Monday, November 21, 2005

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

Monday, October 10, 2005

2008: Western Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has written before of the need to let western states be involved with Presidental politics. However, tomorrow's breaking announcement about a 2008 "Western States" presidential primary could change everyone's calculations.

There is a DNC Commission that wants to let two states front-load with Iowa and New Hampshire. But what if instead of two "states" -- it were two elections, including a Western States Primary.

In discussing the new plan to diffuse the early strength, Jerome Armstrong suggests:

So I'd bet that the states that will be added in between, and if I had to guess, I'd go with New Mexico and Nevada as being the two states leading for the southwestern slot, and South Carolina and Alabama for the southern slot.

Solid analysis, but what if the "southwestern spot" was actually one big Western Primary?

Something to think about considerring the following announcement (via email):

Governor Richardson, Utah Governor Huntsman to Make Announcement Concerning Western Primary TUESDAY

SANTA FE – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will hold a press conference at 11:30 am, Tuesday, October 11th, in the Governor’s cabinet room to discuss bipartisan Western Governor’s support for creating a “Western States” Presidential Primary in 2008.

Governor Huntsman is leading a bipartisan delegation of Utah legislators and party leaders to Santa Fe. Accompanying Governor Huntsman are Utah Senate President John Valentine, Utah Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, Utah House Majority Leader Jeff Alexander, Utah House Minority Leader Ralph Becker, Utah Democratic Party Chair Wayne Holland, Utah Republican Party Chair Joe Cannon.

The Utah delegation will meet with their New Mexico counterparts to discuss the Western Primary and immigration issues.

The Utah delegation will depart Santa Fe in the afternoon.

These two events could come together in a way that would turn conventional wisdom about presidential primaries on it's head.

I'm a big fan of some the Western Strategy: straight talk, bold action, populist, and authentic. In short, four qualities we were missing in 2004.

Could a western primary help bridge this gap? What about the talk of a western 2008 Democratic National Convention? What about both?

Posted at 04:38 PM in 2008 Election - President, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, April 02, 2005

U.S. Senate "Nuclear Option" and 2006 midterm elections

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at DailyKos, Kargo X has kickstarted a conversation on the coming "Nuclear Option" -- the Republican scheme to end the filibuster and gain absolute power.

If the GOP pushes forward with this power grab, it will force a major backlash against Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. During the Schiavo usurpation, Bush dropped 10 pts in the time it took for Santorum to permanently tie himself to the issue.

If the GOP continues their quest for absolute power, the backlash will be severe. Already, Democrats have 12 Republican Senators (facing re-election in 2006) on record with their Social Security vote.

It has become conventional wisdom that Americans oppose the GOP plan to privatize Social Security. If the GOP moves for absolute control of the Senate while Bush forces privatization then the storyline gets a villian in a potent way. Add Tom DeLay as the public face of Republicans in Congress, a splintering of the conservative coalition, and a united Democratic Party. Together, this could result in a major restructuring of party perception in a nationalized 2006 midterm election cycle.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) wants to be President so he needs to protect his record. In addition, the following Republican Senators need to worry about running for re-election in 2006:

  • 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."

In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:

  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
  • Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vote on Social Security

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday, the Senate gave the following statement an up or down vote:

"It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

Here are the 12 Senators (standing for re-election in 2006) who voted for deep social security cuts and massive debt:

Allen, George VA
Burns, Conrad MT
Chafee, Lincoln RI
Ensign, John NV
Hatch, Orrin UT
Hutchison, Kay Bailey TX
Kyl, Jon AZ
Lott, Trent MS
Lugar, Richard IN
Santorum, Rick PA
Talent, Jim MO
Thomas, Craig WY

Here is the link to the vote.

Posted at 09:24 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati