties. But there's one possible name in the mix who I'm holding out hope for: former Secretary of the Navy James Webb. And since you're nobody until somebody tries to draft you, the obligatory Draft James Webb website has sprung into existence.

As you may know, Webb was Navy Secretary under Reagan. Switching from working in a Republican administration to running as a Democratic senate candidate is a compelling storyline. It's something the media might latch on to. As much as we hate him, Zell Miller got a lot of play in 2004 because he switched sides. I also think Webb's background would play well in Virginia, with its numerous military bases (plus the Pentagon) - he's a decorated veteran and the first Annapolis grad to become SecNavy. He's also been a cogent critic of the war in Iraq.

An early poll by Rasmussen puts Allen way ahead. Raising Kaine thinks that lobbyist Harris Miller will jump into the race, but his name was not among those polled by Rasmussen. Like I say, I have no illusions about how tough this race would be. But I think Webb's willingness to speak his mind and buck his original party roots could make this one interesting.

Posted at 01:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, December 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Schweitzer on Tester: "Best Senate Prez Ever"

Posted by DavidNYC

A little bit of feel-good as we wrap up the year. MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer declares Jon Tester "the greatest President of the Senate in the history of Montana" at a meeting on educational spending. Political puffery? Sure. But Schweitzer didn't have to say anything about Tester at all, so I'll take it. Enjoy the video clip here.

If I don't post any more until after Jan. 1, have a Happy New Year!

Posted at 02:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, December 26, 2005

MS-Sen: Why Are Mississippi Republicans Panicking?

Posted by DavidNYC

Since Hurricane Katrina blew away Trent Lott's home, there's been a lot of talk of a potential retirement. While I figured an open seat in Mississippi could potentially be interesting, especially if a guy like Rep. Gene Taylor (MS-04) ran, I doubted the state would seriously be "in play." (It's worth noting that Democrat Taylor regularly wins by enormous margins in a district Bush carried 68-31 over Kerry.)

But according to Bob Novak's double-super-secret on-background non-for-attribution reporting, a tight race might indeed be possible - though not, apparently, with Taylor as the Dem nominee:

Mississippi, one of the reddest of the red Republican states, has not even been on the game board of the Washington analysis forecasting the 2006 Senate outcome. But in Mississippi, prominent Republicans are worried sick. They believe Lott will probably retire. If so, they expect the new senator will be a Democrat, former State Attorney General Mike Moore. Republican politicians in Mississippi believe Rep. Chip Pickering, the likely Republican nominee if Lott does not run, cannot defeat Moore.

...

Mississippi Republicans are so anxious about a Lott-less election next year partly because Democrat Moore is a better known, more appealing figure in the state than Republican Pickering. The state's big African-American minority continues to increase, and politically potent trial lawyers will be unrestrained on behalf of Moore. Finally, the performance by the Republican-controlled national government in coping with Katrina is no asset for Republican candidates in Mississippi.

Of course, this is the kind of lazy "reporting" that is so easy to hate (and deservedly so). Novak channels "Mississippi Republicans," "prominent Republicans," and "Republican politicians" but doesn't even bother to provide a single lousy anonymous quote. Moreover, this kind of anecdotal "evidence" (as it were) would barely pass muster as fodder for serious political analysis on most blogs. So why bother discussing it here?

For one reason and one reason only: The chatter effect. If any Republicans in high places are even pretending to be worried about a Lott retirement, that's big news. Even if they're playing a game of Brer Rabbit, you still have to wonder why they would feel threatened enough to engage in such a ruse. It's not like they can seriously rope-a-dope us into blowing resources on a race here.

Even more compelling is the news that Ken Mehlman and Kay Bailey Hutchison are allegedly "pleading" with Lott to run again. It seems pretty crazy to me that the GOP has to even fret about this seat for one nanosecond. I mean, even in 1994 (the strongest Republican year in recent times), Ted Kennedy won by 17% (over Mitt Romney, in fact). Were any Dems seriously worried about Kennedy's re-election prospects that year?

I want to see Trent Lott retire just because he so thoroughly disgusts me. If we wind up with a competitive race, that's just gravy. It's one to keep an eye on.

(Via jorndorff.)

P.S. Didn't even realize this was already being talked about in the comments below! RBH takes an in-depth look at how the House races might play out if Pickering (or Rep. Roger Wicker) were to run for Lott's seat.

UPDATE: I realize belatedly that the comparison to Kennedy is entirely unfair, since he was an incumbent. Nonetheless, I still maintain that it's very surprising to see the GOP worrying about this seat at all.

Posted at 02:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Mississippi | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MT-Sen: As Dem Name Rec Moves Up, Burns Slips

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, joy! I love it when independent outfits poll my favorites races. Today, we've got a poll on MT-Sen from Mason-Dixon, and it's good news for Dems ("active" voters, May in parens):

Morrison (D): 40 (34)
Burns (R): 46 (49)
Undecided: 14 (17)

Tester (D): 35 (26)
Burns (R): 49 (50)
Undecided: 16 (24)
(MoE: ±4%)

Morrison went from -15 to -6; Tester went from -24 to -14. That's some definite slippage for Burns. Here's the interesting thing: Since the last poll way back in May, Morrison's DK moved down five points, and his total in the head-to-head moved up six. Meanwhile, Tester's DK moved down nine points and his head-to-head score moved up nine. Pretty tight correlation indeed.

If there's any causation (and surely there must be some), then both Dems are in good shape heading into 2006, but especially Tester. Why? His DKs are twice Morrison's - 52% vs. 26%. In other words, Tester has a lot of room to grow. He pulls 35% in a head-to-head with Burns while Morrison gets just 5% more than that, despite being far more well-known.

But obviously, Jon Tester needs help to make that happen - it's never automatic. I know that this is a tough time of year to do fundraising, and that many people have probably already spent plenty of money on gift-giving and charitable giving. But if you do have some scratch left over and are looking for a worthy cause, I strongly encourage you to give to Jon Tester. (Act Blue appears to be down right now, but you can use this link instead if it revives later.) The trendlines of this poll are a solid reason to get behind him.

Posted at 01:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, December 19, 2005

NJ-Sen: Menendez Leads in Early Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Last week, Quinnipiac released the first post-Menendez poll on the New Jersey senate race (registered voters, no trendlines):

Menendez: 44
Kean: 38
Undecided: 16
(MoE: ±3.7)

I'm glad to see Menendez with a lead, and I think this seat will ultimately stay in our hands. But I also think New Jersey is going to give us some serious agita, just like it did at times during the governor's race this year and the presidential race last year. (Remember, Gore won NJ by 16 points, but Kerry won by less than 7.)

Fortunately, this isn't a case where one guy has a lead due only to outsized name recognition. For Menendez, he gets 56% on "haven't heard enough to form an opinion," while Kean clocks in at 61%. (Their favorable-unfavorable ratings are pretty much the same.) Once these guys are both at 90+% name reco, Menendez will naturally have the advantage of running in a blue state. For Kean to win, he'll have to put some distance between his favorables and Menendez's unfavorables.

Unfortunately, some grumbly whiners in New Jersey's Democratic congressional delegation might just make Tom Kean's job a lot easier. A nasty Dem primary could be just what the GOP ordered, if it cranks up the eventual winner's unfavorables. (And it will.) I judge the value of primaries on a case-by-case basis - I'm not reflexively pro- or anti-primary (I think that would be silly). But in this case, I come down decidedly against having a primary.

I hope common sense prevails - that these eager passed-over beavers bide their time, that Lautenberg is convinced to re-retire, that we save our Battle Royale primary for 2008. It's a little hard to read the tea-leaves right now, though. Sixty-seven percent of Dems approve of Corzine's choice. But when asked if Menendez should run for a full term, only 38% say yes, while 25% say no and 37% are unsure. Right now, Menendez has a 31-3 approval rating among Dems. If he can keep his approval numbers so positive among members of his own party, then I would hazard that most of those 37% DK will move into the "yes" category as Menendez becomes more well-known.

Posted at 02:46 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, December 16, 2005

MT-Sen: Burns to Return Money, Missoulian Says "Don't Run Again"

Posted by DavidNYC

Score one for the Hotline blog. From the Helena Independent Record:

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., will return the estimated $150,000 in campaign donations he has received from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his co-workers and tribal clients.

Nevermind the absurd turnabout from just two days ago:

"There's nothing to return, the money has been spent," [Burns spokesman James] Pendleton said.

Of course it was there to return - Burns had over $700K cash-on-hand. That's gotta sting! But even worse for old man Burns is this editorial from the Missoulian:

Montanans in general and the GOP in particular will be best served if he doesn't run for a fourth term and, instead, orchestrates a dignified passing of the baton.

Of course, if Burns does decided not to run again, that would probably make life more difficult for Democrats, since the MT GOP can probably find a stronger (or at least, not as ethically compromised) candidate. However, what this kind of talk does in the short term is make it harder and harder for Burns to raise money. If the media starts to fret that Burns is not a viable candidate, it might wind up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Posted at 12:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 15, 2005

MT-Sen: If Burnsie Retires...

Posted by DavidNYC

First, Hotline speculated that Connie Burnsie might be holding on to his Abramoff-tainted cash because he's going to step down. I didn't think that theory made much sense - sure, ol' Conrad could find some way to launder his cash-on-hand for his own personal use, but $130Gs seems like chump change for a guy who would make tons more as a lobbyist.

Now, Hotline claims he's gonna give the money back. I'll be watching that one closely to see just how good Hotline's sources are.

But back to the general idea of Burns retiring. I don't see that as being outside the realm of possibility at all - especially if prosecutors' guns wind up trained on him. And after all, he's about to turn 71. So what happens if he bails? You're gonna like this:

13-25-202. Vacancy in office of United States senator.

(1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, an election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next general election. If the election is invalid or not held at that time, the election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next succeeding general election.

(2) The governor may make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until the election.

As is the practice in many if not most states, the governor - in this case Democrat Brian Schweitzer - gets to appoint a replacement. Now that sure would be interesting. Whom would he pick? Would he tap Jon Tester or John Morrison, the two top candidates already running to replace Burns? Does anyone know what kind of relationship he has with either man? Or would Schweitzer seek to avoid controversy and name a "caretaker" for the duration? What are your thoughts?

Posted at 09:34 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MO-Sen: Talent Waffling on Stem Cells

Posted by DavidNYC

Today, I took my Food & Drug Law final. Appropriately enough, via Jim Hacking, we even have a story related to that subject. It's a little update on the MO stem cell ballot measure - and, chiefly, what unpopular Republican Sen. Jim Talent is doing to avoid giving a firm answer on the subject:

Missouri Sen. Jim Talent was in Kansas City Tuesday and spoke about stem cell research.

"I've always had an open mind on continuing to evaluate my position, because the technology is changing. Almost every week we see an announcement which reveals something some new about cloning," said Talent, a Republican.

Talk about leaving himself some wiggle room. But so much for keeping an open mind: Talent is actually co-sponsoring a bill in the Senate which would criminalize therapeutic cloning, also known as SCNT. What's truly awesome to behold is this insane waffling:

"Do you think SCNT ought to be permitted in Missouri?" Mahoney asked.

"I think, again, it depends on whether or not it's human cloning, depends on what it produces," Talent said.

"Is SCNT, in your mind, human cloning?" Mahoney asked.

"If it results in the cloning of a human embryo, I think we have to say, yeah, it's cloning," Talent said.

Talent's own starring bill outlaws SCNT! And yet he can't answer a direct question about whether it ought to be allowed in his home state. What, does he think the text of the bill says, "It shall be unlawful to perform human cloning in every state except Missouri?" If Talent imagines he can pirouette his way through the general election on stem cells, he'll be about as successful as John Kerry was in avoiding the subject of the war in Iraq.

Posted at 03:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

SUSA 50-State Senate Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Yargh. Freakin' eight-hour take-"home" (ie, take straight to the library) federal white collar crime final. What a freakin' misery. Anyhow, to cheer myself up, I took a look at these numbers from SUSA's newly-released 50-state senators poll, sorted by approval rating:

63. Chaffee: 54% approval/38% disapproval
75. Talent: 51/39
82. Ensign: 49/33
82. Frist (open seat): 49/42
88. DeWine: 47/42
88. Santorum: 47/43
91. Kyl: 46/39
95. Burns: 45/41

These, of course, are our top take-over targets. Unfortunately, a number of our weakest seats (eg, Florida, Michigan) don't rate all that highly either. But overall, the chart looks a lot worse for the GOP than it does for us right now.

Posted at 07:36 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, December 12, 2005

RI-Sen: Club for Growth Endorses Laffey

Posted by DavidNYC

Our goal of taking back the Senate just got that much easier: The Club for Growth has endorsed conservative Cranston, RI Mayor Steve Laffey over incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee in the RI senate race. If you'll recall, the Club for Growth came just one percentage point away from derailing Arlen Specter in a primary last year - Specter won by just 51-49. And the man Specter faced, former Rep. Pat Toomey, is now the head of the CFG.

Oh, this should be good.

Posted at 12:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, December 10, 2005

OH-Sen: Reading Past the Headlines

Posted by DavidNYC

Sometimes when I write blog post headlines, I try to be pithy. Most of the time, I just try to be descriptive. But all of the time, if you try to glean some wider meaning from just a headline - whether it's a post written by me or any blogger - you're making a serious mistake. So I gritted my teeth when I read this paragraph from a new piece in In These Times on the Ohio senate race:

Blog opinion on the race is by no means uniform. Many support Brown, but it’s a strange feature of the blogosphere that a newcomer to politics like Hackett is widely considered a known quantity, while Brown, who’s spent his entire adult life in public office, is a mystery. One skeptical blogger on the Web site Swing State Project summed up his reservations with a post titled: “Who is Sherrod Brown?” (Emphasis added.)

Christopher Hayes, the author of this story, has unfortunately revealed that he didn't bother to read past the headline of the post in question. Not only did I recant much of my original point with an update posted at the very top of the entry within a few hours of the initial posting, even during the first go-round I made it amply clear that I was discussing a single, very narrow issue:

I know that Brown has other merits, and I know that name recognition is only one piece of the puzzle. A lot of people more knowledgeable than I have said that Brown has a tremendous organization in Ohio, and has connections throughout the political strata. I haven't yet seen proof of these claims, but I will also grant that this poll does nothing to undermine them, either. It is limited to one question and one question only - namely, how well-known is Sherrod Brown amongst the general public?

...

Again I say, this poll does not speak to any other issues. I stress this point because I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I am making a very narrow argument here: On name recognition alone, I don't think Brown supporters can make any kind of strong claims that their guy has the edge. But again, I welcome any refutation of this argument.

The boldface in both of those paragraphs was in the original. Could it be any clearer that the headline, "Who is Sherrod Brown?" did not "sum up my reservations" at all? Next time, Mr. Hayes, please don't read so selectively.

P.S. As to the merits of this old argument, I don't think name recognition matters very much anymore in this race. Both Hackett and Brown are polling equally well against DeWine, and their name rec numbers are pretty close (Brown is 7 points ahead of Hackett).

Posted at 03:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, December 08, 2005

NJ-Sen: Don't Do It, Rob

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man. No sooner than Jon Corzine announces (or pre-announces) his selection of Bob Menendez to succeed him in the Senate, we get this:

Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews of Camden County, who also lobbied actively for the appointment, has said he would run for the Senate regardless of Corzine's decision.

Dude... come on. I mean, I'm often in favor of primaries, but this is not the place or the time. Running against Menendez will necessarily turn into a nasty mud fight. To do so, Andrews would have to say Menendez isn't a worthy candidate - and by extension, Corzine was wrong to pick him. It would get real ugly real fast.

Apparently, Andrews is worried that Frank Lautenberg will seek re-election in 2008. Now, I love Frank, but in fairness, he's gonna be 84 in 2008. While I have no problem supporting an octogenarian senator in a place like West Virginia, where we have a thin-to-non-existent bench, 2008 really will be the time for Lautenberg to step aside and let some of the young turks move up in the world.

Of course, consider the source of the Lautenberg rumor: Andrews himself. This could just be a bit of excuse-making. Regardless, it would make a hell of a lot more sense to challenge Lautenberg in a primary a few years from now. I wouldn't enjoy seeing that kind of fight, either (with inevitable attacks on Lautenberg for being too old - man, I pray I look that good when I'm in my 80s!), but I'd rather defer it a couple of years.

While I said yesterday that Menendez wasn't my first choice, I think that now is the time for some party unity - to accept Corzine's decision and get behind Menendez for what will probably be a bruising fight against Bill McKay Tom Kean. If Andrews gets into the race, there's almost no way I'd be able to support him.

UPDATE: On reconsideration, I think my assessment of WV's Dem bench was unfair. Still, on balance, I'm more willing to risk an open seat in NJ than an open seat in WV if it offers a rising star a chance to move up in the world.

Posted at 03:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

NJ-Sen: Menendez Looks Set to Replace Corzine

Posted by DavidNYC

So Rep. Bob Menendez (NJ-13) will apparently replace Jon Corzine as New Jersey's... I guess he now becomes the junior senator, though Corzine was the senior senator. (Somehow, it seems wrong for anyone to be "senior" to Frank Lautenberg.) I personally was rooting for Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12). Ah well. On the bright side, Menendez has an enormous warchest already - $4 million and counting - which he'll need for the election campaign that pretty much starts right now.

His opponent is state Sen. Tom Kean, Jr., son of the popular former governor and 9/11 Commission chairman. This reminds me of a line from the Robert Redford movie "The Candidate." Redford plays Bill McKay, Democratic candidate for Senate in California. In an ominous voice, an election-day sound truck bellows, "What has Bill McKay done for California? Not much... but his father was governor." Life imitates art: Tom Kean hasn't done much for New Jersey either. But, you know, his father was governor.

In case you were worried, Menendez's district went for Kerry 69-31. Holding Holt's district would have been dicier, as it went for Kerry by just 54-46. Menendez, by the way, will become the third Hispanic member of the Senate, along with Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Mel Martinez (R-FL). Like Martinez, Menendez is Cuban-American.

Just a note: This hasn't been officially confirmed yet. I wonder if this could wind up like when the New York Post reported that John Kerry had tapped Dick Gephardt to be his running mate. That would be a hell of a thing!

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, December 02, 2005

MT-Sen: Which Is It, Connie?

Posted by DavidNYC

Connie Burns (R-The Simpsons) is increasingly under fire for his involvement with the Abramoff web of scandals. His defense now is one we've commonly seen in the post-Enron era: I was asleep at the switch. Just one little problem with trying to make that claim:

"Senator Burns is not hands-on in the donations to his campaign; he doesn't know about them until he sees the quarterly reports.'' - J.P. Pendleton, Burns spokesman. [Bloomberg News, 12/2/05]

Burns sent an extensive solicitation recently asking supporters to max out in their contributions to him before the next reporting period, which closes March 31. "By sending your $10,000 political action committee check or your $4,000 individual check today, you help discourage challengers, making the difference between playing defense and playing offense," he wrote. [Roll Call, 3/10/05]

Yet another captain trying to disclaim responsibility for his ship - but in this case, the record plainly indicates otherwise. Why am I not surprised?

Posted at 03:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MD-Sen: Dubya's Anemic Fundraising for Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

Michael's new best friend George came for a visit. Most of Michael's other friends didn't like George very much, but George promised Michael he'd make him rich.

George told Michael how rich he'd made some of George's other buddies:

Bush Raised $1.4 Millionfor Kyl This Week. On Monday, Bush raised more than $1.4 million at a Phoenix fundraiser for Jon Kyl. [East Valley Tribune, 11/29/05]

Bush Raised $1.7 Million For Santorum and PA GOP at a Luncheon of Tea Sandwiches, Quiche and Crab. President Bush raised $1.7 million for Santorum and the state Republican Party in an appearance at a private fund-raiser that attracted about 1,000 people to a Bryn Mawr estate. While Santorum supporters mixed with the President and sampled tea sandwiches, quiche and crab, about 200 demonstrators lined Montgomery Avenue, several blocks away. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/15/05]

Bush Raised $1.5 Million for Talent. In June, President Bush raised $1.5 million for Jim Talent at an event in St. Louis. [Missourinet, 6/27/05]

But unfortunately for Michael, George's promise didn't quite pan out this time:

Bush Raised $500K for Steele. [Baltimore Sun, 11/30/05]

Oh well. Better luck next time, Michael!

(Hat tip to the great guys at the DSCC.)

Posted at 10:33 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-Sen: McCain, Santorum, Third-Party Ads, and the Moment of Truth

Posted by DavidNYC

First, the table-setter:

Arizona Sen. John McCain will attend fund-raisers this week in Pennsylvania for fellow Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a Santorum spokeswoman said Sunday.

Second, the dirty business:

Nearly $1 million from hidden sources is pouring into Pennsylvania to buy television ads supporting U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The money is flowing through a Virginia-based organization called Americans for Job Security, a Republican-leaning, anti-tax group that says its money comes from 500 individuals, corporations, business groups and other sources.

It refuses to identify any of them, or the amounts they have donated. (Emphasis added.)

Third, the record:

The need to reform the avalanche of soft money in our political system is evident in every competitive race in this country where parties, business and labor, and ideological groups on all sides are spending hundreds of millions of unlimited, and in some cases, unreported dollars to influence federal elections. (Emphasis added.)

- John McCain

Fourth, the inevitable intransigence:

Making an appearance yesterday in Northeast Philadelphia, Santorum refused to tell a Daily News reporter whether he believes the group should identify its financial backers. (Emphasis added.)

And finally, the moment of truth. Will Sen. McCain stand up for what he claims to believe in and call on "Americans for Job Security" to disclose their donors - or call on Santorum to reject their help? Or will he willingly play the hypocrite and stick his neck out for a candidate who relies on shady, secretive organizations for political support?

John McCain, we're all watching to see what kind of man you are. Do you have the courage of your convictions? Or will you sacrifice your principles for expediency? Either way, we'll remember your choice here.

Posted at 04:47 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MD-Sen: Keep On Huggin'

Posted by DavidNYC

MD Lt. Gov. and US Senate hopeful Michael Steele shows who his number one buddy is:

Marylanders, don't forget it.

(Pic thanks to jorndorff.)

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NY-Sen: Bruno Kneecaps Pirro

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh, this is good - well, good and bad. Read on:

Jeanine F. Pirro's bid to unseat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton suffered an embarrassing setback on Tuesday when the State Legislature's most powerful Republican said she should call the whole thing off and run for state attorney general instead.

The remarks by the official, Joseph L. Bruno, the majority leader of the State Senate, forced out into the open simmering concerns about Ms. Pirro's candidacy, which has been beset by gaffes and fund-raising difficulties. And it heightened the sense that the state Republican Party is nervous about its future and riven by squabbles as its de facto leader, Gov. George E. Pataki, prepares to step down at the end of next year.

Mr. Bruno said that Ms. Pirro, who was elected Westchester district attorney three times, would be a better fit as a candidate for attorney general. "I have said from the beginning, and I know a lot of my colleagues, and people within the party, share the thought, that she would make a great attorney general," Mr. Bruno told reporters. "By background, by her experience, by her prosecutorial record. And I hope that before this procedure gets too much further, that Jeanine Pirro would reconsider and run for A.G."

Wow. That must feel like a punch to the gut for Pirro. The fact is, though, that Bruno is right - Pirro would make a great AG candidate for her party. She has the right background for it, and her association with the Republican Party would be less of an issue just by the nature of the office. (It doesn't matter what the AG thinks about the Iraq war or Social Security.) And the Dem AG hopefuls aren't nearly as strong as the top-tier Gov and Sen candidates. If Pirro heeds this bit of advice, then the most powerful AG's office in the nation is in peril of being shut down.

Of course, it would be a deeply humiliating climb-down for Pirro, and I doubt she'll do it precisely because Bruno has suggested it. If Bruno really cared about Pirro and the AG race, he wouldn't have blathered to reporters. He would have arranged a private meeting with Pirro herself. But Bruno probably has neither the clout nor the established goodwill to engage in that kind of backroom politicking anymore. Rather, this outburst was simply a bit of far-sighted ass-covering. By distancing himself so openly from Pirro, he's trying to insulate himself from her inevitable spectacular failure.

What precisely Bruno is protecting is beyond my understanding, though. The New York Republican Party has been circling the drain for some time now. An old guy like Bruno (he's in his mid-70s) ought to be considering retirement and a cushy sinecure.

Posted at 11:19 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Bush Pimping for Ehrlich and Steele in MD

Posted by DavidNYC

Maryland is a very blue state. It's a challenge for any Republican to win there statewide. And yet two if its most prominent Republicans, Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, are apparently sucking up to George Bush without hesitation. Dubya is coming to town for some fundraising events (not that it's very far from home), and I wonder how well that'll play during the general election campaign.

Someone, though, needs to explain this bit to me:

Bush's stop at a $125-a-plate fundraising luncheon at M&T Bank Stadium - attendees who contribute $5,000 get a photograph with Bush - will drum up early campaign cash for Steele.

$5,000? That's more than the maximum, even for a couple (who can give $2,100 each or $4,200 combined). What's going on here?

These kinds of visits can't be dismissed, though. Bush is still an incredibly powerful fundraiser - he just raked in $1.4M for Jon Kyl last night in Arizona, a state record. Doubtless this visit will bolster Steele and Ehrlich financially. But that's all the more reason why Dems have to turn this lemonade back into lemons, by roping President Albatross as tightly around their opponents' necks as possible.

Posted at 02:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Maryland | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 28, 2005

FL-Sen: No One Wants to Work for Harris

Posted by DavidNYC

From the Herald Tribune of SW Florida:

In just under three years, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris has had four chiefs of staff, four district directors and four press secretaries.

Harris has had to replace key people on her staff every nine months, a rate of staff turnover that far exceeds most of those in Congress.

On average, members of Congress hold onto their high-level staff for four to five years.

Turnover isn't limited to Harris' congressional office, either. As she prepares to run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Harris has been hampered by turnover on her campaign staff. Her campaign manager quit last week, after just a few months on the job and not long after she lost a pollster and a campaign finance director earlier this year.

Here's the thing that I'm just not getting: Katherine Harris is not stronger than the Florida GOP or the national GOP. I mean, that goes without saying. So why the hell is she still in the race? She obviously sucks, her poll numbers are weaker than Ken Mehlman's chin, and her staff is fleeing even faster than the entire roster of the Florida Marlins.

Like the team itself, Harris may soon be on her way out. At least, that's the only prediction that makes any sense to me. On the flipside, there is one nagging detail which may ensure her presence on the ballot through next November: the Bush clan's veneration of loyalty at all costs. Competence, accuracy, skillfulness, wisdom - none of these virtues matter to Team Bush - only loyalty does. And again, it goes without saying that George Bush has every reason to remain fiercely loyal to Katherine Harris, just as she was loyal to him.

If I'm right and they do "pull a Torricelli" on Harris, then Bill Nelson better be prepared for a much more serious fight against a much more formidable opponent.

Posted at 11:24 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Monday, November 21, 2005

MT-Sen: State Dems Target Burns on Corruption

Posted by DavidNYC

First, I'm glad to see the Montana Democratic Party is once again opening fire on kleptocrat Conrad Burns on the airwaves. And second, I'm delighted that they are once again making corruption Issue #1. Oh, and they zing him for his retrograde sexist remarks, too. The script of the ad, via Hotline On Call:

"Almost 200,000 women work in Montana. But local newspapers report that Senator Burns told a working mother concerned about losing her job to outsourcing that she could just stay home with the kids."

"Burns doesn't get that staying at home won't pay the bills."

"And what is Burns up to?"

"He's taken thousands from Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now indicted for fraud and conspiracy."

"Tell Burns to work for Montana's working families, not indicted lobbyists."

"The Montana Democratic Party is responsible for the content of this ad."

This is the second round of ads to hammer Burns on his Abramoff connection. I hope the MT Dems keep it up. And if anyone has a link to an actual video of this ad, it'd be great if you could post it in comments.

Posted at 06:18 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

UT-Sen: Hatch Re-Elects Under Water

Posted by DavidNYC

I promise that this headline is not a mistake. As we all know, Utah is one of the last states in the nation where George Bush maintains anything approaching decent approval ratings (59-38 at last count) - hardly shocking, considering it went for Bush 72-26 (his single largest state margin).

So you'll understand my surprise - and I'll understand yours - at these poll numbers from the Deseret Morning News. Yep, Orrin Hatch still manages to pull in a nifty 67-25 approval rating according to the DMN, whose numbers are in line with SUSA's. But look at those re-elects:

Re-Elect Hatch: 45
Someone New: 48
(MoE: ±5%

And even 33% of Republicans want to see Hatch gone. I'm not saying that Hatch is going to lose, or even that he's seriously endangered, but there is something quite unusual about seeing a very senior and still-popular incumbent with underwater re-elect marks. As the DMN notes:

Historically, such polls of popular Utah politicians find that more than 50 percent of their constituents want them to be re-elected.

Now that doesn't surprise me. What this poll tells me is simply that there is a potentially very strong anti-incumbent wind a-brewin'. It won't be enough to knock down Orrin Hatch, but it'll leave a lot of weaker GOP politicians flat on their behinds.

I'd be remiss in not mentioning the fact that Hatch does have a bold challenger - one Pete Ashdown, an ISP owner. I gotta give anyone willing to run under such circumstances a lot of credit. And I also want to give him and his supports a tiny reed of hope. In 1988, Democrat Jim Sasser won re-election to the Senate in Tennessee by a whopping 65-35 margin. Six years later, during the Republican landslide of 1994, he lost by an astounding 56-42 to Bill Frist (yes, that Bill Frist). That's a turnaround of 44 points, in case you're counting.

I wouldn't read too much into this, though. As I've said before, I don't think 2006 won't be a replay of 1994 in reverse. And Utah is emphatically not Tennessee - the vote for Frist was part of a much broader, decades-long shift in the South away from the Dems and toward the GOP. Utah is, if anything, become more conservative, not less so. But Ashdown is still doing the right thing - even if he pins down Old Man Hatch for just a single weekend, that's a quarter mil Orrin isn't raising for one of his colleagues.

Posted at 11:14 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Utah | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, November 18, 2005

NJ-Sen: Kean (R) Sees Democratic Gains in... SYRIA?

Posted by DavidNYC

I am seldom in the business of giving Republican politicians the benefit of the doubt. But two things are giving me a little pause when examining this alleged remark by NJ senate hopeful Tom Kean, Jr.:

Kean said he sees democratic gains in Syria and Lebanon as evidence of the United States’ ability to help foster freedom in the region. (Emphasis added.)

The first, of course, is that it's not a direct quote. The second, though, is that it is so mind-bogglingly... man, "wrong" doesn't even come close to describing this remark. Insane, is more like it? Democratic gains in SYRIA? Is he KIDDING?

Does Tom Kean mean this Syria? Or perhaps this Syria? Maybe he means this Syria:

Officially, Syria is a republic. In reality, however, it is an authoritarian regime that exhibits only the forms of a democratic system. Although citizens ostensibly vote for the President and members of Parliament, they do not have the right to change their government. The late President Hafiz Al-Asad was confirmed by unopposed referenda five times. His son, Bashar Al-Asad, also was confirmed by an unopposed referendum in July 2000. (Emphasis added.)

No, I've got it. He's referring to this episode in recent Syrian history:

The Damascus Spring was a period of intense political and social debate in Syria which started after the death of President Hafiz al-Asad in June 2000 and continued to some degree until autumn 2001, when most of the activities associated with it were suppressed by the government. (Emphasis added.)

Maybe he's talking about the Syria where stories like this - from earlier this month are the norm:

It was early in the morning as Anwar al-Bouni drove to the court in Damascus where he works as a human rights lawyer. He had just spent 10 days in hiding, afraid that the regime was trying to frame him in a criminal case to silence his outspoken views. He barely noticed the two motorbikes next to him.

When he slowed to make a turn, the second bike pulled up and the pillion passenger kicked at Bouni's door. He stopped the car. "What happened? What's the matter?" he said. The man jumped off the bike, opened the door and began punching and kicking Bouni.

"He didn't say anything. He just beat me on my head, my nose, my mouth. He hit me, he kicked me and then when people started to gather around us, he got on the bike and drove off," said Bouni, sitting in his apartment chain smoking, and sipping black coffee. He was bruised and badly shaken, but escaped serious injury.

The incident was a crude reminder of the perils of criticism in Syria's closed society. During decades of dictatorship all opposition movements have been firmly repressed. There are few who dare to publicly condemn the regime. Bouni is one of them and now he is too scared to go back to work. Others have been forced into exile or sent to jail.

Maybe the Hunterdon Review got it wrong. Maybe Kean said Lebanon but not Syria. He's gonna wanna issue a clarification either way. But if he did mean Syria, then not only is he crazy, but he's also off the reservation - just this week, Condi Rice was smacking Syria upside the head for its recalcitrance on democratic reform.

This remark is on par with Gerald Ford saying "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe" in his second debate with Jimmy Carter in 1976. I'll be curious to see how the Kean camp handles it. They can blame it on the reporters, but even so, it still counts as a serious verbal screwup.

Posted at 02:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New Jersey | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, November 17, 2005

OH-Sen: Rasmussen Polls Hackett v. DeWine

Posted by DavidNYC

Rasmussen releases a new poll on Paul Hackett vs. Mike DeWine. And it looks really bad for DeWine (likely voters, no trendlines):

Hackett: 42
DeWine: 41
Other: 5
Undecided: 12
(MoE: ±4.5%)

It had looked like Rasmussen was including the actual number of undecideds in their little data box (they did for a few recent polls), but here, I'm just inferring the d/k number.

Anyhow, I know what you're thinking - 42-41 is basically a tie. How can I say that this is bad news for DeWine? Simple: Name recognition. DeWine's favorability rating is 48-38; Hackett is just 33-29 - 38% don't know enough to form an opinion of Hackett yet, vs. just 14% who say the same about DeWine. It's not good to be tied with a guy who's unknown to a third of the state. As Hackett's name rec grows, it seems only likely that he'll put some daylight between himself and DeWine.

I find one thing a bit troubling: Hackett's unfavorables seem pretty high for a guy who's never held elective office and still isn't that widely known. I'm wondering why that should be. Could his oft-replayed remarks about Bush during the special election have engendered some deep hatred among hard-core Republicans, who heard Rush Limbaugh denigrate our armed forces by slurring Hackett as a "staff puke" on AM radio? I dunno - it's just one hypothesis.

Also, I don't know why Rasmussen didn't poll Sherrod Brown vs. DeWine, though I did send an e-mail to Scott Rasmussen asking about the omission. If I get a reply, I'll let you know.

Posted at 12:28 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

FL-Sen: About That Senate Race...

Posted by DavidNYC

In case you were wondering why the Florida GOP is so desperate to replace Kathy Harris, wonder no more. Quinnipiac poll (registered voters, late Aug. in parens):

Nelson: 55 (57)
Harris: 31 (33)
Undecided: 12 (9)
(MoE: ±3.4%)

Couple of things. If Harris does fall on her sword, I think we might have a fight on our hands. Nelson's re-elect is only 37-33 (but obviously with a huge bunch of undecideds, 29%). And on partisanship scores, Nelson does well at 83-7 among Dems, but Harris trails badly at just 63-22 among Republicans. A more likeable GOP candidate would definitely improve on those numbers, and in a state where the edge goes narrowly to the Republicans, that would really tighten this race up.

On the flipside, Harris clearly has some kind of hardcore fanatic base of support. A hypothetical matchup between her and Rep. Mark Foley shows Harris leading 46-29. Quinnipiac didn't poll on Bense, but I think Harris could win a three-way or a head-to-head with Bense as well. We can't relax about this race, and we cerainly can't even get a little bit comfortable until after the candidate filing deadline. And even then, the FL GOP might try to pull a Torricelli. But if it's Nelson v. Harris 'til the bitter end, then we should be alright.

UPDATE: Whoa, check this out: Harris' campaign manager just quit. Maybe Harris will be next to quite. (Via Political Wire.)

Posted at 01:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 14, 2005

FL-Sen: Possible Republican Primary?

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Political Wire:

Florida House Speaker Allan Bense (R) "is back on the political radar screen as a potential primary foe for Republican Katherine Harris,” according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. After “rejecting overtures from” Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Bense has “rekindled speculation that he may still be interested.”

“First, Bense put out a press release stating his support of the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr. for the U.S. Supreme Court, something he didn't do for either of the two previous court nominations. Then last week, Bense refused to tell Tallahassee reporters that he definitely won't run when asked about the race.”

Everyone knows that the FL GOP doesn't want Harris to run - her negatives are terrible, and she'll almost certainly lose to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Since Harris has refused to step aside, if Bense gets in, I'd predict a nasty primary fight. Even if Bense wins a hypothetical primary, he'll be bruised.

