Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-settings.php on line 512

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-settings.php on line 527

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-settings.php on line 534

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-settings.php on line 570

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1244

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/query.php on line 61

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/http.php on line 61

Strict Standards: Non-static method K2::init() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/functions.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Non-static method K2::register_scripts() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 51

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2Options::init() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 339

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2Header::init() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 339

Strict Standards: Non-static method K2Header::get_header_width() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/header.php on line 8

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::filter_post_comments() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

Strict Standards: array_filter() expects parameter 2 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::strip_trackback() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 458

Strict Standards: array_filter() expects parameter 2 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::strip_trackback() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 458
2009 April Archive at Campaign Diaries
Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2Header::output_header_css() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 339

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003


Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
Monthly Archive for April, 2009


Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

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The prospect of candidates not named Specter and Toomey winning Pennsylvania primaries

When I first argued that Democrats could come to regret Arlen Specter’s party switch, I did not expect the risks of the Senator’s decision to become obvious so fast. In a well-sourced article that quotes some lawmakers by name while letting others express themselves anonymously, The Hill reports that Democratic Senators (particularly Barbara Mikulski) are livid that Harry Reid agreed to give Specter 29 years of seniority in the caucus; that could create some tensions down the line and hurt Specter’s efforts to portray himself as a good Democrat.

One Senator even acknowledges, with what reads like some frustration, the obvious truth that Democrats are sacrificing a probable 2010 pick-up and will shoulder Specter’s presence in their caucus instead. “He was going to lose to Toomey and we were going to beat Toomey,” said an anonymous Democrat. “We did him a favor by allowing him to remain in the Senate.”

Of course, this goes back to arguments I have made ever since Specter announced his party switch. Allow me to now rephrase my point differently.

Pat Toomey has long looked unelectable in the general election. As of Tuesday, then, there were two possible scenarios: Either Toomey would win the primary and a Democrat would be heavily favored to win the seat, or Specter would survive Toomey’s challenge and would then have a 50-50 shot at winning re-election. In other words, there were two possible winners: Arlen Specter or a mainstream Democrat.

But Specter’s switch has introduced two new factors: It will be tough for Democrats to nominate anyone but the Senator and Republicans now have the opportunity to nominate an electable candidate. There are still two possible winners, then, but there are no longer the same: One is Arlen Specter, the other is a mainstream Republican.

In short: The main consequence of Specter’s pick has been to replace a mainstream Democrat with a mainstream Republican as the main alternative to the Senator’s re-election! Needless to say, that choice is significantly more skewed to the right than what Pennsylvanians were looking  at as of Tuesday morning.

This argument makes two assumptions:

  1. That the odds of a “mainstream Democrat’ winning the race are too low to merit being included in the list of likely outcomes above.
  2. That a Republican has a shot at beating Toomey in the Republican primary.

At the present moment, I believe both of these assumptions to be true. Let’s look at them in order.

The mainstream Democrat

The “mainstream Democrat” outcome was by far the most likely one before Specter’s switch; now, that outcome looks strikingly more difficult to achieve as the hurdles such a Democrat would need to cross in the primary and in the general election are far greater. There are three reasons to this:

  • Will a Democrat even attempt to give Specter a run for his money? This is one of the most important questions of the moment, and there were a number of primary developments today: Joe Torsella denied reports that Governor Rendell asked him to drop out, Rep. Schwartz bowed out, and Rep. Sestak issued still more warnings.
  • Such a candidate would need to beat Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary - and do so while running against the Administration, the DSCC and Governor Rendell. Yesterday, I insisted that this is not impossible - but it is undoubtedly a tall order.
  • Even if a Democrat managed to beat Specter in the primary, he might have to beat a Republican nominee not named Pat Toomey in the general election - a prospect that looked unlikely as of Tuesday morning. Now Toomey is still the favorite to win the Republican nomination, but his victory looks less certain than it did when he was only set to face Specter.

On the other hand, I did insist at great length yesterday that Specter is no safe bet to win the Republican nomination. I stand by that: He has too long a history with the GOP for him to coast to the Democratic nomination, no matter how much the establishment rallies by his side and no matter whether a top-tier challenger runs against him.

And consider this: Specter’s hold on left-leaning votes might be to weak for him to easily dismiss some Republican nominees, but Pennsylvania is blue enough that a mainstream Democratic nominee able to count on strong support form the party’s base would be favored to win the general election. This makes it all the more important for Specter to face a strong challenge in the Democratic primary: If he wins, he will do so having spent a year appealing to liberal voters; if he loses, Democrats will have another nominee to rely on.

An electable Republican

The NRSC looks to have settled on its choice: After early talk of former Governor Ridge, it is Rep. Jim Gerlach who is now attracting all the attention. And the representative is somewhat unexpectedly returning the love by leaving the door open to a senatorial run.

I initially wrote that Gerlach would face a tough time defeating Toomey in the Republican primary, but I would like to qualify that statement. Specter attracted the anger of conservatives for much of the past 29 years; he has committed act after act that made his party’s base lose its trust in him. There is nothing Specter could have done over the next year, there is nothing party leaders could have said that would have changed Republican voters’ well-established opinion of their Senator.

The situation in a Gerlach-Toomey showdown would be rather different. For one, Gerlach, unlike Specter, is comfortable talking as a conservative. “The reason for the [GOP's] decline is not a result of any one thing, person, or election, but rather Republicans forgetting what the Party must represent to voters if we are going to win statewide elections,” he said today.

Second, Pennsylvanians do not know Gerlach the way they have come to know Specter and Toomey would certainly not be able to channel conservative anger the way he was planning to against Specter. Third, if the Republican establishment does decide to block Toomey’s path (and there is talk that they might), it would be easier for them to do so by vouching for Gerlach’s conservative credentials than for Specter’s.

Other Republicans would have an even stronger shot at defeating Toomey, though they might not be as strong general election nominees. Indeed, Gerlach would be well-positioned for the general election. He could rally Republicans against the man who betrayed them, he has a moderate-enough reputation to compete with the incumbent among independents, and enough Democrats might refuse to support their old enemy that the liberal base fails to turn out. The result might very well be an unexpectedly competitive race.

In short, getting Gerlach would run for Senate would be a major coup for the NRSC; if he were to win the Republican nomination, it would put the GOP in a better position in this race than anyone could have predicted a week ago. He could join a dream team of Senate candidates if Mike Castle and Mark Kirk jump in statewide races with him. (Talk about a nightmare for the NRCC, however.)


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IL, NJ and VA polls find good news for Madigan, Kirk, Christie and McDonnell

Illinois: Here’s why we’re waiting for Madigan and Kirk

Public Policy Polling has just released the first comprehensive look at Illinois’s statewide races. The fact that many potential candidates (Roland Burris, Mark Kirk, Jan Schakowsky and Lisa Madigan) have yet to announce their intentions makes the situation confused but there is plenty to chew over with two competitive Democratic primaries and two competitive general election. Let’s get right to the Senate race:

  • Burris’s approval rating among likely Democratic voters: 27% to 49%. Among the general election electorate: 17%. Needless to say, those numbers do not make him a viable candidate.
  • In the Democratic primary, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias would crush Senator Roland Burris 49% to 20% in a two-way match-up; if Rep. Schakowsky were in the race, Giannoulias would lead 38% to 26% for Schakowsky and 16% for Burris; if Madigan were to also enter the race (she is not expected to), she would crush the field, receiving 44% to 19% for Giannoulias.
  • Rep. Mark Kirk would have a strong shot at winning the general election. He unsurprisingly crushes Burris 53% to 19%, leads Schakowsky 37% to 33%, ties Giannoulias at 35%, and trails Madigan 49% to 33%.

If Kirk does enter the race, it would undoubtedly make this a competitive contest - no matter Illinois’s blue leanings. PPP’s write-up suggests that the poll’s internals suggest the situation isn’t that rosy for Kirk, but the reverse case could easily be made as a man who represents 1/19th of the state, is tied with a statewide official. PPP does a lot of great work, but their analyses tend to do their best to minimize the threat faced by Democratic Senators (like Colorado’s Bennet), so let’s say it: Colorado and Illinois (pending Kirk’s decision) are highly endangered Democratic seats.

This survey also comes as Kirk and Schakowsky are considering jumping in the race, and it should reassure them both that they would not be giving up their House seat for nothing: Kirk would certainly have a shot at the general election, and Schakowsky is in a competitive position against Giannoulias. It is a shame that no Giannoulias-Schakowsky match-up was tested, as I would be fascinated to know where Burris’s supporters would go; similarly, I’d be interested to see how another African-American contender would fare. (Given the size of this survey, however, it is understandable no additional trial heats were conducted.)

Moving on to the gubernatorial election:

  • Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan both have solid approval and favorability numbers, but Madigan is simply better liked. In a Democratic primary, she crushes Quinn 45% to 29%.
  • Both Democrats beat little-known Republican state Sen. Bill Brady: Madigan is ahead 46% to 27%, Quinn leads 39% to 32%. Not particularly strong numbers, driven by relatively weak showing among Democratic voters (Quinn only receives the support of 58% of his party’s base).

Keep in mind that Kirk is as likely to jump in the gubernatorial race than in the senatorial one. In fact, the only reason he might choose the latter is not to cross path with Madigan, and PPP’s senatorial trial heat between the two confirmed that the Attorney General would be a clear heavy favorite to beat Kirk. But might Kirk be competitive against Quinn?

The take-home lessons: Burris is not politically viable, Madigan would be a formidable candidate for whichever race she chooses, Giannoulias starts with a slight edge over Schakowsky and Kirk would be competitive.

New Jersey: Corzine remains under 40%

The latest poll of New Jersey’s gubernatorial race confirms Quinnipiac’s finding from last week: Jon Corzine is no longer in free fall. But that’s no reason to consider the new Monmouth University survey good news for the Governor. Two trial heats were tested: Probable GOP nominee Chris Christie leads the Governor 39% to 35%; against Steve Lonegan, Corzine is ahead 37% to 33%.

In Monmouth’s previous poll, released in January, Corzine led Christie by 2% and Lonegan by 16%. As such, the trendline is not good for the Governor. Yet, too much time has passed since January for this trendline to be meaningful. Since then, a number of polls have found Corzine trailing Christie by double-digits, and a 4% deficit is as good a margin as he has gotten since February.

On the other hand, it is clear that the Democrat is unable to rise above 40% - a level he has not reached for months. It would be one thing for Corzine to trail consistently but poll in the low 40s; but to for any incumbent to be stuck in the mid-30s suggests too big a hole for an easy recovery to be conceivable.

Virginia: McDonnell has an edge

The week also brought the first poll of Virginia’s gubernatorial primary to find one of the three Democratic contenders (namely Terry McAuliffe) with a clear lead.  Unfortunately for said Democrat, Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell has the clear edge in the general election:

  • In the Democratic primary, McAuliffe receives 38%, while Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran each get 22%.
  • In the general election, McDonnell leads 44% to 39% against Deeds; 46% to 39% against McAuliffe and 46% to 34% against Moran.

While other polls have also found McDonnell leading all three Democrats, SUSA’s results are somewhat surprising as other surveys have not found Moran facing such an electability hole: PPP’s recent poll had Moran trailing McDonnell by only 1%, while McAuliffe and Deeds were further behind. Similarly, SUSA’s survey paints a more pessimistic than usual primary situation for Moran, as other polls have not found him trailing McAuliffe by such a significant margin.


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4 House representatives announce 2010 plans

Over the past few days, four U.S. representatives announced their 2010 plans: Rep. Nathan Deal, who was not considered a likely retiree jumped in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, while Reps. Allyson Schwartz, Tim Ryan and Jack Kingston will stay in the House.

These four decisions raises the number of open seats to 13 - nine of them currently held by Republicans (see full list). Yet, all of these representatives represent safe districts unlikely to be competitive even in an open seat scenario; as such, none these developments has much impact at the House level.

Georgia: Deal will run for Governor, Kingston (and Westmoreland) will not

Lieutenant Governor Cagle’s mid-April exit from Georgia’s gubernatorial race was so unexpected that it sent everyone reevaluating their plans - and we are now getting a rapid succession of Georgia Republicans to clarify their intentions. We were expecting Reps. Kingston and Westmoreland to jump in the race; neither will. Instead, it is Rep. Nathan Deal who will leave the House and seek the Republican nomination.

A former Democrat, Deal switched parties after the GOP’s triumph in the 1994 midterms showed him that Southern Democrats were on their way out. His district (GA-09) is now one of the most conservative in the nation: Kerry received 23% of the vote, Obama received 24%. Even as an open seat, GA-09 will not end up on the DCCC’s radar screen.

As for those who will stick around in Washington. Westmoreland had already ruled out a gubernatorial run last week, so I will not get back to him. This week, it was Kingston’s turn to do the same and endorse Eric Johnson, a state Senator who just jumped in the race. Kingston’s GA-01 is heavily conservative (Bush received 66% of the vote, McCain 63%), so Democrats have nothing to regret.

That Kingston is backing a state lawmaker in a race that also features SoS Karen Handel, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and a fellow U.S. representative tells us all we need to know about how open Georgia’s gubernatorial race is shaping up to be.

Pennsylvania: Schwartz will not challenge Specter

One of 3 of Pennsylvania’s Democratic reps mentioned as Senate candidates, Allyson Schwartz took her name off the list within a few hours of Arlen Specter’s party switch. This is not a surprise. Schwartz already looked reluctant to give up her House seat when it looked like all she would have to do was beat Pat Toomey in the general election; why would she get in now that she would have to face a five-term incumbent supported by the DSCC and the Administration?

Schwarz is going further than bow out of the race: She is letting it be known that she will support Specter’s bid. She thus joins the growing list of Democrats who are choosing to embrace Specter without waiting to see how he will act in the coming months, giving up any leverage the party might have wanted to exercise over the Senator.

Schwartz’s eastern Pennsylvania district (PA-13) is Democratic territory. John Kerry received 56% of the vote, and Barack Obama received 59%. That might not be staunchly blue enough that Democrats would have been certain to win an open seat race, but Republicans don’t have much to regret.

Ohio: Tim Ryan will not join Ted Strickland’s ticket

First mentioned as a candidate for Ohio’s open Senate seat, Ryan took himself off the list of potential retirees by ruling out such a run - but he got himself right back on it when he declared that he run as Ted Strickland’s running mate. (Current Lieutenant Govenror Lee Fisher is running for Senate.) But Ryan is once again committed to running for re-election. “It’s definite,” he said, “”I just don’t see a scenario in the near future where I’ll be leaving.”

Strickland is favored to win re-election in 2010; had he picked Ryan, it would have been an ideal way for the representative to position himself as the party’s heir-in-waiting for the 2014 gubernatorial election, in which Strickland will be term-limited. And he did not even have to worry about leaving the DCCC with an open seat headache: Gore, Kerry and Obama all received more than 60% of the vote in OH-17, so this is not the type of seat Republicans would waste much time contesting.

And we are still waiting for Mark Kirk, who had promised a decision by the end of the month. That would seem to be today.


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Specter is no safe bet to win Democratic primary

Arlen Specter has apparently decided that he has no time to waste acting like a Democrat. Along with Evan Bayh, Robert Byrd and Ben Nelson, the Pennsylvania Senator cast a vote today against the budget bill, which just happens to be the clearest distillation of Barack Obama’s domestic agenda.

This provides an early illustration of my warning that Democrats could come to regret welcoming Specter with open arms. Unless Democrats are willing to put some pressure on a weakened Senator who has nowhere else to go, they should not expect Specter to treat them any differently than he just treated the GOP: Why should he bother supporting EFCA or voting for the budget if the Administration and the DSCC are promising to ensure Specter will not face a primary challenge and can easily bag himself a sixth six-year term?

Such support will only carry Specter so far, however. He is asking registered Democrats to nominate him, after all, and he will have to win their trust at some point over the next year. That might be easier to pull off than convincing registered Republicans, but he will have to explain away decades of GOP activism. How easily he can do this depends on how serious primary opposition he receives - but it looks like an unlikely group will be there to remind Democrats that they should not trust Specter: the NRSC!

In a truly fascinating move, the NRSC is launching robocalls in the homes of 100,000 Pennsylvania Democrats to point out to them who they are dealing with. “I’ve recorded this message…to help you welcome your newest Republican senator, Arlen Specter,” a voice says. “We wanted to make sure that we properly introduced him to you.” The robocall then cuts to the very recognizable voice of George W. Bush, who is endorsing Specter in 2004:

That the NRSC is already so active in this race suggests that Republicans are determined not to let the Pennsylvania Senator coast to re-election next year. We should expect them to do their best to recruit an electable candidate not named Pat Toomey; more surprisingly, it looks like the GOP will not hesitate to get involved in the Democratic primary in hope that defeating Specter will result in a more competitive general election.

While such intervention can sometimes backfire, who better than Republicans can make the case that Specter is too conservative for Democratic voters? How will Specter react if Republican Senators drop seemingly innocent references to his conservative past all the way to the Democratic primary? How can Specter respond if the GOP leadership makes a show of telling him that he is always welcome back in the Republican caucus? Specter can always insist that he will not switch parties, but it’s easy to point out that he made similar promises in 2004.

The NRSC is looking to press full steam ahead with this strategy. The committee, which just 48 hours ago must have been looking for ways to convince conservatives that Specter was one of them, has apparently decided to use the material it had found to use to repulse Democrats instead! They have created a website featuring videos and news stories of Specter praising Santorum and Rush Limbaugh, criticizing EFCA and denouncing Anita Hill.

Frankly, that website might as well have been created by the DSCC against a Republican Senator running! The same is true of this robocall: Tying an incumbent to Bush was the Democrats’ ultimate trump card over the past two cycles, and registered Democrats should be very responsive - especially in a blue-leaning state like Pennsylvania. If Lieberman lost because of his association to Bush despite having served as the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee in 2000, what has Specter - a 29-year Republican Senator - have going for him?

Bush’s endorsement, featured in the NRSC’s robocall, also exists in video format - and it could easily make its way into the ads of a hypothetical Democratic candidate. That Santorum is standing next to Specter and Bush only heightens the visuals:

“I’m here to say it as plainly as I can, Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate,” says Bush. “I can count on this man — see that’s important.  He’s a firm ally when it matters most.” Even if the current President offers similar praise next year, a Democratic rival can juxtapose footage of Bush’s and Obama’s endorsements in order to ask voters whether Specter can be trust.

In short: Whether or not Joe Torsella drops out (as Ed Rendell asked him to), whether or not the Administration is successful at getting all the obvious candidates to stay out of the race, it looks very unlikely that Specter still face no primary opposition, despite Rendell’s predictions. If nothing else, the liberal blogosphere will ensure that Specter gets some sort of opposition and that his challenger is at least somewhat funded. After all, Ned Lamont was no top-tier candidate either.

As long as a credible primary challenger exists, Specter should not be considered a safe bet to win the Democratic primary.

Coincidentally, the DSCC also choose this day to launch their first TV ad of the cycle: A spot will air in parts of Florida (at least in Tallahassee) that faults Charlie Crist for looking to abandon his duties at a time of crisis. “Crist enjoys being governor when he attends basketball games and Super Bowl activities and when he takes over sixty days off with no schedule,” the ad says. “But now, the job’s getting tough and Crist wants out — leaving Floridians with the mess.”

Crist is a week or two away from announcing his decision, and this ad is unlikely to scare him out of the Senate race. But take this as a preview of the arguments Democrats will use against him later.


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Republicans jump in Wisconsin, Colorado statewide races

After four straight posts about Pennsylvania, it’s time to step away from the Specter story as there is plenty of action elsewhere in the country.

Two Wisconsin Republicans step in gubernatorial race

Governor Jim Doyle might not barred from seeking a third term as are so many of his colleagues, but he has not yet said whether he will seek re-election. That is not preventing the Republican field from getting crowded: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker launched his gubernatorial bid today. Last week, former Rep. Mark Neumann all but declared his own candidacy. “Some time between now and October we’ll be getting into the race,” he said.

Like most of the country’s Governors, Doyle is an obvious target in the midterms; he is arguably more vulnerable than others since he already looked vulnerable in 2006 and only drew 52% in a strong year for Democrats. Given how eagerly Walker is already attacking Doyle for promoting “a grab bag of every left-wing idea out there,” it sure looks like the GOP is upbeat about his chances to defeat the incumbent, which might explain why Walker and Neumann are not waiting for Doyle to announce his 2010 plans.

A primary between Neumann and Walker could be very competitive, especially since other Republicans (former Rep. Mark Green, who lost to Doyle in 2006, and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen) are reportedly mulling a run.

Interestingly, Walker already ran for Governor in 2006 but he withdrew from the race citing the lack of funds. His electoral history suggests he could be a strong statewide candidate since he has served as the county executive of a heavily blue county since 2002. In 2008, Milwaukee County gave Barack Obama 67% of the vote; the same day, Walker won re-election against a Democratic state Senator with a solid 59%.

On the other hand, Walker’s ability to win over Democratic voters is in no way a reflection of centrist politics - quite the contrary. His early attacks on Doyle seem to be entirely based on ideological differences, and Walker was a strong opponent of Barack Obama’s stimulus funding - so much so that he resisted accepting congressional funds for his county. “The last thing you want to do is put money in hands of government,” he said in January. He also refused to submit a list of projects in his county that could be funded by the stimulus. That might play well in the GOP primary, but how about in the general election of a state that gave Barack Obama a 13% victory last fall?

Senator Bennet draws second opponent

Despite the fact that Michael Bennet is quite clearly vulnerable in 2010, Colorado Republicans have had a difficult time recruiting a strong candidate - and those who remain are not the strongest candidates the party could field.

Last week, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier announced that he was forming an exploratory committee; while many Republicans tout him as a rising star for the party, he is also untested in anything resembling a large-scale political campaign and it would be a risk for the GOP to nominate him; furthermore, Frazier’s moderation on social issues could make it difficult for him to win a competitive GOP primary.

This week, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck announced that he would run against Bennet. Buck, who was hired by Dick Cheney in the 1980s, was first elected DA in 2004; before that, he served as a prosecutor in various offices, including the Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s office. His name had been in the mix for the past few weeks, so this is not a surprise; however, there was still some speculation that Buck might choose to challenge Rep. Markey in CO-04 instead.

A third potential Senate candidate is former Rep. Beauprez (who is still mulling the race) would be the favorite to win the primary, but could he be a credible general election candidate four years after being crushed by 17% in an open gubernatorial race?

Buck might be a compromise candidate between Frazier and Beauprez: He has enough conservative credentials (especially on immigration) to win the primary, a bigger profile than Frazier, and he isn’t weighed down by a past catastrophic run as Beauprez. On the other hand, Buck lacks the stature and the political experience that would make him a top-tier challenger. While others with similar backgrounds have been elected to Congress, Buck will have to demonstrate enough familiarity with non-law-and-order issues to be a viable contender.


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The GOP continues to sink, but might they still have a shot at PA seat?

While I remain skeptical that Arlen Specter’s party switch is as wonderful news for Democrats as it is portrayed to be, this is certainly a disastrous development for the GOP. On November 5th, most Republicans probably woke up depressed, but they also had reason to hope that there was no way the party could sink any lower. Yet, the situation has arguably worsened over the past six months.

Barack Obama retains high approval ratings, the Democratic caucus looks more unified than it was in the early months of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Jim Tedisco’s loss in New York’s special election was a blow to the NRCC’s hopes of regaining some footing, the GOP has all but lost the Minnesota seat that Coleman initially looked set to hold on to and the 2010 Senate landscape looks brutal for Republicans because of the retirements of four swing-state Senators.

And now, Arlen Specter’s switch reduces the GOP’s Senate caucus to 40 members. Once Al Franken is seated, Republicans will no longer have the power to force a filibuster; even if they are unified, they will always need a Democratic vote to block legislation or a nomination. (Note: Ted Kennedy’s absence does make the situation a bit more complicated.)

In short, Republicans have been completely forced out of senatorial power in a way no party has been since 1977 - and at the time the Senate still had a number of Dixiecrats that kept the GOP out of the wilderness.

Sure, Republicans can still rely on conservative Democratic Senators, some of whom are closer to centrist Republicans than to progressive Democrats. But that should not obscure the fact that Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson and now Arlen Specter answer to Harry Reid. Mitch McConnell can no longer sit down with the rest of the Republican leadership to plot filibusters - and he can no longer pick-up the phone and call his caucus members to figure out whether they are willing to back him.

The blame game

All of this said, I find arguments over what Specter’s switch says about the GOP’s ideological shrinkage to be overstated. The bottom line is that the Senator became a Democrat because that was his only hope of winning re-election, not because he is suddenly at odds with his party’s political philosophy: He has shown no sign of moving leftward over the past 30 years, and the GOP’s current positioning dates back to at least the 1994 midterms - not to mention that Ronald Reagan (who was first elected in 1980, just like Specter) was no more moderate than conservatives currently are.

So should the GOP blame the Club for Growth, as many including Specter are now doing? I find that illogical, just as it was illogical to blame liberals for pushing Lieberman out of their party in 2006. Sure, Specter was so endangered by Toomey that he had to leave the GOP if he wanted to win re-election, but the reason he was so vulnerable is that he never won his party’s trust over 29 years. If anything, Specter’s decision to leave the GOP vindicates Toomey’s arguments, just as Ned Lamont’s insurgency was vindicated when Lieberman endorsed McCain. It’s not like most Senators would be comfortable with switching parties if threatened in a primary.

On the other hand, if there is a Republican who is weakened by yesterday’s news, it is Michael Steele. It is one thing for Club for Growth to attack Specter, it is another for the RNC Chairman to threaten to withhold support from a 5-term incumbent. Steele came to the RNC promising to grow the party, and we can’t say he has been too successful for now.

Did Pennsylvania Republicans improve their shot at holding the seat?

