Georgia Archive:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Tuesday Primary Review

Posted by RBH

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

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

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

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

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

As for the other races, here are the highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

GA-04: Cynthia McKinney Losing Ground in Primary; Heading to a Run-off?

Posted by James L.

Before we get to that, lemme just rattle off the list of tonight's events:

1. With 50% of the precincts reporting, Ralph Reed is getting his ass kicked in the GA GOP Lt.-Gov. primary by a 56-44 margin. I guess corruption can beat some unbeatable politicians, after all.

2. George Wallace, Jr. is also on the receiving end of ass-kickery, losing his primary bid for Alabama Lt.-Gov by a 55-45 margin to Luther Strange. It's still pretty awful that 45% of Alabama Republican primary voters could vote for GW, Jr, though.

3. Like the polls predicted, Mark Taylor is beating out Cathy Cox in Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial primary, by a 51-44 margin with 54% of precincts reporting.

More interestingly, though, is the primary results of GA-04, with 28.74% 35.93% 59% 66% 80% of precincts reporting:

Hank Johnson (D): 48.82% (5,435) 46.21% (8,894) 45.3% (15,445)45.4% (16,273) 44.6% (19,904)
Cynthia McKinney (D-Inc.): 42.37% (4,717) 45.32% (8,723) 46.7% (15,910)(46.0%) 16,492 47.1% (21,027)
John Coyne (D): 8.8% (980) 8.47% (1,631) 8.0% (2,738) 8.7% (3,105) 8.3% (3,691)

I don't know much about Hank Johnson, other than the fact that he's a commissioner of a vote rich primary. If these results hold, this will be the second time that McKinney has been defeated in a primary; in 2002, she was ejected in favor of Denise Majette. I couldn't imagine Georgia's 4th giving her a third chance after this.

Update: With 36% of precincts reporting, McKinney is tightening the race big time.
Update II: Okay, with 59%, McKinney is taking the lead by 500 votes. Will it hold?
Update III: With 66%, it's tightening again. Interesting to note the slight spike in Coyne votes. I have a feeling we're picking up some of the whiter precincts in this update. Oh yeah, I should note that I'm getting these new numbers from the GA Secretary of State website. They seem to be updating faster than the AP, which is a first.
Update IV: Well, with 80% of precincts reporting, McKinney has gained a 1,100 vote lead. I'm pretty doubtful that Johnson can surpass that with only 20% of precincts to go.
Update V: As commenter Drew notes, Georgia requires 50%+1 for a candidate to win the nomination. We're likely heading towards a run-off. It's easy to say that "Johnson votes + Coyne votes = McKinney defeat", but it's never that simple in run-off elections. Just ask Ray Nagin.

Posted at 10:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Georgia | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

GA-Gov, Lt.-Gov: The Big Day

Posted by James L.

We haven't really spent a lot of time over here at the Swing State Project discussing the upcoming elections in Georgia, but there are a couple of hot races between a few sets of Georgia peaches that are going down today. On the Democratic side, there's a nasty, nasty primary battle going on for the gubernatorial nomination between Secretary of State Cathy Cox and current Lt. Governor Mark Taylor. This race does not particularly enthuse me, mainly due to the fact that these two candidates have spent an estimated $6 million combined on attack ads against each other. It's really bringing back the ghosts of the recent California gubernatorial primary, where two statewide-elected Democrats slimed each other so badly that the Republican party has begun to recycle the same attacks now that the dust has settled. There's been some opinions in the blogosphere that primaries are a good thing, that they help strengthen candidates by forcing them to hone their messages and get serious about on-the-ground organization. And to a certain extent, that seems true; Jon Tester's overwhelming, feel-good victory in the Montana Senate primary against a popular Democrat holding a state-level office, for instance, surely helped legitimize him to national and state donors, pundits, and media. But what's the rule and what's the exception? Are brutal primary races like those in California and Georgia, where character assassination runs rampant, par for the primary course? How can you be sure that every primary attains the perfection of Montana's stiffly competitive, but polite style? I would submit that when the stakes are as high as elected office, there's no way to constrain the nastier competitive tendencies of human nature.