Posted at 09:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MO-Sen: McCaskill (D) Leads Talent (R), 47-45

Posted by DavidNYC

I think the Missouri senate race can show you just how important having a top-notch candidate can be. Rasmussen again has the goods today (likely voters, early Sept. in parens):

McCaskill: 47 (46)
Talent: 45 (46)
Other: 2 (2)
Undecided: 6 (6)
MoE: ±4.5%

Thanks the maker for the globe-trotting Chuck Schumer and his ability to recruit strong challengers. As you may recall, Chuck followed McCaskill to London and wooed her over dinner. I don't always agree with Schumer's stances, but man, I sure as hell respect how hard he works. Majority Leader Reid was always an extreme longshot, but Schumer's done his very best to close that gap. This will be a hard-fought race until the very end, but I think McCaskill can pull it off.

P.S. Scott Rasmussen: Thanks for starting to include the actual number of undecideds in your data boxes. Very helpful!

Posted at 06:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Santorum Challenging Casey to Debate?

Posted by DavidNYC

This is pretty funny. We've officially moved into Bizarro World. According to Hotline On Call, incumbent Senator Dick Santorum has sent a letter to his challenger Bob Casey, Jr. asking Casey to debate Li'l Dicky.

In any normal universe, it's the challenger who clamors to debate the incumbent - and usually the incumbent gives said challenger the back of his hand. But here, Sen. Man-on-Dog is so desperate to improve his public image, he's gotta beg Casey for some free air-time. Since we're in Bizarro World, I assume we'll also see Santorum start to distance himself from George Bush. Oh wait... he already has!

Through the looking glass, indeed. Soon enough, though, we'll wake the Red King and Rick Santorum will disappear like the bad dream we know he is.

P.S. Dick Santorum named World's Worst Person by Keith Olbermann (our next Edward R. Murrow?) - video clip here!

Posted at 03:50 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

WA-Sen: Comfortable Lead for Cantwell

Posted by DavidNYC

Freshman Sen. Maria Cantwell is often thought to be one of the more endangered Democratic incumbents. The CW says that senators are at their most vulnerable during their first re-election campaign, and it's probably true, up to a point. Three of the eleven freshman senators elected during the GOP sweep in 1994 lost in 2000: Rod Grams (MN), John Ashcroft (MO), and Spencer Abraham (MI), who had originally taken a Dem open seat. And Cantwell won by just the slimmest of margins - not even one-hundredth of one percent of the vote (barely 2,000 out of 2.3 million cast). So the fears seem reasonable.

Fortunately for Cantwell, two things (possibly somewhat related) have happened. First, the WA GOP wasn't able to recruit a top-shelf candidate, just a very rich one (Safeco CEO Mike McGavick). And second, there's a strong and growing tide in favor of Dems nationwide, which is helping to erase any "natural" disadvantages that freshman incumbents have. Rasmussen, at least in the early going, confirms this (likely voters, no trendlines):

Cantwell: 52
McGavick: 37
Other: 3
Undecided: 8
(MoE: ±4.5%)

There is (as there often is) one cautionary note here: McGavick's name recognition still lags appreciably behind Cantwell's. She's in the 90s, as you'd expect of a sitting senator, while he barely hits 70. If there's one thing that rich guys are good at, it's increasing their name rec. As soon as McGavick starts doing that, more of his natural base of support will come aboard. But with Cantwell already polling over 52%, she's in very good shape to hold her seat.

P.S. Rasmussen says her favorability rating is 57-37. Her SUSA job approval isn't all that great (52-37) - only good enough for 69th - but it'll probably do.

Posted at 03:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, November 10, 2005

PA-Sen: No Mas! No Mas!

Posted by DavidNYC

Two polls came out today showing Rick Santorum, fully a year away from election day, getting utterly, completely demolished by his putative opponent, Bob Casey, Jr. The first is from Franklin & Marshall College and some media outfits and is known as the Keystone Poll (registered voters, September in parens); the second is from Rasmussen (likely voters, July in parens):

Keystone

Casey: 51 (50)
Santorum: 35 (37)
Undecided: 14 (13)
(MoE: ±4.2%)


Rasmussen

Casey: 54 (52)
Santorum: 34 (41)
Other: 4 (4)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get worse for Little Ricky, they do. I would not be at all surprised if the Republican Party is looking to "pull a Torricelli" here and replace Santorum with a more likeable candidate. At the very least, these polls give added credence to reports that the national GOP has already abandoned Sen. Man-on-Dog.

The Rasmussen poll is extra-interesting, though, because it shows you where Santorum is getting killed: Undecideds. (I'm presuming the balance of Rasmussen polls consist of people who haven't yet made up their minds, since they don't actually list an "undecided" line.) He dropped seven points in that group, which is devastating because those are precisely the people Ricky needs to win back if he wants to have a prayer. Good luck, bub.

P.S. Fans of Chuck Pennacchio: F&M did you a solid and actually asked a question on the Democratic primary, the first I've ever seen. Unfortunately, Chuck trails 67-5 with 28% undecided. Don't get me wrong - I like Chuck. But the odds of him rising from obscurity ala Howard Dean are slim indeed.

Posted at 10:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester Calls for a "Clear Exit Strategy" for Iraq

Posted by DavidNYC

No time to waste in turning to the 2006 elections. An important statement from Jon Tester via a campaign e-mail:

Put simply, the time has come for us to put in place a clear exit strategy to bring our troops home from Iraq.

This plan is necessary for a number of reasons. The heavy reliance on National Guard and Reserve units has depleted the ranks of our first responders here at home. We simply can’t have that.

Second, the costs and resources needed to pursue the war in Iraq have distracted us from our missions in Afghanistan-- and from the larger war on terror. We need to recommit resources to these important struggles—and we need to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

Finally, the latest polling in Iraq tells us that the Iraqis want to step up and take responsibility for their own future. Until we make it clear that we believe they can accept that responsibility, the insurgents will spin the worst lies about American troops. A clear exit strategy and timeline establishes America’s faith in Iraq and will be the surest blow we can strike against the insurgents.

No kidding. I personally think that if all (or even most) Democrats across the land were to sign on to this issue - whether you call it an exit strategy, a timetable for withdrawal, what have you - it would be a powerful way to nationalize the 2006 elections. If you couple that with relentless hammering on the Republican culture of corruption, you've got national issues on both the domestic and the foreign fronts. They even intersect at a crucial juncture (see Libby, Irving Lewis "Scooter").

I'm glad to see that Tester has seen the wisdom of this, and is making his voice heard on the subject. If a candidate from a conservative district in a red state can start talking about this, then I surely hope other Dems elsewhere can follow soon.

Posted at 12:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 07, 2005

OH-Sen: Brown +4 on Dewine, Hackett -2 - But It's a Weird One

Posted by DavidNYC

Finally, a real (ie, non-Zogby FunTyme) poll on the Ohio senate race. Sort of. This is part of the same Columbus Dispatch mail-in poll, alleged by some to be "eerily accurate," on the Reform Ohio Now ballot measures. Well, I can tell you one thing for sure: No poll with undecideds well into the 30s is accurate about jack. Anyhow, the findings (registered voters, no trendlines):

Brown: 35
DeWine:31
Undecided:34

Hackett:30
DeWine:32
Undecided:37
(MoE: ±2.5%)

Sigh. Just when I hoped we might be getting good data, we get this whack-ass nuttiness. Oh, also, Dem respondents to this poll (which is self-selecting) were 10% greater in number than Republicans. This may well be a sign of the times, or it could just be a sign of ballot-box stuffing. Either way, these numbers are too noisy to mean much, except perhaps one thing: For a well-known incumbent like DeWine to be facing so many undecideds and to be unable to break 32% is pretty freakin' pathetic.

(Via the DSCC.)

Posted at 12:20 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, November 03, 2005

2006: NRSC Chair Elizabeth Dole's FEC Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last month:

We already know that Schumer and the DSCC is kicking Liddy Dole's ass in candidate recruitment. Now, for the second straight quarter, Schumer has kicked her ass in fundraising.
That response followed the DSCC have a 2:1 cash on hand advantage over the NRSC for most of the cycle. But now we learn that National Republican Senate Committee Chair, Senator Elizabeth Dole, has more problems with the money she has raised:
On Monday, the Federal Election Commission issued its audit of the Dole North Carolina Victory Committee Inc. (DNCVC), a campaign committee that served as a joint fundraising arm affiliated with Senator Elizabeth Dole’s 2002 Senate campaign. As a result of the audit, Dole has once again been told to refund more than $81,000 in illegal corporate contributions. This report comes six years after Dole, then an underfunded presidential candidate, decided she cared about campaign finance reform. Of course, the better funded Dole became, the more campaign finance reform became a “frivolous” issue. And now, any respect for the law seems to have just flown the coop altogether.
History after the jump...

FIRST: AS AN UNDERFUNDED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, DOLE WAS AGAINST CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS. In July 1999, then-presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole said, “I would say let's rule out all soft money for corporations, unions and individuals.” [NPR, “All Things Considered,” 7/19/99]

THEN: AS A SENATE CANDIDATE, DOLE CARED LESS AND LESS ABOUT CAMAPAIGN FINANCE REFORM. During her 2002 U.S. Senate bid, Dole was asked about an FEC complaint alleging she violated the corporate contribution ban by having a photo and quote from her distributed to millions of families in a publication printed by Wal-Mart. At the time, Dole referred to the complaint as just one of the “frivolous issues” Democrats were involved in. [AP, 9/6/02]

NOW: DOLE’S TURNAROUND IS COMPLETE, AS SHE REFUSES TO RETURN MORE THAN $81,000 IN ILLEGAL CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS

BACKGROUND: DOLE AIDE EMBEZZLED FUNDS, DOLE’S COMMITTEE LACKED OVERSIGHT TO PREVENT IT. The FEC found that the committee’s assistant treasurer, Earl Allen Haywood, “wrote unauthorized checks from the committee’s account” which were either not reported or wrongly reported on the original reports filed by DNCVC. The audit further found that “the lack of basic internal controls…and oversight” by Dole’s committee “created an environment that contributed to the misappropriation of funds.” In all, a review found a total of $70,750 in misappropriated funds from 2002 and an additional $104,001 from 2003. [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

PROBLEM: DOLE’S COMMITTEE ACCEPTED CORPORATE CHECKS. Dole’s Committee received 55 contribution checks totaling $104,720, including $81,320 from corporations, in 2002 that were not deposited into the account until 2003. [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

VIOLATION: CORPORATE CHECKS ARE ILLEGAL. Federal political committees are barred from accepting campaign contributions from corporations. If a corporate check is delivered to a campaign committee, the committee must return it or, if deposited, refund the contribution. [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

PROBLEM: DOLE’S COMMITTEE DEPOSITED MORE THAN $600,000 WITHOUT PROPER INFORMATION. Dole’s Committee accepted at least 421 contributions totaling $634,743 from individuals without disclosing the donor’s occupation or employer. [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

VIOLATION: CONTRIBUTIONS OVER $200 REQUIRE EMPLOYER/OCCUPATION DISCLOSURE. According to the audit, the Committee “was unable to demonstrate that it had made any follow-up requests for the missing information.” [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

FEC RULING: THREE YEARS LATER, DOLE COMMITTEE STILL NEEDS TO RETURN ILLEGAL CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS. “The Audit staff concludes that DNCVC still bears the responsibility for the return of the prohibited contributions.” [FEC Memo, 10/31/05]

AND DOLE ISN’T THE ONLY REPUBLICAN WITH THESE PROBLEMS…

AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR, AND 15 LETTERS FROM THE FEC, MARTINEZ FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGES FLAWED FINANCE REPORTING. This week, a lawyer for Sen. Mel Martinez acknowledged that the Senator’s 2004 campaign reports filed with the FEC were “not done with the precision that was required.” The lawyer blamed the erroneous reporting on campaign stress, saying, “They got overwhelmed… If you've not been through it [a campaign] before, the deluge can cause great problems.” But since January 2004, Martinez’s campaign committee “has received 15 letters from the FEC requesting additional information, corrections or revisions in the reporting of contributions, expenditures and debt.” As one independent expert explained, “At the very least, this is sloppiness that is very unusual for a Senate campaign.” [Tampa Tribune, 11/1/05]

DELAY’S INDICTMENT WAS TRIGGERED BY ILLEGAL CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was recently indicted “on felony criminal charges of money-laundering and conspiracy related to the allegedly illegal use of corporate funds in the 2002 state election.” [Washington Post, 10/20/05]

Click Here to View the Complete Dole Audit Report from the FEC.

Ouch, Senator Dole is going out of her way to look pathetic compared with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair, Senator Chuck Schumer.

Posted at 06:23 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, North Carolina, Scandals | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Harry Reid Provides Reasons to Respect Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chris Bowers posted his 2006 Senate Forecast one media cycle too soon, because the dynamics for 2006 shifted drastically yesterday. With bold action and straight talk, Senator Harry Reid and a united Democratic caucus showed America that Democrats deserve respect, they proved that Democrats are ready to fight, and people trust Reid's motives unlike some GOP stunts like Gingrich shutting down the government and Terry Schiavo.

Senator Harry Reid is an authentic leader with strong convictions and a voice that will be heard.

Hunter breaks it down:

In a move worthy of a Wild West gunfight, Minority Leader Harry Reid changed the political landscape on a dime, and cleaved the Republican talking point brigades into shards and splinters. This move was political brilliance on more fronts than I can count.

  • First, obviously, it forced the Senate to agree to finally investigate the massaged and/or bogus Iraq War intelligence, after stonewalling the investigation for over two years.
  • Second, it shows the American people that the Democrats are serious about the Republicans' ongoing dismissal of critical national security matters, even if Republicans like Frist and Roberts have proven over the last two years they aren't trustworthy or responsible about pursuing them. And that Democrats are also dead serious about the Iraq War, and investigating any frauds or manipulations used to send us into the quagmire.

  • It absolutely nails the Republicans to the wall on Plamegate. President Bush, the Senate, and now the entire nation knows that senior administration official Scooter Libby, chief of staff to the Vice President, was the first administration official to leak the name of a covert CIA agent to the press, in retaliation for her husband's political stance. And we now know that Rove was the second, and that the two had some conversations as to Plame's status and what they were telling reporters about it.


    And yet Bush didn't fire either one of them. He allowed Libby to resign after being indicted for obstructing the further investigation into the White House leaks. And Rove remains by his side today, while the investigation continues.


    Today, by demanding a response to Senate obstruction efforts, Reid squarely brought the national discourse back to the ongoing now-criminal obstruction efforts in the White House -- a criminal obstruction that had in the last days been made into a talking point praised by Republicans as a Republican victory over the investigation. And it masterfully highlights the fundamental dishonesty of a Republican Senate with no intentions of getting to the bottom of either of them. Frist squealed like a stuck pig at even the mere thought of having to discuss either matter.

  • It completely disrupted and short-circuited the nasty, Swift Boat hackery of the Republicans attempting to defend the far-right Judge Sam Alito. The Republican spin machine isn't the only group capable of setting the parameters of the national debate.

  • Perhaps most importantly, it fires a huge warning shot into the Republican efforts to break Senate rules to disallow filibusters. Remember, Reid did similar parliamentary moves during the last discussion of Senate-busting "nuclear" rule changes by Republicans. So this is just a little punch to say "You want to mess with the rules? We can make your legislative lives into an unworkable living hell, if you're not willing to play by the rules. Think about whether you want to fire those shots."


    That is, in fact, why it was called the Nuclear Option by the original Republicans to propose it... because the Senate revolves around the basic comity of allowing the majority party to set the debate. But that's not because of the rules -- it's because of the gentlemen's agreement of the minority party. If the Senate goes nuclear, bye-bye gentlemen's agreement. Bye-bye to the ability of the Republicans to set the terms of legislation.

  • And finally, it made Bill Frist look like an utter amateur. Whining like a stuck pig, Frist made it perfectly clear that he isn't nearly the political tactician his lockstep demands for party loyalty require him to be. Today, Reid made Frist look like a complete fool -- actually, Frist mainly did it all by himself. This further weakens him and his own hold on his party.


Frist actually said, today:


"Never have I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution."


Oh my. Lookie who started the gunfight, and now wants a timeout? Better start wearing a hockey mask, Frist, because I think Reid just made it perfectly clear that this isn't the only face-slap you're going to get.


Let's hear it for Reid. Simply masterful, as a parliamentarian and as a leader.

If Democrats stay united and fight with bold action, this could put races like Mississippi, Nevada and Virginia into play, meaning Democrats could be on offense in 10 races.

Judging by the reaction to the photo of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin, I think the caucus has finally come around to the idea of standing proud and fighting.

harry reid senate showdown

Posted at 11:59 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Day Democrats Said Enough

Posted by Bob Brigham

Every Republican Senator should be on notice, today isn't like yesterday. Tomorrow won't be either. We have new rules, Democrats with spine, and enough is enough. Today, Harry Reid attempted to end the cover-up surrounding how the Administration lied to the American people while fabricating a case for a needless war. Kos says:

Reid asked the Senate to go into special session on intelligence -- that is, a closed session -- to discuss prewar intelligence. This mostion, along with a second (provided by Durbin), requires all Senators to report to the Senate floor. It is a non-debatable motion.

Cue in lots of hystrionics from Frist and company. Republicans whined that this was a violation of Senate tradition. This coming from the gang that wants to eliminate the judicial filibuster. Frist whined that he wasn't consulted. As though Democrats have had a seat at the table in this Congress. They want to play hardball? Fine. Reid sent notice that he can play that game as well.

Frist whined, "Senator Daschle never did anything like this." Damn right. A new sheriff is in town.

Now, this is more than a temporary stunt. The Democratic leadership has promised to call a special session in the Senate every single day until Republicans alllow for a real investigation.

So let's see what we have here --

Democrats showing leadership and fight. Very nice. Democrats creating a media narrative around Republican stonewalling of a real investigation into pre-war intelligence. Also very nice. Republicans getting a taste of things to come if they initiate the nuclear option? Very crafty.

Here are some quick facts on Rule 21:

KEY FACTS ON SECRET SESSIONS OF THE SENATE

* Since 1929, the Senate has held 53 secret sessions, generally for reasons of national security.
* For example, in 1997 the Senate held a secret session to consider the Chemical Weapons Convention (treaty).
* In 1992, the Senate met in secret session to consider “most favored nation” trade status for China.
* In 1988, a session was held to consider the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and in 1983 a session was held on Nicaragua.
* In 1942, a secret session was held on navy plans to build battleships and aircraft carriers, and in 1943 a secret session was held on reports from the war fronts.
* Six of the most recent secret sessions, however, were held during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.


SENATE RULES ON SECRET SESSIONS

* During a secret session, the doors of the chamber are closed, and the chamber and its galleries are cleared of all individuals except Members and those officers and employees specified in the rules or essential to the session.

* Standing Senate Rules 21, 29, and 31 cover secret sessions for legislative and executive business. Rule 21 calls for the Senate to close its doors once a motion is made and seconded. The motion is not debatable, and its disposition is made behind closed doors.

Reid's full statement in the extended entry.

Reid ask to go into special session on intelligence to discuss intelligence failures and the war in Iraq. Statement below

Statement by Senator Reid
Troops and Security First

This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of the I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years. This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.

The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm's way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress. The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.

As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration's mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.

And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.

Let's take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq.

The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.

There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam's alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.

The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam's nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq "has reconstituted its nuclear weapons." Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons.

Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam's nuclear capabilities were false.
The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam's links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, "We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization."

The Administration's assertions on this score have been totally discredited. But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government's top experts did not agree with these claims.

What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration's manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.

Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.

Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security. They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why.

There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions. Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course.

For example, when General Shinseki indicated several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq, his military career came to an end. When then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of this war would approach $200 billion, his career in the Administration came to an end. When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged conclusions about Saddam's WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled out his inspectors. When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed el-Baridei raised questions about the Administration's claims of Saddam's nuclear capabilities, the Administration attempted to remove him from his post. When Joe Wilson stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire uranium from Niger, the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated campaign to demean and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact that his wife worked as a CIA agent.

Given this Administration's pattern of squashing those who challenge its misstatements, what has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress? Again, absolutely nothing. And with their inactions, they provide political cover for this Administration at the same time they keep the truth from our troops who continue to make large sacrifices in Iraq.

This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone - the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm's way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made.

The troops and the American people have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of that sacrifice. For example, 40 Senate Democrats wrote a substantive and detailed letter to the President asking four basic questions about the Administration's Iraq policy and received a four sentence answer in response. These Senators and the American people deserve better.

They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation about how the Bush Administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:

o How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?
o Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?
o How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?
o What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?
o How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration's assertions?
o Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

Unfortunately the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine many of these questions more than 1 and ½ years ago, he has chosen not to keep this commitment. Despite the fact that he restated that commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing.

At this point, we can only conclude he will continue to put politics ahead of our national security. If he does anything at this point, I suspect he will play political games by producing an analysis that fails to answer any of these important questions. Instead, if history is any guide, this analysis will attempt to disperse and deflect blame away from the Administration.

We demand that the Intelligence Committee and other committees in this body with jurisdiction over these matters carry out a full and complete investigation immediately as called for by Democrats in the committee's annual intelligence authorization report. Our troops and the American people have sacrificed too much. It is time this Republican-controlled Congress put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political interests.

Indeed. In terms of the 2006 mid-term elections, it is important to note that Democrats have the high-ground:

Democratic Efforts to Address Misuse of Intelligence Have Been Repeatedly Blocked by Republicans


For more than two years, Senate Democrats have pressed Republicans to address the misuse of intelligence. At every turn, Republicans have blocked efforts to investigate how intelligence was used in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Below details the long record established by Democrats to investigate this matter.

March 14, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Mueller requesting an investigation into the origin of the Niger documents.

May 23, 2003 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent a letter to the CIA and State Department Inspectors General to review issues related to the Niger documents.

June 2, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller issued a press release endorsing a statement made of the previous weekend by Senator Warner calling for a joint SSCI/SASC investigation.

June 4, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller issued a press release saying he would push for an investigation. Senator Roberts issued a press release saying calls for an investigation are premature.

June 10, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts asking for an investigation.

June 11, 2003 – All Committee Democrats signed a letter to Senator Roberts asking for a meeting of the Committee to discuss the question of authorizing an inquiry into the intelligence that formed the basis for going to war.

June 11, 2003 – Senator Roberts issued a press release saying this is routine committee oversight, and that criticism of the intelligence community is unwarranted. Senator Rockefeller issued a press release calling the ongoing review inadequate.

June 20, 2003 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller issued a joint press release laying out the scope of the inquiry.

August 13, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts making 14 points about the investigation, asking to expand the inquiry to address the “use of intelligence by policy makers” and asking for several other actions.

September 9, 2003 – After press reports quoting Senator Roberts as saying the investigation was almost over, Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts urging him not to rush to complete the investigation prematurely.
October 29, 2003 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet expressing in strong terms that he should provide documents that have been requested and make individuals available.

October 30, 2003 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent letters to Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice expressing in strong terms that they should provide documents that have been requested and make individuals available.

October 31, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet asking for documents related to the interaction between intelligence and policy makers, including the documents from the Vice President’s office related to the Powell speech.

November 2, 2003 – Senator Roberts made statements during a joint television appearance with Senator Rockefeller claiming that the White house would provide all documents they jointly requested.

December 5, 2003 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to National Security Advisor Rice asking for her help getting documents and access to individuals.

January 22, 2004 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet asking for compliance with the Oct. 31 request for documents.

February 12, 2004 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller issued a joint press release announcing the Committee’s unanimous approval of the expansion of the Iraq review, to include use of intelligence in the form of public statements, and listing other aspects of what became Phase II.

March 23, 2004 – Senator Rockefeller sent yet another letter to Director Tenet asking for compliance with the Oct. 31 request for documents.

June 17, 2004 – Senators Roberts and Rockefeller joint press release announcing the unanimous approval of the report.

July 16, 2004 – Committee Democrats sent a letter to Bush asking for the one page summary of the NIE prepared for Bush. The Committee staff had been allowed to review it but could not take notes and the Committee was never given a copy.

February 3, 2005 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts outlining Committee priorities for the coming year and encouraging completion of Phase II.

August 5, 2005 – Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts expressing concern over the lack of progress on Phase II and calling for a draft to be presented to the Committee at a business meeting in September.

September 29, 2005 – All Committee Democrats joined in additional views to the annual Intelligence Authorization Bill criticizing the lack of progress on Phase II.

With actions like this, I think we will soon be hearing the title Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Posted at 04:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Nuclear Option, Republicans, Scandals, Supreme Court | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, October 29, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns Declares Bush's Record 'Isn't That Bad'

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Montana Senate race is going to be a great race for the netroots to follow. Conrad Burns has the most exposure of any senator in the Jack Abramoff scandals. Montana is a red state with a vulnerable three-term incumbent. Even Karl Rove is worried about this race amidst all of his other problems.

That, and we have an inspiring challenger in Jon Tester (who is on the Swing State Project Actblue page).

Today, the Montana press headlined, Burns facing tough re-election bid which included the type of quote you don't expect from a GOP Senator:

"The president is having his problems but that could straighten out," Burns said, adding that Bush's record "isn't that bad."

Not that bad, eh? Remember, this is a state where Bush enjoys an approval rating 11% pts. better than the national average -- yet a three term incumbent who has already raised 80% of what he need in 2000 is still running scared from Bush. And Burns sounds worried, here is the story's lede:

In the staid halls of the U.S. Senate, Montana Republican Conrad Burns is known for his booming voice and his cheery, back-slapping confidence. But when it comes to talking about his upcoming bid for re-election, his demeanor turns more serious.

Burns' is up to his cowboy hat in Jack Abramoff's scandals, so he should be worried about coming off as cocky because of how much money he has in the bank:

Democrats plan to make up for their financial disadvantage by leveling ethics charges at Burns. Strategists have already signaled that they plan to exploit Burns' ties to GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has been indicted on fraud charges.

The Montana Democratic Party aired a television ad in August that criticized Burns for what it said was his vote to give one of the nation's wealthiest American Indian tribes $3 million from a federal program intended for cash-strapped tribal schools.

Abramoff was a lobbyist for the Michigan tribe, and also donated to Burns' political action committee along with some of his associates. Abramoff is now under a wide-ranging investigation, accused of bilking his Indian clients.

The Democratic ad said the financial arrangements add up to an "improper relationship" between Burns, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that wrote the bill, and Abramoff.

Sketchy. Here's another great quote from Burns, not as good as his defense of Bush, but still desperate:

"I'm here and they're not," he said, sitting in his Senate office. "I've got the seniority and they don't. And I'm in the majority and they're not."

My response: Not for long, give Tester time, not for long.

Speaking of which, it is Tester Time.

Posted at 12:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Montana, Scandals | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 28, 2005

MD-Sen: Michael Steele Blasted as Traitor

Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm glad to see this battle playing out back in Maryland, instead of Virginia. Here's today's Baltimore Sun:

In an e-mail interview with The Sun, Gilliard said he considers Steele a traitor to his race because he initially dismissed news that his political partner, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., held a golfing fund-raiser this year at the Elkridge Club of Baltimore, which at the time had never admitted a black member in its 127-year history.

"Generally, it is an accurate depiction of Steele's groveling, lackey behavior," Gilliard said of the image. "It is 2005, and such an institution [as the Elkridge Club] should not exist, nor should a governor with as many black people as the state of Maryland attend a function at such a place.

"My point is that politicians like Michael Steele insult us, use us as whipping boys and then run to their white supporters to show how loyal they are. The suffering and problems of black Americans are beyond their concern," said Gilliard, who lives in New York City. "I find it wildly humorous that Lt. Gov. Steele calls me, a black man, racist, but then refuses to condemn the governor attending an event at an all-white country club."

The Maryland Senate race dynamics have changed radically following Katrina, especially considering Bush is polling at 2% with African Americans. The dynamic between identity politics and interest politics will be on center stage in Maryland. Steele may have found himself on the wrong side of a very powerful trend of blacks near universal agreement that Republicans don't care for black people.

Steve says:

You know, I've gotten far more support than comdemnation, and you know where a lot of that support came from? Black people. It's a wonderful feeling to have the community appreciate your words.

If Steve's sample is representative, then Gilliard may be writing what far more African Americans are thinking. In a post-Katrina world, does Mike Steele stand a chance?

Posted at 12:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland, Scandals | Comments (6) | Technorati

Thursday, October 27, 2005

MT-Sen: So Much for Seniority

Posted by DavidNYC

One argument often made on behalf of incumbents is that their "seniority" is somehow important - that presumably, it allows them greater leverage to get legislation important to their constituents passed. (This is considered so important that federal courts even permit it as a justification in re-districting to protect incumbents.) I happen to think it's bullcrap as often as not - there are a lot of factors that go into whether certain legislation gets passed, and pure seniority is just one of them.

So why am I bringing this up? One issue of important to many Americans - and to a lot of Montanans in particular - is "coutry-of-origin labelling," aka "COOL." It's a simple (and inexpensive) idea which says that all farm products should carry information identifying where they are from. And this law was actually passed at the federal level in 2002. But its implementation has been delayed, thanks to Congressional Republicans.

And guess who's been whining about it loudest lately? Why, our dear friend Connie Burns - a Congressional Republican! Burnsie is in his third term - he oughta be way senior by now, right? Well, then, why the hell hasn't he convinced his colleagues to finally authorize COOL? How pathetic is that? But wait - it gets better (or worse, depending upon your perspective).

While Connie Burns has been proving his utter ineffectiveness on Capitol Hill, Jon Tester, as President of the MT State Senate and working with Gov. Brian Schweitzer, got a state-level COOL bill passed earlier this year - and was heartily thanked by Montana's cattlemen. I guess the farmer and the cow-man can be friends, after all!

Burnsie, you have a year to get this legislation fully enacted. All of Montana - and your friends throughout the country - are watching. Your failure thus far is proof that your claims to seniority are worthless. If you can't get this done by election day, it'll just be one more nail in your electoral coffin.

(Hat tip to a Tester campaign e-mail.)

Posted at 09:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Republican Electoral Liability on Karl Rove

Posted by Bob Brigham

OK, this is funny. In the last post, I pointed out how the Swing State Project would be focusing on the electoral fallout of the White House Indictments. As always, I made a point of mentioning that our readers are our eyes and ears to what is going on race-by-race. However, the Republican National Committee decided to pull all of this information together for us:

Republican Senators Defend Karl Rove:

NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-NC): “The Partisan Attacks Against Karl Rove Are Out Of Control And Entirely Inappropriate. He Is A Distinguished Member Of The White House And He Is My Friend.” (National Republican Senatorial Committee, “Elizabeth Dole Statement On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)


  • Dole: “It Is Incredibly Irresponsible For Individuals And Organizations To Make Accusations Based On Rumor And Innuendo. It Is Unfair To The Investigation And Even More Unfair To Karl Rove.” (National Republican Senatorial Committee, “Elizabeth Dole Statement On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN): “My Democratic Friends Would Be Doing The Nation A Great Service If They Spent Half As Much Time Getting Legislation Passed That Will Benefit The Country As They Do In Attacking Karl Rove.” (Sen. Norm Coleman, Press Release, 7/13/05)


  • Coleman: “We Have Enough To Do In The Senate In Minding Our Own Business Than To Be Sticking Our Noses Into Someone Else’s Business. Everyone Needs To Cool The Rhetoric, Focus On The Business Of The People, And Allow The Investigation To Run Its Course.” (Sen. Norm Coleman, Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA): “I Don’t See Any Evidence Out There That He Violated The Law.’’ (Richard Keil and Holly Rosenkrantz, “Rove’s Role In Spy Inquiry Reverberates Throughout Capital,” Bloomberg, 7/12/05)

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT): “In All Honesty, The Facts Thus Far – And The E-Mail Involved – Indicate To Me That There Is Not A Problem Here…” (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)

Hatch: “I Have Always Thought This Is A Tempest In A Teapot." (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “If Anyone Thought The Anger And Political Sniping That Infested The Capital During The Campaign Would End After The Election, They Were Flat Wrong. Partisan Attacks In Lieu Of The Facts Have Replaced Ideas, Action And Cooperation.” (Sen. John Cornyn, “Attacks On Rove ‘More Anger And Political Sniping,’” Press Release, 7/13/05)

  • Cornyn: “Sadly, These Attacks Are More Of The Same Kind Of Anger And Lashing Out That Has Become The Substitute For Bipartisan Action And Progress. While Republicans Focus On Accomplishing An Ambitious Agenda For The American People, Some Democrats And Their Allies In The Hyper-Partisan Interest Groups Continue On Their Path Of Smear And Distract.” (Sen. John Cornyn, “Attacks On Rove ‘More Anger And Political Sniping,’” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “I Support Karl Rove.” (Tom Raum, “Newsview: CIA Leak Probe Focuses On Rove,” The Associated Press, 7/13/05)

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “Karl Rove Is A Friend Who, By All Accounts, Is Fully Cooperating With The Investigation. He Has Been A Most Valuable Member Of President Bush’s Team And Has Always Conducted Himself According To High Standards. It’s Disappointing That Some Democrats Are Using An Ongoing Investigation To Try And Score Political Points. Instead Of Focusing On The People’s Business, Democrats Are Prejudging An Incomplete Investigation And Doing Nothing More Than Mounting Partisan Political Attacks.” (Sen. Jeff Sessions, “Statement Of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions On Karl Rove,” 7/13/05)

Republican Congressmen Defend Karl Rove:

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO): “I Think We See Too Many Efforts Now Where People Quickly Rush To Judgment, Rush To Call For The Most Bizarre Solutions To Problems That Are Problems That Are Often Just Created In Their Own Minds.” (Rep. Roy Blunt, Floor Statement, U.S. House Of Representatives, 7/13/05)

Blunt: “Karl Rove Has Fully Cooperated In Any Investigation, And For More Than A Year Now Has Permitted Investigators To Talk To Him.” (Rep. Roy Blunt, Floor Statement, U.S. House Of Representatives, 7/13/05)

House Republican Conference Chair Deborah Pryce (R-OH):” I Think What The Democrats Are Doing With Karl Rove Is Just Another Politically Motivated Part Of Their Agenda.” (CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports,” 7/13/05)

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY): “The Extreme Left Is Once Again Attempting To Define The Modern Democrat Party By Rabid Partisan Attacks, Character Assassination And Endless Negativity. And As Has Become Their Custom, The Rest Of The Democrat Party Is Standing By Silently.” (National Republican Congressional Committee, “NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Statement On Karl Rove, Democrat Partisan Attacks,” Press Release, 7/13/05)


  • Reynolds: “Democrats Are Bitter About Losing In 2004. And They Will Stop At Nothing To Accomplish Through Character Assassination What They Could Not Accomplish At The Ballot Box.” (National Republican Congressional Committee, “NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Statement On Karl Rove, Democrat Partisan Attacks,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): “Karl Rove Is Just The Latest In A Long Line Of Targets For The Democrats Vitriol And Political Games. The American People Want To Know How Congress Is Going To Keep The Economy Growing, Lower Energy Prices And Keep Them Secure At Home.” (Rep. Eric Cantor, “Cantor Statement on Democrat Attacks On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): “Karl Rove Who Did Not Even Know This Woman’s Name Did Not Have Any Information Of Her Acting In Any Covert Manner. It Is Just Silly.” (“Fox News’, “Fox News Live,” 7/13/05)


  • Kingston: “The Democrats Are Absent On Issues Such As Social Security, They Are Ambivalent About Iraq To Begin With And They’re Throwing Up One More Smoke Screen Aimed At Karl Rove Who They’re Mad At.” (“Fox News’, “Fox News Live,” 7/13/05)

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX): “I Support Karl Rove …” (Tom Raum, “Newsview: CIA Leak Probe Focuses on Rove,” The Associated Press, 7/13/05)

DeLay: “This Is Typical Of The Democrats. They Smell Blood And They Act Like Sharks. Karl Rove Is A Good Man. He Was Doing His Job. He Was Trying To Talk A Reporter Out Of Filing A False Story Based Upon False Premise. I Don’t See That He Has Done Anything Wrong.” (Fox News’ “Studio B,” 7/13/05)

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX): “The President And Karl Rove Are Doing Exactly What They Should. They Are Cooperating Fully With The Pending Investigation.” (Rep. Kay Granger, “Congresswoman Granger Calls Democrat Attacks On Rove Partisan Gamesmanship,” Press Release, 7/13/05)


  • Granger: “He Knew Then That Much Of What Joe Wilson Was Saying Was Untrue. The Calls For Mr. Rove’s Resignation Are Simply Partisan Gamesmanship.” (Rep. Kay Granger, “Congresswoman Granger Calls Democrat Attacks On Rove Partisan Gamesmanship,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY): “Republicans Should Stop Holding Back And Go On The Offense: Fire Enough Bullets The Other Way Until The Supreme Court Overtakes.” (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)


Thank you to the RNC for pulling all of the quotes together on which Republicans are defending the treasonous outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Posted at 06:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Burns is a Repeat Offender

Posted by DavidNYC

As the post below indicates, this isn't the first time Conrad Burns has seriously put his foot in his mouth, revealing the deeply offensive thoughts that lurk within his skull. The DSCC has done all the work of rounding up Burnsie's previous greatest hits:

Burns Refers To Arabs As “Ragheads.” During a 1999 speech to Montana constituents about U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Burns referred to Arabs as "ragheads." The term is a derisive reference to the gutra, the head cloth traditionally worn by Arab men. [Washington Post, 3/12/99]

Woman Said Her Nose Ring Prompted “Tribal” Remark By Burns. In March 2000, Angela Warren of Billings said she was offended by a comment Burns made when he visited her office and noticed she wore a nose ring. "What is that thing in your nose? What tribe are you from?" she recalled Burns saying. "It's a nose ring, and I am obviously not from a tribe," Warren said she replied. [Associated Press, 3/2/00]

Burns: “Hell of a Challenge” to Live With Minorities. In 1994, a Washington Post editorial noted that Burns recounted an incident when a rancher asked him, “Conrad, how can you live back there [in Washington] with all those niggers?” Burns reportedly “told the rancher that it was ‘a hell of a challenge.’” The Post then noted that “After protests erupted in the state following publication of his remarks, the senator apologized.” [Washington Post, editorial “Conrad Burns Tells a Story,” 10/26/94]

Burns Said He Was Going To An Auction of Slaves After Voting On Civil Rights Bill. In 1991, Burns “startled lobbyists outside the Senate chamber” following passage of a civil rights bill by saying he was going to an auction of “slaves.” A Burns spokesman attempted to clarify the statement saying the senator was referring to a charity event known as a “slave auction.” [Associated Press, 11/13/91]

Burns Joins Santorum: Santorum Mocked Women Who Seek Careers. In his book, It Takes a Family, Santorum suggests that women seek careers are looking for a false sense of accomplishment. "The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 7/6/05]

Better start lining up that lobbying gig soon, Connie.

UPDATE: (Bob): In addition to Burns being a complete asshole, his remarks have real world consequences. After his "ragheads" comment, Pakistan cancelled a huge U.S. wheat shipment and placed an order with Australia instead. Montana farmers really appreciated Burns' blunder.

Posted at 03:33 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Connie Burns a Retrograde Sexist

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, I am just having too much fun today - fun in the nerdy political junkie blogger sense. Conrad Burns (best known for being a cousin of klepto-plutocrat C. Montogomery Burns) has taken a page from the Rick Santorum playbook in his latest attempt at voter outreach. Just read and enjoy watching a sitting senator shoot himself in the foot so badly:

Sen. Conrad Burns' off-the-cuff remarks have gotten him in trouble in the past.

He once called Arabs "rag heads," later apologizing for the comment. Another time, the Montana Republican commented on how challenging it is to live with so many blacks in Washington.

Now, two Northwest Airlines flight attendants say Burns offended them recently when he told one of the women she could stay at home and be a mother if she lost her job to outsourcing.

"He's still living in the '50s," said Karen McElvaney, who is raising two young children in Atlanta while working for Northwest. "If I could stay home, I certainly would love to stay with my kids."

Burns, who is up for re-election next year, said Tuesday morning he did not recall the conversation. He later said through a spokesman that he remembered speaking to the flight attendants but never told one she could stay home with her children.

McElvaney said she approached the lawmaker with her concerns about outsourcing during a Sept. 25 flight from Great Falls to Minneapolis. When McElvaney asked what she would do if she lost her job, Burns replied she could stay home and be a mother, she said.

McElvaney did not reply.

But Kari Johnke-Henzler, a flight attendant from Minneapolis, who listened to the exchange, said she told Burns what both she and McElvaney were thinking: "I am a mother. However, I need to support my family."

The two women, both longtime Northwest employees, said many families can no longer rely solely on a husband's income.

McElvaney repeated the story to another Northwest flight attendant, Jaime Drain, who has a penchant for writing letters to public officials.

"Before you sit in judgment and make such ignorant statements, you really should stop and remember that we don't all live in a Leave it to Beaver world," Drain wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to Burns. "Perhaps it's time for you, Senator Burns, to retire and stay home since it's obvious to me that you have absolutely no concept of what it's like to be a middle-class average working American living in the modern world."

Damn straight, Ms. Drain. Connie can go hang out with Wally, June and the Beave. The rest of us living in the real world can help boot him out of office.

Posted at 01:04 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-Sen: It's Early Out There

Posted by DavidNYC

Or at least, it better be. Incumbent GOP Senator Jon Kyl is whooping Democrat Jim Pederson in a year-out poll on the AZ senate race (registered voters, no trendlines):

Pederson: 28
Kyl: 50
Undecided: 22
(MoE: ±5%)

So, a few notes of warning here: The sample size was quite small (just 385), and the undecideds are pretty high. Most importantly, the poll failed to ask about name recognition, which strikes me as fairly sloppy - or at least, failing to do so leaves the top-line numbers without context. I'm not aware of any polls on Pederson's name rec, but I'm going to guess it's nowhere near Kyl's.

Once this campaign heats up - and heat up it will - I expect these numbers to tighten up considerably. Bush only gets a 45-51 job approval in this poll, and just 40-55 according to SUSA. Kyl won't be able to rest on his laurels. This is going to be a competitive race.

The same outfit (KAET/ASU) also polled the AZ gub race. Popular incumbent Dem Janet Napolitano handily beats two potential opponents by 30 to 40% margins, but I'd bet that name rec is also a fact here. However, her re-elect number ("Would you vote to give her another four years in office?") is at a hefty 60-23, so she should be safe. Now why couldn't these guys have asked the same question of Kyl? I think they need to drop the pointless bird flu questions and start rounding out their political questions properly.

Posted at 12:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Washington Democrats and Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

David Sirota has been leading a charge against Washington DC Democrats who refuse to acknowledge Iraq as an issue. Now the Democrats' most credible and trustworthy voice on Iraq is stepping-up to lead the charge. From Blog for America:

Every day, more American soldiers are killed and wounded in Iraq. The violence and attacks on innocent Iraqi citizens continues to go unchecked. Billions of dollars have been spent, yet, we have no coherent exit plan.

As a Marine, I witnessed first-hand the devastation and destruction of this war. The mistruths and deception of the Bush administration have created a quagmire. That's why I signed the pledge to only send responsible leaders to Washington. And I'm asking you to do the same.
I pledge to only support candidates who:

1. Acknowledge that the U.S. was misled into the war in Iraq
2. Advocate for a responsible exit plan with a timeline
3. Support our troops both at home and abroad

It's time for leaders to step up to the plate and face the Iraq mess head-on because the situation only keeps getting worse. But, before we can fix it, Washington must first acknowledge the crisis we are in. You can help. Take a stand and sign the pledge to hold candidates accountable on the Iraq war.

www.democracyforamerica.com/iraqpledge

I served my country on the front lines in Iraq and saw the consequences of failed leadership up close. We need new leadership in Washington that will face this crisis with courage.

Join me and tens of thousands of Americans by standing up and telling Washington to start planning our exit now. Sign the pledge today:

www.democracyforamerica.com/iraqpledge

Thank you,

Paul Hackett

P.S. When you view the pledge map, you can learn about other patriotic Americans who've signed the pledge in every corner of the country. Take a look, and then sign the pledge:

tools.democracyforamerica.com/local

It will be interesting to watch the dots fill up on the pledge map. I'm guessing it won't take long for there to be even more dots than the overwhelming number of dots on the Hackett Donor Map.

Posted at 12:58 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fighting Democrats in 2006

Posted by Bob Brigham

Markos and Air America Radio are working to draw attention to the large number of Fighting Democrats running in 2006.

Majority Report producer Josh Orton has put together a Fighting Dems site which includes information about the featured candidates, links to archived segments, and a roster of upcoming features.

Check out the discussion on Fighting Democrats Bryan Lentz and David Ashe. Despite the attempts of many DC Democrats to avoid Iraq, the Fighting Democrat meme is a cover story in the 2006 narrative. It is inspiring to see these leaders step-up to serve again.

Posted at 09:04 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NY-Sen: Not Her Best Day

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh, Jeanine:

"I got to tell you, was it my best day? Absolutely not," she said before adding emphatically, "Am I better than that? Absolutely not."

A year out, and already getting tagged as gaffe-prone. So sad. Will her campaign start faring better? Absolutely not!

Posted at 04:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Third-Quarter Senate Fundraising Numbers

Posted by DavidNYC

Markos has the fundraising numbers for over a dozen Senate races. Click here to see `em.

Posted at 12:00 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 17, 2005

MO-Sen: Stem Cell Ballot Measure Emerging as Wedge Issue

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, now this I like to see. In 2004, it appeared (though there wasn't conclusive evidence) that anti-gay marriage ballot measures in several states might have jacked up right-wing turnout. At the very least, they provided an added incentive for conservatives to go to the polls. Right after the election, Nick Confessore suggested that we need to promote parallel ballot initiatives that would help our side. Nick thought state support for stem cell research would be a good place to start, and I agreed.

At least one state has followed this advice. Back in the spring, Tim wrote about a pro-stem cell measure in Missouri. At the time, the shape of the Senate race in MO was still inchoate, but now the battle lines are drawn (incumbent Republican Jim Talent vs. Democrat Claire McCaskill). And the stem cell initiative is starting to cause serious problems for the GOP:

Stem cell research is once again driving a wedge within Missouri’s Republican Party, pitting business interests who bankroll its campaigns against the social conservatives who help pack the polls.

Some fear that the dispute could spill over into some of the GOP’s key contests on the November 2006 ballot — especially the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

The concern is that the Republican Party’s infighting could repel its voters or donors. "If you split our base, what does that do to you in a tough election year?" asked state Rep. Jim Lembke, R-south St. Louis County. "This could get messy."

This is even better than I might have imagined. I would have hoped that stem cell research would push more likely Dem voters to the polls, but if it has the added effect of potentially fracturing the GOP, that would be three birds with one stone (more Dems, fewer Republicans, and, if it passes, more support for stem cells).

Talent hasn't taken a position on any of this yet, but he is already feeling the pressure. He'll probably try to hem and haw, but no matter what he ultimately, there will be a lot of unhappy people. My feeling is that he'll ultimately cave and support the bill because much of the state GOP already does - this is one of those rare cases where big business is on the side of the good guys, and big business is pushing hard for this one to pass. If that causes the fundies to stay home on election day, then faaantastic.

Posted at 02:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Friday, October 14, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester Hauls in $324K

Posted by DavidNYC

Our man Jon Tester just announced his third-quarter numbers via e-mail, and he did well, raking in $324,000. Some 2,580 people contributed to the campaign, including the awesome readers of this blog. (Jon even took the time to thank us with a phone call. Total class act, not that there was any doubt.) Three quarters of Tester's contributors are from Montana, which is nice to see.

I'm also hearing that Tester materially outperformed his main opponent for the Dem nomination, John Morrison. That would sure as hell be interesting. The National Journal's Chuck Todd took a few unfair shots at Jon Tester recently, based largely on the fact that Jon taught bass to Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament and the two are still friends. Todd thereby concluded that Morrison is the better candidate. Two days ago, Todd retreated somewhat, reducing his preference for Morrison to the following calculus (sub. only):

We're going to stick with our philosophy on Senate races and assume the guy with the most money is the best answer.

So if money - and not friendships with popular musicians - is what matters, and if Tester's better at raising more of it, is Chuck Todd gonna switch horses? I await his answer.

Posted at 08:22 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (19) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

WA-Sen: Cantwell (D) vs. McGavick (R)

Posted by DavidNYC

Fundraising numbers from the Pacific Northwest, featuring Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell vs. Republican Mike McGavick:

Cantwell 3Q Amount Raised: $1.5M
McGavick 3Q Amount Raised: $710K

Cantwell Cash-on-Hand: $3.8M
McGavick Cash-on-Hand: D/K

The Cantwell campaign claims that she's raised more money than any other Dem Senate candidate except Hillary Clinton. A couple of other potential GOP candidates are in the mix, but they haven't kicked off their campaigns yet. If memory serves, both Cantwell and McGavick are independently wealthy, correct? This race could get very expensive - and very nasty - very fast.

I do think, though, that it's a good idea for candidates who could otherwise self-finance to get out there and raise money, especially from the grassroots, particularly considering how easy it is to do so online these days. Cantwell says that 22,000 Washingtonians have donated to her campaign this year. That's 22,000 people who now have a reason to remain invested in her campaign - and a not-inconsiderable fraction will wind up volunteering or helping to raise yet more money. It's a virtuous cycle, and it firms up your base.

Posted at 10:43 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 13, 2005

NY-Sen: Can't Touch Hillary

Posted by DavidNYC Siena also polled the NY Senate race at the same time it was polling the Gov race. The results are equally strong in favor of Clinton, but I did notice something interesting. In the post just below, I observed a correlation between how "well" Spitzer's lame-ass opponents performed against him vs. how well-known they are. With Jeanine Pirro and Hillary Clinton, there appears to be no such correlation - and boy does that ever spell doom for Pirro's chances, if she ever had any in the first place. Check this out:

Date Pirro D/K Clinton vs. Pirro
10/05 51 59-31
8/05 55 55-34
7/05 61 57-31
6/05 65 59-29
5/05 68 57-29

So Pirro's name recognition went up almost 20 points in 5 months. Not bad. But her performance against Clinton has gone... exactly nowhere. At this rate, Pirro might fare so poorly that she won't even get the Fox News show she's obviously angling for.

The only distressing thing about this poll was that it showed Hillary losing to Rudy, 48-43, in NY state in a possible presidential matchup. I'm surprised to still see Giuliani that popular, four years after he left office. Maybe he won't be in another two or three. But if he were somehow to emerge as the GOP's nominee, I'm starting to think he'd be a lot more formidable that many people - including myself, in the past - have predicted.

Posted at 10:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

FL-Sen: Nelson (D) Crushes Harris (R)

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man. The Florida GOP, already pissed at Katherine "Cruella" Harris for not dropping out in favor of a less-hated candidate, must be really steamed now:

Nelson 3Q Amount Raised: > $2M
Harris 3Q Amount Raised: < $1M

Nelson Cash-on-Hand: $6.5M
Harris Cash-on-Hand: D/K

Less than 1 mil for Harris? Yeesh. Jim Pederson raised about three quarters of a mil in about three weeks - in a much smaller state. Harris clocks in at under a mil in the two months since she first officially announced. It's also nice to see Bill Nelson with so much scrilla in the bank. Makes me breathe a bit easier about this race, that's for sure.

Posted at 08:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

OH-Sen: Bob McEwen to Challenge Mike DeWine in the Primary?

Posted by Bob Brigham

There has been previous mention of former Congressman Bob McEwen challenging Ohio Republican Senator Mike DeWine in the primary. As was pointed out in the comments, there is a new website coming soon: www.BobMcEwenForSenate.com:

Welcome to the home of Bob McEwen for US Senate

This web site is currently under construction. To stay up-to-the-minute on all the latest happenings, join the McEwen for Senate mailing list by emailing us at:

info@bobmcewenforsenate.com

Whoever bought the URL, did so today.

Posted at 08:35 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio, Republicans | Comments (4) | TrackBack (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Senate Fundraising Roundup

Posted by DavidNYC

The Hill has a piece rounding up a number of early 3Q fundraising figures. Unfortunately, few pairs of opponents seem to have released numbers. For instance, we know that Sheldon Whitehouse raised $600K and has $1.4M on hand (which seem pretty good), but since the incumbent Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) hasn't yet put out his figures, there's no basis for comparison.

As I mentioned earlier today, the deadline for filing is the 15th, but because that's a Saturday, campaigns are actually obligated to get their reports in by Friday. We'll know a lot more then.

Posted at 08:00 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

AZ-Sen: Pederson (D) Trails Kyl (R) in Fundraising - But Read On

Posted by DavidNYC

Jim Pederson is the Democrat taking on Republican incumbent (and bona fide mouth-breather) Jon Kyl in Arizona. Here's how the third quarter shaped up, and where things stand now:

Pederson 3Q Amount Raised: $723K
Kyl 3Q Amount Raised: $873K

Pederson Cash-on-Hand: D/K
Kyl Cash-on-Hand: $4.25M

Presumably we'll find out Pederson's cash-on-hand when he files on (or before) Friday. Anyhow, here's the salient takeway from this bit of news:

1) Pederson only kicked off his campaign after Labor Day, so he's got less than a month of fundraising under his belt - not too shabby. What's more, most people were focused on giving to Katrina relief efforts in the first part of September, so this total is particularly good.

2) Pederson, a real estate developer, is tremendously wealthy - but he hasn't given his campaign a dime yet. But not only does he have mad scrilla to fall back on, most of his donations this quarter were decidedly grassroots-level (79% were under $200). To me, that's a sign of a healthy campaign.

P.S. There haven't been any serious polls of this race yet. I'm making a decision right now that the Zogby Interactive crap is just that - crap. As someone else said, those polls should carry a disclaimer that reads: "For entertainment purposes only." Zogby's regular polls are still fine, as far as I'm concerned, but I'm just not going to report on their Internets stuff.

(Via Basie.)

Posted at 01:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Casey Outraises Santorum

Posted by DavidNYC

It's that time of year again - time for campaigns to release their quarterly fundraising numbers. The official FEC quarterly filing deadline is always on the 15th day of the month following the end of the quarter, meaning that the approaching due-date is 10/15. (Campaigns get a couple weeks extra to submit end-of-year reports - those are always due on Jan. 31.)

Anyhow, the numbers are out in the Pennsylvania senate race, and it looks like the third quarter was pretty good to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.:

Casey 3Q Amount Raised: $2M+
Santorum 3Q Amount Raised: $1.7M+

However, the cash-on-hand disparity favors Santorum:

Casey Cash-on-Hand: $3M
Santorum Cash-on-Hand: $6.6M

As Adam Bonin points out, though, Santorum's latest poll numbers are atrocious. If things stay this way, Casey simply won't need as much money as Santorum in order to win. If anything, it is Santorum who is desperate right now. However, Little Ricky still has time to turn his image round, though his penchant for wingnuttish blunders (such as writing and publishing that misogynistic book of his) will make that difficult.

I'm also not sold on the Casey the Younger's political acumen (and I disagree strongly with many of his views on important issue), so it's possible that the race might turn if he starts making mistakes. But with the way things look right now, ya gotta believe that Sen. Man-on-Dog will soon be sent to the kennel.

Posted at 12:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 07, 2005

OH-Sen: Democrats Need to Support Major Paul Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Paul Hackett The Democratic Party has a major problem on the issue of Iraq. The voters have decidedly turned against the war, but Democrats have been unable to capitalize upon the movement because Democrats have lacked a clear message and support for the war by Washington Establishment Democrats has created a situtation where Democrats don't have credibility on the issue.

It doesn't have to be that way. The Democratic Party has a unique opportunity in Ohio to finally have both credibility and a message on Iraq. Major Paul Hackett can single-handedly change the national dynamics around the war. But, instead of embracing this opportunity, Washington Insiders decided to frag Major Hackett. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

But before [Sherrod] Brown, 52, can talk about his own work on health care, trade, Social Security and the environment, he'll have to deal with a clumsy situation that his entrance created Thursday.

Brown announced his intentions just three days after another Democrat, Paul Hackett of suburban Cincinnati, got into the Senate race. Hackett decided to run after Brown announced in August that he would stay in the U.S. House - a decision that, Brown said two weeks ago, he didn't regret.

The Hackett camp says it feels betrayed, since Brown, of Avon, assured Hackett face-to-face that he was not running.

"Sherrod Brown told the candidate three weeks ago that he was not entering the race, so the campaign was surprised at Sherrod's indecisiveness and change of heart," said Michael Brautigam, an adviser to Hackett. "Sherrod's entry into the race is not only dishonorable, it's disloyal to the Democratic Party and to democratic ideals."

While Congressman Sherrod Brown is attempting to clean up the mess from him breaking his word, Major Hackett is drilling with his Marines. The contrast between another untrustworthy Washington politician and a true leader couldn't be clearer.

Posted at 01:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Ohio, Scandals | Comments (42) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns Denies Being Corrupt

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana Senator Conrad Burns is a key figure in multiple investigations (FBI, Justice Department, and the Interior Department Inspector General), the scandals are hurting his re-election chances, and even Karl Rove is worried.

Burns first ran a campaign against Washington politicians, vowing to only serve to terms so he wouldn't become corrupted by Washington politics. But Burns loved Washington politics so he broke his word to the voters and ran for a third term. Now, even though his is up to his cowboy hat in corruption, he is running for his fourth term. And it is playing out in the Montana newspapers.

Today, Conrad Burns had an op-ed distancing himself from his close ties to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and playing himself off as a victim. He even goes so far as to say:

They have declared me guilty of ethics violations. Absolutely not true. I am not under any investigation, nor have I been.

That is the type of spin you would expect from somebody who has been in DC for too long. As a Swing State Project reader notes in an email:

The Senate Ethics Committee was asked to investigate these claims by Montana Democratic Party Chairman Bob Ream. The Ethics Committee does not comment on ongoing investigation, therefore Sen. Burns cannot honestly say that he knows he is not under investigation. However, this is what we do know:
• The Senate Gifts Rule restricts gifts from lobbyists. Members, officers, and employees of the Senate may not accept “gifts of personal hospitality” from registered lobbyists. Jack Abramoff was a registered lobbyist. As a result, neither Sen. Burns nor any member of his staff was permitted to accept reimbursement for travel expenses from Mr. Abramoff. [Senate Ethics Manual, ch.2, p. 43]
• Members and staff of the Senate are only permitted to accept reimbursement for officially related travel. “Reimbursement for necessary expenses for events which are substantially recreational in nature, however, is not considered to be ‘in connection with the duties of a Member, officer or employee . . . and will not be allowed.’” As examples of travel that may not be accepted, the Senate Ethics Manual includes “charity golf, tennis, fishing, or ski tournaments.” It is extremely difficult to believe that a trip to the Super Bowl with a side trip to a gambling ship wouldn’t fall into the same category. [Rule 35, Senate Ethics Manual, p. 44.]

Burns can play himself off as the victim, but Montanans know Senator Burns is crooked. Montana voters are the victims, the taxpayers are the victim, good government is the victim. Burns is so out of touch, you would think he has been in DC for 17 years. Wait, he has. And during that time, he has become exactly what he campaigned against when he first ran in 1988.

Posted at 12:40 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Montana, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 06, 2005

OH-Sen: The Story So Far

Posted by DavidNYC

Way, way back at the start of the year, President Bush followed all second-term presidents in performing a time-honored rite: the cabinet reshuffle. We saw some dear old friends depart, like John Ashcroft and Colin Powell. We were introduced to some wonderful new faces, like Alberto Gonzalez. And some of our long-time buddies just couldn't bear to leave, like Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.

Almost lost in this misty-eyed pastoral is the tremendously important post of US Trade Representative. Whoever holds this job is responsible for travelling around the world on the government's tab to convince foreign countries to buy our goods. What an awesome job. The lucky fellow who held this job in Bush's first term was one Robert Zoellick, who became a Deputy Secretary of State at the start of Bush's second term. Ah, Bob, we hardly knew ye.

To fill this crucial gap in our nation's governing apparatus, George Bush tapped Robert Portman to fill Zoellick's big shoes. Portman, you see, was a Congressman from southwest Ohio, roughly in the neighborhood of Cincinnati. His district - Ohio's second - was one of the most conservative in Ohio, if not the nation. It had reliably sent a Republican to Congress for decades, and Democrats hadn't poked their heads above a feeble 30% or so for a long, long time.

Smart play by Mr. Bush: Tap a solid insider for your cabinet, and ensure that you don't lose any ground in the House. And the plan worked, too - but you couldn't ask for a better illustration of "be careful what you wish for." So what happened along the way?

A certain blogger - me, as it happens - noticed the Portman nomination and espied the inevitable open seat and special election that would of necessity ensue. So I wrote about it over at the seminal Democratic blog DailyKos. I didn't view the race as winnable (not at the time, at least), but I did think it would give our side a great opportunity to do some political R&D - to experiment, be bold, hold nothing back. When you've got nothing to lose, you can be as aggressive as you want.

Meanwhile, things began to unfold on the ground in Ohio. The fateful primary election took place on June 14th. The Dems emerged with a man that almost no one had heard of - but he did have an interesting resume. Major Paul Hackett had just returned from serving a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq - a war, believe it or not, he opposed. Who could speak with more authority - both intellectual and moral - on such an important subject, than someone with a background like that?

It turns out that Paul Hackett was also the sort of blunt, plain-spoken non-politician that so many Democrats had craved for so long. He was Howard Dean in fatigues. To many, Hackett's individual positions weren't nearly as important as his willingness to speak his mind. He definitely didn't vote for anything before he voted against it.

The blogosphere began to take serious interest in the race at this point - and a huge reason was Tim Tagaris, one of the editors of this humble magazine. Tim, on the ground with Grow Ohio, served as a crucial conduit between the online world and OH-02. Reports flowed in fast and furious from southwest Ohio. The Swing State Project (along with the OH-02 Blog) quickly became a hub for anyone who wanted to know more about the race or get involved.

As online activists started tuning in, volunteers began to flood the district as well. Hackett started getting real media coverage. He also had a lot of things going for him: Distrust and anger toward Republicans in the state of Ohio had been mounting since the Coingate revelations; Bush's popularity amongst Buckeyes had been steadily dropping; and he drew an opponent, Jean Schmidt, who was as corrupt (she took piles of cash from the now-indicted Tom DeLay) as she was feckless (she was reduced to defensively declaring she wouldn't be a "rubber stamp" during debates).

In the middle of the hubbub, Tim's fellow SSP editor, Bob Brigham, also decamped for the battleground of OH-02. Traffic exploded here as Bob and Tim tag-teamed the final days of the race. Back home, I kept the front page of DailyKos updated as often as I could. A certain energy crackled and infused everything about the whole campaign.

And people began to realize that this was no long just an opportunity to do some R&D - something much more was happening here. Hackett got scads of scrilla from online donations. The GOP got spooked and poured in big money of its own - in a district that Portman had won by 40 points the last time out. The establishment Dems took notice and fired back with a further cash infusion. The race was getting seriously, seriously hot.

It looked like Hackett could conceivably, possibly, just maybe win. No one knew for sure, of course - no one had done any independent, verifiable polling. But even if Hackett didn't win, lots of people - on the ground, in the professional commentariat, across the blogosphere - realized that a strong performance would send a message.

And boy did Paul Hackett send a message. Yeah, he lost - but by a margin much narrower than anyone would have dreamed. Republicans enjoyed scoffing about Hackett's loss, but there was jubilation on the Democratic side. Hackett lost by four points. The prior Dem who ran for this seat lost by ten times that margin. Anyone who refused to believe this showing didn't mean something truly had their head in the proverbial sand.

But the race did more than just send a message. A new star was born - and it wasn't Jean Schmidt. While she limped into her seat in Congress, Paul Hackett became a new Democratic Party star. His fearlessness and ability to connect with normal people (ie, everyone in America who doesn't suffer from D.C. Beltway Brain-rot) ensured that he wouldn't soon be forgotten. Just about everyone agreed he had a bright future in politics.

It turns out that his future was now. The Ohio GOP was reeling. Incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine, suffering atrocious approval ratings, was up for re-election in 2006. The Dems were looking for someone to take him on. A lot of people thought Paul Hackett would be the perfect guy to do that.

After some months of convincing, it appeared that Paul Hackett finally thought so as well, and rumors of his candidacy spread like wildfire across the Internet during the month of September. The way was clear for Hackett: Ohio Congressmen Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown both indicated that they weren't going to run against DeWine.

As October rolled around (and the third quarter ended), an official announcement from Hackett was widely expected. (No candidate for office was going to announce right in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in any event.) Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the election: Sherrod Brown, previously thought to be uninterested in the Senate race, started making noises that he would, in fact, throw his hat into the ring.

At that point, almost instantly, battle lines were drawn. Now, brother is pit against brother, more or less. Alright, so I'm making it sound like a melodramatic Civil War miniseries, only with fewer guns. But the dynamics are pretty fascinating.

Jerome Armstrong, the liberal blogfather and creator of the ur-blog MyDD, jumped on board Brown's ship. (Jerome is, in fact, working for Brown.) Jerome's greatest protege, Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, has sided with Hackett.

And over here at the Swing State Project, the situation is no less jumbled. Tim, as I mentioned above, works for Grow Ohio, which means, like Jerome, he works for Sherrod Brown. Bob, on the other hand, has just started volunteering for Hackett and, as you can see from his posts here, supports him vociferously.

Today, however, Markos seems to weigh in on Brown's side, though the bulk of his readers support Hackett. Meanwhile, Tim (rightfully) wants to focus on RON, not an internecine battle. The Hotline's Blogometer has already noted a "split" in left-blogistan, but as all this indicates, the fault lines are far from clear. Indeed, Chris Bowers, the lead author at MyDD and Jerome's fellow blogger-in-arms, hasn't yet decided whom to support.

So where does this leave me? I count myself in the Hackett camp. But I definitely don't want to see a real blogspheric civil war emerge. We just don't need another huge round of infighting, like we saw during the Democratic Presidential primaries throughout all of 2003. The tide this year is turning strongly against the Republicans. Their corruption is catching up with them. Many will lose next year - both at the ballot box and in the courtroom. It's more important than ever that we stay united to capitalize on this perfect storm.

And the Swing State Project remains committed to bringing you the best coverage possible of the race - and that means reporting on the strengths and foibles of both the guys we support and the guys we don't.

I'll be honest: I wish Brown had chosen a different course of action. But since he's apparently committed at this point, all I'm hoping for is a good clean fight. So let's do this thing!

Posted at 08:30 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio, Site News, Special Elections | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown Runs Against Major Paul Hackett in Ohio Senate Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Unfortunately, Congressman Sherrod Brown has decided to challenge Paul Hackett for the Democratic nomination in 2006. If Sherrod Brown wanted to run for Senate, the nomination was his. We urged him to run. But he chickened out. So Paul Hackett did what he has done time and time again: stepped up when duty called. Ted Strickland wouldn't run against Senate Mike DeWine, Sherrod Brown wouldn't run against DeWine, Tim Ryan wouldn't run against DeWine -- so Major Hackett offered to serve his country once more, this time in the U.S. Senate.

And now, on the eve of Hackett's kickoff, Sherrod Brown goes back on his word and says he is going to run against Hackett? A flip-flop? WTF?

Congressman Brown is going to waste a great deal of Democratic resources, but I can't comprehend the math necessary for Brown to win the primary. It looks like the Democratic Party is going to lose one of our best leaders in congress for no reason.

But it doesn't matter, Paul Hackett will be the Democratic Party nominee. After all of the scandals in Ohio, the last thing the voters want is another politician who can't be trusted.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Paul Hackett Will Be the Democratic Party Nominee

10. Sherrod Brown is already being mocked by the press for his waffle (or Decision Consistency Agility as you glass is half full types would say)

9. Paul Hackett's straight talk is loved by the press

8. Congressman Tim Ryan encouraged Hackett to run

7. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee urged Hackett to run

6. Hackett positioned himself behind the other Democrats, but has a nation-wide base

5. The Democratic Blogosphere delivered for Hackett -- even winning the Political Play of the Week

4. Hackett has a 70% pt. lead in the netroots

3. Unlike Brown, Hackett has great timing

2. Hackett can win in rural Ohio

1. In a nation at war, a Marine Major outranks a Washington Politician -- Congress needs an Iraq War Veteran

Sherrod Brown is a waffle, Mike DeWine is toast, and Major Hackett is hungry.

Posted at 08:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio | Comments (12) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Ben Affleck Should Challenge George Allen

Posted by Bob Brigham

As blogosphere junkies know, Swing State Project has a very special relationship with MyDD. We're all friends and see eye-to-eye on most issues. But, I have to disagree with Chris Bowers when it comes to the 2006 Virginia Senate Race.

When rumors first surfaced that Ben Affleck was considering mounting a challenge to Republican Senator George Allen, Chris Bowers wrote:

Someone like Affleck would be a horrible, media sucking distraction from the 2006 campaign. This would be the equivalent media circus of the 2003 California recall election. It would destroy the generic advantage Democrats are poised to hold in 2006, and from which they will reap huge benefits if Bush's approval rating stays low.

So, please God, no, don't let Affleck run.

While I appreciate where Bowers is coming from, I disagree and think Affleck should seriously consider running for a number of reasons...

First, the (subscription only) National Journal had a great column by Chuck Todd today, via Daily Kos:

Democrats could have nine or 10 races in their crosshairs instead of just seven (one over the bare minimum to win back control).

The reality is that if one were to handicap the current Senate battle race-by-race, a 0-2 Democratic pickup would be very realistic. But as Charlie Cook has pointed out, Senate races never break evenly for both parties.

The key for the party that's got that little breeze at the end is putting enough races in play to win all those toss-ups. In a neutral climate, the 0-2 Democratic pickup prediction would make sense. But it's hard to foresee a neutral 2006 environment.

The makings for a Democratic advantage are brewing. There's no difference between netting three Senate seats and netting six or seven. Once the Democrats are in a position to net a third, it probably means all those slightly-leaning GOP seats are going their way and the gain will be closer to six than to two.

The amount Affleck makes on a single movie is enough for a serious ante and his name recognition, good looks, wife, future baby, and access to political support would instantly make the race competitive. According to Todd's analysis, this race could then easily become a pick-up, helping Democrats win the Senate and ending George Allen's 2008 presidential ambitions.

As for Bowers concerns that Affleck would hurt the Democratic message, I think the following indicates Affleck understands the dynamics, but wants to participate in democracy:

"I seem lately to bring to with me, whether I want to or not, a certain amount of media attention," the 31-year-old actor told reporters Tuesday before a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser at a bar outside Fenway.

"But I think you have to be smart and you have to be judicious and you have to be tasteful and you have to be respectful and you have to know your place," he added later. "I am not an elected official. I am not a political expert. I perceive my capacity here mostly in terms of being somebody who grew up here and wanting to be an ambassador for this city."

When a television reporter suggested that being good-looking, articulate and famous would make him a natural candidate for office, Affleck responded: "Uh, you know, that's a nice idea and I'm very flattered that you say it, but it's a tough fight, you know? I mean, if I think that the entertainment press is tough on me now, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a political agenda, as well."

It's not as if this talk comes out of nowhere. In an interview for the May 2001 issue of GQ magazine, Affleck said: "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people - be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers - should be in government."

While Affleck received a great ton of ink for his work to help John Kerry during last year's senate race, Affleck also stumped hard for Al Gore:

In the final hectic weeks of Campaign 2000, Affleck spent his time passionately campaigning for the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore, repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."

During the final week of the race, Affleck stumped for Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburgh, the star--along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors--spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," Affleck told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."

On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew with the First Lady (Hillary Clinton) to Ithaca, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. Affleck told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear." Lazio, then a Long Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On Monday, November 6, the final day of the campaign, Affleck was one of several A-list celebrities summoned to Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, didn't end until about 1 AM, but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 when he made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired...I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here." Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here ... I'm about to go vote," Affleck then said, adding later, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore."

Affleck has some political experience, I healthy respect for democracy, strong Democratic beliefs, and the ability to instantly make the race competitive. While Virginia Governor Mark Warner was my first choice to challenge Senator Allen, I think it is important that we put the seat in play. If Ben Affleck is interested, I think he should file.

UPDATE: Bowers joins the bandwagon, meaning Affleck could have the makings of some blogosphere backing if he decides to run:

I now think Ben Affleck should run for Senate in Virginia. Here is why.

The Jack Carter announcement today increased the number of competitive Democratic challenges to Republican-held Senate seats to eight (Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee). Over the past week, with Hoeven bowing out in North Dakota and Capito bowing out in West Virginia, the number of potentially competitive Republican challenges to Democratic-held Senate seats has been reduced to seven (Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington). Thus, for the first time, in the 2005-2006 cycle, Democrats have actually pulled ahead in the number of potentially competitive seats they are challenging in the Senate. [...]

Apart from a decided monetary advantage, one key for Republicans in 2002 and 2004 in the Senate was to create more competitive challenges to Democratic-held seats than Democrats created to Republican held seats. In the final weeks of the campaign, this stretched Democratic resources very thin, and allowed Republicans to pick up almost all of the close Senate races in both years. For example, ion 2004, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania never emerged as highly competitive Democratic challenges to Republican held seats, while Washington and Wisconsin become, if not truly competitive, a lot closer than most people expected. The DSCC was forced to help defend Murray and Feingold, while the NRSC wasn't forced to do much of anything to help Bond, Specter and Voinovich. Democrats managed to do this to Republicans in 2000 as well, when they scored a net gain of five seats.

This is a strategy that should have been obvious to me from day one, since it is exactly the sort of strategy I have been advocating in the House for quite some time. Challenge every seat, aim for the leadership, and reduce the number of minimal challenges as much as possible, thus draining Republican resources away from the swing seats during the campaign as much as possible. It makes sense for the Senate as well.

Thus, no matter how much of a media circus an Affleck candidacy might become, it seems to me that he would be an excellent bonus to Democratic chances in the Senate in 2006. He is already very well known, has good looks and good politics, is a strong speaker, and could easily self-finance his run against Allen, who pretty close the the under-50 incumbent tipping point. Thus, Affleck would instantly increase the number of competitive Democratic challenges to nine seats, further stretching the Democratic advantage in this area. If Lott retires, that could potentially make ten serious challenges to Republican-held seats. And who knows, maybe we will continue to experience good news in places like Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey, pushing Democrats out to a huge edge in seats we are seriously challenging. [...]

Humble and tasteful, well-spoken and smart, liberal and instantly competitive--Affleck suddenly looks very good to me. With the way things are going, over the past three months 2006 has looked better than better for Democrats all the time. Let's keep that roll going. Run Ben, run.

MyDD also has a poll, go vote.

Posted at 03:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Reid Billboard in Helena

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Montana Senate racing is receiving a great deal of attention from Democratic Party leaders. Former Montana Democratic Party Chair Bob Ream endorsed Jon Tester, saying, "he is the only Democrat who can beat Conrad Burns."

As the Swing State Project reported last week, Senator Harry Reid's new PAC is also getting involved in Montana.

The Billings Gazette says:

HELENA - New billboards went up in Helena, Phoenix and Albuquerque, N.M., touting a new Web site by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that he said will provide Americans with tools to fight for Democratic control of the Senate next year.

The Nevada senator's campaign account paid for the three billboards to promote his Web site, www.giveemhellharry.com. The Helena billboard is on the corner of Montana Avenue and Poplar Street.

In a telephone conference, Reid called on Americans to join him to tell the nation's largest oil companies that gas prices are outrageous. Oil executives refused to testify before the Democratic Policy Committee last week on rising oil prices, he said.

The Democratic Western Strategy is coming together...

"I want to do whatever I can to reach out to people in rural America to let them know Democrats care about them," Reid said.

The national Democratic Party has believed if the party can win the votes in the big cities around the country, it will win the presidency and control of Congress. Although that theory worked well for years, it no longer does, he said.

"We should own rural America," Reid said. "We're the ones who have saved the family farms. Republicans are doing everything they can to help the bankers."

Democrats pushed for the Medicare changes that saved rural hospitals and saved Social Security from "the Bush onslaught," the Senate Democratic leaders said.

www.GiveEmHellHarry.com

Posted at 02:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

NV-Sen: Jack Carter, Son of Jimmy, to Challenge Ensign

Posted by Bob Brigham

As regular readers know, Swing State Project has been disappointed in the lack of recruitment for a candidate to run against Senator John Ensign in Nevada. This senate race is primed for an upset, nowhere in the country is the backlash against the GOP over-reach more relevant. People move to Nevada to escape the heavy hand of government that has typified the Bush Administration.

Via MyDD, it is going to be a competive race:

Jack Carter, 58, has been quietly networking in recent weeks to weigh the possibility of a run for U.S. Senate against incumbent John Ensign. Carter recently sought the advice of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and former Sen. Richard Bryan.

On Tuesday, Carter confirmed he's considering entering the race, and he sounds serious. An investment counselor, Carter and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Las Vegas three years ago.

"I'm disgusted when I see where the country is going," he says. "That's what's motivated me to look into this race."

Carter seems to understand the dynamic of the over-reach and will be able to receive the national support necessary for an upset:

Jack Carter is a U.S. Navy veteran who has spent most of his life in politics but much of it offstage. He has maintained national Democratic Party contacts and has networked with local officials. He gave national stump speeches on behalf of his father, the Georgia governor who campaigned for nearly two years in a strategy that culminated in the upset in 1976 of President Ford.

It would be easy to write off Carter before he's written himself in. Nevada has rarely been kind to candidates voters perceive as wealthy outsiders. Former casino executive Tom Gallagher, for instance, was a bright guy with an impeccable education who was battered when he challenged Jon Porter for his congressional seat. In keeping with tradition, Porter exploited Gallagher's lack of time in the state.

But neither Gallagher nor the rest offered Jack Carter's vast contacts and background in politics.

Asked to describe his political philosophy, he offers, "I think of myself as just being responsible, fiscally and socially. I want the government to stay out of people's pockets as much as it can and to stay out of their private lives."

In addition to nurturing the backlash against the over-reach, Carter is also positioning himself as a solution to Republican incompetence:

Carter said he decided to run in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He said he was offended by the federal government's response to the disaster.

"I'm more concerned than ever with the way that the country is headed," Carter said.

In making his case, Carter appears to understand the quality of a good sound-bite:

He said he is a social liberal with conservative Southern roots and a business background that taught him "you pay for what you spend."

The latest polls show Ensign only having a 53% approval rating, which is probably falling with every Republican blunder. More importantly, Bush has a 56% DISapproval rating which will continue to drag down Ensign's support.

From day 1, this will be a competitive race.

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nevada | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

OH-Sen: Harriet Miers, the Blogs, and Mike DeWine's Re-Election Campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham

Following Paul Hackett's astonishing showing in the OH-02 Special Election, there was a great deal of ink used by pundits trying to understand how Hackett's blogosphere support allowed him to outspend Jean Schmidt in a congressional district Democrats had written off for the longest time.

In fact, Campaigns and Elections Magazine currently has a cover story: Blogging Down the Money Trail on the subject. The netroots scored CNN's Political Play of the Week. The press and establishment hacks on both sides of the aisle began paying attention to the potential of online small dollar donations being deployed to crucial districts. You would think more people would have been thinking this way after Howard Dean, but then again, most of the people now paying attention are the ones who said Dean was making a mistake by not accepting matching funds. Yet Dean raised more money with his distributed model, Hackett outspent Schmidt, and now a helluva lot of serious people are wondering how this will play out in 2006.

I think we can get an idea of this dynamic by looking a Senator Mike DeWine's re-election campaign in Ohio.

The Ohio Senate race is destined to be one of the most closely watched in the nation. Ohio is a crucial swing state, and Ohio Republicans are engulfed in major corruption scandals. As Democrats move to embrace the "Culture of Corruption" meme against Republicans, polls in Ohio will give us an early glimpse of how such a message could move voters.

Ohio is also home to very expensive media markets and the winning campaign will be the one most successful at capturing the attention of voters. As a tight swing state, the potential for a close race is very real and the impact of the blogs could be enormous.

Republican Blogs and Mike DeWine

Mike DeWine is in a tricky situation as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kos says:

One last key point -- DeWine sits on the judicial committee, which will become a flash point as social conservatives gear up to oppose the Miers nomination to the Supreme Court. DeWine can't afford to lose the diehard social conservatives, already made difficult when he joined the Gang of 14 that prevented Frist from executing his "nuclear option" on judicial filibusters.

After the Gang of 14 move by Senator DeWine, conservative bloggers mounted a Not. One. Dime. boycott of the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

Not. One. Dime. The next time Ken Mehlman sends you a request for money, that's the message he needs to get back. We ponied up in 2004, and in 2002, and in 2000. The GOP not only has not delivered, its current leadership won't even try. Frist and Rick Santorum claim they don't have the votes. Balderdash -- they don't have the leadership to get the votes. I'm not going to fund or support people who won't try to win, especially when the issue is so important.

Not. One. Dime. We're not in an election year, so this makes it easy for the Republicans to get this message to party leaders. No balls, no Blue Chips, boys. I don't mean just for the Senate, either. I mean for the entire Republican party. Feeding a fever may be good medicine, but feeding a failure only makes it last longer. Perhaps hunger will work where courage has so obviously failed.

Not. One. Dime. And when a vote does come, those Republicans who wind up supporting the minority's extortion over the majority in defiance of the Constitution will never see another dime from me -- but their opponents will, at every level of contest. Honestly, with Republicans like these in the Senate, we may as well have Democrats.

Now, convervative bloggers a livid over the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court. The GOP is fracturing and his now on the defense in 2006 and 2008. The Harriet Miers' paper trail is on the verge of making conservative heads explode.

The smart move for DeWine would be to use his position on the Judiciary Committee to blast Miers and then vote against her, saving his conservative credentials and patching up his strained relationship with the right-wing bloggers. But it doesn't look like that is his intention:

DeWine's ability to defend his seat against suddenly competitive Democrats might depend on his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which puts him at the center of the latest Supreme Court nomination process.

DeWine and his 17 committee mates will hold confirmation hearings for White House counsel Harriet Miers, announced Monday by President Bush as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. [...]

In an interview Monday after the nomination was announced, DeWine gave Miers a strong endorsement.

That is not what the conservative bloggers want to hear. Even worse, it looks like DeWine's situation will both hurt him with his base while not yielding any position with independents:

White isn't so sure that voters will focus on the nomination process because of the investment and ethics scandals involving Ohio's Republican-controlled state government.

"At this time, (the Supreme Court) is not driving the political arena here," White said, adding DeWine could have to deal with fallout from decisions Miers and recently confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts make.

To recap, DeWine is in a situation where the voters are focusing on the "Culture of Corruption" in the Ohio Republican Party and the conservative blogs have zero interest in helping him. This was the same position (now) Congresswoman Jean Schmidt found herself in when the conservative bloggers sat out this year's Special Election.

Democratic Blogs and the Ohio Senate Race

Even with a (slim) prospect of Congressman Sherrod Brown challenging Paul Hackett for the Democratic Party nomination, the Democratic blogs are remarkably focused upon the race.

Sure, there is some internal tension with the Blogfather pushing Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett enjoying a 70 percentage point advantage in a new straw poll.

Yet either way, the Democratic Blogosphere is going to be pumped to support the Democratic nominee against Senator DeWine.

Since Hackett is the only announced candidate, let's see what he brings to the table.

The above is a map of Hackett contributors during the Special Election. Yes, that is a 50 state base that came together in two weeks. With Hackett running, we can expect a campaign of straight talk and bold action that cuts through the clutter and connects with voters of all political leanings.

When I was embedded with the Hackett campaign, I kept hearing, "I don't agree with you, but I appreciate where you're coming from." These were voters who disagreed with, but respected, Major Hackett. They voted for Hackett, because they knew he was something special.

Democratic activists also have a lot of respect for Congressman Sherrod Brown since he is the exact personification of a Representative who will makes the grassroots feel a sense of pride in supporting.

2006

So going into 2006, it appears that Senator Mike DeWine will be lacking the newest force in politics for his re-election campaign. At the same time, the Democratic blogosphere and netroots are united to throw DeWine out of office.

The only out for DeWine is to vote against his President and vote against Harriet Miers nomination for the Supreme Court. But DeWine is too chicken and that is part of the reason the conservative base won't raise a finger for his campaign.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are embracing cutting edge campaign tactics. Paul Hackett ran the most efficient blogosphere campaign ever and Rep. Brown started Grow Ohio. No matter what happens, it is looking like the netroots are going to kick Mike DeWine's ass out of the U.S. Senate.

Posted at 08:18 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Ohio, Scandals, Supreme Court | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

OH-Sen: Hackett Crushing Brown in Straw Poll

Posted by Bob Brigham

There has been a great deal of discussion about yesterday's surprise hint of a decision change by Representative Sherrod Brown. As has been widely noted, Congressman Brown had near universal support for a potential senate bid, but decided not to run so as to clear the way for another candidate. Enter Paul Hackett, who has been working behind the scenes to put the pieces in place for a statewide run against Senator Mike DeWine (for example, yesterday Hackett was meeting with Senator Harry Reid). But also yesterday, Congressman Sherrod Brown decided to have his flack call the Hotline and hint he might flip and run after all.

We now have a DailyKos Straw Poll on the matter. While not scientific, I think there is more than enough participation to suggest where netroots support will be if there is a primary campaign between Brown and Hackett.

UPDATED: With 1328 1666 Total Votes

Congressman Sherrod Brown - 14% 13%
Major Paul Hackett - 85% 86%

A seventy point advantage?

Kos says:

And with all apologies to Brown, who is one of the greats in the House, but this isn't cool. He bows out, waits for Hackett to gear up, and then floats a trial balloon about getting back in? Brown must've known about Hackett's decision to run, hence this trial balloon is sabotage.

I'm not even sure who is the best candidate, the bullshit "who's most electable" question. That Zogby poll earlier today had Hackett kicking DeWine's ass. I assume Brown would do roughly as well. But in a primary, Brown has the instiutional state party apparatus (no matter how pathetic Ohio Dems might be). Hackett is an outsider.

Me, give me an Iraq vet over a career politician, even one with Brown's excellent pedigree.

Indeed.

Posted at 11:39 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 03, 2005

OH-Sen: Paul Hackett is Running for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via a dailykos diary, we learn Paul Hackett is running:

WASHINGTON -- Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran from Cincinnati who was hailed by national Democrats for his narrow loss this summer in a heavily Republican House district, has quickly moved up in rank to challenge Mike DeWine for U.S. Senate in 2006.

"Paul Hackett is running for U.S. Senate," said spokesman David Woodruff, who served as Hackett's campaign manager in his special election campaign for the 2nd District House seat against Rep. Jean Schmidt.

"He is planning to announce his decision officially on Oct. 24," Woodruff said Monday, adding an event would be held that day in Cincinnati, from which Hackett would begin a statewide bus tour.

And he's already winning:

Hackett (D) 44
DeWine (R) 36

Senator Mike DeWine is doomed.

Posted at 09:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, General, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

2006 Senate Outlook

Posted by DavidNYC

[With AnthonySF's permission, I am reposting in full his excellent Senate outlook diary. Anthony blogs at RemoveRepublicans.com.]

Last week I posted a diary similar to this that got a lot of support but not a lot of recommends. I'm hoping this one will change that, and I'm thinking about making it a recurring series.

As many know, the current Senate makeup is 55-44-1 (or basically 55-45). As I see it, there are 11 seats that could potentially be in play; the rest are pretty much guarantees. Of those 11 only 4 are ours (WA, MD, NE, MN), and if I were a betting man (and I am), I would say only MN has a solid chance of flipping.

The GOP, on the other hand, must play strong defense on 7: PA, RI, MT, OH, TN, MO, and possibly AZ. In other words, it is entirely feasible for us to retake the Senate. At any rate, a decent pickup count seems likely.

A complete analysis follows (and the links take you to each Senator's page on my site with even more info). Please, if you are a constituent of one of these Senators and have more info on the races, post corrections and comments below. These are the Democratic seats we should hold without worry:

Senator State Party App/Dis Top Candidate Notes
Hillary Clinton NY Dem 61%/35% Jeanine Pirro, Westchester DA This is Hillary's to lose. If she wins with ~65%, it's a sign she might be ready for the Presidency. If she stalls at 55%, New York will hafta do.
Dianne Feinstein CA Dem 54%/34% None yet Di-Fi in a cakewalk. Despite her moderate stances, she remains the most popular politician in the state.
Jim Jeffords VT Ind Open Bernie Sanders, Congressman The socialist Sanders will wipe the floor with prior challenger Greg Parke, Lt. Governor Brian Dubie, or whoever else they throw at him.
Ted Kennedy MA Dem 61%/33% None yet The GOP may not even field a challenger this time 'round.
Thomas Carper DE Dem 66%/22% Colin Bonini, State Senator Bonini is a sacrificial lamb in this Dem-leaning state that will surely retain the services of Carper.
Daniel Akaka HI Dem 56%/32% None yet Akaka is safe -- but angry that Frist keeps denying his Native Hawaiian recognition bill a floor vote.
Robert Byrd WV Dem 65%/29% Hiram Lewis, Veteran Shelley Capito, who would be the logical choice, has trailed Byrd significantly in every poll. She was the GOP's best bet and last hope.
Debbie Stabenow MI Dem 46%/38% Keith Butler, Reverend While Stabenow won't be voted Miss Popularity, the GOP again failed to recruit a decent candidate. They are stuck with a kooky clergyman.
Kent Conrad ND Dem 69%/25% None yet Karl Rove had been lobbying for Gov. Hoeven to enter the race, but he declined. Only with him in it would this've become a toss-up.
Bill Nelson FL Dem 48%/31% Katherine Harris, Congresswoman Harris will blaze through the primary and flare out in the general.
Herb Kohl WI Dem 55%/33% Mark Neumann or Robert Lorge Both are prior Congressmen; the former ran a losing campaign against Russ Feingold in 1998.
Jeff Bingaman NM Dem 59%/26% David Pfeffer, Santa Fe City Council Rep. Heather Wilson ("You KNEW you wanted to build a BUZZZZ") isn't running, leaving a little-known placeholder who was a Dem as recently as last year.
Joe Lieberman CT Dem 68%/24% None yet No primary challenge, no big GOP names yet, just a bitter cup-o-Joe.
Jon Corzine NJ Dem Open Bob Menendez, Congressman Long story: Corzine's running for Governor, will probably win, and thus will pick his successor, rumored to be Dem Rep. Bob Menendez.


These are the Democratic seats I'd consider a weak hold:
Senator State Party App/Dis Top Candidate Notes
Maria Cantwell WA Dem 47%/37% Mike McGavick, Safeco CEO Though this will likely stay in our column, Cantwell is only leading McGavick 49%-39% -- the closest race of all sitting Dems.
Ben Nelson NE Dem 63%/27% Don Stenberg, prior challenger All of the top Republicans are running for Governor, leaving loser Stenberg, Nebraska GOP head David Kramer, and Ameritrade COO Pete Ricketts to duke it out.
Paul Sarbanes MD Dem Open Ben Cardin or Kweisi Mfume Republican Lt. Governor Michael Steele will probably fall just short of either the NAACP's Mfume (with romantic issues) or Rep. Cardin (with blandness issues).


These are the Republican seats they should hold without worry:
Senator State Party App/Dis Top Candidate Notes
Olympia Snowe ME GOP 77%/18% None yet There were brief rumors that she'd retire, but nothing's official yet. I bet she stays around and coasts to an easy victory.
Craig Thomas WY GOP 60%/25% None yet We need to be more competitive in the cheap seats.
John Ensign NV GOP 53%/31% None yet Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is reportedly eyeing the Governorship. The remaining bench is shallow and Harry Reid is handling Ensign with "kid gloves."
Orrin Hatch UT GOP 55%/33% Pete Ashdown, web guru Hatch is getting a primary challenge from State Legislator Steve Urquhart -- and Ashdown may do a little damage -- but Hatch is too popular.
Trent Lott MS GOP 60%/32% Erik Fleming, State Rep. Lott has hinted he may retire, but many doubt Fleming's ability to run a strong race. Dem Rep. Gene Taylor or Atty Gen Mike Moore might fare better.
Richard Lugar IN GOP 59%/27% None yet Democratic party man Tim Roemer bailed early, the only (slim) hope we had of taking out Lugar.
Kay Hutchison TX GOP 57%/29% Barbara Ann Radnofsky, attorney Our lawyer probably doesn't stand a chance against the Texas GOP machine.
George Allen VA GOP 52%/33% None yet Gov. Mark Warner is shamefully out, leaving former Dem Rep. L.F. Payne, former Navy Secretary James Webb, former Lt. Gov Don Beyer, and former famous actor Ben Affleck.


These are the Republican seats I'd consider a weak hold:
Senator State Party App/Dis Top Candidate Notes
Conrad Burns MT GOP 48%/42% Jon Tester, State Senator There are a few other Dem names in the mix, but Tester strikes me as the most genuine and competitive. I expect the polls to reflect this soon.
Jon Kyl AZ GOP 49%/33% Jim Pederson, Dem Party Chair While this seat will likely remain Republican, Pederson has a war chest and 2006 could be a Dem wave. Kyl is very blah.


These are the seats of either party, open or incumbent, that I'd consider a toss-up:
Senator State Party App/Dis Best Bet Notes
Mark Dayton MN Dem Open Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin DA Klobuchar is the favorite for the Dem nomination over children's advocate Patty Wetterling, and I bet she ekes out a slim win over GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy.
Lincoln Chafee RI GOP 55%/37% Sheldon Whitehouse, former Atty Gen Whitehouse leads Sec of State Matt Brown for the Dem nod, and although both trail Chafee in the polls (as does GOP primary challenger Steve Laffey), I bet this one flips our way.
Mike DeWine OH GOP 42%/43% Paul Hackett, Iraq Vet This is quite possibly our dream candidate in our dream situation, and I hope to do work on his campaign.
Bill Frist TN GOP Open Harold Ford, Congressman There's crowded primary fields on both sides of the aisle, but I bet all this Frist ethics stuff takes its toll.
Jim Talent MO GOP 48%/39% Claire McCaskill, State Auditor McCaskill narrowly lost a race for the Governor's chair, but her name recognition is high and could do serious damage to no-Talent.


This is the seat I'd consider a genuine pickup:
Senator State Party App/Dis Best Bet Notes
Rick Santorum PA GOP 42%/46% Bob Casey, State Treasurer The big enchilada -- and most divisive race among the netroots -- will land solidly in our favor if current polls hold.

Posted at 07:14 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Friday, September 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Today is the Last Day of the Quarter!

Posted by DavidNYC

Totally awesome - we just went over our most recent goal of 60 contributors! And on top of that, we hit an even $2000 for Jon Tester on our ActBlue page. It looks like one generous donor (#62) decided to "top us up" and give us the exact amount we'd need to his $2000 on the nose.

As the title indicates, today is the last day of the third quarter. Soon, the Tester campaign will announce its fundraising totals and file official documents with the FEC. Naturally, there are only a few end-of-quarter announcements in any given campaing season, and each one is important. Money still means a whole lot in politics, and a good showing in any given quarter can mean a lot to a candidate: Positive media coverage, which can lead to the appearance of having good "momentum," which can in turn lead to more volunteers, supporters and contributors - a very virtuous cycle, in other words.

So please help Jon Tester score big this quarter. And remember, in a state like Montana, where the cost of doing business in general is low, your dollars go very far. Join us if you can - this pickup opportunity is as good as any, and you certainly won't find a better candidate anywhere in the nation.

Jon Tester (MT-Sen) $

UPDATE (David): Phenomenal! Not only have we hit 66 contributors - twenty more than when we started this end-of-quarter push - but one mega-super-generous donor has plunked down $2000! Our total now stands at $4107.25. And like I say, that kind of scrilla should do a lot in the Last Best Place.

UPDATE (David): Wow - 68 contributors. I just tossed in $25.01 myself. Can we hit 70 by tonight? If memory serves, the end of the "day" is probably midnight Pacific time (or at the very least, Mountain time), meaning we have until 2 or 3am Eastern to get two more donors. Let's do it!

Posted at 11:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Senate 2006: Give 'em Hell Harry!

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Harry Reid has done something that every single Democrat in congress needs to do, he started his own actblue page. Additionally, he has a new website, Give 'em Hell Harry.

Washington- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today unveiled a new online campaign headquarters - GiveEmHellHarry.com - to provide Americans with the tools to make an impact on the fight for control of the U.S. Senate.

“There is a great deal at stake. While Democrats fight for better health care, energy independence, restoring America's global strength and rebuilding our economy through innovation and reform, Republicans continue to ignore their failures and resist progress,” This website is a place where people can take action. Together, we can change the future.”

Today on GiveEmHellHarry.com, Reid called on Americans to join him in sending a clear, unambiguous message to the nation’s largest oil companies who refused to testify at a Democratic Policy Committee last week on rising gas prices. Reid also is leading efforts with his caucus on an Energy Independence 2020 effort to reduce gas prices and America's dependence on Middle East oil.

“In the face of national tragedy, our nation?s oil companies are recording record profits while Americans are paying 50% more at the pump than they did just one year ago,” Reid said. “Democrats in the Senate have set a national priority to make America safer and more secure by reducing our dependence on foreign oil by 2020. If Republicans can't lead on this issue, we will.”

GiveEmHellHarry.com's formal launch will be supported by paid advertising including billboards in three key western states -- Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; and Helena, Montana -- reaffirming his commitment to winning in the American west.

The name of the site was inspired by an event that occurred during Harry Truman?s successful 1948 presidential campaign. While delivering a speech on a whistle stop tour in Seattle, a supporter yelled to Truman, “Give 'em hell, Harry!” Truman responded, “I don?t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it's hell.”

Go check it out.

Posted at 12:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Montana, Netroots, New Mexico | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

2006 Senate: Advantage Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

Charlie Cook in the (subscription only) National Journal:

In the Senate, though, Democrats need a net gain of six seats to win the majority, so logically they need to put six GOP seats in play.

They have accomplished that; in fact, seven Republican-held seats are now in play. They are the seats held by Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jim Talent of Missouri, Conrad Burns of Montana, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Democrats have credible candidates in all but one of those states, Ohio.

It appears likely that their nominee will be Paul Hackett, the lawyer and Iraq War veteran who came close to picking off a special election in Ohio's 2nd congressional district against now-Rep. Jean Schmidt.

If GOP Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi retires, as many expect he will, that would set up yet another competitive Republican-held Senate seat, bringing the total to eight.

The establishment perception is changing:

The party getting pinched usually wins few, if any, challenger races and loses the lion's share of the competitive open seats as well.

The point of all of this is to serve as a reminder that while Democrats certainly need a political equivalent of a tsunami to take control of the House, it is possible.

But the size and power of the wave necessary to flip the Senate might be substantially less than commonly believed.

The backlash storyline is developing. While I have complete faith in the Democratic establishment's ability to waste this opportunity, the opportunity is real.

The key is for individuals to get involved now so that the influence of the DC Losers' Club is minimized. Campaigns of people, for people can help us seize the moment and leverage the backlash. The time to get involved is now. Every district, every state, every day.

Posted at 02:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Supreme Court: I Oppose John Roberts

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Feminist Bloggers have announced opposition to John Roberts and I posted in the comments my signature to their letter and urge you to also.

The political optics are very simple: when Roberts drives the court away from Americans, Democrats need to be able to have clear contrast.

This is especially true for Democratic presidential candidates. Roberts will have a couple of years to do his worst before the primary heats up. Any presidential candidate who votes for Roberts will be blamed for Roberts.

As for rank and file Democrats, the play is easy to see. If you are on the judiciary committee you damn well better vote with your team. If a senator is going to make a comment other than opposition, don't. STFU.

Democrats win when we play as a team (i.e. Social Security). We need that now more than ever. We're watching to make sure every Democratic senator plays off the Democratic playbook;

WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has told associates he intends to oppose confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice, Senate sources said Tuesday as rank and file Democrats began staking out positions on the man named to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist. [...]

As party leader, Reid had urged fellow Democrats not to announce their positions until the conclusion of last week's confirmation hearings for Roberts.

By stating his own position first, Reid likely would set the stage for strong Democratic opposition to the 50-year-old appeals court judge and former Reagan administration lawyer.

We're watching.

UPDATE: And we're talking. From MSNBC:

Bob Brigham, a Democratic blogger who writes for Swingstateproject.com said Democratic activists are following the Roberts battle more closely than they did the 1991 Clarence Thomas saga.

“With the decentralization of politics and the blogs, there are a lot more people paying attention. The Democratic base is following this very closely,” Brigham said.

If he is confirmed, Brigham predicted, “Roberts is going to have a chance to hand down some serious decisions before the 2008 presidential race heats up. And every bad decision he makes will be blamed on any Democratic senator who votes for him. Democratic senators will be held accountable individually for the bad decisions he makes between now and 2008.”

Democratic Senators need to do the right thing.

UPDATE: Full statement from Leader Harry Reid:

“One of the Senate’s most important constitutional responsibilities is to provide “advice and consent” with respect to a President’s nominations. The task is especially important when the nomination is of an individual to be the Chief Justice of the United States.

“No one doubts that John Roberts is an excellent lawyer and an affable person. But at the end of this process, I have too many unanswered questions about the nominee to justify a vote confirming him to this enormously important lifetime position.

“The stakes for the American people could not be higher. The retirement of Justice O’Connor and the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist have left the Supreme Court in a period of transition. On key issues affecting the rights and freedoms of Americans, the Court is closely divided. If confirmed, Judge Roberts, who is only 50 years old, will likely serve as Chief Justice and leader of the third branch of the federal government for decades to come.

“The legal authority that we will hand to Judge Roberts by this confirmation vote is awesome. In my view, we should only vote to confirm this nominee if we are absolutely positive that he is the right person to hold that authority. This is a very close question for me. But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turns out to be the wrong person for the job.

“Some say that the President is entitled to deference from the Senate in nominating individuals to high office. I agree that such deference is appropriate in the case of executive branch nominees such as Cabinet officers. With some important exceptions, the President may generally choose his own advisors.

“In contrast, the President is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary. The Constitution envisions that the President and the Senate will work together to appoint and confirm federal judges. This is a shared constitutional duty.

“The Senate’s role in screening judicial candidates is especially important in the case of Supreme Court nominees, because the Supreme Court has assumed such a large role in resolving fundamental disputes in our civic life. As I see it, any nominee for the Supreme Court bears the burden of persuading the Senate and the American people that he or she deserves confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Court.

“Let me start by observing that Judge Roberts has been a thoughtful, mainstream judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. But he has only been a member of that court for two years and has not confronted many cutting-edge constitutional issues. As a result, we cannot rely on his current judicial service to determine what kind of Supreme Court justice he would be.

“I was very impressed with Judge Roberts when I first met him, soon after he was nominated. But several factors caused me to reassess my initial view.

“Most notably, I was disturbed by the memos that surfaced from Judge Roberts’s years of service in the Reagan Administration. These memos raise serious questions about the nominee’s approach to civil rights.

“It is now clear that as a young lawyer, John Roberts played a significant role in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda to roll back civil rights protections. He wrote memos opposing legislative and judicial efforts to remedy race and gender discrimination. He urged his superiors to oppose Senator Kennedy’s 1982 bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and worked against affirmative action programs. He derided the concept of comparable worth and questioned whether women actually suffer discrimination in the workplace.

“No one suggests that John Roberts was motivated by bigotry or animosity towards minorities or women. But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens. The memos raised a real question for me whether their author would breathe life into the Equal Protection Clause and the landmark civil rights statutes that come before the Supreme Court repeatedly.

“Nonetheless, I was prepared to look past these memos, and chalk them up to the folly of youth. I looked forward to the confirmation hearings in the expectation that Judge Roberts would repudiate those views in some fashion. Instead, the nominee adopted what I consider a disingenuous strategy of suggesting that the views expressed in those memos were not his views, even at the time the memos were written. He claimed that he was merely a “staff lawyer” reflecting the positions of his client, the Reagan Administration.

“Anyone who has read the memos can see that Roberts was expressing his own personal views on these important policy matters. In memo after memo, the text is clear. It is simply not plausible for the nominee to claim that he did not share the views that he expressed.

“For example, there is a memo in which he refers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as “un-American.” If Judge Roberts had testified that this was a twenty year old bad joke, I would have given the memo no weight. But instead, he provided a tortured reading of the memo that simply does not stand up under scrutiny.

“In another memo Judge Roberts spoke about a Hispanic group that President Reagan would soon address, and he suggested that the audience would be pleased to know that the Administration favored legal status for the “illegal amigos” of the audience members. The use of the Spanish word “amigos” in this memo is patronizing and offensive to a contemporary reader.

“I do not condemn Judge Roberts for using the word “amigos” twenty years ago in a non-public memo, but I was stunned when at his confirmation hearing he could not bring himself to express regret for using the term, or recognize that it might cause offense.

“My concerns about these Reagan-era memos were heightened by the fact that the White House rejected a reasonable request by Committee Democrats for documents written by Judge Roberts when he served in the first Bush Administration. After all, if memos written twenty years ago are to be dismissed as not reflecting the nominee’s mature thinking, it would be highly relevant to see memos he had written as an older man in an even more important policymaking job.

“The White House claim of attorney-client privilege to shield these documents is utterly unpersuasive. Senator Leahy asked Attorney General Gonzales for the courtesy of a meeting to discuss the matter and was turned down. This was simply a matter of stonewalling.

“The failure of the White House to produce relevant documents is reason enough for any Senator to oppose this nomination. The Administration cannot treat the Senate with such disrespect without some consequences.

“In the absence of these documents, it was especially important for the nominee to fully and forthrightly answer questions from Committee members at his hearing. He failed to do so adequately. I acknowledge the right – indeed, the duty – of a judicial nominee to decline to answer questions regarding specific cases that will come before the court to which the witness has been nominated. But Judge Roberts declined to answer many questions more remote than that, including questions seeking his views of long-settled precedents.

“Finally, I was very swayed by the testimony of civil rights and women’s rights leaders against confirmation. When a civil rights icon like John Lewis says that John Roberts was on the wrong side of history, Senators must take notice.

“I like Judge Roberts. I respect much of the work he has done in his career, such as his advocacy for environmentalists in the Lake Tahoe takings case several years ago. In the fullness of time, he may well prove to be a fine Supreme Court Justice. But I have reluctantly concluded that this nominee has not satisfied the high burden that would justify my voting for his confirmation based on the current record.

“Based on all of these factors, the balance shifts against Judge Roberts. The question is close, and the arguments against him do not warrant extraordinary procedural tactics to block the nomination. Nonetheless, I intend to cast my vote against this nominee when the Senate debates the matter next week.”

Posted at 02:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, Democrats, Site News, Supreme Court | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, September 19, 2005

MT-Sen: End-of-Quarter Push for Tester

Posted by DavidNYC

September 30th is the end of the fundraising quarter, when all federal candidates have to file detailed reports with the FEC and announce how much scrilla they've hauled in. That's less than two weeks away. So it's up to us to help our main man, official Swing State Project candidate #1 Jon Tester, make a good showing.

As of today, 46 hardy individuals have contributed via the SSP's ActBlue page. Can we add another 10 to that by the deadline? Any amount you can contribute is hugely appreciated - remember, Howard Dean took off not because he had a bunch of $2000 donors, but because he had a ton of small-dollar folks like ourselves. Paul Hackett was the same way. And Jon Tester will be, too.

Also, an update on the race. Rasmussen released a new poll the other day - the first any outfit has done in months. It shows incumbent Republican Conrad Burns leading Tester 51-38. At first blush, that might not look so great, but keep this in mind: Tester is unknown to 46% of Montanans. (Burnsie only gets an 8% d/k.) In a small (population-wise) state with cheap media, that gap can definitely be remedied - which makes it all the more important that we toss some scratch Tester's way. Once Tester's name recognition numbers go up, that gap will narrow.

A little more polling background here: Rasmussen reports that, even in seemingly dark red Montana, Bush's approval rating is a mere 51-48. And as of August, Burnsie's approval rating was only 48-42, according to SUSA - pretty lousy for a senator, and good enough only for 80th out of all 100 senators.

So, again, please give what you can to Jon Tester. I know a lot of people have given a lot of money lately to Katrina relief efforts, myself included, so your budget for these kind of donations may be stretched. Believe me, I understand. But if you can make a small contibution, I know it will be greatly appreciated.

Jon Tester (MT-Sen) $

Posted at 01:28 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (6) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

VA-Sen: Candidate TBD

Posted by Bob Brigham

IMHO, Virginia's 2006 senate race is more important than this year's gubernatorial race. Next year is shaping up to be a great year for Democratic challengers, but we can only take advantage of the backlash if we have good Democrats running. That is why I was glad to see this mention from the AP:

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Mark R. Warner pledged Tuesday to find a strong Democrat to oppose Republican Sen. George Allen next year after removing the most formidable Democratic challenger — himself — from consideration.

Every district in 2006, especially Virginia.

Posted at 11:32 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester's Email Fundraising

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I got another one today. An email from a candidate asking for money. It's common knowledge that the more a campaign uses its email list to ask for money, people will open less of their emails down the road, and their list will become burned.

But the email I received today was different, and frankly I have never seen it before. I sign up for all kinds of campaign emails, and I am not sure I can remember a time a candidate, in the middle of a campaign, asked people to give their money to something else. Something of a more immediate concern. Something more important than one campaign.

As I write this, waters continue to rise in New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods have been flooded. Biloxi, Mississippi has been hit hard. More than 37,000 Americans are already seeking shelter in American Red Cross centers all along the Gulf Coast. And the director of FEMA says tens of thousands more will likely require shelter for weeks, if not months.

So why is a U.S. Senate candidate from Montana asking you to help out?

Because it’s the right thing to do. Because this campaign isn’t just about politics—it’s about all of us pulling together to bring Montana values to Washington, D.C. and to the rest of the nation.

And in Montana, we help a neighbor in need. And sometimes that neighbor is very far away.

So please do what you can by supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross to help those affected by this disaster:

https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation-form.asp

Thank you for helping out.