What is the state of the GOP’s Senate field? Today, Pat Toomey penned an op-ed in The Washington Times blasting Specter and stating that he is still running for Senate. If he wins the Republican nomination, he is likely to lose the general election: While left-leaning voters might not turn out to vote if Specter is their nominee, the Senator should have enough support among Democrats and independents to hold off his former primary opponent.

Will any other Republican jump in the Senate race? One name that is mentioned: former Governor Tom Ridge. (South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham just said that he would contact Ridge.) But how likely is it that Ridge will want to run against his old ally Specter? Even more difficult to imagine is that Republican voters Specter just abandoned will be open to supporting another moderate, pro-choice Republican instead of Toomey. The same goes for the prospect of a candidacy by Jim Gerlach.

Beyond Gerlach and Ridge, there are other politicians the party could turn to, and we should give the GOP field some time to take shape before drawing conclusion: This is the first time since 1994 that the Republican primary will be open, i.e. the first time in 15 years ambitious Pennsylvania Republicans can run for Senate without having to face a GOP incumbent. Specter was showing no sign of considering retirement, so it is a safe bet that Attorney General Tom Corbett, former Governor Mark Schweiker, former Lieutenant Governor William Scranton or Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati had not even thought of the possibility that they might jump in the race. What will they decide now that Specter’s switch opened up the Republican field?

Until yesterday, it was looking likely that Toomey would win the GOP nomination and go on to lose the general election; but Specter’s switch opens the possibility that Republicans might nominate an electable candidate.

While Corbett, Schweiker, Cranton, Scarnati or Ridge would all start as underdogs against Specter, they might have a shot if the liberal base deserts the general election: the Senate race will be the top of the ticket next year, with no presidential election to turn out Democratic voters who do not care about electing Specter. And the bottom line is that these Republicans would have a stronger shot at winning than Toomey - who was until yesterday the party’s probable nominee.

This is certainly not enough of a boost for the loss of a 41st Senate seat to be worth the trouble, but there is a case to be made that Republicans improved their chances of keeping this seat beyond 2010 with Specter’s move!


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Are Democrats making a mistake?

While most Democrats seem to be celebrating Specter’s decision, I stand by my afternoon analysis: This move could soon be viewed by Democrats as a blow to their hope of building a solid Senate coalition that fights back against Republican filibusters and supports progressive priorities.

The short take: Welcoming Specter with open arms could be a long-term mistake for the party, as it could mean living with the unreliable Specter instead of a more mainstream Democrat for the next seven years; at the very least, Democrats are making a grave short-term mistake by putting no pressure on Specter and treating him as if he is terrifyingly powerful when he has never been so politically weak.

And now for the long take.

With Specter unlikely to make it to the general election when he was still a Republican, Democrats were favored to pick-up this Senate seat in 2010 anyway. All they had to do was suffer through the burden of a 59-seat majority for the next year and they would be able to get a Pennsylvania Democrat to take the seat through January 2017.

While none of the Democrats mentioned as potential Senate candidates were likely to join Bernie Sanders on the chamber’s left flank, Torsella, Sestak, Schwarz, Murphy, Wagner would all have been far more reliable Democratic votes than Specter. Just look at Bob Casey: He is not a liberal, but he does not give his party daily headaches. And that’s all I mean by “Pennsylvania Democrat:” No Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh or Mary Landrieu.

Yet, Democrats have condemned themselves to just that: Living with another member of the Nelson/Bayh/Landrieu coalition instead of replacing him with a mainstream Democratic Senator. And we are talking about a 6-year period here - all the way through the end of a second term for Barack Obama!

As I have said many times before, Specter is just not that centrist - especially by historical standards of the GOP’s moderate wing. The reason he has come under such intense conservative anger is that the ranks of centrist Republicans have been decimated (particularly in the House). Besides EFCA, let’s take a look at some of Specter’s other moves over the past few months: He voted against Obama’s budget, proposed to scrap tax legislation in favor of a 20% flat tax, and announced his opposition to the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Council.

Specter reiterated his opposition to EFCA today; in his press conference, he added that he would support cloture - “I would illustrate that by my position on employee’s choice, also known as card check. I think it is a bad bill, and I’m opposed to it and would not vote to invoke cloture;”  he also said that he still opposed the nomination of Dawn Johnsen.

I am hearing many comparisons to Senator Jim Jeffords, who switched parties in 2001 and became a reliable liberal vote, or to Senators Shelby and Campbell, who left the Democratic Party in 1995 and became conservative Senators. But the situation is not comparable: Shelby and Jeffords did not switch parties for electoral reasons (Jeffords had just been re-elected a few months prior to his switch) but because they had truly broken with their party ideologically. That is not the case with Specter.

(There is some hope for EFCA’s supporters, however, as Specter used the words “card check.” As readers of this blog know, card-check is only one part of the legislation, and one that already looks dead because of Blanche Lincoln’s opposition. It looks like Specter might be positioning himself to support a compromise version of EFCA that does not contain card-check but does contain labor’s second priority: binding arbitration.)

It would be a very different situation if we were talking about Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who is likely to keep her seat for as long as she wants to. (This might not be purely hypothetical talk: While she dismissed talk of switching parties today, she did sound like it is something she has been thinking about.) In Maine, the two alternatives are a Republican Snowe and a Democratic Snowe; here, the two alternatives were Specter and another Democrat. Why choose Specter?

Perhaps the Senator promised the Administration and the Democratic leadership some specific key votes in return, though it is worth bearing in mind that the Senator also pledged to move rightward when he won President Bush and Senator Santorum’s support back in 2004. And we just saw how that ended.

At the very least, Democrats should recognize that Specter is stunningly weak: He cannot win as a Republican (and he certainly not go back to the GOP now), and he needs Democratic support. But instead, the Democratic establishment has rushed to embrace Specter and assure him that he will get their support no matter what he does. Obama’s press secretary said that the President is willing to campaign and raise money for the Senator, explicitly specifying that this included a Democratic primary. Ed Rendell also signaled his delight. And Senator Menendez, the DSCC Chairman, said that he looked forward to supporting Specter.

Democrats have also agreed to honor all of Specter’s seniority, which could mean that the Pennsylvania Senator will outrank senior Democrats in the next Congress. In particular, this could be a blow to Tom Harkin, currently the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies. (On the other hand, Specter should not be able to get the Judiciary Committee Chairmanship since Pat Leahy was elected in 1974.)

In short, Specter is being treated as if he is in a terrifyingly powerful and politically unbeatable; that should encourage him to buck the party leadership at the first opportunity.