But if there's any saving grace in this, at least the focus is not so much on the Democratic primary today. Nope, it's not even close. If you've been following Jesselee's ongoing coverage at the Stakeholder, you'd know that it's the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor, which is taking place between conservative state Sen. Casey Cagle and Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed, that's drawing all the headlines. Reed, who helped orchestrate Saxby Chambliss' dirty victory over Democratic Sen. Max Cleland four years ago, is getting hammered by Cagle over his deep ties with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff:

His opponent, conservative state Sen. Casey Cagle, has hammered Reed over his connections to Abramoff, the once-powerful Washington insider who in January pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and bribery.

Specifically, Cagle has criticized public relations jobs in which Reed rallied Christian conservatives to thwart regional gambling initiatives. In some cases, that work was funded by competing gambling interests represented by Abramoff, according to the conclusions of a U.S. Senate committee.

"Reed said gambling is immoral, but took millions of dollars from convicted felon Jack Abramoff to help casinos," a recent Cagle TV ad said, referring to Reed's "record of betrayal."

I'm not sure how I should feel about this. A big part of me just wants to see Reed lose outright. What a fitting retribution it would be to see a man like Ralph Reed (whose ultimate goal is to run for President some day, most assume) lose a primary race for a down-ticket office in Georgia. How could his political career recover from such a starting block blunder, especially with the shadows of corruption hanging over his head?

On the other hand, should Reed squeak out a victory tonight (which is possible, given that the light turnout may skew towards his fundamentalist political base), Georgia Democrats can take a page from California Republicans and recycle some of Cagle's attack ads, which link Reed to "forced abortions and child prostitution" on Mariana Island through his efforts to block the implementation of U.S. labor and wage laws on the island, a U.S. territory. The ad goes for the throat, but Cagle may have waited too long to release it--he's spent most of the primary election season peppering the airwaves with typical soft biographical/values ads that lack any bite whatsoever. But with Cagle running neck-and-neck with the former front-runner Reed in the most recent polls, anything could happen today. However, an anemic Reed victory coupled with copying Cagle's script verbatim may seriously inject some life into the Democratic state-wide ticket in Georgia this year.

Posted at 11:37 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Georgia | Comments (7) | 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

Monday, April 18, 2005

GA-Lt.Gov: Pat Robertson Slaps Ralph Reed

Posted by Bob Brigham

New York Times:

But as he completes his journey from Christian advocate to professional politician, Mr. Reed, 43, finds himself carrying some baggage: his ties to an old friend, the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In Washington, federal investigations of Mr. Abramoff, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have revealed that Mr. Abramoff paid Mr. Reed's consulting firm more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana - money that came from other Indians with rival casinos. [...]

Some of Mr. Reed's past patrons - including the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who set Mr. Reed on the national stage by hiring him to run the Christian Coalition - say his work with Mr. Abramoff's Indian casino clients raises questions about how he has balanced his personal ambitions with his Christian principles.

"You know that song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, 'There's been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,' " Mr. Robertson said. "The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."

If you don't know the song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, here is what Pat Robertson was saying about Ralph Reed:

There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin' cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone


When the Devil came knockin' -- Reed took his $4,000,000 and ran...for office.

But the New York Times reports people see through it:

In Georgia, Mr. Reed's rival in the Republican primary is playing up his links with Indian casinos to try to revive longstanding criticism from conservative Christian purists that Mr. Reed has sometimes put his own ambitions ahead of their goals. At the meeting near Atlanta, for example, his opponents were doing their best to sow doubts in the crowd.

"The Christian Coalition, they may have some shady background," said Robert McIntyre, the treasurer of the Spalding County Republican Party, who still wore a Ralph Reed sticker on his lapel. "I was being loyal to Ralph Reed, but since now some things have come up, I need to listen. I am now wavering." [...]

Unlike most conservative Christian leaders, Mr. Reed was drawn to Republican politics first and evangelical faith later. He arrived in Washington as a 19-year-old Senate intern in 1981 and became executive director of the College Republican National Committee two years later, under Mr. Abramoff as chairman.

Mr. Abramoff was "a conservative firebrand," Mr. Reed wrote in his book "Active Faith." The men became so close that Mr. Reed sometimes slept on Mr. Abramoff's couch and later introduced Mr. Abramoff to his future wife.


Posted at 02:02 AM in Georgia | Technorati

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