Jon Tester
Montanans for Tester

P.S. Please forward this on to your families and friends. Lives really are at stake, and your efforts can make a difference.

What really amazes me with this appeal is that for many, this is the first email they received from Jon Tester. Given his recently online publicity on the front page of Kos and MyDD, he made decision to make his first contact with many an attempt solicit contributions for a greater good than his campaign.

It makes me even more proud that my second ever contribution to a political campaign was John Testers, and it speaks volumes about the man.

UPDATE: (Bob) I was blown away when I opened the Tester email -- Tester is the real deal. I also got an email from Jon Corzine asking for help. As we come together online, our networks have value far beyond any election. Together, we can make a difference regardless of the challenge. The internet allows us all to act neighborly.

UPDATE: (Bob) I just received an email from a source close to the Chris Bell gubernatorial campaign in Texas. It appears that Bell's campaign was in the middle of an online fundraising drive to mark the launch of his campaign earlier this month. Bell suspended it earlier today and will be sending an email solicitation for the Red Cross tomorrow in place of the fundraising email that was scheduled. The website says:

Priorities
I read the news today, oh boy. The Chris Bell for Governor campaign is calling off our online fundraising drive out of respect for the hurricane victims. Please do what you can for those who can't do for themselves. Please do as much as you can, and then please do more. We're taking down our fundraising thermometer and putting up the link to the Red Cross...

UPDATE: (Bob) And Howard Dean, full email after the jump...

This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned.

Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help.

America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort.

The Red Cross is a great place to start:

http://www.redcross.org

They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country.

Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations.

You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do:

http://www.redcross.org/where/chapts.asp

We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now.

Thank you.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Posted at 07:00 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Montana, Netroots, New Jersey, Texas | Comments (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Young Voters and Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

From The Missoulian:

They came from eastern Montana and Washington and Arizona. Some wore their political inclinations on their sleeves, or on their chests, their shirts proclaiming everything from the derogatory - "Bush Sucks!" - to the hopeful: "Tester For Senate." There were preteen kids in backward baseball caps, graying men in business suits, and even a few avowed Republicans. [...]

"The fact that (Pearl Jam bassist and Missoula resident) Jeff Ament is supporting (Tester) says a lot," asserted Green. "To see Jeff putting himself out there for this guy means something."

That sentiment - that Jon Tester must be cool, because Jeff Ament is cool - seemed to rule the night at the concert, which drew a near-capacity crowd to the arena on the University of Montana campus.

"I read about (Tester) in the paper," said Jenaveve Bell, a 22-year old University of Montana student. "He sounded like a good guy, and he's friends with Jeff Ament, so I'd like to know more about him."

Young people getting interested in a senate race more than a year out?

"Whether we raise a nickel, if we can get the young people of Montana fired up about this campaign, we've succeeded," said Tester, standing outside the arena greeting concertgoers before the event.

Tester is winning every day. Especially online.

Posted at 01:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MT-Sen: National Bloggers Trek to MT for Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

Following up on the netroots success in OH-02, national bloggers are descending upon Missoula, MT to support Jon Tester.

Both Jerome Armstrong and Markos are in Montana right now. Markos has the most widely read political blog and Jerome is affectionately known as The Blogfather. As Markos notes, they are following the lead of Montana bloggers:

You know, I expect to take the lead of the local bloggers on most of these Senate races. It's why I've learned so much about Tester and this race. Local progressive bloggers, who know the two (serious) primary candidates best, have cast their lot with Tester.

Tester is loved by Montana Democrats, has real time political capability, and the national support of top bloggers will help provide the support he needs to beat Conrad Burns.

At this point, anyone who contributes to the DLC's John Morrison (who is running against Tester) is wasting their money. It will be interesting to read (and blog on) the campaign finance reports to see who is too dumb to read the writing on the wall.

Posted at 01:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

OH-Sen: AP on Paul Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to be using "OH-Sen" in the title of any post on Paul Hackett. He had a big story today, from the AP:

Like Rocky in the movies, Paul Hackett has gotten a big boost from almost beating a heavily favored opponent. [...]

"At a certain point, you have to accept reality, and it's an impressive reality," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at University of Virginia. "It should have been a blow-away. It wasn't just any congressional race - it was a race during Bush's summer of sorrow and it came in a state that was ground zero for '04 and possibly will be for '08."

If Hackett can beat the spread in every precinct statewide like he did in OH-02, he could get 60% of the vote. His results were very impressive. People should realize which way the wind is blowing in 2006 and follow Hackett:

Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said Hackett's showing has encouraged more Democrats, downtrodden for decades in Southwest Ohio, to consider running for office.

On Iraq (from a guy who has been there):

For national audiences, Hackett's experience as a Marine reservist who served seven months in Iraq has been called upon as a counterpoint to the president, who has been trying to shore up support for the mission in appearances this week.

While he opposed the invasion of Iraq and bluntly called Bush "a chicken hawk," Hackett said during his campaign that the United States should increase training of Iraqi security forces. In an interview this week, he said it's time to plan a withdrawal, because it's unlikely that U.S. forces in Iraq would be significantly increased.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better," Hackett said.

If George Bush were to call, what would he say?

If he were advising Bush, Hackett said, he would tell him: "You've freed the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator, you gave them democracy, you've assisted them with a constitution. Now it's time to say 'mission accomplished,' and go home. What they do with it is up to them."

Run, Paul, Run!

Hat tip to Real Values.

Posted at 12:15 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, August 26, 2005

MT-Sen: John Morrison Can't Win Primary or General Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ouch. Membership in the DLC will be the kiss of death for anyone in a Democratic primary. From Kos:

[Jon Tester is] an awesome guy, awesome candidate, the Montana netroots loves him, and he'll win his primary and take out Conrad Burns.

His primary challenger, John Morrison, is, ahem, a DLC rising star. The big knock against Tester? He's a farmer from nowhere in eastern Montana and won't be able to raise the kind of money the slick, polished, Morrison can muster. It's the classic well-connected attorney politician type versus the "real" and "genuine" candidate.

There is no way a DLC lawyer like John Morrison can beat Conrad Burns. There is too much history. Montanans will choose a fake cowboy over a real lawyer any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Scandals | Comments (10) | Technorati

Thursday, August 25, 2005

MO-Sen: McCaskill Running?

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Arch City Chronicle:

As official as it's going to get before it's official.

McCaskill is telling her statewide colleagues that she is running for U.S. Senate. Announcement around Labor Day.

If this happens, this is great news for the Democratic Party. Here's hoping she runs, runs strong, and makes us all proud!

Hat tip to Chris Bowers.

Posted at 06:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

RI-Sen: Matt Brown Demands Timetable and Plan for Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Matt Brown, Democrat for US Senate in Rhode Island:

Today I am calling on President Bush to set a timetable to start bringing American troops home from Iraq in six months. I’m asking all of my supporters to sign my petition to President Bush and to send it to their friends and families to sign it. The brave men and women of our Armed Forces have risked everything and done their job with courage and distinction. The President owes it to the American people to get this job done and bring our men and women home to their families.

Full petition after the jump:

“Mr. President, the American people are looking for leadership and strength in this difficult time. Like all Rhode Islanders and all Americans, I’m proud of our troops. They are the finest citizen soldiers in the world. They have left their homes and families, risked everything and done their job with courage and distinction.

“Last week you said withdrawing our troops from Iraq would be “a terrible signal to the enemy” and you again refused to set a timetable for withdrawal. That’s wrong. Continuing in Iraq without a plan, without a timetable for withdrawal is a terrible signal to Americans and our troops. It’s a failure of leadership.

“Mr. President, the United States of America – the strongest country in the world – should not let our decision about when to bring our men and women home be dictated by a group of foreign insurgents. We have set timetables for the Iraqis to establish a new government, draft a constitution and conduct free elections – and now we need to set a timetable to bring our troops home.

“We should start the withdrawal in six months, soon after the Iraqi National Assembly Elections scheduled for December 15. By early next year, our troops will have made it possible for the Iraqis to establish their own government and constitution and to hold free elections. Our troops will have done their job and it will be time to bring them home.

“Let me be clear – withdrawing our troops will not mean abandoning Iraq. Our troops should continue training Iraqi security forces for the next six months and during the gradual withdrawal process. Following the withdrawal, United States military trainers and advisors should provide continued training and technical assistance to Iraqi security forces and the new Iraqi government, as we do in many nations around the world.

“Mr. President, in just the last week, different officials in your administration have suggested very different timelines for withdrawal. The President is the Commander-in-Chief. You need to set the timetable and plan. You owe it to the American people to get this job done and bring our men and women home."

I signed here.

Posted at 01:57 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, International, Rhode Island | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sunday, August 21, 2005

FL-Sen: Joe Scarborough Out; Katherine Harris to Lose

Posted by Bob Brigham

Don't take my word for it, ask NRSC Chair Elizabeth Dole who has been working for weeks to get Joe Scarborough to run. But Scarborough decided to chicken out (probably didn't want to revisit the tale of his how his right to life platform might have conflicted with what happened to his intern). This is now a safe seat. The only question is how thoroughly Katherine Harris is trashed during the campaign (paybacks are a bitch).

Posted at 12:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Technorati

Saturday, August 20, 2005

PA-Sen: There is Finally Contrast in the Senate Race

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chalk this up as one of political history's greatest, "if you can't make it, fake it" moments. Since both Santorum and Casey are Theocons, there has been a noticable lack of contrast in the race. However, Casey has consultants earning every extra zero and has now come up with his plan: focus on contrast between Santorum and Santorum.

Philly.com has the story.

Posted at 05:26 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

NV-Sen: Recruitment Time

Posted by Bob Brigham

Bowers has the plan.

Posted at 05:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nevada | Technorati

Friday, August 19, 2005

MT-Sen: Burns / Abramoff Link Charged with Poaching

Posted by Bob Brigham

Helena Independent Record:

HELENA — Shawn Vasell, a one-time aide to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and a former associate of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been charged in Stillwater County with poaching.

Vasell, 32, of Arlington, Va., was charged in June with four counts of breaking state big game laws: illegally possessing big game, hunting on private property without permission, hunting with someone else's license and hunting without a license, better known as poaching. [...]

Vasell pleaded not guilty to all four crimes on June 18 in Stillwater County Justice Court. A Sept. 20 trial is scheduled. [...]

The crimes carry a variety of punishments, including fines up to $1,000, restitution of up to $8,000, six months in jail and a lifetime ban from hunting in Montana.

The missing link.

Vasell was Burns' state director for most of 2002. He quit in December of that year and ended up joining the lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig, where he worked with Jack Abramoff, the embattled D.C. lobbyist.

Abramoff was arrested and charged with federal fraud and conspiracy charges earlier this month for allegedly duping investors into financing a $147 million fleet of gambling ships in Florida.

Abramoff's alleged mishandling of millions of dollars in lobbying fees charged to American Indian tribal clients was the subject a Senate Indian Affairs investigative hearing in June. Vasell was tapped to testify at the hearing, but cited his right not to incriminate himself and refused to answer any questions.

Abramoff lobbyists and his tribal clients gave $137,000 to Burns and his political action committee between 2001 and 2004, more than any other lawmaker, Bloomberg News reported this spring.

News reports on Abramoff's lobbying scandal have referred to Vasell as the link between the embattled former lobbyist and Burns. (emphasis mine)

Throw the book at him. This is the guy pleading the fifth in the corruption investigation. More here, here.

Hat-tip to Left in the West.

Posted at 05:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Montana, Scandals | Technorati

Monday, August 08, 2005

MT-Sen: Big News from Big Sky Country

Posted by Bob Brigham

Get your tickets now, Montana is hosting the #1 U.S. Senate race in the nation. As regular Swing State Project readers know, I'm a Montanan (I happen to live else-where, but that doesn't really matter). I have very strong feelings on Conrad Burns.

His re-election is the #1 race right now. A couple of major developments:

1. Tester's Catapult As the internet favorite, Jon Tester had a first round draft pick he used on Matt Singer. Old timers remember Singer at Not Geniuses during the last cycle. After the election, he started Left in the West and he also writes for Campus Progress when he's not filling in for Sirota. Matt Singer can pay his own way and he is amazing at rapid response. Tester's campaign now has a real-time political capability. Add to that a notice from Kos:

Heads up -- while there's a contested primary for this Senate race on the Democratic side, the Montana progressive blogosphere has lined up behind Jon Tester. I've already spoken well of Tester, currently the president of the Montana Senate and a working organic farmer, and will start laying out the case for helping his candidacy in the week's ahead.

2. Party Passion The Montana Democratic Party is fired up. Democrats nationwide use the term, "Montana Miracle" to describe last year's sweep of both chambers and the Governor's mansion. In a ground came spread out over almost 150,000 square miles, passion is worth a couple of points. The MDP has just launched the air war and is ready to keep the streak alive.

3. Party Politics The final update is that I just bought a Pearl Jam ticket. As always, if you can't make it in person, Swing State Project will try to keep you in the loop.

Posted at 12:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MD-Sen: Michael Steele and Karl Rove

Posted by Bob Brigham

michael steele - karl rove - corruption While Karl Rove's schedule is jammed back with political retribution and lessons on walking in shackles with a coat over his head, he is also busy playing bagman for politicians willing to continue the Republicans' Carnival of Corruption in Washington. Karl Rove's man in Maryland, Lt. Governor Michael Steele, has shown incredibly poor judgement by not cancelling a fundraiser with somebody who betrayed a CIA agent.

Here is the host committee: SENATOR ELIZABETH DOLE, CURT ANDERSON, WAYNE BERMAN, CHARLIE BLACK, KIRK BLALOCK, MANUS COONEY, RICK HOHLT, BRUCE MEHLMAN, JACK OLIVER, BILL PAXON, and DAVID URBAN.

Join Rove and his man in Maryland tonight from 5:30 - 7:30 at the Ronald Reagan Center, 425 2nd Street NE.

Posted at 10:40 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Maryland, Plamegate | Technorati

Monday, July 25, 2005

MT-Sen: Jeff Ament on Air America on Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

Let's face it, backing Jon Tester's senate bid in Montana is the cool thing to do. Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament is on Majority Report. He's talking about The Concert and Jon Tester.

Posted at 08:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sen. Democratic Policy Committee and House Gov. Reform Committee Hearing on Leak

Posted by Bob Brigham

Watch live on C-SPAN 3. I'll use this thread for updates. Here is the background on today's committee investigation

UPDATE: (Bob) Check out the c-span live blog at Mahablog and Republic of T.

UPDATE: (Bob) DC Media Girl has Larry Johnson's prepared opening testimony (full remarks posted in extended entry)

UPDATE: (Bob) Good Americans are talking about the hearings over at AmericaBlog.

UPDATE: (Bob) Great moments in mainstream media asking great questions and getting proportional responses:

Carl, and then I'll go to Bob.

Q Scott, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, lead by Byron Dorgan, along with the Democrats of the House Government Reform Committee, are going to hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the leaking of classified information and the damage that it could cause. Do you think that that investigation that they're conducting on -- just Democrats is helpful?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that it's helpful for all of us to make sure we're doing our part to allow the people overseeing the investigation to do their job. And that's what we've been doing from this White House. And I really don't have anything to add beyond that.

UPDATE: (Bob) Building is NOT being evacuated.

UPDATE: (Bob) Daily Kos has Live Open Thread.

UPDATE: (Bob) If you have surround sound, put your settings to "Hall" (or equivalent)...if you're looking for something to read, browse our backfiles on the Karl Rove Scandal.

Via DC Media Girl, Larry Johnson's prepared opening testimony:

Copy of my testimony to be presented on Friday, 22 July 2005 before a joint session of Congressional Democrats.

CORRECTING THE RECORD ON VALERIE PLAME

by Larry C. Johnson I submit this statement to the Congress in an effort to correct a malicious and disingenuous smear campaign that has been executed against a friend and former colleague, Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Neither Valerie, nor her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson has asked me to do anything on their behalf. I am speaking up because I was raised to stop bullies. In the case of Valerie Plame she is facing a gang of bullies that is being directed by the Republican National Committee.

I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985 as a member of the Career Trainee Program. Senator Orin Hatch had written a letter of recommendation on my behalf and I believe that helped open the doors to me at the CIA. From the first day all members of my training class were undercover. In other words, we had to lie to our family and friends about where we worked. We could only tell those who had an absolute need to know where we worked. In my case, I told my wife. Most of us were given official cover, which means that on paper we worked for some other U.S. Government Agency. People with official cover enjoy the benefits of an official passport, usually a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card. It accords the bearer the protections of the Geneva Convention.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. At the time I only knew her as Valerie P. Even though all of us in the training class held Top Secret Clearances, we were asked to limit our knowledge of our other classmates to the first initial of their last name. So, Larry J. knew Val P. rather than Valerie Plame. Her name did not become a part of my consciousness until her cover was betrayed by the Government officials who gave columnist Robert Novak her true name.

Although Val started off with official cover, she later joined a select group of intelligence officers a few years later when she became a NOC, i.e. a Non-Official Cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. She was using cover, which we now know because of the leak to Robert Novak, of the consulting firm Brewster-Jennings. When she traveled overseas she did not use or have an official passport. If she had been caught engaged in espionage activities while traveling overseas without the black passport she could have been executed.

We must put to bed the lie that she was not undercover. For starters, if she had not been undercover then the CIA would not have referred the matter to the Justice Department. Some reports, such as one in the Washington Times that Valerie Plame’s supervisor at the CIA, Fred Rustman, said she told friends and family she worked at the CIA and that her cover was light. These claims are not true. Rustman, who supervised Val in one of her earliest assignments, left the CIA in 1990 and did not stay in social contact with Valerie. His knowledge of Val’s cover is dated. He does not know what she has done during the past 15 years.

Val only told those with a need to know about her status in order to safeguard her cover, not compromise it. Val has never been a flamboyant, insecure person who felt the need to tell people what her “real” job was. She was content with being known as an energy consultant married to Joe Wilson and the mother of twins. Despite the repeated claims of representatives for the Republican National Committee, the Wilson’s neighbors did not know where Valerie really worked until Novak’s op-ed appeared.

I would note that not a single member of our training class has come forward to denounce Valerie or question her bona fides. To the contrary, those we have talked to have endorsed what those of us who have left the CIA are doing to defend her reputation and honor.

As noted in the joint letter submitted to Congressional leaders earlier this week, the RNC is repeating the lie that Valerie was nothing more than a glorified desk jockey and could not possibly have any cover worth protecting. To those such as Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, P. J. O’Rourke, and Representative Roy Blunt I can only say one thing—you are wrong. I am stunned that some political leaders have such ignorance about a matter so basic to the national security structure of this nation.

Robert Novak’s compromise of Valerie caused even more damage. It subsequently led to scrutiny of her cover company. This not only compromised her “cover” company but potentially every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company or with her.

Another false claim is that Valerie sent her husband on the mission to Niger. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report issued in July 2004, it is clear that the Vice President himself requested that the CIA provide its views on a Defense Intelligence Agency report that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. The Vice President’s request was relayed through the CIA bureaucracy to the Director of the Counter Proliferation Division at the CIA. Valerie worked for a branch in that Division.

The Senate Intelligence Report is frequently cited by Republican partisans as “proof” that Valerie sent her husband to Niger because she sent a memo describing her husband’s qualifications to the Deputy Division Chief. Several news personalities, such as Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reilly continue to repeat this nonsense as proof. What the Senate Intelligence Committee does not include in the report is the fact that Valerie’s boss had asked her to write a memo outlining her husband’s qualifications for the job. She did what any good employee does; she gave her boss what he asked for.

The decision to send Joe Wilson on the mission to Niger was made by Valerie’s bosses. She did not have the authority to sign travel vouchers, issue travel orders, or expend one dime of U.S. taxpayer dollars on her own. Yet, she has been singled out by the Republican National Committee and its partisans as a legitimate target of attack. It was Karl Rove who told Chris Matthews, “Wilson’s wife is fair game”.

What makes the unjustified and inappropriate attacks on Valerie Plame and her reputation so unfair is that there was no Administration policy position stipulating that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in February 2002. That issue was still up in the air and, as noted by SSCI, Vice President Cheney himself asked for more information.

At the end of the day we are left with these facts. We went to war in Iraq on the premise that Saddam was reacquiring weapons of mass destruction. Joe Wilson was sent on a mission to Niger in response to a request initiated by the Vice President. Joe Wilson supplied information to the CIA that supported other reports debunking the claim that Saddam was trying to buy yellow cake uranium from Niger. When Joe went public with his information, which had been corroborated by the CIA in April 2003, the response from the White House was to call him a liar and spread the name of his wife around.

We sit here more than two years later and the storm of invective and smear against Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie, continues. I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I wanted a President who knew what the meaning of “is” was. I was tired of political operatives who spent endless hours on cable news channels parsing words. I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and new ethical standards to Washington.

So where are we? The President has flip flopped and backed away from his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are implicated in these leaks. Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson. This is wrong.

Without firm action by President Bush to return to those principles he promised to follow when he came to Washington, I fear our political debate in this country will degenerate into an argument about what the meaning of “leak” is. We deserve people who work in the White House who are committed to protecting classified information, telling the truth to the American people, and living by example the idea that a country at war with Islamic extremists cannot expend its efforts attacking other American citizens who simply tried to tell the truth.

You can find more in our backfiles on the Karl Rove Scandal.

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stop the Cover-up

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DSCC has a new website: www.StopTheCoverup.com:

The media is swarming with reports that Karl Rove may have illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to a reporter, but you wouldn't know it by listening to the "no comments" coming out of the White House.

Congressional Republicans, instead of tending to the people's business, have been distracted by the need to go into "defense mode." Instead of wasting time defending Karl Rove, Congressional Republicans ought to be standing up for what's right and demanding answers.

George Bush promised to fire anyone in his administration responsible for the leak. Now that new information suggests Rove had something to do with it, the White House has refused to answer any questions about the case. No one will even say whether the president is sticking to his promise to fire those responsible.

This is the worst kind of cover-up. It's up to us to show George Bush that the American people want answers. Sign the new DSCC petition and tell the White House to stop the cover-up today.

I don't normally sign petitions, but I signed this one because the cover-up needs to stop. Liberal Oasis reminds us that, It has been 740 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”.

740 days of covering up for the partisan hacks in the Bush White House.

Posted at 10:45 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Harry Reid on Rove Scandal: Cover-Up...Abuse of Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

AP:

Democrats stirred the pot Thursday in the case of powerful presidential aide Karl Rove and the news leak that unmasked a CIA agent. They triggered a partisan clash in the Senate, sought a House investigation and brought the husband of the undercover operative to the Capitol, where he accused the White House of a "smear campaign." [...]

Speaking in favor of his legislation to strip Rove of his clearance for classified information, Reid said the president should already have done so. Instead, Reid said, the administration has attacked its critics. "This is what is known as a cover-up. This is an abuse of power," Reid said.

Indeed.

But here's the best quote:

"I made my bones confronting Saddam Hussein. ... Karl Rove made his bones by dirty political tricks," said Joseph Wilson, who was the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq during the first Persian Gulf War.

At a news conference hosted by Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), a New York Democrat who heads his party's Senate campaign organization, Wilson said he has been targeted by a "smear campaign launched from the West Wing of the White House."

A smear campaign against somebody who disagrees with the Bush White House?

Senate Republicans countered with legislation — swiftly sidetracked — put together largely to embarrass Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and his deputy. [...]

In rebuttal, the Republican National Committee distributed a document entitled "Joe Wilson's Top Ten Worst Inaccuracies and Misstatements."

Senate Democrats attempt to defend National Security against a White House leaker and the GOP tries to embarrass Democrats. Joe Wilson, who like his wife has dedicated his entire career to America, is smeared as a liar by the RNC.

The GOP is beyond belief in their efforts to cover-up for a traitor.

Posted at 11:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MT-Sen: Post-Broadcast Campaigning

Posted by Bob Brigham

We've all been there. You're out with some political hacks, drinking accordingly…it is way late and the conversation is focused on campaign strategy. Then some wiseguy says something like, "Instead of locking the candidate in a room for call time, we don't we get him out campaigning and throw a giant concert to raise the money." At this point, you'll know who is the most "experienced" campaigner in the room: the first to slap the wiseguy upside the head. You'll know it is time for bed if the wiseguy responds, "But wait, we could rent the largest venue in the state, get Pearl Jam, fill it with 10,000 people all paying $50 and raise enough money in one night to finance the entire primary campaign."

In the post-broadcast era, the internet allows campaigns the ability to quickly build a movement – from scratch. Instead of wasting the candidates time calling people who were inspired to write a big check for somebody else, a campaign can go out and inspire people. Throwing a Pearl Jam fundraiser actually makes far more sense than dialing for dollars.

Forget what you've been taught, 10,000 people investing fifty bucks is what you need, not 500 people maxing out. The latter will give a campaign twice as much cash, but the former will give a movement an army.

For the life of me, I do not understand why a candidate would settle for running a campaign when they could just as easily organize a movement. Maybe it is habit, or ignorance, or cowardice, but I think it probably has more to do with a lack of imagination of how campaigns are evolving.

We're seeing this play out in Montana's senate primary, with John Morrison's campaign focusing on doing the same-ol' stuff – but better, and Jon Tester's movement focused on inspiring and leveraging at a grand scale. While Morrison works to be the fastest Pony Express rider, Tester is an engineer and the train is leaving the station.

Morrison is going to waste a ton of money, but he can't compete with Tester because Morrison can't scale. By Labor Day, Morrison's dialing discipline will allow him to get money out of a bunch of out-of-state donors. But when Tester gets on stage with Pearl Jam, 7,500 people will be chanting his name. And each will be invested with a $46 donation. For most, it will be their first political donation. Many will register to vote for the first time. And with 9 months until the primary, the leverage will kick in as people go back to their towns after the concert. Mark my words, they're going to come from all over Montana (when I lived in Bozeman, it was commonplace to travel 400 miles round trip to Missoula for a concert).

Morrison's big money can't gloss over the contrast. Morrison's another lawyer, another politician. Montana's Governor Brian Schwietzer says, "Don't dress like a lawyer. Don't talk like a lawyer." Hmmmmm.

Populism is possible. The internet allows candidates to have people-powered campaigns – of the people, for the people. There is no need to settle for "not as bad" candidates when it is possible for "real deal" candidates like Brian Schweitzer and Jon Tester to win.

Jon Tester
Big Ideas in Big Sky Country – Jon Tester's Campaign

Jon Tester (MT-Sen) $

Posted at 03:06 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Pearl Jam Concert News

Posted by Bob Brigham

The rumors are confirmed, Pearl Jam will be playing a fundraising concert for Jon Tester, Democrat for US Senate in Montana. Not only that, but the Tester campaign has made a bold decision and is hosting the event at the Adams Center (holds 7,500 people -- 1/8th of the entire county's population over 18). It is a very big room, but it will be full.

Pearl Jam – Jeff Ament
Peal Jam's Jeff Ament at Jon Tester's Kickoff in Missoula, MT

Via Big Sky Democrats, Courtney "scoop" Lowery has the scoop at New West:

Rocker Jeff Ament and U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester have a lot in common. They're both Big Sandy, Mont. boys who want Jon Tester in Washington D.C.

And Ament is ready to help. He and his buddies (who you may know as the multi-national rock band Pearl Jam) are playing a benefit concert in Missoula on August 29 to help finance Tester, who is currently president of the Montana state senate and aims to take on Sen. Conrad Burns next year. Tickets go on sale June 23 and are available through ticketswest.com or locally at Rockin' Rudy's. Regular tickets will be $46 and require concert-goers to sign a disclaimer acknowledging they are making a campaign contribution. There will also be some more expensive special tickets up for grabs that include a reception afterward with Tester and the band.

Ah yes, the smell of a thousands getting together to fund a grassroots candidate.

Ament told us in May that Pearl Jam was trying to scrape something together to show support for Tester because "we have to keep rural Montana alive." Jon Tester, he said, is the man for the job. Tester and Ament go way back. In fact, Jeff's dad, George, gave Tester his very first signature flattop haircut.

(check out Tester website for pics of the famous haircut.

The announcement is not only exciting for Missoula, which has been waiting for two years to see Pearl Jam live again, but it also may just be the money fillip Tester needs to first fight a rough primary battle against long-time politician and State Auditor John Morrison, and then to challenge a large and in charge incumbent like Burns. A farmer from the hi-line, Tester has admitted that keeping up financially could be a struggle.

Morrison has already raised $400,000 - and with his strong political pedigree, solid performance as state auditor, and good reputation among the state's intelligentsia, he's a formidable candidate. But Tester has something that Morrison can't match, and may be crucial in mounting a credible challenge to Burns: he's a plain-spoken working man from rural Montana, and voters in this state tend to respond to that. For national Democrats who salivate at the prospect of taking down a right-wing incumbent in a red state, Tester may ultimately be the more appealing candidate.

If you can't fly to Montana for the concert (which you should), you can join Swing State Project in supporting Tester now with a contribution

Posted at 09:44 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Senate 2006: Democrats' Candidate Recruitment Woes

Posted by Bob Brigham

Well into the season for candidate recruitment, it appears that the DSCC under Sen. Chuck Schumer's leadership is doing a miserable job. Failing.

So here's the first Senate Recruitment Cattle Call:

OHIO: Calling Ohio critical is an understatement. Senator Mike DeWine's son was spanked in the OH-02 Special Election -- suggesting the DeWine brand isn't even good for much in GOP circles. This is one of two states Bush won, but now has an approval under 40%. Weak incumbent, state trending hard away from Republicans, CoinGate scandal -- yet no candidate. If Sherrod Brown runs, he'll be a strong challenger, but to-date, the DSCC has failed to get him in the race.

NEVADA: This is the other state Bush won yet now has an approval rating under 40%. Of all of the states in the union, Nevada is the state with the most potential for backlash against the GOP over-reach. People move to Nevada to get away from the theocons telling them what they can and can't do. This state is primed for an easy pick-up, yet we don't have a candidate and the party bosses have decided John Ensign will get a free pass in 2006. I am not making this up. Apparently, the mob gambling bosses have decided they are happy with a senator in each caucus, so there is no need for an election. The people of Nevada aren't as happy as the mob gambling bosses, in fact less than half approve of Ensign. By not running a candidate in Nevada, there is no way Schumer's leadership of the DSCC can be considered a success, no matter what happens people will (correctly) wonder what if...

INDIANA: Yesterday's news that Tim Roemer is not running pretty much takes this state out of play. Roemer is so ambitious that we was running to lead the whole party just six months ago, but the DSCC couldn't even convince him to run in his own state.

MAINE: A startling 56% disapprove of Bush. If you look at the crosstabs on Olympia Snowe, her support comes from the left of her party label. People like her, but realize her Republican Party is a disaster in the majority. Huge opening in a BLUE STATE, yet no candidate.

VIRGINIA: George Allen's approval is under 50, Bush is under 50 and the DSCC has failed to get Governor Mark Warner into the race.

MISSOURI: Weak incumbent, critical state, and announcements from Democrats have been of the "I'm not running" variety.

PENNSYLVANIA: Rick Santorum is an anti-women theocon. The party bosses cleared the field for anti-women theocon Bob Casey, Jr. To date, the DSCC has failed to recruit a non-theocon for the race.

In Montana, Democrats have a dream candidate in Jon Tester. But we're looking very weak everywhere else. And Nevada, what the fuck is up with that? Watching the DSCC flail and fail at candidate recruitment, I think it is clear that the top-down, Washington based days of candidate recruitment are over. It is time for the grassroots to run candidates, let the voters decide instead of the bosses, and get some movement. Once, the party committees were the only game in town, now they are one of many committees. Their relevance has been sinking for years and refusing to recruit and/or doing a piss-poor job is only reminding everyone they aren't as relevant as they were and not as useful as they could be. It is still early, so maybe Schumer can turn it around. But in the first half of 2005, it is clear to all he has failed.

[UPDATE: Tim] jkfp--I deleted your comment by accident. Mine posted three times in a row and I went in to delete it and consumed yours as well. Please re-post. I figured it was at odds with mine and didn't want you to think I was just deleting comments because I disagree.

Posted at 11:28 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (9) | Technorati

Friday, July 08, 2005

IN-Sen: Tim Roemer is Not Running

Posted by Bob Brigham

Indianapolis Star:

Former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind., said Thursday he would not run in 2006 for the Senate against veteran U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind.

Roemer said there were many issues that needed to be dealt with, but he has four young children and should be running after them on soccer fields, not running for the Senate, he said.

Anyone, anyone?

Posted at 12:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Indiana | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, July 07, 2005

OH-Sen: New Poll Shows DeWine in Trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that I go by the old rule of thumb when it comes to senators seeking re-election: if the re-elect number is under 40, then the incumbent is in trouble. Ohio Senator Mike DeWine's re-elect stands at 31%, which means his support is zip to nil and nil is leaning towards undecided.

This new poll is very bad news considering yesterday's launch of Congressman Sherrod Brown's state-wide effort.

Kos says:

Bottom line is that DeWine is clearly vulnerable. And if Brown enters the race, it may suddenly catapult to a top tier race. The Coingate scandal in Ohio won't do DeWine or the rest of the state's Republicans any favors, nor will the economy or the war.
If Brown ever had any thought of a promotion to the Senate, now seems to be the perfect time to do so.

Indeed. Kos also has the results (Feldman Group (D) for the DSCC. 6/27. 1,209 respondents):
If the election for United States Senate were held today and the candidates were (ROTATE) Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Mike DeWine, for whom would you vote?
Mike DeWine (R) 42
Sharrod Brown (D) 36

Overall, do you think Mike DeWine deserves reelection as United States Senator, or do you think that someone else should be given a chance?  
Deserves Reelection 31
Someone Else 42

Now, generally speaking, do you think things in this country are going in the right direction, or do you feel things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track?
Right Direction 32
Wrong Direction 57

Not only is DeWine weak, but Brown's name ID gives him room to grow:

DeWine has a 94 percent name ID, while Brown is at 77 percent.
These numbers don't bode well for DeWine, but Brown is about the only candidate left that can make a run for it. Will he run? No one knows. […]

This poll indicates that maybe he is flirting with it. Or at the very least, that the DSCC is trying to entice him into the race. More proof that he might take the plunge this time -- the recent launch (yesterday?) of the new statewide political site Grow Ohio.org where he promises to help rebuild the Ohio Democratic Party from the "ground up".
Someone interested in running for reelection in his own congressional district wouldn't exactly be launching this sort of site, would he?

Probably not.

Here's to Congressman Sherrod Brown running for U.S. Senate in 2006 – he's a great lawmaker and would make Ohio proud.

Posted at 01:50 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Technorati

RI-Sen: Looks Like We Got a Race

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse, absolutely crushed incumbent Lincoln Chafee in second quarter fundraising, by almost a margin of 2 to 1. I hate that strength of a candidacy is measured by dollars raised, but that's just the way it is right now, and Whitehouse's $775,000 raised in three months vs. Chafee's $400,000 sends a strong message. The other Democratic candidate, Matt Brown, did not report his figures, forcing us to wait until the 15th to find out how successful he was. In the first quarter, Brown raised about $500,000.

This comes on the heels of recent polling that shows the race tightening.

Chafee: 41%
Whitehouse: 36%

Chafee: 44%
Brown: 29%

Personally, I tend to support Matt Brown (I have an affinity for the non-establishment Dems). But either way, this another great opportunity for another U.S. Senate pickup. Day by day, I grow more and more optimistic about our chances of taking a significant chunk out of the Republican majority.

Posted at 12:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown Goes Statewide

Posted by Bob Brigham

Don't let the headline mislead you, Congressman Sherrod Brown has not (yet) announced that he'll be challenging Mike DeWine for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat. But, he has announced a new statewide effort:

www.GrowOhio.org

The website looks great and has amazing localization tools. And Swing State Project's Tim Tagaris is involved, which means Congressman Brown can nationalize online as well as localize. Together, this dynamic could prove impressive if Sherrod Brown were to run for U.S. Senate in 2006.

When it comes to the obvious question, here's what Tim is saying:

"Does this mean that Congressman Brown is going to run for U.S. Senate? The answer I’ll be giving all day is that the site was built to help build infrastructure, both online and offline, and elect Ohio Democrats in 2005 and 2006. Everyone will just have to stay tuned when it comes to talk of the U.S. Senate run."

Pretty coy Damn professional quote.

Whatever happens with the Senate campaign, it is clear the Rep. Sherrod Brown is putting the pieces in place to lead statewide. Even his re-election website, www.SherrodBrown.com seems focused beyond the borders of Ohio's 13th Congressional District.

So go check it out: Grow Ohio.