All of this begs the question: Will there be a credible Democratic challenger to Specter? Somewhat unexpectedly, the answer is maybe.

While state Rep. Shapiro - recognizing the enormity of the task he would be facing - announced that he was no longer considering a Senate run, National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella declared that he would stay in the race. Arguably more importantly, Rep. Joe Sestak issued one of the most skeptical statement of any Democratic official and pointedly refused to say whether he would run for re-election. “I believe that the principles of what he is running for and his commitment to accountable leadership are questions that still need to be addressed,” Sestak wrote. This is surprising as Sestak is sounding more interesting in a Senate race today than he had been over the past few months!

Even though Specter should be considered favored since he will have the support of Obama, Rendell, the DSCC and perhaps unions if he does scale back his opposition to EFCA, the possibility that Torsella or Sestak mount a strong primary challenge should not be dismissed. Specter has far more votes that should be anathema to Democrats than he has that should be anathema to Republicans.

All a Democratic candidate would have to do is air this video (via Yglesias) over and over again to put Specter in a very awkward position - not to mention what the Senator said two weeks ago: “All that is standing between the Democrats and an avalanche are the 41 Republican Senators to to filibuster. If [Toomey is] the nominee we lose the seat and you have card check, and you have tax increases and you have all of the big Obama spending programs.” Is that why Specter changed parties?

If Specter faced a primary, he would have to justify why he became a Democrat, why Democrats should trust him, what is he running for (as Sestak said). This is why it is so incomprehensible that the entire Democratic establishment - not to mention countless labor leaders - are rushing to embrace Specter without even ensuring that the Senator feels the need to integrate the Democratic mainstream.

One last potential problem for Democrats down the road: They have no more excuse not to pass legislation. The public will see a Democratic White House, a Democratic majority in the House and a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate. Whether or not Specter changes anything to his voting habits, the point is that it is much harder to accuse Republicans of obstruction when they do not have the votes to do so! And here lies the problem: There is for now little evidence that Specter will change much to his voting habits.


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What to make of Specter’s decision?

“He accuses me of being a liberal, as though that’s some form of a dirty word,” said Arlen Specter of his conservative archnemesis Pat Toomey in 2004. He somehow managed to beat Toomey that year, but it was looking increasingly difficult to figure out how Specter could survive Toomey’s challenge in 2010.

Accordingly, Specter has taken the only decision that would leave him a shot at winning re-election and has left the GOP.

As such, the Senator’s decision should be interpreted first and foremost as one dictated by his electoral circumstances, and he acknowledged as much in his statement. “I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate,” he wrote. He also alluded to the hundreds of thousands of registered Republicans who left the party last year, making it that much more difficult for him to beat Toomey.

Similarly, Specter’s choice to run as a Democrat rather than as an independent is the one that makes the most sense for the Senator’s re-election bid. As I have explained before, an independent campaign would be difficult to pull off in a state like Pennsylvania - far more difficult than in Connecticut, where Joe Lieberman did so in 2006.  First, Pennsylvania’s voters are more partisan than in Connecticut. In the 2008 election, 31% of Connecticut voters identified themselves as independents versus 18% of Pennsylvania voters.

Second, Connecticut’s 2006 Senate race was essentially a two-man race. There was no credible Republican candidate, which made Joe Lieberman into the de facto GOP candidate: 70% of Republicans voted for Lieberman! The same situation would have been highly unlikely to take place in Pennsylvania’s Senate race; an independent Specter would have found himself in a 3-way race with no obvious reservoir of votes.

All of this gets us to the current situation: Arlen Specter, registered Republican since 1966 and GOP Senator since 1980, will now caucus with Democrats and he will run in next year’s Democratic primary. What could all of that mean?

60 Democrats

The most obvious consequence of Specter’s party switch is that, once Al Franken is seated, the Democratic caucus will have 60 votes. While the Pennsylvania Senator warned in his statement that he should not be considered an automatic 60th vote, there is little doubt that he will be more open to supporting the Democratic position than he was as a senior Republican Senator - not to mention one facing a top-tier primary campaign from a conservative challenger.

Here’s the bottom line: Harry Reid will now only need to keep his own caucus united rather than have to reach out to Republicans. That greatly improves the legislative odds of many Democratic priorities. “I’m a loyal Democrat, I support your agenda,” Specter told Obama this morning, according to an ABC News report.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine Specter proving more reluctant to support the Democratic leadership than Senators like Ben Nelson or Evan Bayh are now or that Bruce Lunsford and Ronnie Musgrove would have been had they won last fall and provided Democrats a 60th seat.

On the other hand, Democrats should not start celebrating a filibuster-proof majority. The Senator might have been one of the most moderate Republicans of the Senate, but that did not make him a Lincoln Chaffee: There were obvious reasons Specter was in the GOP and it is difficult to predict how he will evolve now that he is in the Democratic caucus. Specter is a five-term Senator who has reached great heights of power and who is used to bucking his party; as he warned in his statement, he will not be a reliable vote for progressive priorities.

(In particular, Specter warned today that he still opposed to EFCA - a surprising declaration given that the Senator co-sponsored the legislation in 2007. We will have to see whether Specter just threw that sentence in his statement to defend himself against charges of opportunism. Given that Democrats still need some sort of compromise since Blanche Lincoln is also opposing EFCA, I find it hard to believe that Specter would not at least vote for cloture on whatever bill comes out of negotiations.)

As importantly: With Specter looking unlikely to make it to the general election, Democrats were already favored to pick-up the seat in 2010. They would have to live with only 59 votes until January 2011, but it was likely that they could then fill the Pennsylvania Senate seat with a Democratic Senator all the way until 2016.

Now, Specter is now favored to emerge as the Democratic nominee (as I explain below), which means that he is as liberal a Senator we can expect from the Keystone State next year. Pennsylvania is no Nebraska, Kentucky or Mississippi; Democrats could certainly have hoped for a more friendly Senator. In short: Specter’s decision is a boost to Democrats in the 111th Congress, but could be seen as a blow to progressives in the 112th, 113th and 114th Congress.

The Democratic primary

Specter will obviously have to beat back some sort of primary challenge, but he is should be considered the early favorite to prevail for a number of reasons:

1. The Democratic establishment is likely to support him: Arlen Specter did not just decide to switch parties this morning. Rumors of such a move have been in the air for months, and the Senator has undoubtedly had many talks with top Democrats - which reportedly included Vice President Biden - about the consequences of a switch. In other words, Specter would have been unlikely to pull the trigger had he not been given some assurance that he be supported by Democratic leaders, including the White House. Also, Democratic Governor Ed Rendell is a friend of Specter’s and is sure to back his primary campaign.