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, General, Ohio | Technorati

Friday, July 01, 2005

PA-Sen: SCOTUS Vacancy to Play Role

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It was bound to be a problem for Bob Casey Jr, whoever stepped down first from the Supreme Court, and it will continue to be a problem when Chief Justice Rehnquist steps down as well. Without hesitation, major news outlets began talking about one case (arguably, in jeopardy, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. While lesser known than Roe v. Wade, the case preserved a woman's right to chose, but gave more flexibility to the states to impose certain limitations. A quick Google News search of the case "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" shows over 2,000 articles mentioning the case today alone.

Since announcing his bid for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Bob Casey Jr. has taken part in a difficult balancing act; on one hand, the hope is that his staunch anti-choice stance will take the issue of abortion off-the-table with conservatives in Pennsylvania's "T" region. On the other hand, he tries not to talk about it too much for fear of alienating a base that never quite turned out to contribute, volunteer, or even vote for anti-choice Democrat Ron Klink against Rick Santorum in 2000. From a piece by the Philadelphia Inquierer entitled, "Casey walks fine line between views on abortion and party support."

In the final years of his career, Gov. Robert P. Casey attacked abortion with the zeal of an Old Testament prophet, declaring that the Democratic Party had "lost its soul" on the issue. Don't expect the same from his son, Robert P. Casey Jr. [...]

The difference is that Casey Jr. would much rather talk about something else. Anything else.

He wants to talk about anything else because, believe it or not, in Pennsylvania, most people don't know that Bob Casey Jr. is pro-life for fear of suffering a fate similar to Klink in 2000. Two questions from a recent Quinnipiac poll:
On the issue of abortion, do you happen to know whether Bob Casey Jr. is pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-Choice: 17%
Pro-Life: 9%
Don't Know: 74%

Two questions later (Question #22), they identify Bob Casey and Rick Santorum as pro-life, and ask the question where the real problem might lie for Bob Casey Jr.
If there were an independent candidate on the ballot who was pro-choice on the issue of abortion, how likely would you be to vote for that pro-choice candidate instead of (Casey/Santorum) -- very likely, somewhatlikely, not very likely or not likely at all?

Among Democrats:

Very Likely: 19%
Somewhat Likely: 29%
Don't Know: 8%

I am not saying that this will be an issue in the Democratic Primary; that decision can and will be made by groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. At this point, Chuck Pennacchio doesn't have the financial firepower to make it one. But as more and more people find out about Casey's stance on choice, we will begin to see the impact of question #22 on Pennsylvania's electorate--begging the question, what will the impact be among progressives and pro-choice advocates across Pennsylvania in the run-up to the election and ultimately on Novemeber 6, 2006 should Casey get the nomination.

Posted at 10:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania, Supreme Court | Technorati

Thursday, June 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Support Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Top 10 reasons why it is critical to contribute to Jon Tester:

  1. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) has a re-elect number of only 36 % -- conventional wisdom says an incumbent Senator with a re-elect number under 40 is pretty much screwed.

  2. Senator Conrad Burns is bolo-tie deep in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal, in fact, he's a key figure in multiple federal investigations along with Shawn Vasell, Burns former State Director, who just pleaded the 5th and is also under investigation in Montana for a major hunting scandal.

  3. While the netroots are loving on Tester, Montanans are not donating to Conrad Burns.

  4. The Montana press are not buying Burns' spin and are taking extreme steps to call him on his bullshit.

  5. Burns wants to test pesticides on kids, as Kos and DavidNYC reported yesterday.

  6. Montana State Senate President Jon Tester has lots of momentum following a very successful legislative session.

  7. Tester is running the type of populist campaign that elected Brian Schweitzer Governor and allowed Tester's leadership to deliver a sweep of both legislative chambers in 2004.

  8. Wellstone had the bus, but Tester has an 18 wheeler.

  9. Jon Tester is on track to beat Conrad Burns.

  10. We need to keep the Montana Miracle moving. Jon Tester is the who can both pick up a Senate seat and make us proud when he gets to DC. We need Jon Tester!
Jon Tester (MT-Sen) $

Posted at 05:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Monday, June 27, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns Staff

Posted by Bob Brigham

Normally, I don't make too much of who a politician keeps on payroll. But Burns former State Director is now pleading the 5th (i.e. not talking because he could incriminate himself) in a major corruption investigation. In fact, 3 former Burns staffers -- Will Brooke, Ryan Thomas, and Shawn Vasell -- are the focus of multiple investigations.

So my question is, how do you get hired by Conrad Burns?

When I visited Sen. Burns in Washington I had a chance to chat a while with a couple of his sprightly young interns. Both had thick southern accents. I remember how overly eager I was to ask them what they thought about some of the pressing issues that were facing my home state at the time. And I was surprised to find out that neither had ever even been to Big Sky Country. When I pointed this out to Burns he just chuckled, patted me on the back, and divulged in his raspy voice, "I don't hire the cute ones for their brains, kid. I hire 'em cuz they are easy on the eyes." (emphasis mine)

If Burns personally hires the interns, I think it is safe to assume he personally had a role in hiring senior staff.

Posted at 05:17 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Scandals | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, June 24, 2005

MT-Sen: New Report on Conrad Burns - Jack Abramoff Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Roots:

The latest installment in the Jack Abramoff sleaze-fest that's been playing out in Senate hearings this week involves Republican Conrad Burns and his questionable ties to Abramoff.

A few days ago, former Conrad Burns (R-MT) staffer Shawn Vassal invoked his right against self-incrimination before a Senate Committee investigating DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his former boss. Vassell began his career as an analyst for Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s old lobbying shop. After that, he went on to serve as state director for Conrad Burns.

In January 2003 Vassell returned to Greenberg Traurig to serve as director of governmental and administrative affairs. The Constitutionally protected silence of Shawn Vassell is the latest news in an unraveling story detailing Senator Burns’ ties to scandal-plagued Jack Abramoff.

The link also has the PDF of a new report on the scandal.

Posted at 02:18 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Scandals | Technorati

Thursday, June 23, 2005

MT-Sen: Shawn Vasell Pleads the Fifth

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has written on Shawn Vasell before:

Now the Washington Post reports Shawn Vasell took the Fifth Amendment when asked to testify under oath about his role in the Conrad Burns & Jack Abramoff corruption scandal.

Abramoff, who is also at the center of a corruption investigation by the Justice Department, laundered tribal money by directing the Indians to donate to tax-exempt groups that the lobbyist later used for his own purposes, the Senate committee said. [...]

Three former associates of Abramoff and Scanlon who were summoned to testify declined to do so, citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. They included former Greenberg lobbyist Kevin Ring, who continues to represent the Choctaw tribe as a lobbyist, and Shawn Vasell, who like Ring was a congressional aide before joining Abramoff's lobbying team.

Big Sky Democrats and Left in the West have more.

Posted at 07:23 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Scandals | Technorati

Saturday, June 11, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester Email Shows Grassroots Focus

Posted by Bob Brigham

I signed up for emails from Jon Tester, Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Montana. The first email I received was short, to the point, and shows his grassroots focus:

Saturday morning's headline reads …
Bush, Congress hit skids in poll

WASHINGTON — When it comes to public approval, President Bush and Congress are playing "how low can you go."
>> More of this story
http://www.helenair.com/articles/2005/06/11/top/a01061105_01.txt

Americans say they want change in Congress. I'm ready to provide that change as your next U.S. Senator from Montana. I'm running because Montana's challenges are plenty, but our opportunities and dreams are greater. But I need your help. Tell five friends about www.testerforsenate.com. Forward this email. Send money to Montanans for Tester .

Together we will make a difference.

Thanks,

Jon

Short and sweet. Good stuff.

Posted at 07:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Thursday, June 09, 2005

VT-Sen: Doug Racine - Big Effing Mistake

Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm a mild-mannered person, polite, kind to animals, and generally easy going. I'm a proud Democrat (even proud to be a Proud Democrat), but sometimes a Democrat does something so stupid, so selfish, so counter-productive, so wrong-headed, so...anyway, just read the lede of the article in the Times Argus:

MONTPELIER — Former Lt. Gov. Doug Racine said Wednesday he is considering whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., in 2006.

"For most of us in politics the idea of a Senate seat is intriguing," said Racine, who was a Democratic state senator and candidate for governor. "I can't rule it out."

Well Racine can certainly rule out the notion that he'll be met with anything other than extreme contempt, at least from me. Ask Donnie Fowler, when I play in primaries I play to win. And I don't think I'll be alone on this, I am confident that Racine will face extreme prejudice online and in Vermont if he is selfish enough to turn this into a three-way race. Because everyone knows the score, everyone knows that if Doug Racine runs, he is running to help himself by helping the Republicans:

"In the end I think there is going to be a Democrat in that race," Racine said. "The question is, is it going to be a strong candidate?"

Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff, said there is no agreement between Sanders and the Democrats. There is an understanding by both sides that three-way races benefit Republican candidates, he said.[...]

[State GOP chairman Jim] Barnett called Racine "a credible candidate" who could draw Democrats "who otherwise might hold their nose and vote for a Republican over Bernie."

I love the wink-wink, nod-nod quote from Barnett as he tries to get Racine in the race. Everyone knows that Racine would be giving the GOP enough of an opening to force a pile of money to be spent to keep the seat from going Republican. In short, Racine's entry would be a tax on progressives, forcing the Democrats to expend critical resources in a far from efficient manner. Political players in Vermont politics get this, including the Democratic leadership:

"A three-way race gives a significant edge to the Republican," said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch, D-Windsor. "If the objective is to make sure that seat is not Republican, there is an immense amount of importance in making that a two-way race instead of a three-way race."

I don't know Racine personally, but if I were to meet him today, my attention would immediately turn to his shoes. My guess is the guy wears loafers, because if he were smart enough to tie his shoes he wouldn't even be considering this. As for me, my boots are laced up and ready to go so far up Racine's ass he'll be tasting leather.

UPDATE: Racine was the sitting LG, a Democrat in a blue state, and blew his campaign for Governor. Now he wants to go from loser to spoiler?

Posted at 10:35 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

FL-Sen: Cruella De Vil for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

katherine harris

TALLAHASSEE -- Representative Cruella De Vil (FL-13), who was vilified for her role as Florida's secretary of state in the 2000 presidential voting scandal, said Tuesday she will run for the U.S. Senate next year against Senator Bill Nelson.

Her announcement brings a french-sounding nickname and the potential to waste substantial amount of money on a race Republicans had assumed they would lose.

"Those who called me ‘czarina,’ or ‘Cruella de Vil’ ... they still can’t point to a single solitary thing that I did wrong," she said.

Posted at 07:53 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Technorati

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dean: Our Values are More Consistent with Montana Values

Posted by Bob Brigham

Big weekend for discussions about Democrats' western strategy. From the A.P.:

The Rocky Mountain West, long a Republican stronghold, is fertile ground for Democrats hoping to take back Congress and the White House in coming years, Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean told supporters here Saturday.

Democrats have more in common with Westerners than the GOP, the former Vermont governor said.

They appreciate the free-spirited, independent thinking that dominate states like Montana, and understand the wish for a balanced budget and a strong military, as well as treating soldiers well when they get home, something Dean said the Bush administration has neglected.

"I think we're going to have a very appealing message in the Rocky Mountain West," he said. "We want to be everywhere. We don't think just because George Bush won this state by a lot of votes means that Montana is going to be Republican state forever.

"I think our values are more consistent with Montana values than Republican values are."

A true national party needs a winning strategy everywhere. Expanding infrastructure often yields only modest returns if you are scoring by wins and loses. But we need to get away from milestone evaluations. By moving away from wins and loses, Democrats can focus on a winning strategy every day.

Dean, speaking to about 100 people at a meeting of the DNC's Western States Caucus, continued his call for unity and consistency among Democrats, calling on local and state leaders to rally voters on key issues and no longer allow Republicans to "define our party."

"The Democratic party for too long has been a group of constituencies instead of a party. ... We're going to define our party. I'm not going to let them do it anymore," he said.

Dean's comments drew heavy applause from Democratic leaders representing more than a dozen Western states, as well as several key Montana officials. The audience included state Superintendent of Public Education Linda McCulloch, a handful of state lawmakers, and Senate President Jon Tester, a leading Democratic candidate to unseat U.S. Senate Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

None of us know whether Montana will be a swing state in the 2008 presidential race. But it will be a swing state in the 2006 battle for the senate.

Montana is one of the most cost-effective states when it comes to outside political investment. That is why everyone in D.C. is planning to get involved -- it is cheap, Democrats have the momentum, Jon Tester is a dream candidate, and we need to do better out west.

The 2006 backlash narrative is brewing and it could be a very powerful force during the mid-terms. I'm glad to see the DNC realizing the importance of a western strategy (Governor Dean will be back in Montana on July 16 for the State Party convention in Great Falls).

Win the west. Contribute to Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 12:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, DNC Chair, Democrats, Montana | Technorati

Saturday, June 04, 2005

MT-Sen: Campaign Fundraising for 2006 Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

In a discussion on saving Amtrak from Republican attacks, Montana state Senate President Jon Tester commented in the Havre Daily News:

"I think the president misreads the can-do attitude of the people of Montana, particularly those along the northern tier," Tester said.

Bush would be wise not to misunderestimate Montanans, especially not a hi-liner like Jon Tester.

Montana Senator Conrad Burns underestimated a Montana farmer with no name recognition in 2000. That farmer was Brian Schweitzer and Schweitzer almost beat Burns -- even though he only had $2 million to face incumbent Burns' $5 million.

This year, Burns is in such dire straights politically that he thinks he'll need "$8 million to $10 million" to buy a fourth term (after he promised he would only serve 2 terms).

For the life of me, I have no idea what a campaign would have to do to spend $10 million in Montana. Forty bucks a vote? In Montana?

The key isn't to outraise Senator Burns, a credible candidate can run a great campaign with half of that -- I mean, we're talking about Montana. Total saturation will happen...the question is whether Tester will be able to establish himself before the Burns slime operation kicks into high gear.

Everyone who gets to know Tester loves the guy, but he has plenty of room for improvement, according to the editorial board at the Helena Independent Record:

What's it take to get a little recognition in this state? Well, judging by a recent poll conducted for Lee newspapers in Montana, it apparently takes a lot.

The poll included questions designed to measure the name recognition of four prominent Democrats who have announced or are considering running against either Sen. Conrad Burns or House Rep. Denny Rehberg, both Republicans.

Essentially, the response was: "Who?" [...]

Jon Tester, president of the state Senate during the last legislation session and the lawmaker who probably had the most to do with the session's outcome, had 14 percent favorable and 4 percent unfavorable recognition. Sixty-one percent of the voters never heard of the guy.

But the IR also points out the solution:

None of this means that name recognition can't be achieved. Look at Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who came out of political nowhere just half a decade ago and almost upset Burns in his last Senate race.

But it does help us understand why little-known campaign challengers need more than a solid political agenda. To even stand a chance, they need a war chest brimming with gold.

Jon Tester is a Montanan you don't want to underestimate. Thanks to everyone who is helping give Tester the resources to compete against Burns' big money.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Montana | Technorati

Friday, June 03, 2005

WV-Sen: Shelley Moore Capito vs. Senator Robert Byrd Polls

Posted by Bob Brigham

While some people are worried about the West Virginia 2006 Senate race, I'm fairly confident that Senator Byrd's re-election is looking good. There was a new poll today, but it didn't change my views on the race.

First of all, there was an NRSC poll March 15-16, 2005. N=500 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4.3. From the subscription-only side of Polling Report:

"If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Democrat Robert Byrd and Republican Shelly Capito, for whom would you vote?"

Byrd: 52%
Capito: 42%
Unsure: 8%

At the time this came out, I was 102% positive that this Republican poll was trying to make the race appear tighter than it really is. Now compare it to today's poll, RMS Strategies, May 11 & 18, 401 registered-voters (computer automated) MoE ± 4.9:

Byrd 46%
Capito: 43%
Undecided: 11%

So yeah, I'm going to call bullshit. I still think the NRSC poll was overly optimistic and this RMS poll has little value other than as a joke.

Byrd is looking just fine.

Posted at 05:17 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, West Virginia | Technorati

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns and Mason-Dixon

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

And take a gander at these historical M-D numbers:
May 2000
Burns (R) 54
Schweitzer (D) 30
September 2000
Burns (R) 48
Schweitzer (D) 39
October 23-24, 2000
Burns (R) 45
Schweitzer (D) 44
Final Results, November 2000
Burns (R) 51
Schweitzer (D) 47
Burns starts weaker today, over a year out, than he looked four months before the 2000 election against a then-unknown Schweitzer.

That really puts in perspective the new Mason-Dixon poll. Via Kos:

Mason-Dixon. 5/23-25. MoE 4%. (No trend lines.)
Burns (R) 49
Morrison (D) 34

Burns (R) 50
Tester (D) 26

While I generally don't get involved in primaries, I will be strongly backing John Tester, the MT Senate Majority Leader, in this race. I have no doubt he will win both his primary and the general election come November 2006.

Burns dropped a solid five points during the spring 2005 Republican legislative disaster.

Same poll, trend lines from Mason-Dixon 12/29/2004, 625 self-described voters:

Senator Conrad Burns Job Approval

Approve 59 (64)
Disapprove 39 (33)

I've never had much respect for Mason-Dixon in Montana, so I usually calculate that Dems are actually in better shape than their sample suggests. Regardless, Burns is trouble, especially contrasted with Jon Tester. As the (subscription only) Hotline headlined: MONTANA: Poll Finds What Instinct Already Was Saying, Burns Is Probably Going To Be Vulnerable

Kos also brings up an important point:

Tester's name ID is a mere 39 percent, compared to 69 percent for Morrison and 99 percent for Burns. In a small state like MT, it doesn't cost much to get your name ID up there.

We starting early and have a great candidate, join Swing State Project by helping with an early contribution.

As TMO said in the comments:

I sent in a small donation, enough that I'm going to stay interested.

Montana is a great pickup possibility for us because of the tiny population, as Kos mentioned. At a little over 900,000, it's smaller than many left-leaning cities and urban counties. For the same power as a California senator, we only have to reach 1/30th the number of voters as in California.

Tester is an ideal western candidate and we have a huge opportunity. TMO won't be the only one to "say interested" in this race. Within months, I fully expect to see long drawn out debates over the Iron Triangle strategy, Reservation registration, and the sign war highway-by-highway.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 10:10 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

TX-Sen: Barbara Ann Radnofsky Running for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

I would have paid attention to the following no matter what, but since Mr. Liberal penned it (and is involved), I'm paying close attention. From MyDD:

As of 4PM EST, news is spreading across the Lone Star State that their senior Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for Governor, and will declare her candidacy on June 6th. She'll be taking on her recent bete-noir and current GOP Governor Rick Perry in what promises to be a bloody GOP primary indeed. Perry has a great deal of support from conservatives in the state, while Hutchison is wildly popular in the state itself and especially with moderate GOPers (what one would use to call "Old Guard" Republicans in the state, back when the GOP was a minority there). Already, Perry has compared Hutchison to Hillary Clinton, and Hutchison has attacked Perry as corrupt and ineffectual. The GOP leaders will have to take sides in this race, and the end result will NOT be pretty for the GOP.

An open senate seat?

In the comments, Byron of Burnt Orange looks at other potential candidates:

Another candidate that I've heard of is Juan Garcia. Garcia is a former officer in the navy who was originally recruited by the local leaders and the state party to run for state representative against Gene Seaman, a Corpus Christi area Republican. Then, several weeks ago, a "Garcia for Senate" website (since taken down) appeared by supporters of Garcia. When contacted by the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Garcia said that he was considering a run.

A lot of Democrats would like to see State Rep. Rick Noriega (D-Houston) run for the seat. Noriega is currently in the army reserves and is serving in Afghanistan. Noriega's wife filled his seat during this past session. Noriega has been in the state house for several sessions now and has a progressive voting record.

As for current and former Dem congressmen, Frost has ruled out a run. Lampson is running against DeLay. I would seriously doubt that Sandlin is interested in a run. Chet Edwards would be a great candidate, but we'd lose his seat in congress. Charlie Stenholm would be a good candidate statewide at some point, but I don't know if he is interested.

But back to Radnofsky. After reading through her website and some of the interviews from Texas bloggers, I'm most impressed with what she has accomplished so far in her life.

I've been passively watching to see whether Kay Bailey Hutchison would run for re-election, but figured I'd find out more about our candidates after her decision. Now it looks like that time has come and I'm excited to closely monitor this race.

Now go to Mr. Liberal's diary and follow the links. Especially Radnofsky's website, it has a lot of information.

Posted at 08:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Populism Needed in Red States

Posted by Bob Brigham

I really had intended not to post over the long weekend, but there is an online discussion of Democratic populism that is critical to the future of our Party, so I decided I'd rather examine it today than worry about it during the chaos of next week.

Paperwight started the discussion with a precinct-by-precinct examination of how Congressman Bernie Sanders out performs Republicans in the reddest areas of Vermont. David Sirota had more to say and then linked it back to the Montana miracle of Democrats winning in the west.

With all eyes on Montana Senator Conrad Burns re-election campaign and a new poll being released (Left in the West explores it), let's look back at the roll populism has played in Big Sky elections since Burns was elected in 1988.

In American politics -- and especially in the Senate -- incumbents have a huge advantage over challengers. It is difficult for a senator seeking re-election to lose. Absent a major scandal, the most vulnerable election for an incumbent is the first re-election campaign.

For Conrad Burns, that campaign was his 1994 re-election. In that race, Montana Democrats fielded Jack Mudd, a Missoula attorney and Dean of the Law School to challenge the newbie senator. Mudd was what we now refer to as a DLC Democrat, he focused on following polls to try to find a way to not anger voters while avoiding a message of economic populism. Mudd lost.

In 2000, Burns was much stronger of a candidate and had the luxury of being on the same ticket as George Bush after eight years of a Democratic White House (as an aside, Clinton visited and won Montana in 1992). The insiders said Burns would cruise to an easy re-election and not a single Democratic elected official challenged him, instead three statewide officials chose to fight it out in the gubernatorial primary rather than take on Burns. But an unknown farmer named Brian Schweitzer decided to take on Burns -- with little institutional support -- running on a message of economic populism.

Comparing the 1994 and 2000 outcomes shows the power -- especially in the "red states" -- of running a man of the people with a message of economic populism.

Here are the 1994 and 2000 results (PDFs):

1994
Burns:
218,542 Votes (62%)
Mudd:
131,845 Votes (38%)

2000
Burns:
208,082 Votes (52%)
Schweitzer:
194,430 Votes (48%)

That is an astonishing difference in outcomes that can be attributed 100% to running a candidate who is a farmer -- not a city lawyer -- with a message of economic populism.

As everyone knows, Schweitzer went on to be elected Governor of Montana during the 2004 "Montana Miracle" sweep that voters allowed as Democrats stood proud and promised to fight as populists. Governor Schweitzer now enjoys a 57% approval rating, four points higher than President Bush.

Montana Democrats are now faced with deciding between keeping the populist winning streak alive or returning to the DLC message that has wrought nothing but heartache and failure.

Democrat state Senate President Jon Tester is another fiery farmer with a bread-and-butter message of economic populism, while State Auditor John Morrison is another city lawyer on track to suffer the same fate as Jack Mudd and Dusty Deschamps (1998 Montana congressional candidate who was stomped).

There is a Da Vinci code for Democrats and that involves fighting as a populist. There is no reason why the 2004 sweep can't carry over to 2006, all that is necessary is a will to stand strong for the people and ditch the DLC, polled-based, boring campaigns of old.

That is why I'm proud that Swing State Project is supporting Jon Tester. I expect Tester to beat Burns and in the process, continue Schweitzer's trail-blazing of a message that resonates in the heartland, in rural areas, in red states.

Join us with a contribution:

www.actblue.com/list/ssp

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, May 27, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester for Senate Website (+ Weekend Break)

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana state Senate President Jon Tester now has a website for his bid to oust embattled U.S. Senator Conrad Burns:

www.TesterForSenate.com

Contribution amount: $

UPDATE (Tim): You can track your progress at this link; let's see if we can't get this number up to 25 contributions of $25.01 by the end of the weekend. The candidate even includes Swing State Project and other blogs on his In The News page.

UPDATE (David): The Swing State Project will be taking a short vacation for this Memorial Day weekend. Please check back in with us on Tuesday. And in the meantime, please consider helping out Jon Tester in his bid for the US Senate. I can't think of a more deserving candidate.

P.S. Have a great weekend!

UPDATE (Bob): Thanks for helping get Tester off the ground. After you join us in helping out Tester, please join us in unplugging and enjoying the weekend. Remember America's heros this Memorial Day. See you Tuesday.

Posted at 03:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Thursday, May 26, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Announcement News

Posted by Bob Brigham

Jon Tester, Democrat running for the U.S. Senate in Montana, received a ton of good press during his state-wide announcement tour. Swing State Project has adopted Tester and since this is an amazing pick-up opportunity for Democrats, we will be following this race very closely.

To allow everyone to see how this race is shaping up from the start, I've compiled a collection of reports on the kickoff, including news on the Pearl Jam involvement.

If you like what you see, help Tester get his campaign up and running with an early contribution.

First, The Missoulian:

After 45 minutes of snaking through Missoula traffic, a large gray tractor-trailer parked at the University of Montana's College of Technology on Wednesday afternoon. The driver, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, emerged - promising to stand up for Main Street Montana.

A former music teacher and a Democrat, Tester, 48, has been on a state tour promoting his candidacy for U.S. Senate since Tuesday.

The tour began in his hometown of Big Sandy. He has driven through Havre, Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Butte and, finally, Missoula.

When Tester wins, he'll be one of a handful of senators who know how to work a double-clutch on a big rig.

Tester said his campaign will focus on issues that affect the overlooked populations in the state, namely the middle class and American Indians.

Too many working-class people in Montana have been pushed into the ranks of the working poor, Tester said.

After his initial swing through the state, Tester said he will begin a tour of Montana's Indian reservations. "You can't address Montana's economic issues unless you address the employment issues on reservations," he said.

He added that the state needs to start working with tribes on a government-to-government level.

And who was with him in Missoula?

Pearl Jam bassist and youth vote proponent Jeff Ament was at Wednesday afternoon's stopover in Missoula, and said he agrees with most of Tester's political agenda.

Ament, who grew up in Big Sandy with Tester, said preserving rural Montana is key to gaining young votes.

"Keeping rural Montana alive has so much to do with the youth of Montana," Ament said. "You see these small, rural communities dying and it's killing the hope for the youth. If he becomes a part of the federal Senate, he could make a big difference."

More on Pearl Jam and the concert rumors in a minute. Now to the Lee Newspapers state bureau:

Tester, 48, said in a cell phone interview from his truck that he is seeking the U.S. Senate seat because he believes many Montanans have been overlooked by the federal government.

"I just feel small business, family farmers, agriculture, working people have been kind of under attack for the last 15-20 years," Tester said. "I think the federal government needs to make these people a priority. The middle class has built this country, and we need to make them whole."

Other top issues, he said, are opposing President Bush's Social Security plan to let some people put some of their Social Security money instead in private investment accounts, and the soaring federal deficit, which threatens Medicaid and highway funding.

"More than half of our (state budget) money is federal," he said. We've got to work to protect them."

This article has more on the issues:

Tester said he decided to jump into the Senate race because of the strong support he received from fellow Democratic legislators, constituents and folks around the state.

He cited his track record as a senator helping Main Street Montanans with some of this legislation:

  • A law passed this year to create a comprehensive prescription drug benefit program for Montana's seniors, disabled and uninsured.
  • A 2005 law to create jobs and strengthen the state's economy by reinstating the "Made in Montana" promotion program the Martz administration had ended.
  • A law this year to encourage renewable energy development across the state and to help bring jobs to rural Montana and lower energy rates for consumers.
  • His efforts to guide passage of a bill that led to a historic increase in public school funding.

Here's why he needs your help:

Tester said he will try to raise the $600,000 to $800,000 that people have told him he will need for the primary election. Defeating Burns in the general election will take at least $6 million, he said.

"We'll handle the money as frugally as we can," Tester said. "We'll do the best we can with what we have to work with. I'm used to working with budgets that are pretty close to the table."

Contribution amount: $

Now back to the Pearl Jam rumor, from Courtney Lowry at New West:

When you find things you thought were no longer possible, it's hard not to get excited. Wednesday afternoon, I came across two such things -- a political candidate I actually like and the possibility of hearing actual music in Montana.

It seems we're lacking both these days, so to see Jon Tester and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament standing together in the mid-afternoon Missoula sun with a tractor-trailer in the background was enough to give a person hope. [...]

Ament was there to support him sporting a white T-shirt with "Tester 2006" written in black marker across the chest.

The connection here is that both of them are from Big Sandy (a small farming community on the hi-line) both have watched the fabric of Montana change as the agriculture economy dropped and small businesses struggled, both want to get Conrad Burns out of the U.S. Senate and both think Jon Tester is the man for the job.

I'm guessing that is the first campaign shirt of the season, a rock star wearing a hand made t-shirt.

I've said this before, but I always use my old farmer Dad as a litmus test for how a Democrat is going to fare in Montana. My Dad is the old guard of the real family farmer and if you want to be a Democrat and win in Montana, you've got to appeal to the Clyde Lowerys of the world. My Dad and Jon Tester would be friends. They would spot each other in a room and talk for hours about the weather. My Dad wouldn't know what to do in a room with John Morrison.

But I digress. The real news here for Missoulians is that Ament has thrown his superstar weight behind Tester and that, my friends, could mean a lot for Jon Tester (and even possibly a benefit concert from Pearl Jam.) Arment said there's a lot of things to be worked out (like campaign donation laws and whatnot) but he and the boys are going to help out in anyway they can, "I want to do it and the band is totally behind it," he said. The band is going on tour in Canada this fall and their working on finishing an album, so there's a lot to be ironed out still.

Pearl Jam is famous for their philanthropy and one of Ament's pet issues is aid to family farmers. He said the band has contemplated doing Farm Aid shows in the past, but it never quite fit. By supporting Tester, Ament says he feels like he's still supporting family farmers.

"The thing that gets me most excited about Jon being involved on a federal level is that I think he could turn the farm program around," he told the small crowd. He later told me that "we have to keep rural Montana alive." Tester, he said, is the best chance.

This is going to be a helluva a race to watch. Let's give Tester the tools he needs to win!

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Swing State Project's Official Candidate List

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project writes on the most important races in the country. Following all of the races lets SSP identify the best candidates in races where your support can make a crucial difference.

Our first candidate is Jon Tester, who is running for Senate in Montana. This is THE BEST pick-up opportunity for Democrats—anywhere in the country.

Last year, the revitalized Montana Democrats sweep the Governor’s mansion and both chambers of the legislature. This year, they are going to send their best and brightest to Washington.

Since this is Montana, your contribution practically doubles in value as soon as it crosses the stateline.

Montana -- the Last Best Place -- has this year’s best Senate candidate. Join us in supporting Jon Tester, he’ll make us proud.

Contribution amount: $

The U.S. Senate needs Jon Tester, send him $25 dollars today to help get his campaign up and running. When you send an email to your friends asking them to join you in helping to win this race, include a link to:

http://www.actblue.com/list/ssp

UPDATE (David): I'm incredibly excited that we've launched our new candidate list. Longtime readers will remember the tremendous success we had in supporting Ginny Schrader, who ran for Congress in Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district. We wound up raising nearly $7,000 for her, far exceeding our initial goal of $1,000. Based on our past success, I know we can do a bang-up job for Tester. Let's get to it!

Posted at 10:45 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester to Beat Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob - Tester is the first SSP candidate in 2006.

UPDATE: (Bob) - Get to know the best Democratic Senate candidate in 2006, check out the video (click on video link). Also, pics of Tester here.

UPDATE: (Bob) - Kos calls Tester, The next senator from the great state of Montana.

First of all, let's review why you need to pay attention to Senator Conrad Burns re-election in Montana:

In 2000, Burns barely won (against an unknown opponent)

Burns re-elect number is 36%

Burns is having trouble raising money

Burns is a key figure in multiple corruption investigations

Burns lies to Montanans

Over the weekend, I posted on Jon Tester. His campaign is now official, according to the Havre Daily News:

Senate President Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, began his first official day of campaigning for the U.S. Senate close to home today.

He planned to greet a few of his local supporters in Big Sandy before heading to Havre in a tractor-trailer decorated with lettering advertising his bid for the seat now held by Republican Conrad Burns.

Jon Tester is the real deal and as the best Democrat pick-up opportunity, this is a race Swing State Project will follow closely.

Tester needed to talk about it with his family first, he said. One consideration was the operation of his family farm, which his grandfather homesteaded. "It's not like it's a disposable piece of property," he said.

The other was the move to Washington, D.C. Tester said his family was in full support of the decision to run.

"You've got common sense and leadership abilities," he said he was told by constituents, who have also urged him to run.

Tester isn't a politician, he's a leader. I think that is why the people in Montana I've talked to are so excited by his effort. This won't be another typical campaign between two politicians, this will be a man of the people bringing people together to ensure that the people have a voice in D.C.

Tester is finishing his fourth term in the state Senate, his last due to term limits. In the Legislature he has focused on health care, education and jobs.

"The experience I got in the Montana Legislature, particularly as the leader of the Senate, has prepared me to represent the people of Montana well in Washington, D.C.," he said today.

Tester said he thinks one of his biggest assets as a candidate besides his experience in legislative leadership is his background.

"I think I can take that small business perspective and do some good things for the state of Montana," he said.

On national issues:

Among national issues, Social Security and Medicare are Tester's biggest concerns.

"I think the issue of privatization of (Social Security) and the risk of losing that program is not healthy," he said.

As for Montana's relationship with the federal government, "The federal government plays a huge role in the state's budget, particularly in the Medicaid account," he said. "It helps our elderly and disabled. That's a critical component from the D.C. level."

Not only can he win, but I fully expect him to:

Tester said he thinks he can defeat Burns in an election. "It's going to be very difficult," he said. "It's going to take a lot of work. He's an incumbent and he's been in there a lot of years."

But Tester said his background gives him an advantage: "The fact that I've lived in this environment my entire life and made a living here and understand the challenges that Montanans have. [...]

"He's got a quicker start but this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon," Tester said. "It's a lot of work. He who gets out there and hustles usually wins these things."

Two weeks ago, Tester traveled to Washington, D.C., to test the waters among party leadership. "We were treated very well," he said. "Everybody was very supportive of me running. They thought I had the right profile to win."

Damn straight.

Contribution amount: $

UPDATE: (Bob) Here's Tester's travel schedule for Wednesday:

Big Sandy Farmer Drives Tractor-Trailer Rig Across State to Listen to Montanans

Montana Senate President Jon Tester, a third-generation family farmer from Big Sandy, is announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate Wednesday in Bozeman, Butte and Missoula.

Driving his tractor-trailer rig, Tester started his statewide tour from his Big Sandy home and farm on Tuesday.

Today, Wednesday, May 25, Tester will be in his truck in Bozeman, Butte and Missoula at these times and locations:

Bozeman 9:30 a.m. Conoco gas station, off North Seventh Avenue and Baxter Lane near I-90

Butte 12 noon Red Lion Hotel, 2100 Cornell (Agri-Business Days)

Missoula 3:30 p.m. College of Technology, East Campus, 909 South Avenue West

“I’ll roll up my sleeves and work hard for Montana’s working families, just like my parents and grandparents taught me,” Tester said. “Montanans want leaders who work together and use common sense. And Montana families are stronger when they have good-paying jobs, quality public schools, and more affordable, accessible health care.”

Tester said that as a farmer and businessman from small-town Montana he understands the importance of working together -- neighbor to neighbor -- to get the job done.

“I’m working for the working people of Montana, for Main Street Montana, for those families who work hard and want their kids and grandkids to live, work and raise their families here,” Tester said. “My track record as a citizen-legislator demonstrates my deep commitment to moving Montana forward.”

“Jon Tester’s the real deal, and he gets the job done for Montana,” said state Representative Monica Lindeen of Huntley. “Montanans have a great opportunity to send a family farmer and proven leader to the U.S. Senate.”

Tester will drive his truck around the state this week to listen to Montanans. Tester is stopping in Havre, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Missoula, Great Falls and Montana towns in between.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 08:19 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

The Revitalized Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

For the last two weeks, I've been blessed with a front-row seat to the filibuster fight. It has been a remarkable experience and as Swing State Project pivots back to focusing on 2006 races, I will miss the urgency of the battle. Make no mistake, this was a battle royale and I believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the transformation of the Democratic Party.

My first observation is that the Democrats didn't roll over and die. The Democratic Leadership Council has so thoroughly wrecked the Democratic Party that I believe it is important to emphasize this. On too many battles since the DLC bought the party, Democrats have feared to engage in political battle. Much to my surprise, under Senator Harry Reid's leadership, Democrats are willing to stand up fight.

The Democratic Party still has a long way to go in the quest to remedy the harm of the DLC. The most important part of the battle to retake our party is giving Senator Joe Lieberman a giant shitburger of a primary challenge. As far as I'm concerned, the junior Senator from Connecticut is a complete piece of crap that is only allowed in the Democratic caucus because Harry Reid is a gentleman. To be perfectly honest, I don't even care if we win. But we need to send a powerful signal that the appeasement days are over. Blanketing Connecticut with the nastiest ads ever created will go a long way towards forging a respect for solidarity in the Democratic Party.

Looking back over the battle for the filibuster, I think Democrats biggest blow came on March 15 when Harry Reid held a capitol steps rally to demonstrate unity -- Lieberman's absence was "conspicuous" (as the press noted). That is the great thing about brinkmanship, it clearly defines who is on which team. Lieberman hurt Democrats through the entire battle and the Democratic Leadership Council was worthless in the fight.

Those of you who think Democrats could have done better are 100% justified in blaming Joe Lieberman. Lieberman's refusal to work with Democrats cost us from the start, it hurt our posture, it compromised our negotiating position, and it personally pissed me off.

I don't buy in to unilateral disarmament and I certainly don't buy in to the notion that you don't go negative in primary elections. The primaries are where we set our Democratic Party's course and if a credible candidate runs against Joe Lieberman, I am confident that the netroots will unleash a wrath of epic proportions. Sure Lieberman will probably win, but he needs to be shunned by Democrats. When he goes home to Connecticut, I want people to lower their eyes as he walks down the street...too embarrassed to make eye contact.

The act of shunning has a proud tradition in political action and needs to be utilized against Lieberman. For Democratic political operatives, there is no honor in working for Lieberman or the DLC. While people have ended up in the employment of both for a variety of reasons, now is the time to leave. Twenty years down the road, if a resume crosses my desk from somebody who worked for Lieberman after today, that person will be rejected without any further consideration. If you want to work in Democratic politics, you do not want Lieberman or the DLC on your resume.

I am one-hundred fucking percent serious about this. From now on, there are no excuses.

But back to the good stuff. In spite of Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party showed a new spirit these last couple of weeks. Some of it was the momentum from a united caucus blocking Social Security privatization, but there was something else that I noticed in this fight: teamwork.

Except for the Lieberman and the dipshits at the DLC, the left worked together to save the filibuster. Bill Frist's abuse of power forced institutional and structural changes in Democrats' coordination, command and control, messsage, and distribution that were fast-tracked to deal with Dobson's threat against the senate.

Comparing my experiences early in the year fighting for Social Security with the last two weeks, I noticed a dramatic escalation in modernized campaigning by Democrats.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but the filibuster fight was a great fire-drill for Democrats. We learned a great deal at an accelerated rate, knowledge that will be priceless in future policy and election battles.

In short, Reid kicks ass, Lieberman sucks ass, and the revitalized donkey is one ass we can be proud of.

UPDATE: (Bob) - You can find more out more about a potential primary campaign against Lieberman here and here.

Posted at 11:36 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Democrats, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Monday, May 23, 2005

Reid Claims Victory!

Posted by Bob Brigham

Reid's Statement:

There is good news for every American in this agreement. The so-called "nuclear option" is off the table. This is a significant victory for our country, for democracy, and for all Americans. Checks and balances in our government have been preserved.

The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the intent of the Republican "nuclear option" from the beginning. Tonight, the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and the greater good.

We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message: Abuse of power will not be tolerated, and attempts to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control are over. We are a separate and equal branch of government. That is our founding fathers¹ vision, and one we hold dear.

I offered Senator Frist several options similar to this compromise, and while he was not able to agree, I am pleased that some responsible Republicans and my colleagues were able to put aside there differences and work from the center. I do not support several of the judges that have been agreed to because their views and records display judicial activism that jeopardize individual rights and freedoms. But other troublesome nominees have been turned down. And, most importantly, the U.S. Senate retains the checks and balances to ensure all voices are heard in our democracy and the Supreme Court make-up cannot be decided by a simple majority.

I am grateful to my colleagues who brokered this deal. Now, we can move beyond this time-consuming process that has deteriorated the comity of this great institution. I am hopeful that we can quickly turn to work on the people's business. We need to ensure our troops have the resources they need to fight in Iraq and that Americans are free from terrorism. We need to protect retiree's pensions and long-term security. We need to expand health care opportunities for all families. We need to address rising gasoline prices and energy independence. And we need to restore fiscal responsibility and rebuild our economy so that it lifts all American workers. That is our reform agenda, the people's reform agenda. Together, we can get the job done.

Good news for America, even Senate Republicans admitted the GOP leadership under Frist and DeLay is nuts. With Senate Republicans leading the charge, the 2006 backlash begins today!

UPDATE (Bob): HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Posted at 08:31 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Voter Backlash Against GOP Abuse of Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yet another new poll and yet further evidence that voters are pissed off at the Republican abuse of power. This is going to have serious ramifications in 2006.

Posted at 05:37 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

Nuclear Option: NE, PA, OH, VI Calls

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you live in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia -- pick up your phone right now and help save the Senate. Details after the jump...

From NHC1978 on Daily Kos:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:
202-224-4254

Philadelphia Office:
215-597-7200

Pittsburgh Office:
412-644-3400

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nebraska, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

PA-Sen: Sirota Rips NYT for Santorum Advertisment

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ricky Santorum, Pennsylvania's wack-job Junior Senator, compares the New York Times to Nazis and the Times (happy for a reach-around), gives the Senator a glowing profile in the Sunday Magazine.

However, David Sirota isn't afraid to speak truth to power and you know it is a must-read when Sirota headlines, "All the Kneeling to Power That's Fit to Print."

Posted at 02:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sending Rule Breakers Back to the Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

As everyone knows, the only way the GOP can end the filibuster without the 67 votes needed to change senate rules, is to break the rules. Will voters re-elect Senators who break the rules? Will voters re-elect Senators who are going nuclear against the institution of the senate? I'm sure it is on the minds of:

• Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
• Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
• Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
• Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
• Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
• Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
• Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
• Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
• Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
• Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
• Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
• Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
• Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
• Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*

* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

Posted at 10:33 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

Saturday, May 21, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester: "Pretty Damn Serious"

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob) - Join Swing State Project by supporting Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $

I found this via Left in the West, but I'll be setting up Google News Alerts on this one. From the Billings Gazette:

Although the primary election is more than a year away, state Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, is setting up a contest for a chance to unseat U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., in 2006.

Tester, fresh from visiting with Democratic Party leaders in Washington, D.C. last week, said Friday in Billings he is putting together a statewide announcement tour for next week. It could begin as early as Tuesday.

"We're pretty damn serious," he said while visiting with labor leaders at the Northern Hotel at the AFL-CIO state convention.

I'm glad he's serious, because Conrad Burns is the single most vulnerable U.S. Senator in 2006.

Tester, 48, an organic farmer, is president of the Montana Senate. He is barred by term limits from running again for the Senate, where he has served since 1999.

He said it will be tough to raise money in Montana and that a lengthy campaign is "brutal" - but that is necessary nowadays.

Raising money in Montana is tough, the GOP ran the economy into the ground. That is why Burns raises most of his money from out-of-staters and lobbyists. But Tester could beat Burns with a third as much money, because he is the real deal. I know people say that often about candidates, but few measure up to Big Sandy's Jon Tester.

I remember watching the crowd in the Montana Secretary of State's office on the day of the filing deadline to run for the legislature in 1998. Everyone had heard of this Tester-guy who was running for a very Republican state senate seat up on the Hi-Line. People seemed in awe when they finally saw him, he owned the room. Imagine a high school basketball team showing up on game-night with a seven foot center, that is how people looked at him. And since then, his stature has only grown as people have watched him excel as a legislator. He is the real deal, he's ready for prime-time, and his populism will make this a race to watch.

If Tester does enter the race next week, I will do two things:

1. Send him some money

2. Change the status on this race from Leaning Republican to Leaning Democrat

Last year, Tester's campaigning helped Democrats win both chambers of the legislature for the first time in a long time. He already has a statewide infrastructure and is respected by many Montanans who don't consider Democrats who act like lawyers. He is the type of western populist that can restore a sense of pride for western Democrats.

Tester is a straight-talker, so when he says he is taking this "pretty damn serious" -- pay attention. But notice the quote, it wasn't about him. He said, "We're pretty damn serious." I think the "we" refers to almost everyone he's ever met or will meet before election day. Count me in.

UPDATE: (Bob) Montana-blog The Last Best Place:

Tester's In
Since I wasn't all that excited about John Morrison's campaign to unseat incumbent $enator, Conrad Burns, I welcomed the story in today's Billings Gazette which indicates Jon Tester, a fellow wheat farmer, will be making an anncouncement this coming week. [...]

Now, this is a campaign that I can not only get excited about, but also donate heavily to. Way to go Jon!

Posted at 02:09 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Nuclear Option, GOP Firing Blanks

Posted by Bob Brigham

It doesn't matter who you have on the team roster, what matters is who you put in the game. While the GOP has the White House and both chambers, in the battle for the constitution they aren't fielding their best team. I'm not just talking about Manny Miranda's screw-ups, I'm talking about the ad I just saw on Drudge:

upordownvote.gif

Fill in the Blank

OK, if they want me to fill in the blank, how about I fill in the blank about that Social Security card linked to Bush. How about I fill in the blank with Bush's poll numbers on the Social Security issue the up or down vote people brought into the debate (and tied to Bush).

Time Poll conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs. May 10-12, 2005. N=1,011 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3); compared to same from 1/12-13/05:

"Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing in each of these areas? Handling of Social Security issues."

Approve: 31% (40%)
Disapprove: 59% (49%)

That is a helluva shift so far this year, the public has soundly rejected Bush's Social Security privatization.

But now the "nuclear option" crowd is dragging Social Security into the fight against the institution of the Senate. People need to realize that this lust for absolute power has serious implications when it comes to whether the GOP will break the rules (to change the rules) to end Social Security like they are trying to do with the filibuster. It is the "nuclear option" lobby who is linking Social Security to the quest for total GOP domination -- be worried, they will stop at nothing, least of not the rules.

Posted at 12:29 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, May 20, 2005

PA-Sen: Update on Santorum Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two major updates on the Santorum Scandal.

Chuck Pennacchio, Democrat challenging Santorum in 2006, has posted a startling video on his blog of Santorum using a Nazi slander against the New York Times.

The Anti-Defamation League is outraged

Dear Senator Santorum:

We write to object in the strongest terms to your reference to Adolf Hitler in the context of a political debate on judicial nominations on the floor of the Senate today.

Whatever your views on the Senate rules relating to the use of the filibuster and judicial nominations, it is utterly inappropriate and insensitive to suggest that Democratic Party tactics in any way resemble actions taken by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Suggesting some kind of "equivalence" between these tactics and statements and actions of Adolf Hitler demonstrates a profound lack of understanding as to who Hitler was and what he and his regime represented.

We urge you to repudiate your remarks and apologize to the American people for distorting an important issue with such an inappropriate comparison to Hitler and the Holocaust.

Ricky Santorum should step down from his leadership position to avoid being censured by the full Senate.

Posted at 04:50 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Bloggers' Parlimentarian

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yes, the bloggers have a Parlimentarian. His name is Kagro X. When he writes at The Next Hurrah, you should read:

Nuclear Option Proliferation
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part V
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IX
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part X
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XVI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XVII

Footnotes on the Nuclear Option
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IV
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part V
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VI
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VII
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VIII
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IX

Posted at 02:07 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PA-Sen: Senator Rick Santorum Out of Line

Posted by Bob Brigham

This post made CNN.

NOTE: This is a long post with lots of links that should be explored. This is completely outrageous, Santorum should step down from his leadership position.

Another Raw Story Exclusive:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) compared Democrats' attempts to keep the filibuster to Hitler's moves in 1942 in a floor speech in the Senate Thursday afternoon, RAW STORY has learned.

Atrios asks:

The "Move On" Standard

Once upon a time an organziation called Move On (or probably Move On Pac, forget which) ran a little ad creation contest. The initial submissions, of which there were many, weren't really screened by the organization, and a couple of them admittedly crossed the line by making Bush/Nazi comparisons. Those ads were yanked immediately by the organization, but are nonetheless used to this day by the liberal media to smear Move On as an irresponsible "extremist" organization.

Now we have the junior Senator from Pennsylvania comparing the entire Senate Dem caucus to Adolf Hitler. Will the "Move On" standard of the liberal media still apply?

Good question. My guess is that the blogosphere will be making a list of every reporter who wrote about the MoveOn non-story. If reporters will enable right-wing attacks by repeating non-stories about something posted online, but won't give more attention to a real story about this happening on the Senate floor, then I believe that these reporters deserve the wrath of the blogosphere.

We're watching, if you're a reporter, you had better be filing.

BLOGSWARM

UPDATE: : Sean-Paul Kelley piles on at The Agonist. And Atrios busts Santorum for flip-flopping.
UPDATE: Dave Johnson piles on at Seeing the Forest.
UPDATE: David piles on at The Supreme Irony of Life (how fitting).
UPDATE: David Sirota piles on and escalates -- great stuff!
UPDATE: Oliver Willis has audio.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has video.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Dubner at American Prospect tells Santorum to go to hell
UPDATE: In Santorum's home state Pennsylvania, Jeff's Little Blog Blue piles on.
UPDATE: Think Progress throws down.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo seemed to be in a state of disbelief
UPDATE: The blogswarm is turning into a shitstorm, Armando has it on the front page of Daily Kos.
UPDATE: DC Media Girl asks readers to call Santorum's office at 202-224-6324
UPDATE: Balloon Juice is in favor of bitch-slapping
UPDATE: ArchPundit calls Senator Santorum a jackass.
UPDATE: Chris Bowers of MyDD piles on
UPDATE: The Carpetbagger joins
UPDATE: Spin Dry suggests a spanking may be in order
UPDATE: The "view from above" is at the Rooftop Report
UPDATE: 2 Political Junkies: "Un-fucking-believable"
UPDATE: Left in the West call's Rick Santorum an asshole and has more here
UPDATE: And Random Ravings

UPDATE: This is now an issue in Pennyslvania's 2006 Senate race, Chuck Pennacchio's statement (also on Politics PA):

“As an historian of Holocaust-era Germany, I find Rick Santorum’s comment to be offensive, divisive, and destructive. Rick Santorum should immediately issue a public apology, and then retreat with conscience to consider the lasting damage he has done to the United States Senate and to the memory of 12 million Holocaust victims.”

“How ironic is it that he would make such an extremist comment, comparing Senate Democrats to Adolph Hitler, while his own political party seeks to consolidate all governmental party in its own hands?”

Pennacchio continued, “This is embarrassing to all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, Rick Santorum’s hate-filled and heated rhetoric is completely consistent with the junior Senator’s past behavior.”

UPDATE: Damn Liberals piles on
UPDATE: Talk Left piles on.
UPDATE: Rob at Laughing at the Pieces: Holy Fucking Shit
UPDATE: Political Strategy: Scum of the Earth (and at Semidi
UPDATE: Yudel Line piles on
UPDATE: Charging Rino: the nuclear option's "Major Kong."
UPDATE: In Pennsylvania, Young Philly Politics piles on
UPDATE: The scandal made "BUZZ" on Salon's Dauo Report
UPDATE: Think Progress has the rebuttal from Senator Max Baucus: “This is the Way Democracy Ends”
UPDATE: David Sirota has his second post
UPDATE: Steve Gilliard of News Blog: this is like shitting on the WWII memorial
UPDATE: Stirlying Newberry of Blogging of the President calls for CENSURE
UPDATE: Brad of Brad Blog: Fillibuster Blitzkreig!
UPDATE: AmericaBlog piles on and on.
UPDATE: With way too much time to prepare before morning drive time, here comes Eric Hananoki with the Air America Al Franken Show Blog
UPDATE Over at Hullabaloo Digby writes: Santorum is full of shit and everybody but the theocrats and the press knows it. Even Ricky.
UPDATE Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: In fact, a good old liberal lynching of Frist and Santorum is just what this country needs right about now, if you ask me.
UPDATE DNC's Kicking Ass: truly sickening


CONTACT INFO FOR ALL SANTORUM OFFICES IN EXTENDED ENTRY

Washington, D.C. Office:
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6324
#
Allentown Office:
Counties: Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks
3802 Federal Office Building
504 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101
Main: 610-770-0142
Fax: 610-770-0911
#
Altoona Office:
Counties: Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
Route 220 North
Regency Square, Suite 220
Altoona, PA 16601
Main: 814-946-7023
Fax: 814-946-7025
#
Coudersport Office:
Counties: Cameron, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
#
Erie Office:
Counties: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
#
Harrisburg Office:
Counties: Adams, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Union Snyder, York
555 Walnut Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Main: 717-231-7540
Fax: 717-231-7542
#
Philadelphia Office:
Counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
1 South Penn Square
Widener Building, Suite 960
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Main: 215-864-6900
Fax: 215-864-6910
#
Pittsburgh Office:
Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Westmoreland, Washington
100 West Station Square Drive
Landmarks Building, Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Main: 412-562-0533
Fax: 412-562-4313
#
Scranton Office:
Counties: Bradford, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Montour, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming
527 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18503
Main: 570-344-8799
Fax: 570-344-8906

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (3) | Technorati

Nuclear Option Polling

Posted by Bob Brigham

I took a look at the new NBC/WSJ poll yesterday. This is the one showing Congress has dropped to a 33% approval rating, down 8% for the year. And there is room to trend further south as we'll be seeing in the polls that capture the post-nuclear opinion. In the analysis of his poll, GOP pollster Bill says:

Congress has wrong priorities
McInturff, the GOP pollster, points out that Americans are upset with Congress focusing on the battle over judges, Social Security, trying to restore Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube and the ethical troubles surrounding their members, including Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, instead of focusing on the economy, gas prices and health care.

The storyline of the an out-of-touch, corrupt, GOP recklessly over-reaching is developing. And Democrats' defense of the institution of the U.S. Senate is respected by Americans who passed high school civics. Republicans know that their party has been taken over by bat-shit crazies who are hell-bent on total control.

The 2006 political ramifications will be severe. Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart says:

“The public is exceptionally displeased with the Congress,” Hart said. “It is [its] lowest set of numbers since May of 1994,” the year when congressional Republicans defeated their Democratic counterparts in the midterm elections to take control of both the House and Senate. According to this poll, by 47 percent to 40 percent the public says it would prefer Democrats controlling Congress after the 2006 elections. [...]

Regarding the contentious debate over Bush’s judicial nominees, just 34 percent say the Senate should generally confirm the president’s judicial picks as long as they are honest and competent, while 56 percent argue that the Senate should make its own decision about the fitness of each nominee to serve.

Overall, according to the NBC/Journal poll, 52 percent believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction, while 35 percent think it’s on the right track.

All of these findings, Hart says, are signs of an angry electorate. “If you are a member of Congress and you got the poll back, you better be looking over your shoulder,” he said. “The masses are not happy.”

Indeed.

Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Filibuster and Nuclear Option Coverage

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project will have round-the-clock coverage of the filibuster festivities (this post will remain at the top of the page). You can watch on CSPAN2.

Update 1 - Wednesday 9:50 A.M. (Tim): It's on. Bill Frist has brought the nomination of Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to the floor and the debate about the filibuster is on. No turning back now.

Update 2 - Wednesday 10:33 A.M. (Bob): Joining the battle...after five days on the road I'm back in The City, sitting at the best coffee shop and watching C-SPAN 2 online.

Update 3 - Wednesday 10:48 A.M. (Bob & Tim: I am including contact links): From an email, Manny Miranda is targeting, "GOP Leaders, and to McCain, Snowe (email below), Collins, Hagel, Sununu, Chafee, and Red State Democrats Byrd, Conrad, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, and Bingaman (email below)."

Comma separated email addresses (looking for rest to make it easy): olympia@snowe.senate.gov, senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov

Update 4 - Wednesday 12:08 P.M. (Bob): Memo to Senator Ken Salazar. You can't win if negotiate with terrorists.

Update 5 - Wednesday 12:52 P.M. (Bob): Since the last update, I've been on conference calls with Reid and Schumer. Democrats are as coordinated as I've ever seen.

Posted at 01:04 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Political Respect - Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

Respect is something the polls need to do a better job of trying to understand. While polls try to follow by examining sentiment by testing approval, they need to also look at respect because we know that people will vote against interests, against their beliefs.

I don't care where people stand on the issue of the nuclear option, it is just that I'm far more interested in the degree voters respect the role a politician is playing in the filibuster theatre.

I thought this deserved some disussion after reading this in the Las Vegas Journal Review:

Reid's performance gets thumbs up from most

WASHINGTON -- Days before an anticipated Senate filibuster showdown, a slight majority of Nevadans disapprove of Sen. Harry Reid blocking some of President Bush's judicial picks, according to a new poll.

But despite splitting from him on federal judges, a majority of Nevadans believe Reid, D-Nev., is doing a good job representing them in the Senate, the poll showed.

For many voters, respect is a primia facia hurdle, only after that will they listen to the issues. So the question for the nuclear war is will voters respect the Republicans after this power grab:

Despite his leading role in partisan fighting over judges and Social Security reform, Reid drew some support from Nevada Republicans, with 29 percent of GOP respondents rating him "good" or "excellent."

Time for bold action. Time to earn some respect. The Democrat comeback begins today.

Posted at 10:03 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Nevada, Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Senate 2006: Bill Frist and Tom DeLay

Posted by Bob Brigham

The nationalization of the 2006 cycle is escalating. From the DSCC Media Response Project:

Bill Frist and Tom DeLay are out of control. When they don't get what they want, they abuse their power and change the rules. It's time to fight back.

A bitter Senate showdown over the so-called "nuclear option" looms just around the corner.

That's why the DSCC Media Response Project has produced this bold and powerful new ad to show America that we won't stand idle. We won't let Senate Republicans abuse their power to satisfy their extremist right wing base.

Click here to see the Ad

While Frist's senate career is ending and DeLay will likely lose his re-election (even if he isn't in jail), it looks like the out of control actions of Republican Party will cost other GOPers come election day 2006.

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

CO-7: Beauprez Takes Booby Prize

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If the Democratic Party is going to make the 2006 midterm elections a discussion of ethics, tying Tom DeLay around the neck of Republicans across the country, Bob Beauprez (CO-7) might be wearing the biggest weight of any seriously contested candidate.

The Public Campaign Action Fund released "The DeLay Rankings," and asks the question, "How close is your Representative to scandal-plagued Tom DeLay?" The Results? Republican Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th CD came in first. Unfortunately, Democrats fielded no challenge to Feeney in 2004. The booby prize, second place, went to Bob Beauprez of Colorado's 7th CD.

In 2004, Beauprez earned an uninspiring 55% of the vote in his race against Democrat Dave Thomas. Beauprez also spent nearly $3 million dollars on the race, three times as much as Thomas.

The Action Fund's rankings provide a composite score after accumulating data from several categories: How much did the Representative contribute to DeLay's legal fund, receive from DeLay's PAC, and closeness with DeLay's voting record.

Rounding out the top five: 3.) Jim Ryun (KS-3) 4.) Dave Weldon (FL-15) 5.) Jim Gerlach (PA-6). For the rest of the rankings, click here.

Posted at 11:05 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

VT-Sen: Sanders Crushing Tarrant and Dubie

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Political Wire:

A new Research 2000 poll shows Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defeating all possible challengers in the 2006 Vermont Senate race. Sanders leads businessman Richard Tarrant (62% to 18%), Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (59% to 23%) and Major General Martha Rainville (61% to 18%).

Get used to seeing Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Posted at 11:33 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Vermont | Technorati

Monday, May 09, 2005

MT-Sen: Frontier PAC Opens a Can of Open-Source on Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Frontier PAC:

Repeatedly during the 2004 election cycle, we saw a great idea bubble up from the grassroots only to get incorporated in a half-hearted way by people who didn't fully get it. Frontier PAC is launching the Open-Source Campaign -- an effort to put corrupt GOP incumbents on the defensive early -- in order to avoid those same pitfalls in delivering a reform message for 2006.

This campaign doesn't speak for the netroots, it is the netroots: no consultants, no focus groups, and no conventional wisdom. Just an earnest and aggressive values-based showdown with Republicans.

How are we getting started?
By going after Conrad Burns in Montana. Burns is far more in touch with the values of Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay than with the values of the people of Montana -- and Frontier PAC is going to make that case to the voters. Conrad Burns has been bought, and we're not afraid to say that out loud. That's why we're running hard-hitting radio ads all over the states -- targeting sportsmen, small business owners, and all the other constituencies Burns puts on the line for his corporate patrons.

If you care about the U.S. Senate, your money has more value in Montana than any other race.

Here is the script for their radio ad:

Does Conrad Burns share your values? Since he took office in 1988, he's put the interests of multinational corporations above the interests of Montana families. Is Burns corrupt? His office rewrites legislation to benefit his donors and lobbyists. Is Burns cowardly? He has failed to stand up to runaway deficits and budget waste. Is Burns clueless? He told the newspaper Roll Call that he didn't even know his own Chief of Staff was taking cruises with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Corrupt, Cowardly, Clueless. Conrad Burns: he's more in touch with Washington, DC than with Montana. We need a Senator who stands up for us. Read more at RealMontanaValues.com*.

Paid for by Frontier PAC. This message not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Yeah!

Yes. This campaign is only going to be as successful as you make it. We need ideas, research and input, but we also need to pay for the air time. Frontier PAC has no support from the national party, and we can?t count on the kind of corporate-PAC money and high-dollar contributions that fund many Republican and Democratic groups alike. That's why you can rest assured that we'll stick to our economic populist principles?but it?s also why we need your help.

We'll need to raise several thousand dollars for the Burns ads alone, and we can do it if we get the right input and support from the netroots. Please contribute what you can to Frontier PAC--we need the resources NOW to put the GOP on the defensive for 2006. Whether you can afford $15 or $1000, every dollar is important.

Over at MyDD, Gary Boatwright says:

That's exactly what I'm talking about!

Christ on a crutch, it's about time somebody ran an ad like that. I'm sending Frontier Pac my $50 contribution for May as soon as I get home from work.

Everybody else is going to have to wait until June. My entire monthly allotment for political contributions has just been used up.

Absolutely fantastic!

Indeed.

Posted at 03:47 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, May 06, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Explores U.S. Senate Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob) - Join Swing State Project by supporting Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $


From the Great Falls Tribune:

HELENA — State Senate President Jon Tester, a Big Sandy farmer, is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to talk to Democratic Party officials and fund-raisers about challenging U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006.

"We'll kind of take a look around and see if this is something we want to do," he said this week. [...]

Tester is barred by term limits from running next year for re-election to the state Senate, where he's served since 1999. An organic grain farmer, Tester last year helped Democrats win their first majority in the state Senate in 10 years.

Lots of excitement around this, especially on the blogs out west...

From Western Democrat:

Although the Beltway pundits like to talk about Chafee, Santorum and Nelson (of Nebraska) as the most endangered incumbents in 2006, these talking heads once again forget to look west. Burns was nearly knocked off in 2000, a year when he was directly below George W. Bush on the ballot. Without the President's coattails this time around, Burns -- who could face ethical investigations for Abramoff ties -- will be hard pressed to eke out a victory. With a strong Democratic candidate like Tester, who engineered the Democrats' takeover of the state Senate in the fall, Burns might just find himself holding a one-way ticket to K Street.

And Left in the West:

This is great news, not just because Jon Tester is a strong candidate. The field currently has one strong candidate and has other potential ones feeling out decisions. This is great news because Jon Tester has the potential to be a great US Senator. [...]

We certainly have not had much assistance from national leadership of late. One reason I believe in a Tester campaign is that the man is deeply respected on both sides of the aisle, which is something that used to be true of virtually every member of the Upper House in DC. He is a man more comfortable talking to farmers than to donors. I think that’s a good thing. He is also someone who doesn’t have a 100% from any interest group. He votes his constituents and his conscience and he doesn’t forget what those are. [...]

I write this post to speak highly of a man who could, I think, help restore some honor to the US Senate. I hope he makes the right decision.

Indeed. Tester needs to get into the race.

Which is why I was troubled to see this in the Tribune:

Tester said he'll also find out what commitments might have been made to Morrison or other candidates considering a run against Burns.

Hopefully, none. I don't see how anyone would commit to another candidate before waiting to see whether Tester runs.

Posted at 07:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

MT-Sen: Vasell Scandal Began in 2000?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Left in the West, we have the New West Network story on Shawn Vasell:

John Byrne of Raw Story is now reporting that Vasell was one of four former Jack Abramoff associates who played a role in the Florida recount -- activities that their law firm, Greenberg Traurig, was apparently not compensated for. Byrne also reports that these four lobbyists, including Vasell, have now left Greenberg Traurig, following federal investigations into Abramoff's actions. In fact, Greenberg Traurig's website no longer shows any sign of a Shawn Vasell.

Vasell was Burns' State Director. Vasell was so critical to Burns that former Montana House Majority Leader Larry Grinde couldn't even replace him.

Posted at 10:37 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Thursday, May 05, 2005

OH-Gov: Strickland is Running

Posted by Bob Brigham

AP:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland will run for governor after saying in January he would not seek the Democratic nomination, two sources told The Associated Press today.

Strickland, 63, will make an announcement early next week, Democratic sources in Ohio and Washington who are familiar with his plans said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The six-term congressman would not confirm or deny a run for governor, a job held by Republicans since 1991.

"I have decided what to do in regard to my future plans," Strickland said in a brief interview in the Capitol. He said it was "highly unlikely I will run for the Senate."

Strickland's entry into the governor's race would be a blow to U.S. Senate Democrats, who have tried to recruit him to run next year against two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.

Strickland would become the second Democrat in the race for governor, joining Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

So who will be the Senate candidate?

Posted at 05:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Ohio | Technorati

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

PA-Sen: Chuck Pennacchio Joins Princeton Filibuster

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that when Tim isn't posting here, he is directing communications for Chuck Pennacchio, who is running against Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.

Today they are in New Jersey, joining the Princeton Filibuster: www.FilibusterFrist.com (see here, here, here, and here).

I just got off the phone with Tim...

Professor Pennacchio begins speaking at 3PM local time, with Chris Matthews doing a Harball interview beginning at 4PM.

Because of the media attention, there are rumors of a College Republican protest, but it is unknown what size of crowd they would be able to turn out.

They are closing in on Hour 173 with no end in sight. Right now, there are around 25 students at the event and the MSNBC crew is setting up.

The mood is festive, with refreshments and people seem to be having fun.

Tim is decked out with the postmodern politics toolkit: laptop, cell phone, mic, video and still digitals. You can watch the event on the webcam at www.FilibusterFrist.com.

More to come...

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Officials Investigate Shawn Vasell

Posted by Bob Brigham

After Courtney Lowery broke, The D.C. Lobbyist & the Thanksgiving Deer story, Billings Gazette writer Ed Kemmick blogged:

It sounds like Shawn Vasell, a former staffer for Sen. Conrad Burns, has some explaining to do, as do his friends here in Billings.

It now looks like Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks agrees. From Lowery's latest:

The Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Department has launched an investigation into the case of the D.C. Lobbyist and the Thanksgiving deer.

District 5 Warden Jeff Scott tells New West that an initial investigation shows that "there certainly seems to be some authenticity to this thing," referring to a story New West reported on last week. The story, which we found on now stripped Web site of J.R. Reger of Billings, detailed a seemingly illegal hunting trip Reger took with his brother and Shawn Vasell. Vasell, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, had been named as one of the personnel links between the Montana Senator and the controversial Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

It seems they have the same respect for the Hunt as they do for Ethics. Here is some more on the Vasell Scandal.

Posted at 11:15 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Monday, May 02, 2005

VT-Sen: Bernie Sanders Takes Control

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Congressman Bernie Sanders has yet to announce he's running for Vermont's open seat in the U.S. Senate, the ad to your left suggests that the campaign isn't wasting any time taking the early lead. Indeed, from The Vermont Guadian:

Sanders issued a statement less than an hour after Gov. Jim Douglas announced April 30 that he would not seek the Republican nomination to replace Jeffords. As the top GOP official in Vermont, Douglas had been courted by the White House, and key Senate Republicans, to run.

In his statement, Sanders said any GOP candidate will have to square with Vermonters why they support Pres. George Bush's domestic and foreign initiatives.

"At this point, of course we have no idea as to who the Republican candidate will be. We do know however, that whoever it will be will have to explain to Vermonters why he/she supports a Republican Leadership which gives huge tax breaks to billionaires, but cuts programs in health care, education, veteran‚s needs, and for our environment,” Sanders said. “That Republican candidate, whoever he/she may be, is going to have to explain why they support a Bush Administration which allows corporate America to send good paying jobs to China and, at the same time slashes benefits for Social Security beneficiaries as they attempt to privatize Social Security. We look forward to that debate."

Having the lead and driving the message is a powerful combination, no wonder Sanders is looking forward to the debate.

Posted at 03:56 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Princeton Filibuster: 146 Hours and Counting

Posted by Bob Brigham

www.FilibusterFrist.com has crossed the 146 hour mark and is on pace to clear 150 hours at 5 PM eastern today.

Yesterday, Congressman Frank Pallone joined Congressman Rush Holt by filibustering with the Princeton students. A Corzine staffer will be speaking in an hour and Chuck Pennacchio is on the schedule tomorrow.

Other sparklies include: North Plainfield Councilman Nathan Rudy, 4/29; Nobel Prize Winner Frank Wilczek, 4/29; Physics Professor Chiara Nappi, 4/28; String Physicist Edward Witten, 4/28; and NJ State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, 4/28.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

MT-Sen: New Law to Stop Burns' Slaughter

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular readers of Swing State Project might see the word "slaughter" in a headline about embattled Montana Senator Conrad Burns and assume that the post was about Burns' General Custeresque march into re-election (Burns' re-elect number is 36%). But no, this isn't a metaphoric slaughter, this is an actual blood and guts slaughter. And the politics are so overwhelming against Senator Burns that Congress is now considering a new law -- bipartisan legislation with 50 co-sponsors -- to undo the Burns Slaughter.

From Indian Country:

WASHINGTON - The Interior Department has abruptly halted the delivery of mustangs to buyers to investigate whether the slaughter of 41 wild horses in April violated a federal contract requiring them to be treated humanely.

Interior's Bureau of Land Management is charged with the liquidation of some 90,000 wild horses. [...]

Congress in December replaced the 34-year-old ban on slaughtering mustangs with a law permitting older and unwanted horses to be sold. Wild horse advocates warned that would allow the animals to be killed and sold for horse meat, as dog food or for human consumption overseas.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., urged Congress in April to immediately repeal the change in law that Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., sponsored last year. Rahall and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., so far have 50 co-sponsors for such legislation in the 435-member House.

There is quite a coalition coming together to stop the Burns Slaughter, from the Tribune News Service:

WASHINGTON - A coalition of celebrities, race track leaders and others have called in from across the country hoping to push forward legislation that would end or limit the slaughter of wild horses. [...]

"When you've got a coalition ranging from Willie Nelson to Nicollette Sheridan, we've got something for everyone," said Nancy Perry, the Humane Society of the United States' vice president of government affairs. [...]

Horse advocates have solicited comments from actors - including Richard Gere and Mary Tyler Moore - and have drawn support from horse racing leaders and others.

Churchill Downs Inc., parent company of the legendary Kentucky race track, supports the end of horse slaughter. Ford Motor Co., maker of the Mustang sports car, this week offered financial support to save the lives of 52 mustangs. And "Weekly Reader," an educational publication geared to elementary and middle school students, included an article on the issue.

Seeking star power to jazz up an issue isn't a new tactic. Last year, for example, actress and horse owner Bo Derek traipsed through the Capitol to gather support for a similar bill.

About that bill, from the Courier Journal:

Whitfield, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and nearly 50 co-sponsors have introduced H.R. 297 to outlaw the sales of the mustangs. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has introduced a separate measure, S. 576. [...]

"Those involved in the slaughter of wild horses and burros have blood on their hands," Rahall said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

Whitfield, R-1st District, said no horses should be slaughtered for food, particularly those under Bureau of Land Management protection.

Senator Conrad Burns is now facing a bi-partisan legislation condemning him while he's being called out as having blood on his hands. His response?

Grant Toomey, deputy press secretary to Burns, said the slaughter of the 41 horses was "awful and had nothing to do with the senator's intentions."

"This can't be allowed to happen," Toomey said, adding that Burns plans to meet with bureau officials to discuss the situation.

Is this a flip-flop or just incompetence?

Saying it can't happen would make it appear the Senator is now opposed to the slaughter. I hope this is a reversal rather than Burns trying to say he didn't know that lifting a ban on slaughtering would cause horses to become dogfood.

Burns screwed up big-time on this one.

Posted at 11:10 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Princeton Filibuster Hits 100 Hours

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you go to www.FilibusterFrist.com you'll see the counter has it a couple of hours behind the sign that I'm seeing on the webcam. I'll go with the webcame. This is great!