MSNBC confirms the existence of such an arrangement: “As part of the deal, the leadership of the Democratic party will fully support Arlen Specter, with both funding, message support and a promise to clear the primary field.” And in case there were any doubts, Barack Obama has already expressed his support. Someone has (probably innocently) leaked to the press that the President called Specter to say “you have my full support” and add that Democrats “are thrilled to have you.”

2. Will any Democrat be willing to challenge him? For much of the past few months, we have monitored the reluctance of top Democrats to take on the Pennsylvania Senator. Auditor Jack Wagner, Rep. Patrick Murphy, Allyson Schwarz and Joe Sestak were clearly unwilling to jump in the Senate race, even though there was a strong chance that Specter wouldn’t even make it to the general election. Now, any Democrat will be condemned to run an insurgent primary campaign against a longtime Senator most likely supported by President Obama and Governor Rendell. Needless to say, none of these Democrats are now likely to run, and I find it unlikely that current candidate Joe Torsella will stay in the race.

On the other hand: Specter’s vote over the next year will go a long way toward determining his electoral fate. In today’s statement, the Senator warned that he had not changed his mind on EFCA, but can that possibly be true? If the Senate holds a vote on card-check legislation, Specter’s vote will determine whether he faces labor-backed opposition: If he at least supports cloture, not only would he backed by Obama and Rendell but he would also be supported by organized labor. Needless to say, that could be all he needs to win the Democratic primary in a state like Pennsylvania.

The general election

If Specter wins the Democratic nomination, he would be heavily favored to win the general election. Pennsylvania might not be the most liberal of states, but it is Democratic. The GOP cannot win on the basis of the conservative-vote alone, and Specter is popular enough among independents to leave very little political space for the GOP. In fact, I would not be surprised if Toomey jumps out of the senatorial race and chooses to run for Governor instead.


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Stunning: After 29 years in the Senate, Specter announces switch to Democratic Party

Wow.

In a stunning statement that dramatically alters the Senate’s balance of power and the midterm elections’ dynamics, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has announced he will change his party affiliation, caucus with Democrats and run for re-election next year in the Democratic primary.

Specter’s office released the following must-read statement to explain his move:

While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

President Obama is said to have called him to say “you have my full support.”

More to come soon.


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Mark your calendars for Crist, Schakowsky and Kirk

Florida: Waiting for Crist

Recess time is fast approaching for state legislatures across the country, and that means that politicians who delayed their decisions about statewide runs until after the end of their state’s legislative session will soon start to come public about their decision. The most prominent such politician is without a doubt Charlie Crist, and it looks like we can now put a date on the Florida Governor’s decision: May 5th. That’s right, we could know in just over a week whether Democrats should spend much time thinking about the Florida Senate race.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza writes that “informed sources” are telling him that Crist is a “near-lock” to run for Senate. At this point, it would indeed be a surprise if Crist were to pass on a federal run. That’s quite a reversal from the conventional wisdom in the weeks after Mel Martinez’s retirement announcement, when no one took this prospect seriously!

One important note: That Crist is looking to make an announcement so early does not in itself mean that he is about to jump in the Senate race. Countless Florida Republicans are waiting for Crist to make up his mind to figure out their own plans, so the Governor needs to announce his decision ASAP even if he is not looking to mount a Senate campaign.

If Crist does run, all eyes will immediately turn to the candidates who are already in the race, particularly Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek. The former has said he will not run if Crist does, the latter has said he will. Yet, neither statement looks certain.

Illinois: Waiting for Schakowsky and Kirk

Mark your calendars for another potential statewide candidate: In a letter reported by Progress Illinois, Rep. Jan Schakowsky says that she will announce her 2010 plans on June 8th!

A left-leaning congresswoman, Schakowsky would face a highly competitive primary if she were to run for Senate. William Daley’s exit from the race over this past week-end means that Treasurer Giannoulias would probably benefit from most of the establishment’s backing, making the road to a majority tougher for Schakowsky. Complicating matters is that a strong African-American candidate is sure to emerge, and that could divide the state’s liberal base. Does the representative want to risk her safe House seat for a tough primary?

Looking to demonstrate that she would have a strong shot at winning the primary, Schakowsky today released an internal poll that she commissioned of the Democratic primary: The survey shows her leading Giannoulias, 24% to 22%. Senator Roland Burris comes in third at 18%. 36% of respondents say they are undecided.

While we should of course keep in mind that this is an internal poll, there is no doubt that those numbers are encouraging for Schakowsky. (After all, she is taking this survey to determine whether she should jump in, so there is little reason for her to sugarcoat the results.) Yet, the point is not that Schakowsky could not win the primary (she certainly would be a formidable candidate, especially once she gets the support of labor groups) but that it certainly would not be in the bag - unlike her House race.

At least, Schakowsky might soon know whether she would also have to worry about the general election. Rep. Mark Kirk, the only Republican who would be sure to keep the race competitive, said mid-April that he would announce his 2010 plans “by the end of the month.” We are know April 27th, so any day now!

Kirk’s decision will have immediate consequences on the Illinois landscape. He could choose to run for re-election, run for Senate or run for Governor. Democrats would instantly be favored to win whichever two races he does not choose, and that could certainly alter primary dynamics - for instance by removing the issue of electability from the table.

Also, Lynn Swett is now reporting that Chris Kennedy (son of Robert Kennedy and head of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart) is thinking about running in the Senate race! As I wrote in December, Kennedy’s name was already floated as a replacement to Barack Obama back in December. At the time, I had expressed my frustration at the ease with which politically inexperienced Kennedys looked to vault over Democrats with a long history of public service. (Remember the painful Caroline fiasco?) The situation remains the same today, though Chris would at least have to run for the seat rather than simply be appointed to it.


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2010 House ratings, part 1: GOP-held seats

The 2010 cycle is heating up, top-tier congressional candidates are jumping in the race and the national parties are thinking about the seats they should target in the midterm elections. In short, the time has come for new House ratings! I have put together a detailed, race-by-race look at 62 GOP-held seats that we could be hearing about next year. (A look at vulnerable Democratic seats will come later.)

Over the past two cycles, Democrats picked up a net 54 seats, which means that most of the obviously vulnerable GOP-held districts have already fallen in Democratic hands. Only 6 districts currently held by Republicans voted for John Kerry in 2004: LA-02 (Rep. Cao), DE-AL (Rep. Castle), IL-10 (Rep. Kirk), PA-06 (Rep. Gerlach), WA-08 (Rep. Reichert) and PA-15 (Rep. Dent). Unsurprisingly, 5 of these 6 districts are currently rated as toss-up - a distinction shared by only one other GOP-held district: AK-AL, which will remain on the list as long as Don Young remains the Republican candidate.

With few low-hanging fruits left for Democrats to go after, what other districts should the party focus on? The answer is obvious: Now that the Kerry districts have nearly all been won over, the DCCC can concentrate on the 34 GOP-held districts that voted for Barack Obama. Of particular interest to Democrats are the 8 traditionally Republican California districts that took wild swings in 2008. Similar districts exist in VA, NE, IL and MI - which means that many Republicans who probably did not expect to ever face much danger now find themselves with a target on their back.

Yet, this could prove somewhat tricky to navigate as Democrats are unlikely to benefit from as expanded a field as they did last year. Which of these 34 districts, then, will remain open to voting for a Democrat in a less friendly environment? Which experienced a short-term fluke and which experienced a long-term political transformation?

The final list of competitive districts will depend on the quality of Democratic recruitment. Many of these districts are so historically Republican that Democrats have a thin bench and no obvious challenger, which could mean that certain of these races disappear from the ratings in the months ahead. Other once-safe Republicans have already drawn credible challengers, like in CA-45 and in CA-48. All in all, the Democrats’ ideal scenario is a wave of retirements by frightened incumbents, creating such an open seat headache for the NRCC that the GOP will be unable to focus on attacking Democratic incumbents.

house10-1

I have tried to build as exhaustive a list as possible and include any district that could potentially be competitive next year; in particular, I have included many first-term lawmakers, even those who sit in relatively safe districts, as freshmen often make the most vulnerable incumbents. Many of these races could drop out of the ratings in the months ahead, but for now it is worth keeping an open eye and monitoring recruitment activities in as many districts as possible.

The rather detailed race-by-race analysis is available here.


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Bizarre turns in Texas politics

Over the past decade, Texans have sure found a way to spice up their political life in a way few states with a dominant party have managed to do. In 2003, the redistricting plan championed by Tom DeLay threw the state legislature into chaos and led to dramatic showdowns in 2004 congressional races. In 2006, Governor Rick Perry looked like a safe bet to win re-election but a bizarre four-way contest made that gubernatorial race one of the most entertaining of the year.

Now, Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison are preparing to face-off in what could be one of the most explosive showdowns of the cycle, while two of the state’s Democratic heavyweights are piling up money for a Senate race that does not exist.

Last week, Texan politics took a truly bizarre turn when Perry suggested that Texas could secede. Sure, we already knew that the Governor is looking to run as the more conservative candidate in his likely primary against Hutchison. (In fact, he needs to run as the far-right candidate to motivate the party’s base enough to counter Hutchison’s advantage.) But secession? Could it possibly help Perry’s primary prospects to suggest that Texas should leave the United States?

Well, it looks like Perry’s suggestion could be an electoral winner after all. A Research 2000 poll released on Friday finds that an eye-popping 48% of state Republicans think that Texas would be better off as an independent nation; as many say it would be better off in the United States. More strikingly still: 51% approved of Perry’s comments, while 44% who disapproved.

Needless to say, a poll that found similar feelings among New England Democrats would be covered for days on Fox News and conservative commentators would accuse liberals of betraying the country. Yet, a Governor is here opening the door to secession and I am forced to discuss how this could help him solidify his hold on the GOP electorate by positioning him as a champion of movement conservatives.

While advocates for Texan sovereignty have existed ever since the independent Republic joined the U.S., and Perry’s comments appealed to that state-specific sensibility. But there is also no question that his talk of secession only makes sense in the context of the right’s current anger against the federal government - a rage that was recently displayed at the tea parties. (As if Republicans had not controlled Washington for much of the past eight years, though, to be fair, many of the tea party attendees sounded quite enraged at GOP politicians.)

So what should we make of the fact that Perry went this far to channel the conservative anger and that his base followed him? Is such extremist talk the logical end of the GOP’s current opposition to Obama? Don’t forget that Perry is certainly not outside of the Republican mainstream; he is the longest serving GOP Governor, his opposition on the stimulus was less vocal than that of Bobby Jindal and Mark Sanford, and his primary bid is already backed by prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin.

If this is indeed what the base is expecting, Republicans with national ambitions could end up drifting further to the far-right than they can afford. Perry’s talk of secession should thus be a warning to all conservative politicians. After all, a Republican obviously cannot go this far and still expect to be electable nationwide in 2012.

Just imagine the ads Obama could run in 2012 against a Republican who spoke approvingly of dislocating the country, or even against a Republican who supported a politician who favored secession. For instance, could Palin not find herself in hot water if she continues to immerse herself in the Texas gubernatorial race? (Let’s not forget that Palin herself attracted attention last year because of her husband’s membership in the Alaska Independence Party.)

The rest of the Research 2000 poll suggests that Democrats have a long way to go before getting Texas to be competitive, though they would at least have an opening to win Hutchison’s Senate race if she were to resign from her seat:

  • Both Perry and Hutchison handily defeat Democratic candidate Tom Schieffer: Perry leads 52% to 37%, Hutchison by a wider 57% to 35%. Keep in mind that Schieffer, who has never held elected office, is a few tiers below the two Republican titans.
  • Another sign that Hutchison is the stronger candidate in both the primary and the general election: Her favorability rating stands at 64% (86% among Republicans) compared to Perry’s 51% (76% among Republicans).

In the Senate race, Research 2000 tested eight match-ups involving two Democrats (Houston Mayor Bill White and former Comptroller John Sharp) and four Republicans. None of the trial heats yields a bigger margin than 7% - a sign that the race could be competitive.

Two Republicans - Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Attorney General Greg Abbott - lead both of their match-ups; two Republicans - Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and state Senator Florence Shapiro - trail both. Given that White and Sharp are better-known than Williams and Shapiro but less well-known than Dewhurst and Abbott, it looks like the survey is more or less a name recognition test:

  • Abbott leads Sharp 43% to 36% and White 42% to 36%.
  • Dewhurst leads Sharp 44% to 37% and White 43% to 37%.
  • Sharp leads Williams 37% to 34%; he is ahead of Shapiro 37% to 33%.
  • White leads against those two Republicans 38% to 34% and 38% to 33%, respectively.

Keep in mind that both White and Sharp are already running, even though the special election might not be held until the spring of 2011 - or even not at all, if Hutchison loses the Republican primary to Perry. In fact, White has already raised $1.8 million - making him the first quarter’s most prolific non-incumbent fundraiser. That might not be enough to make Texas vote for a Democrat, but the state’s politics remain as fascinating as ever.



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  • All good things must come to an end

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What remains on the table

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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