Posted at 02:51 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

VT-Sen: Sanders Frightens Douglas; Takes Huge Lead

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) today announced he is not running in the open-seat 2006 Senate race. This is huge news, and a reflection on how Bernie Sanders has become a dominant force in Vermont and national politics. Douglas was heavily courted by the White House, with President Bush personally lobbying him to run. The fact that he declined such high-powered pleas shows just how frightened the Republicans are - and should be - of Sanders. They no doubt polled the situation, and saw just how wide and deep Sanders support is throughout the state. They understand that over the years, he has built an unrivaled following not only among progressives, but, as the Washington Post notes, also among working class conservatives who see him as a lonely voice in Washington with the guts to speak up for their economic concerns. And they understand that for millions of Americans who feel ignored by both parties, Sanders has become a powerful symbol that politicians can be successful AND represent the interests of ordinary people.

Sirota heaps some praise on MoveOn and calls on Howard Dean to hold the Sanders' coalition together by keeping it from becoming a three way race. Bernie Sanders has huge momentum now that everyone in Vermont will learn that the best the GOP could offer realized he couldn't win.

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Not for Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) is between a rock and a hard spot. On one hand, he wants to be a U.S. Senator. On the other hand, Gov. Douglas knows he will lose if he runs against Rep. Bernie Sanders. So a lot of people are telling Douglas he'd have a better chance of holding an office if he focused on trying to get re-elected.

It sounds like we'll know what he's running for tomorrow. This has been moving rapidly, the local press has filed multiple stories in the last few hours.

The AP kicked things off:

MONTPELIER, Vt. Governor James Douglas is expected to announce tomorrow that he will seek re-election and not run for an open U-S Senate seat next year.

The governor is planning a news conference in Burlington, but the governor's top aides won't say what he plans to announce. [...]

Several political observers say since Douglas is making the announcement while the Legislature is in session it means he is sure to say he doesn't intend to run for the Senate.

And Channel 3:

Governor Jim Douglas announced today, he will make "an announcement" at an afternoon press conference at the University of Vermont.

And Channel 5:

Just nine days ago, Sen. Jim Jeffords announced he plans to retire at the end of his 18th year, in 2006.

Then, Douglas told reporters he's focusing on his job at the statehouse and has no timetable for making a decision.

That changed sometime on Friday.

Sources close to Douglas will only say that he's considered his options carefully and wanted to clear the air as soon as he could.

And back to Channel 3:

"I don't know. I guess I'll probably talk about my future political plans," he told Channel 3's Kate Duffy. Asked what they are he replied: "You'll have to come and see, Kate." Prodded for a sneak preview he smiled: "You wouldn't tell anyone, would you?"

Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, announced last week he would retire instead of seeking a fourth term in Washington. Political insiders say if Douglas is making an announcement this early, it likely means he will seek re-election instead of a Senate seat.

"I'll have something to say about it tomorrow. I'm not being very helpful am I? I have to give the weekend crew something to do, right?" he joked. [...]

A decision the governor will keep secret until Saturday.

Reading through the articles, it seems to me the Vermont press corps has a problem with chain-yanking politicians. Announced an announcement? "You'll have to come and see"?

What a typical politician, thinking this is all some theatre that revolves around him. Jim Douglas doesn't get it, he especially doesn't get it on health insurance.

Posted at 01:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Vermont | Technorati

Friday, April 29, 2005

Nuclear Option is the Crybaby Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DSCC is now running with Josh Marshall's Crybaby Option meme. From an email:

The Crybaby Option

In early 2003, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott first used the term "nuclear option" to describe a plan to abolish the filibuster as we know it.   He picked this colorful phrase because it fully captured how extreme it truly is to blow up 200 years of Senate tradition.

Problem is, "nuking" the Senate doesn't poll well, so the Republicans have tried and tried to convince everyone that Democrats came up with the term and that they prefer to call it something else entirely.  Even some in the so-called liberal media have started using "constitutional option," presumably because the Republican talking points said so. 

Remember - this whole issue is only a big deal because right wing Republicans started whining about not getting their way on every single judicial nomination.  Winning 95% of the time apparently wasn't enough for them.  Heck, maybe we should just start calling it what it is - the crybaby option.

The Lion Roars

Sen. Ted Kennedy has been on the Senate Judiciary Committee for years and knows the difference between good nominees and bad nominees.  And, boy, has Bush nominated some real stinkers!
 
Now you can learn just how bad these nominees truly are by reading about their long records of extremist activism on Kennedy's web site.

http://www.tedkennedy.com/unqualified

Do yourself a favor.  Try not to throw anything at the computer while you're reading.

That isn't easy to do.

Priscilla Owen:

  • Owen consistently reverses jury decisions involving claims of wrongful discharge, injury on the job, and worker compensation;
  • Owen frequently dissents in cases upholding protections against discrimination, sexual harassment, and other workplace abuses;
  • Owen consistently dissents in cases involving upholding consumer protections, narrowly interpreting laws that protect consumers;
  • Owen has consistently favored overturning jury verdicts that would hold business accountable for abuses;
  • Owen supported the reduction and elimination of buffer zones designed to protect reproductive health care clinics in Houston;
  • Owen opposed a woman’s right to choose in at least thirteen cases involving the ability of pregnant minors to obtain an abortion if a judge finds them mature enough to make their own decision;
  • Owen has been accused of judicial activism by her Republican colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court, including Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

William Myers:

  • Myers has consistently worked to protect private property rights at the expense of environmental concerns. For example, he has opposed federal authority to protect wetland areas under the Clean Water Act.
  • In the two years he served as Interior Department Solicitor, he issued only two opinions, both of which overturned regulations that protected environmental interests from private development.
  • His constant work on behalf of industry interests in his capacity as Solicitor at the Interior Department resulted in a number of disturbing conflicts, two of which resulted in ethics investigations; one of those investigations is still ongoing.

Janice Rodgers Brown:

  • A 1999 dissent drafted by Brown suggested that the First Amendment allows employees to use racial epithets in the workplace;
  • A Brown decision would have barred administrative agencies from awarding compensatory damages in race discrimination cases;
  • A Brown opinion would have struck down a law requiring paint companies to help fund treatment of children exposed to lead paint;
  • Rated "unqualified" by three-fourths of the state bar's examiners when nominated to the California Supreme Court;
  • Brown told a meeting of the Federalist Society that “where government moves in, community retreats [and] civil society disintegrates”;
  • Brown has said that government leads to “families under siege, war in the streets…”
  • Brown said that “when government advances, freedom is imperiled [and] civilization itself jeopardized.”
  • Brown told an audience that people of faith were embroiled in a “war” against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots.

These people a crazy and the fact the Republicans will destroy the Senate to force these extremists upon America is proof that the Nuclear Option really is the Crybaby Option

Posted at 03:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (4) | Technorati

Filibuster Continues: Rain or Shine

Posted by Bob Brigham

I just received an on-the-ground report on the Princeton Phenomenon. One of my buddies has arrived in Princeton and is having a blast at the Frist Filibuster.

He says there are 20-25 people, a picnic atmosphere with cookies and soda near the bullhorn-amplified student filibuster.

Any predictions on which school will be the next to join?

UPDATE The students have been getting creative with what they've been reading during the filibuster. I'm told somebody read 3,000 digits of Pi.

UPDATE Congressman Rush Holt has taken the floor and students are using their cell-phones to let Senators listen to his speech!

more...

UPDATE Congressman Rush Holt just finished. Thank him for standing up for the filibuster with the students, drop him a note at:

Mail@rushholt.com

UPDATE Josh Marshall is trying to work something out where people can support the students with pizza, watch Talking Points Memo for details.

Posted at 01:58 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (2) | Technorati

Princeton Phenomenon: Filibuster Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

One of the marvels of instant communication is the potential for an action to become a phenomenon. At Princeton University there is an action that has captivated the online community -- and appears to be still gathering momentum.

From www.FilibusterFrist.com:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Class of '74, is preparing to change Senate rules to prevent a Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. This "Nuclear Option" would end the constitutional role of the Senate as a deliberative body that respects minority views, and judicial nominations could be approved without even the minimal degree of mainstream acceptability that has been traditionally required. The implications for the federal judiciary, and the nation, are tremendous: the next round of appointees to sail through would no doubt be extremists ideologically committed to dismantling post-1937 constitutional jurisprudence (meaning no EPA, no FDA, no corporate liability, no healthcare or social welfare programs - ever). In short, Robby George (or any of his James Madison Program posse) could be our next federal judge or Supreme Court Justice.

To protest this destructive move, members of the Princeton University community have come together to hold a non-stop "filibuster" outside the Frist Campus Center (a building sponsored by Senator Frist's family).

And people are noticing the student's filibuster, which has already lasted over 70 hours. Students at Carleton have filibustered and this is expected to spread across campuses nationwide.

The press is noticing:

The blogs are noticing:

You can follow this at:

Princeton Progressive Review. This is great!

Posted at 01:24 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Thursday, April 28, 2005

WA-Sen: Dino Rossi Not Running for Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

King County Journal:

Dino Rossi on Wednesday said he will not run for the U.S. Senate, citing his desire to have an impact on the political culture of Washington state and the impact that serving in the other Washington would have on his young family. [...]

Chris Vance, chairman of the state Republican Party, said Wednesday that while he doesn't think Rossi will run, others may not take his "no" at face value.

"There are people and organizations who will want to change his mind," Vance said. "The senate campaign committee will try to persuade him otherwise."

The reason Republicans have urged Rossi to run is that they are worried Chris Vance will run and make even a big ass of himself than Rossi would. I just posted a look at the GOP primary and general election implications and since it was written understanding that Rossi's decision would come first, I'll let it stand for now as a first look at former Congressman Rick White, and Safeco President and CEO Mike McGavick.

Posted at 10:06 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | Technorati

Monday, April 25, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns and Jack Abramoff Staff Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

What is the one thing that makes a worse scandal than an Jack Abramoff golf trip? A hunting trip.

Shawn Vasell has made Swing State Project before. He is one of the major links between Jack Abramoff and Montana Senator Conrad Burns, having worked for Abramoff directly before and after working for Burns (he was State Director).

Vasell was already a key figure in multiple investigations and now he is at the center of a scandal that will enrage Montanans in a way that the corruption scandal never could.

Even before this latest scandal, Sen. Conrad Burns was in trouble. The Abramoff corruption scandal was hurting his campaign, he was sinking in the polls, and the press had tired of his B.S. responses to the corruption investigations. And now this...

The Thanksgiving Deer Scandal

New West Network Managing Editor Courtney Lowery has THE SCOOP:

Washington lobbyist Shawn Vasell, a former aide to Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, has already attracted some unwanted media attention in our nation's capital as a key link between Burns and controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Now we've come across an interesting little story on the Web (with photos) about Mr. Vasell and his Thanksgiving deer that if true, is not likely to endear him even to loyal Republicans.

Vasell, who Burns’ spokesman J.P. Donovan said worked as the office’s state director for about a year before stepping down in December of 2002 to go back to Abramoff's firm, was named and pictured on a Web site about hunting and fishing written by one J.R. Reger. Reger, in what can only be read as a fit of macho hubris, details the rockin' good time that he, Mike Reger and Vasell apparently had on a spur-of-the-moment, day-after-Thanksiving hunting outing. Only problem is, the story depicts the boys in apparent violation of at least four Montana hunting laws.

FOUR VIOLATIONS? Like Conrad Burns; like Jack Abramoff; Shawn Vasell appears to have a total disregard for the law.

In particular, Vasell allegedly shot a deer from the window of a pickup truck, a clear no-no. And, a quick phone call to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks licensing department tells us that state records (which search back to 2002) show there have been no hunting licenses issued to a Shawn Vasell in the state of Montana. So if that's his deer he's posing with in the photos ...

It gets better...

So what is the response?

Reger, reached on Saturday via phone, would not comment on the story or confirm or deny its accuracy, but told New West he would have time to talk about it later. Alas, he has not returned repeated phone calls since then and - surprise - his site had been taken down by Sunday morning. We figured this might happen, so we made sure we recovered it through Google's cache of pages, which is where you can read it here.

Why would anyone so brazenly brag about breaking the law?

The story certainly doesn't read like something that was made up, though it's a bit of a mystery as to why Reger would be so eager to brag publicly about things like his hunting buddy shooting a deer on someone else's land after dark. There is one clue though. Elsewhere on his site, Reger writes: "Every Monday morning I look forward to reading the paper. Moreover, I look forward to reading about one of my delinquent friends or acquaintances getting into trouble with the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. For the fine amount paid, and trust me on this one, the amount of good press you get from doing something wrong is totally worth it. I highly recommend poaching a little or doing something minor to get your name in the paper at least once a year."

Montana blogger Matt Singer points out:

This trip was illegal. If Reger reported the details accurately, multiple laws were broken. Shawn Vasell has not had a hunting permit in Montana (at least not since 2001). He apparently shot the deer from inside a car (illegal). Later, he helped one of the Regers move a deer that had been shot on a neighbor's property without permission after dark following drinking (illegal). This isn't just illegal. It violates many of the unwritten rules of landowner/hunter relations.

Violating the unwritten rules of the west will result in the worst punishment. Singer also focuses on a fact all of you Jack Abramoff scandal watchers will appreciate:

One of the most interesting points is buried in the story. Shawn Vasell's official website lists one of his accomplishments as having "obtained federal [Indian school construction] monies for participating clients." This is exactly the question at issue in the original Washington Post article that brought this former Conrad Burns staffer's name to our attention. Burns was accused of giving money to Abramoff clients because of special connections. Now, one of Abramoff's former coworkers is claiming that their firm was responsible for lining up Indian school construction monies for their clients. Hmmm....

Conrad Burns lied when he said he would only serve two terms (he is running for his fourth). He didn't want to lose touch with Montana, but he did. Burns has been spending time with some very crooked people back in Washington, DC. But that isn't as bad as bringing those crooked people back to Montana to break Montana's laws and the rules of the west.

In Montana, you don't violate your neighbor's property and start shooting. Especially after dark.

You never shoot from a vehicle. There is an exception to this rule if you have a permit saying you are disabled, but otherwise you never, ever, shoot from a vehicle.

If someone is shooting -- after dark -- on another person's property, you call the sheriff. You don't help them drag their poached deer to the truck in a conspiracy to move the game across the property line before it is gutted and tagged.

In Montana, you respect guns, you respect property lines, you respect hunting safety, you respect the law, and you respect the game. Nothing is worse than an east-coaster disrespecting law, custom, and common sense...with a gun in his cityfolk hand. Actually, there is one thing worse, when that person was State Director for a Montana politician.

Here is the contact info for the eight offices that Shawn Vasell managed as Burn's State Director:

Senator Conrad Burns - Billings Office
222 N.32nd St., Suite 400
Billings, MT 59101
Tel: 406-252-0550
Fax: 406-252-7768

Senator Conrad Burns - Bozeman Office
211 Haggerty Lane, Suite A & B
Bozeman, MT 59715
Tel: 406-586-4450
Fax: 406-586-7647

Senator Conrad Burns - Butte Office
125 W. Granite St., Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Tel: 406-723-3277
Fax: 406-782-4717

Senator Conrad Burns - Glendive Office
324 West Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Tel: 406-365-2391
Fax: 406-365-8836

Senator Conrad Burns - Great Falls Office
321 First Ave. North
Great Falls, MT 59401
Tel: 406-452-9585
Fax: 406-452-9586
TDD: 406-761-6885

Senator Conrad Burns - Helena Office
208 N. Montana Ave., Suite 202A
Helena, MT 59601
Tel: 406-449-5401
Fax: 406-449-5462

Senator Conrad Burns - Kalispell Office
1845 Highway 93 South, Suite 210
Kalispell, MT 59901
Tel: 406-257-3360
Fax: 406-257-3974

Senator Conrad Burns - Missoula Office
116 West Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Tel: 406-728-3003
Fax: 406-728-2193

Posted at 11:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

WA-Sen: Republicans Can't, Well, Beat Maria

Posted by Bob Brigham

Seattle Times:

Sitting in the opulent Senate dining room, stirring more than eating a bowl of bean soup and sipping a Diet Coke, Cantwell shrugged off the idea that she should be running scared.

"It's kind of good to be that (top GOP target) right now," she said, sounding more calm and collected than she did during her last campaign. "It gets people galvanized. It gets people paying attention. It is like getting up for the big soccer game Sunday."

She doesn't even have an opponent and already she is working the word, "soccer" into interviews.

Republicans are working feverishly to proffer more mainstream candidates who can win statewide. If the goal is to defeat a sitting senator, best to do it after the first term. The GOP plans to attack Cantwell as a weak leader out of sync with tax-averse Washington voters.

First, however, the party needs to come up with a name challenger.

So who are the potential candidates? Do any of them have a chance?

Here is the current Cattle Call:

[Dino] Rossi: Rossi would benefit from pent-up feeling that he was robbed of the governor's title. That felt more true about three months ago. The downside is Rossi can no longer hide from social issues, as he did during the governor's race. Rossi is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage. He no longer can say the job he seeks doesn't have anything to do with such topics. He also loses his status as a change agent, which served him well in the governor's race. Republicans are in power. He is another vote for an over-empowered George Bush.

Rossi can claim he was robbed all he wants, but that will only remind people he is a loser. This would be a higher profile race and Rossi's extreme views are way out of the mainstream. Washington voters will be inherently worried about giving George Bush another seat in the Senate, in Rossi's case they would be giving Bush an extreme, right-wing vote. Rossi is being considered out of respect, not because he would make a good candidate.

Former Congressman Rick White: This grudge match would be a revival of the 1st District congressional battle of 1994. White beat Cantwell in the Republican landslide and held on for two terms until 1998. The first question about White is, where the heck has he been? He is currently president and CEO of TechNet, the technology network, an association of high-tech CEOs based in Palo Alto, Calif. White lives in Washington and commutes to California, but he would have some explaining to do.

Trying to explain that he commutes to California is not going to contrast well with a Senator talking about Saturday morning soccer games. White has been out-of-town and every mention of this fact will remind voters that he is also out-of-touch.

Safeco President and CEO Mike McGavick: McGavick, former chief of staff for Sen. Gorton, is the wonder executive who turned Safeco around. He has politics and policy in his blood. If I were Cantwell, McGavick is the challenger I would least like to run against. He would bring a businessman's touch and political savvy gained in Gorton's shop. But he earns a high salary at Safeco and may not like the legislator role. A CEO is a CEO, unaccustomed to collaborating with 99 peers and making two cross-continental flights a week. Still, McGavick has charm and a knockout résumé.

This is yet another example of how thin of a bench the Washington GOP has to work with. Turning to an outsider for a major race a clear indication to Republicans that even if they could work up through the ranks, it wouldn't matter. I don't see him running and the fact that his name is being mentioned is a clear sign of desperation of the part of the GOP.

[GOP State Chair Chris] Vance: Vance is the outspoken, in-your-face chairman of the state GOP who has never wanted to be just party chairman. He ran for state superintendent of public instruction, a nonpartisan post, in 1996 and lost. He ran for the 9th Congressional District in 2000 and was beaten by Adam Smith, collecting a mere 35 percent of the vote. Landslide Vance lives and breathes politics. He would run and doorbell at a pace that would tire the Energizer Bunny. He is the fallback candidate if the others don't materialize.

Vance is a two time loser and a complete nut. He made an ass of himself every time is stepped in front of a camera during the recount. I'm sure he would love to run and I would love him to run also. Vance would get stomped.

Posted at 02:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | Comments (1) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Montana Auditor John Morrison Runs for US Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

AP:

HELENA -- Democratic State Auditor John Morrison, a former Helena attorney who has spearheaded efforts to make health insurance more affordable for Montanans, announced Monday his bid for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns.

News of the campaign was not unexpected. Morrison, 43, was considered a likely challenger to Burns and had been soliciting donations in recent weeks on a Web site offering information on how to contact his campaign.

"As a Montanan, I'm very concerned about the way things are going in Washington, D.C.," Morrison said in a written statement. "And so I've been talking with lots of my fellow Montanans about a bid for the United States Senate in 2006, and have begun laying the groundwork for a Senate campaign."

Senator Conrad Burns is heading to the slaughter house come November 2006 and whoever wins the Democratic primary will need to find a place to live in D.C.

Burns is running for his fourth term, after breaking his oath to serve only two. Burns has a 36% re-elect number, is up-to-his hat in a corruption scandal, and has a voting record that shows complete disdain for the interests of Montana families. If the feds don't send Burns to jail, the Montana voters will send him packing.

UPDATE The AP story was updated with this:

Big Sandy farmer Jon Tester, the Democratic president of the Montana Senate, is also considering a run for Burns' seat. He said Morrison's announcement will not affect his decision, which he planned to announce by mid-May.

"I've known (Morrison) was going to run for a long time," Tester said. "If I decide to run, I knew that was going to be part of the equation."

Posted at 02:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

VT-Sen: MoveOn and Bernie Sanders

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last Friday I wrote about MoveOn's email to Vermont members asking if the organization should back Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat.

The results where overwhelming...

Here is the email sent by MoveOn:

Dear MoveOn member in Vermont,

On Friday, we asked you if you thought it was a good idea for MoveOn to help Bernie Sanders, the independent Congressman, run for Jim Jeffords' Senate seat in 2006. (Senator Jeffords is retiring.)

Well, the results are in: out of the folks who responded, 96% of you think that we should join together to send Congressman Sanders to the Senate. You're willing to put your time and money where your mouth is, too – thousands of you volunteered to help with the campaign, and together you said you'd contribute over $135,000. (And that's just MoveOn members in Vermont, since Friday!)

Since we're in the middle of our emergency campaign on judicial nominations, it may be a few weeks before we're able to raise money for Sanders from our whole base. But with your strong endorsement, we're moving forward, and we'll be in touch soon. Together, we'll make sure that Vermont sends a real progressive to the Senate in 2006.

Sincerely,
–Eli, Noah, Ben, Joan and the MoveOn PAC Team
April 25th, 2005

96% -- that is larger than the percentage of people who like chocolate.

This race is moving very rapidly, here is the recap on the scramble.

Posted at 10:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Studying the "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist is whipping the zealots into a foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy over the GOP plot for absolute power, people who care about the Constitution, checks and blances, seperation of power, minority rights, and the institution of the United States Senate should spend some time getting reading up on the details.

Over at The Next Hurrah -- a must read blog -- Kagro X has been probing the issues surrounding the "Nuclear Option" in detail that demands to be studied and enjoyed.

Nuclear Option Proliferation
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part V
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IX
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part X
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIV


Footnotes on the Nuclear Option
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III

Posted at 03:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Frist Chickens Out on Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two days ago, I wrote:

As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed.

I wrote that after Santorum indicated he wanted to chicken out on the Nuclear Option after GOP polls showed the folly of such an action.

It looks like I was wrong, it looks like Frist is chicken, too:

Senate aides say that Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, has decided to defer a fight over the rule change until at least after the May recess, postponing a confrontation that many had expected as early as next week.

So Frist doesn't have the guts to declare war on a two party system, but he also doesn't have the guts to stand up to the religious zealots who will use tomorrow to try to start a holy war.

Frist and Santorum -- the GOP leadership is crazy in the head and weak in the knees.

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

VT-Sen: Scramble for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords announced he would not seek re-election. The resulting scramble has launched a domino effect throughout Vermont's political world, potentially opening up seats all the way down to the local level. In 72 hours, a lot has changed in Vermont.

Representative Bernie Sanders has moved the fastest. Within the first 24 hours, he ensured that Democrats coalesced around his candidacy which will prevent a viable threat of a three way race. Within 48 hours, Sanders was on the phone with bloggers, locking down the endorsement of Vermont legend, Blogfather Jerome Armstrong. Today, David Sirota (the go-to guy for all things Sanders), has a must read post: Who is Bernie Sanders? When it comes to quick reaction and real-time politics, Sanders is setting the pace.

With Sanders locking down the support of Independents and Democrats, the only question is who will jump in the GOP primary. Much of the action in the GOP primary will occur after a decision by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

Kos says:

There is no one in Vermont as popular as Sanders. And while Bush and Rove pressure Republican Governor Jim Douglas to enter the fray (the only Republican with a hint of a chance), Douglas isn't suicidal. Or stupid.

Political State Report seems to agree:

Jim Douglas will be urged to run but he is very cautious and would have a hard time beating the popular Bernie and so he will not run. I expect Brian Dubie our Republican Lieutenant Governor to run for the senate. He would be the only Republican to have any chance. I think he is too right wing to win. If he does not run, then millionaire Jack McMullen will try again to buy the seat.

David Sirota examines Douglas's liabilities, including his close ties to President Bush (who is hated in Vermont) and his support for Social Security Privatization (which is hated everywhere, but especially so in Vermont).

As I listed before, the subscription only Hotline lists the follow potential GOP candidates:

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

The Republican Party is justifiably scared shitless of what Congressman Sanders could do to them if he wins. But conventional wisdom already says that the GOP's best case candidate would be facing such intimidating odds that he won't even run.

Senator Bernie Sanders -- it has a nice ring to it.

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

MO-Sen: Jim Talent's Gift for Unpopularity

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that when a sitting Senator has a re-elect number under forty, it means they are headed towards a loss. It doesn't mean they will lose, but it does mean they are losing. The latest poll numbers on Missouri Senator Jim Talent are in the range normally reserved for politicians under indictment or in the throws of a major scandal. In Senator Talent's case, it looks like he earned his dangerously low popularity through consistently demonstrating his aptitude for voting against the interests of Missouri families.

From the Missouri Democratic Party:

Now a new survey shows that Talent is the most vulnerable Senator in the nation.

Just 36 percent of Missourians say that they would vote to re-elect Talent in 2006, while 64 percent say that they want someone else or are undecided. Despite 11 years in Washington, Talent has failed to show an overwhelming majority of Missourians any reason why they should keep him there. "We cannot recall an incumbent senator with lower positive ratings than Talent," said Harstad Strategic Research, which conducted the survey of more than 600 likely voters. (emphasis mine)

Senator Conrad Burns re-elect number is also 36, but for that Burns had to repeatedly lie to Montana voters about only serving two terms (he is running for his fourth) and be bolo tie deep in a major corruption scandal.

It looks like Jim's talent is pissing off Missouri voters every time he casts a Senate vote.

Today's trivia challenge: Can anyone cite an instance where the year before successful re-election a Senator had a re-elect number of 36?

Posted at 02:16 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (3) | Technorati

2006 Senate: "Nuclear Option" vs "Constitutional Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has joined with practically everyone in referring to the GOP's power grab of ending the filibuster as the Nuclear Option. This is fitting, because of the severity of the action and the inevitable mutually assured destruction response by the Democrats. However, now that GOP polls show the GOP losing, it is time to change the language.

From Josh Marshall:

If you're conversant with the Republican national political debate taxonomy, you know that there is a point at roughly 15 to 16 days after the GOP starts losing a debate that crack teams of specially trained GOP spinmeisters are sent out to bamboozle gullible newspaper editors and TV producers into changing their vocabulary to make it conform to the latest findings of GOP focus groups. [...]

Now, let's be frank. There's no intrinsic reason why banning filibusters for judicial nominations should be called the 'nuclear option'. And if Republicans want to start referring to it as the 'judicial act of love' they can do that. But one side in a debate shouldn't be able to order the refs in the game to rewrite the lexicon just because people don't like what's happening. And yet that's just what's happening. Republicans are now making a concerted push at a whole slew of news organizations, trying to convince them to stop using the term in their coverage, on the argument that it's an attack phrase concocted by the Democrats. And it would seem the editors and producers are either too ignorant or too lily-livered not to let them have their way.

It is abusive to change the definitions in a debate just because you are losing a debate. It is a clear indication of a loss.

And many voters see through this. Remember when privatization became accounts? Well the word change didn't change the direction or slope of Bush's poll numbers on Social Security.

This should be seen as what it is: desperation.

And it should be seen as abusive and any reporter dumb enough (David Kirkpatrick) to buy into a change in definitions during the debate should be ridiculed.

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Friday, April 22, 2005

VT-Sen: Will MoveOn Back Bernie Sanders?

Posted by Bob Brigham

As a Yellow Dog Democrat, I did some soul searching about whether I should support Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat. After about 3 seconds, I decided that I would be supporting Bernie Sanders for Senate with my time and money.

MoveOn is in a similiar situation and I hope will come to the same conclusion. Today, MoveOn sent an email to their Vermont list asking for help deciding whether to back Sanders. The email directed people here:

Should MoveOn back Bernie?
On Thursday, Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid told the press the he though having Independent representative Bernie Sanders run for Senate would be “good for Vermont and good for the country.” Rep. Sanders has been a hero on many of MoveOn’s issues, and if he becomes the consensus candidate quickly and is able to raise enough money, he could keep Gov. Douglas out of the race.

So, should MoveOn raise money to send Rep. Sanders to the Senate? We don’t pretend to know Vermont politics as well as you do, so we’re turning to you to help make this important decision.

I appreciate the fact that MoveOn is getting feedback from their large list of Vermont supporters. If you are a MoveOn member in Vermont, you should give them your thoughts.

UPDATE: Vermont's Jerome Armstrong jumped on the bandwagon. David Sirota is already raising money.

Posted at 05:35 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

2006 Senate: Cheney and Reid on "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday threw his weight behind Republican efforts to ban Senate filibusters against Bush administration judicial nominees, in a move that would set up a bitter confrontation with Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid responds:

In the span of three minutes, the vice president managed to reinvent 200 years of Senate history and ignore the fact that Congress has already approved 205 of this administration’s nominees. Apparently, a 95 percent confirmation rate is not enough for this president. He wants it all, even if it means shattering the checks and balances in our government in order to put radical judges on the bench.

Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules. Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power.

It is disturbing that Republicans have so little respect for the separation of powers established by our founding fathers. Based on his comments last week, I had hoped that the president was prepared to join Democrats in taking up the work of the American people, but it is clear this is no longer the case. If the White House and Congress insists on proceeding down this road, Democrats will do all we can to ensure that Congress pursues an agenda the American people can be proud of.

So Bush is going back on his word to join a right-wing power grab. This is a raw abuse of power by the Republican Congress and the GOP's own polls show that the backlash will be severe.

The Republicans know this is wrong and they know it will hurt the Republican Party. Crazy.

Posted at 02:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Thursday, April 21, 2005

2006 Senate: Voters Fear "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Earlier today, I posted on Santorum's Slowdown of the "Nuclear Option" -- which was rumored to be in reaction to internal polling showing that such a move would doom GOP Senators in the 2006 election.

This is true, and some smart Republicans decided they didn't want Frist's lust for absolute power to sink the ship, so somebody leaked the numbers...

This is the current state of the GOP, staffers leaking ugly numbers to keep the religious zealots from destroying the institution of the U.S. Senate. From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Private Republican polling shows scant support for a plan to stop minority Democrats from blocking judicial nominees, officials said Thursday, as two of President Bush's most controversial appointments advanced toward a possible Senate confrontation.

These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a recent survey taken for Senate Republicans showed 37 percent support for the GOP plan to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, while 51 percent oppose.

Additionally, the survey indicated only about 20 percent of Americans believe the Republican statement that Bush is the first president in history whose court appointees have been subjected to a filibuster, a tactic in which opponents can prevent a vote unless supporters gain 60 votes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, noting the survey data has not been made public.

When timing collides with hubris, ain't it a bitch?

Coincidentally, the polling was presented to GOP aides a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send the nominations of Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown to the full Senate for confirmation. Bush picked Owen for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and Brown for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

Democrats filibustered the nominations in 2003, preventing a final vote on both. Bush resubmitted the names when the new Congress convened following last fall's elections.

Conservatives have signaled they hope Majority Leader Bill Frist will use either Brown or Owen — or both — as the trigger for a confrontation with Democrats.

At this point, if Frist chickens out his Presidential campaign becomes a joke. On the other hand, the GOP moves forward, then they are jumping off a bridge. It appears that the Republican Senate is just another extremist cult with a suicide pact, because public opposition means nothing to the zealots who think they are hearing the voice of God:

Republican strategists concede their efforts to swing public opinion behind their move suffered in the wake of congressional intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman in Florida who was being kept alive with a feeding tube. The survey suggested the GOP faces a challenge if it hopes to gain significant public support before moving ahead on banning judicial filibusters.

"Polling on this issue is not going to make a difference. We are going to try to do what's right," Hutchison said during the day.

Crazy fuckin' idiots.

The Family Research Council, a conservative organization, has arranged a rally for this weekend in Tennessee to build support for the GOP plan and accuse Democrats of waging filibusters based on faith. Frist is scheduled to appear by videotape.

Again, the GOP is lead by crazy fuckin' idiots.

Posted at 10:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Republicans | Technorati

PA-Sen: Santorum, from Showdown to Slowdown

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Hill:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party.

While these numbers are secret, Santorum's poll numbers are public and sinking. The GOP now has solid evidence that the "nuclear option" is political suicide, yet they will probably do it anyway. The backlash brewing against the zealots could be a powerful force in 2006 Senate elections. While Santorum may have cold feet, this has gone too far for Frist to chicken out. As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed. Keep handing them rope and please, somebody make some popcorn.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Pennsylvania, Republicans | Technorati

VT-Sen: Cattle Call

Posted by Bob Brigham

With Senator Jim Jeffords seeking not running for re-election, Vermont's open seat will be closely followed by Swing State Project. From what I've read, Democrats are excited about Bernie Sanders, coalescing around his candidacy.

Indeed, Sanders is best positioned for victory and his campaign is likely to activate a nationwide network of progressives desperate to have a vote against unanimous consent.

The full Cattle Call, from the subscription only Hotline:

A complete list of potential candidates mentioned in today's coverage:

Independents
Rep. Bernie Sanders

GOPers
Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

Dems
'94 nominee/'00 candidate/ex-state Sen. Jan Backus
'04 GOV nominee/Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle
'00 nominee/ex-Aud./state Sen. Ed Flanagan
Sec/State Deb Markowitz
VT Nat'l Guard Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville
'02 GOV nominee/ex-LG Doug Racine
'04 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Cheryl Rivers
'02 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Pres. Peter Shumlin
AG Bill Sorrell
Treas. Jeb Spaulding
'90 GOV nominee/state Sen. Maj. Leader Peter Welch

www.Bernie.org

Posted at 02:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

RI-Sen: Stephen P. Laffey Primary Challenge to Chafee

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

Is Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey going to challenge U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee in a Republican primary?

Many Rhode Islanders have been asking that question for some time, but now national pundits are also starting to ponder such a race.

And Laffey hasn't taken any steps to quell such speculation.

In fact, his office has issued a statement in response to queries from reporters that has stoked the fires even more. It does not say much about his plans, but takes shots at Chafee, without mentioning him by name.

"I've been across the State of Rhode Island, and what I have found is that fair-minded Republicans, Democrats, and independents are not happy with the way things are running in Washington and neither am I," the statement reads. "Rhode Island needs strong, independent leadership in Washington, not weak, indecisive waffling."

The press is giddy, "inner circle" types are hyping his viability, GOP insiders are trying to keep him out, and there is even an online petition urging him to run.

This sounds like a race:

Norman G. Orodenker, a close family friend of Laffey's and one of his closest political advisers, said Laffey will make a decision by late spring.

"He's not weighing running for mayor of Cranston again. The question is only what he does," said Orodenker, a partner with the law firm Tillinghast Licht LLP. "He's got several possibilities."

Laffey's roommate at Bowdoin College and close confidant Thomas Marcelle said that once you become a statewide figure, like Laffey, "statewide races become open to you, whether it be for lieutenant governor, general treasurer or U.S. Senate."

The Club for Growth types don't seem to have a plan with the former leader coming at this from a different perspective than the current leader.

Current Leader:

David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth, a conservative organization that has bankrolled races against moderate Republicans, said the Chafee race "is definitely on our radar."

Keating's group has not formally studied Laffey's record or backed any candidate, but he said Laffey seems in-line with his organization.

"From what we've heard . . . he's willing to take on wasteful, entrenched interests that really have no concern for the local taxpayer," Keating said.

Former Leader:

Steven Moore, president of the Free Enterprise Fund, a conservative lobbying group, said that "it's not hard to get to the right of Lincoln Chafee. He's easily the most liberal Republican in the Senate."

Moore, who is also a former president of the Club for Growth, said that it's "certainly a potential" that someone could beat Chafee in a primary, because Republican primary voters "tend to be more conservative than general voters."

But, he warned, "there's real danger that even if you can beat Chafee in a primary, that all you're going to be doing is turning it over to a more-liberal Democrat."

In a heavily Democratic state such as Rhode Island, Moore said, "Unfortunately for conservatives, Lincoln Chafee might be the best you can get."

It will be interesting to see the degree to which the GOP grassroots involves themselves in this race. With the internet, the wingers really don't need the Club for Growth. That is where the whole online petition thing comes in. To date, only 285 people